Tag Archives: Holidays

Holidays Around the World

We tend to think of winter as a time of rest, hibernation, and quiet. But a look at the calendar reveals many holidays around the world that prove this impression entirely wrong. The cold months are clearly a popular time for parties and celebrations. While some are filled with solemn tradition, others focus on fun and frolic. All pose opportunities for interesting and real-life lessons in geography, culture, history, and religion.

Take a look at this list of several popular traditions celebrated during winter holidays around the world and share them with your kids. We hope they inspire further discussion and learning with some related activities. Enjoy the tour:

Hanukkah
For eight days each November or December, Jews light a special candle holder called a menorah. They do it to remember an ancient miracle in which one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days in the temple. During Hanukkah, many Jews also eat special potato pancakes called latkes, sing songs, and spin a top called a dreidel to win chocolate coins, nuts, or raisins.

Three Kings Day
At the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas comes a day called the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. This holiday is celebrated as the day the three wise men first saw baby Jesus and brought him gifts. On this day in Spain, many children get their Christmas presents. In Puerto Rico, before children go to sleep on January 5, they leave a box with hay under their beds so the kings will leave good presents. In France, a delicious King cake is baked. Bakers will hide a coin, jewel, or little toy inside.

Winter Solstice
The Winter Solstice occurs around December 21. It is the shortest day of the year. People all over the world participate in festivals and celebrations. Long ago, people celebrated by lighting bonfires and candles to coax back the sun.

St. Lucia Day
To honor this third-century saint on December 13, many girls in Sweden dress up as “Lucia brides” in long white gowns with red sashes, and a wreath of burning candles on their heads. They wake up their families by singing songs and bringing them coffee and twisted saffron buns called “Lucia cats.”

St. Nicholas Day
A popular December holiday in many European countries, St. Nicholas Day, celebrates St. Nicholas of Myra, the man whose life inspired the tradition of Santa Claus and Father Christmas. He gave all of his money to the needy and was known for his compassion for children and all those in need. The holiday honors the man on the anniversary of his death, December 6, 343 A.D. Many celebrate with parades, feasts, gift giving, and festivals.

Christmas
People celebrate this Christian holiday by going to church, giving gifts, and sharing the day with their families. In some parts of Europe, “star singers” go caroling—singing special Christmas songs—as they walk behind a huge star on a pole.

The Christmas festivities in Ireland tend to be more religious in nature rather than being about gifts. Christmas celebrations last from Christmas Eve until January 6 (Epiphany). On December 26, known as St. Stephen’s Day, an Irish tradition that is known as the Wren Boys Procession takes place. Children go from door to door singing, holding a stick that is topped by a holly bush and a wren. They ask for money for the “starving wren,” which goes into their pockets. In ancient times, a real wren was killed and fastened to the stick, but today fake wrens are used.

The Christmas Eve festivities in the Ukraine are known as Sviata Vechera, which means “Holy Supper.” The celebration begins when the first evening star is sighted in the night sky. In farming communities, the household head brings in a sheaf of wheat, which symbolizes the wheat crops of Ukraine. It is called “didukh,” which translates to “grandfather spirit.” In homes within the city, a few stalks of wheat may be used to decorate the table.

Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa, which means “First Fruits,” is based on ancient African harvest festivals and celebrates ideals such as family life and unity. During this spiritual holiday, celebrated from December 26 to January 1, millions of African Americans dress in special clothes, decorate their homes with fruits and vegetables, and light a candle holder called a kinara.

New Year
In Ecuador, families dress a straw man in old clothes on December 31. The straw man represents the old year. The family members make a will for the straw man that lists all of their faults. At midnight, they burn the straw man, in hopes that their faults will disappear with him.

In Japan, Omisoka (or New Year’s Eve) is the second most important holiday of the year, following New Year’s Day, the start of a new beginning. Japanese families gather for a late dinner around 11 PM, and at midnight, many make visits to a shrine or temple. In many homes, there is a cast bell that is struck 108 times, symbolizing desires believed to cause human suffering.

