Tonight is the last night of 2015! This year, at least for me, has truly flown by. As I ponder tonight on what I accomplished in the past year, there is much that I have to look forward to next year. On top of starting this blog, I set up an account with Amazon.com and have a book coming out, hopefully in the spring via CreateSpace.com. Then, there is traveling to Hawai’i, picking up photography, and I started to learn to speak French. There is much I have to look forward to next year. So out with the old and in with the new! Happy New Years Eve everyone! Please BE SAFE!
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”- Matthew 2:18
The Day of the Holy Innocents was yesterday. This day commemorates the biblical retelling from when King Herod ordered all of the boys under the age of two to be killed. He did this out of fear of losing his crown to the King of the Jews, Jesus, who had just been born. Mary and Joseph were warned to leave Bethlehem due to this horrific massacre. They did so, however, there were many innocent young boys who lost their lives because of King Herod’s greed. December 28, is the day that these innocent lives are remembered for they did nothing wrong and their lives were stolen.
Today when I got up for work, snow had returned welcoming in the cold season winter. As I cleared off my car, I began to think about the cold weather that was soon to come. There really is nothing that can prepare me for the cold winter comes with. No matter what, I still think back to the seasons of Fall and Spring where the weather is just right. Hopefully, this winter with the coming of snow will go by as quick as possible.
Happy Boxing Day to all who celebrate!
To everyone out there who celebrates the holiday of Kwanzaa, I hope you have a great one!
While I am enjoying this joyous holiday with my family, there are others that are celebrating Christmas in their own ways. Christmas, is practically, a world wide celebration. Many of theme happen on Christmas Eve, none the less they are as interesting and a little weird today.
- Catalonia: Tio de Nadal is a special log that is decorated and placed inside the manger.
- Norway: There is no cleaning and all the brooms are hidden.
- Venezuela: People run up to mass leading up to Christmas, some wearing roller skates.
- Greenland: They have some interesting food they eat, whale blubber and dead birds stuffed into seal skin.
- Germany: Hiding a special pickle in a tree that is to be found by children.
- New Zealand: Decorating a pohutukawa tree at Christmas.
- Portugal: A consoda is placed at the dinner table to remember those who have died.
- Ukraine: The use of spiders and spiderwebs for decorations.
- Czech Republic: Unmarried woman throw a shoe outside the door and if the shoe is pointing towards the door they are to be married the next year.
- Wales: Mari Lawd is performed in some Welsh towns. Not to mention in some areas people parade around carrying skulls of a mare on the end of a stick.
- Great Britain: We all know about the Christmas pudding they have, but apparently the mix has to be stirred a certain way.
- Italy: The arrival of Berfina, a kind witch, who delivers presents.
- Latvia: People called “mummers” dress up and go from house to house. At each house they are supposed to be given a treat of some sort.
- Guatemala: They sweep their houses and have a big pile of dirt that is set on fire with a devil on top.
- Cuba: In the city of Remedios there is a festival where the city is divided into two halves with each building having a themed sculpture.
- Bavaria: A group of men wear lederhosen and fire mortars into the air.
- Greece: Little goblins called Kallikantzaroi are said to run around and wreak havoc.
- Slovakia: The oldest man in the house takes a spoonful of loksa pudding and throws it on the ceiling.
- Japan: The giving of red Christmas cards is not to be done.
- Canada: Any letter sent to Santa Clause is responded
- Finland: Families go and light candles on the graves of their loved ones.
- Iceland: Children leave shoes by their window expecting to get treats.
- South Africa: Don’t eat grandma’s cookies because a young boy named Danny did this. He was killed by his grandmother after eating cookies and he is said to haunt houses.
Christmas is a worldwide celebration that is enjoyed by many, even if the traditions are a little weird. I hope everyone had a special holiday.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.- Isaiah 9:6
December 25th is a day for great joy. On this day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who came to save us. Away in a manger He was born to Mary the Virgin Mother of God surrounded by animals and shepherds. Soon, three wise men would come to present him with: frankincense, gold, and myrrh. These gifts were presented as a present to honor the coming of the Lord in the manger that cold winter night. The birth of Jesus is something that is remembered and honored throughout the years.
There are many different types of food that is eaten on Christmas and Christmas Eve. All of these traditions have a way of spreading from place to place. Some of these traditions reach other countries and have entered other cultures. Some of these traditions happen before Christmas Eve, yet the food is enjoyed during this celebration.
- France: Coquilles Saint-Jacques are scallops with herbs and cheese in little shells. Not to mention a special cake called Buche de Noel, shaped like a Yule log this cake is enjoyed by all.