Those in Hong Kong pray to the gods and ghosts of their ancestors, asking that they will fulfill wishes for the next year. Priests read aloud the names of every living person at the celebration and attach a list of the names to a paper horse and set it on fire. The smoke carries the names up to the gods and the living will be remembered.

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, many children dress in new clothes to celebrate and people carry lanterns and join in a huge parade led by a silk dragon, the Chinese symbol of strength. According to legend, the dragon hibernates most of the year, so people throw firecrackers to keep the dragon awake.

Mardi Gras
The time of Lent is a solemn one of reflection for Christians, so the Tuesday before Lent begins is a time of merry-making for many people around the world. In New Orleans, people wear costumes and attend huge parades for the festival of Mardi Gras. Brazil’s Carnaval also features parades, costumes, and music. This day is also known as Shrove Tuesday. In England, some towns have pancake contests in which women run a race while flipping a pancake at least three times. Mardi Gras usually occurs in February or March, 47 days prior to Easter.

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October Religious Holidays

October Religious Holidays

2019 Weeks: (Sorted Alphabetically)

  • Rosh Hashanah – Evening of September 29, 2019 to Evening of October 1, 2019
  • Shemini Atzeret – Evening of October 20, 2019 to Evening of October 22, 2019
  • Simchat Torah – Evening of October 21, 2019 to Evening of October 22, 2019 (Jewish)
  • Sukkot – Evening of October 13, 2019 to Evening of October 20, 2019 (Jewish)
  • Yom Kippur – Evening of October 8, 2019 to Evening of October 9, 2019 (Jewish)

2019 Days: (Sorted by Date)

  • St. Francis of Assisi’s Feast Day – October 4
  • Clergy (or Pastor) Appreciation Day – October 13, 2019 (Second Sunday in October
  • Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Day – October 19
  • Diwali – October 27, 2019 (Hinduism)
  • Birth of Baha’u ‘Llah – October 30, 2019
  • All Hallows’ Eve – October 31
  • Samhain – October 31 (Paganism)

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Adoption/Holidays, hurt! Thoughts

I always have a hard time during the Holiday season. It is like someone found a knife that has been stuck inside me all my life and slowly they twist it, and it reminds me it is there… MwsR <3

If I can be honest with you, it is hard to imagine a holiday season that has not brought me equal shares of joy and pain. I have a lovely immediate family and you would think that they alone could heal my broken heart. Sadly, no  one ever can, not really. I am my own worst reminder of things that could have been…

We have all been there and done that. We can be our own worst enemies when that happens.

I hate having to “wish upon a star”, I want all the stars wish for me!!!!!!!!

I am tired of feeling lost, unconnected, forgotten, dismissed, and so forth. For me, it is in relation to my childhood and my adoption. I know that part, I really do. I have an issue with all of it, how I was deceived, lost, and well…not thought of. I should of had many years side by side with those that I so desperately searched for my whole young and young adult life.

This is just me, being as real as I can be!

So much time has passed, so many lies left unsolved, so many wrong decisions, and so little cherished moments. Sometimes I actually must be having a pity party for myself, because it feels so all-consuming and like I am a rat in a trap, with no way to ever escape.

I feel cheated, I feel lots of sorrow, lots of hurt. I may never truly heal from all the damage that those I looked to. to be my helpers and parents, and caregivers and such, have done. I am angry, sad and in a whole lot of confusion. I wish I knew why my life turned out into what it did, and why no one ever wanted me to know my birth family and why it was that others kept me from those who would go on to be a great part in who I am and became. Holidays remind me of that, all of that and more.

Holidays are definitely not for me to feel special or good , I have come to this conclusion. I must just accept that the past should stay past and I should move forward and without regret. EASIER SAID THAN DONE. I sometimes think, I could swap my life from someone else’s but what good would that be, I mean really. I do not know anyone I would want to switch lives with. I would not have my husband, kids the family I have now.