- Mexico- Chiles en nogada consists of meet stuffed peppers topped with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds.
- Italy- Feasts of Seven Fish consists of calimari, shrimp scampi, scallops, clams, etc.
- Venezuela- Hallacas are capers, raisins, peppers, and various meats that are wrapped in maize and plantain leaves.
- Russia- Zakuski is a fish appetizer that is sweet and salty.
- Brazil- Ceia de Natal is a turkey feast like no other.
- Austria- Sachetorte is a chocolate and apricot sponge cake.
- Ethiopia- Doro Wat on Injera consists of a beef stew in a spongy mix called injera.
- Canada- Chicken bones candy is a Christmas candy that is a cinnamon taffy with creamy milk chocolate in the center.
- Argentina- Vitel Tone is a surprisingly light dish that has veal covered in tuna and capers with the tastes complimenting each other.
- Germany- Stollen is fruit cake, that is considered delicious, contains rum and a sugary coating.
- Portugal- Lampreai de Ovos is an egg cake that is a Portuguese luxury in the shape of the sea.
- Malta- Imbuljuta tal-Qastan is a soup made of cocoa and chestnuts.
- Finland- Porkkanalaatiko is a carrot casserole, somewhat similar to sweet potatoes.
- Romania- Ciorba de perisoare is a soup with meatballs in sour vegetable broth.
- Denmark- Risalamande is a rice pudding with almonds and cherries with a small treat or toy placed at the bottom.
- Iceland- Hangikjot is a leg of beef or lamb that is specially smoked on Christmas.
- England- Mince pies are little pies that became popular when Christmas was outlawed by Oliver Cromwell. These pies are filled with fruit and meat still are enjoyed today by the British. Not to forget the Christmas pudding that is part of the Christmas feast.
- Philippines- Bibingka is a coconut and rice cheese cake that is very moist
- Spain- Pavo Trufado de Navidad is turkey that is stuffed with truffles.
- India- Kulkuls are small coconut cookies
- South Africa- Fried caterpillars of the emperor moth is enjoyed
- Greece- Chicken Soup Avgolemono is the soup that is served first at a Christmas feast. This soup contains chicken, lemon, egg and rice.
- Sweden- Janssons Frestelse is a shredded potato casserole with anchovies.
- Guatemala- Chuchitos are tamales
- Hungary- Beigli is a poppy seed cake
- Madagascar- Akoho sy voania is a chicken and coconut stew.
- Ireland- Spiced beef served with flavorful fruit and a spice rub.
- Poland- Bigos, sometimes called hunters stew, contains an assortment of meats, mushrooms, and cabbage.
- Japan- KFC, this a tradition I can get behind, became popular on Christmas after a successful ad campaign in the 1970s. KFC is a must have in Japan on Christmas, as well as Kurisumasu Keiki a strawberry sponge cake.
- Norway- Riskrem is a rice pudding dish. Traditionally, at a Christmas meal everyone gets a small cup. In one of the cups is an almond, the person who gets the almond receives a marzipan pig.
There you have it many different countries with traditions of food around the world. Can’t help but wonder where some of these traditions come from. None the less, they live on for the many generations to come.
The peppermint flavored Christmas treat has a religious meaning behind it. Although, candy canes are not a favorite of mine to eat, I learned of the meaning behind candy canes when I was a child. Everything about the candy cane represents the reason why we celebrate Christmas.
The red an white represent the blood and flesh of Jesus, which became bread and wine. The J shape of the candy cane represents the first letter in Jesus’s name. While facing upwards, it is shaped just like the staff the shepherds are said to have brought to the manger where He was born. The candy cane may be a treat to enjoy, but the reminder of why we celebrate this holiday is in the shape itself.
When Joel Roberts Poinsetts became the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, little did he know he would bring back a Christmas tradition. In the year 1828 with a growing interest in plants, Poinsett had several greenhouses in South Carolina. In these greenhouses he started to grow poinsettias, flowers being named after him in America.
In Mexico, there was the story of the poinsettia becoming a Christmas flower. According to legend a young girl named Pepita was poor and could not afford a gift to give baby Jesus on Christmas. After people tried to cheer her up, she went outside where she gathered some weeds making them into a small bouquet. Out of no where the bouquet became a poinsettias. From that day on the flowers were known as Flores de Noche (Flowers of the Night). Shaped like the Star of Bethlehem, the poinsettias made their mark in Christmas history from Mexico where the tradition spread across America.