I guess I will try and quit whining. I have a good life, people that love me and a life that makes me better, want to do better, and helps me want to be a good person.

Moral of this story….”whining”

It is to make the most of every day you have been given and to go forward and not stay in the past. A person’s past can and often does make a prisoner of those who go there. Being adopted was not the worst thing in my life, and it really should of never been bad to begin with. It was though, and in living through it, moving through it and past it, I have some valuable lessons in the school of mankind. I take with me the ability to stay back in that hurt and pain or to help others move from their own. I can help others to feel that there is a way from all the past  mistakes, hurts, and grasps of those who seek to hurt us. We can empower others, ourselves and we can move into a beautiful place with our lives.

Holidays are such a reminder of things that could have been , for me… They do not have to be for you. I can take that memory and lay it down when I get tired, when I feel anxiety or pressure. I can take those feelings and place them at the feet of the one in whom I believe has the power to carry those burdens for me, his name is Jesus. He alone not any man, can help me, can help you and can help anyone who desperately seeks his help.

No I am not trying to force a religious view on you, or help you to accept Jesus, that i your own decision, you alone make that . But I am here to help others in what I do or do not write, what I say or do not say… You get the jest. Please do not let past things take your future joy, your future peace or your future.

Will Holidays always suck for me? Yes and NO. I can choose what to allow into my inner peace. So can you! See just typing this different outlook than I started out with.

Here is to a wonderful Holiday season for all and a remembrance of the strength you have inside yourself, and that it has always been there.

MwsR <3


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Blue…Holidays

For Blue holidays were a time where family came over to her house and ate together, opened gifts, or what have you. She enjoyed all the food, and especially the gifts. She really never received anything special except for holidays, or birthdays, like most kids her age.

Her parents were not rich by any means, but they always made sure to get a good gift for her for Christmas, and her birthdays. Easter came in close behind, since she always got a new outfit, shoes, and a much-needed purse to match. She thoroughly loved her mom’s cooking and her grandmother’s cooking as well. She could only hope to be that good of a cook, when she grew up. Usually there was a table full of her favorites, favorites like coleslaw, potatoes salad, deviled eggs, turkey or ham, macaroni and cheese, and biscuits or rolls, just to name a few.

She would fill her plate full of the many foods that she saw. It was as if she thought it was going to be eaten as fast as it was served. Although Blue was petite in stature and trim in weight, she could pack down some food. She often had to recline herself back against the seat where she was eating, to allow time for her body to digest the food and for her to be able to go back to eating. One could say it was an act of freewill, but to Blue she really could not help herself, it was a need.

Blue would often not say too much when the family was gathered together, but that did not keep her from ease-dropping in on their conversations. Often she could not make out exactly what the conversations were about, but she followed along as best she could. Since her parents had always used the phrase, “Children should be seen and not heard”, she often stayed to herself and only speaking when spoken to.

Often Blue had questions she wished to know the answers for but often she did not express them. This was mainly because she figured it would upset, annoy, or get a really bad response from whomever she asked. Blue lacked confidence in herself and often second guessed her instincts. This would certainly pose problems for her later on in life, unless she learned how to trust herself. Sometimes things were scary there in her home and she really needed to listen to her instincts more, to save herself from being hurt.

Holidays offered her a chance to eat all she wanted and to go back for second’s and third’s if there was anything left. The saddest part of holidays were when everyone went their separate ways and said goodbye. For Blue having lots of people around not only kept her safe, but it provided her time for her to be herself, despite the wickedness that surrounded her, when she was alone.

I guess you could say, “Holidays were a much-needed break for her”, not having to fear she actually got to be a little girl. No one even suspected that reason, for in having time together, they were allowing her that little ounce of “kidism” she really needed.

Often, Blue thought that she needed a miracle, and often she just cried because she never had one. If Holidays were made to show those you love how you feel about them, well, it really never did for her. Most little girls dreamed visions of sugar plums, dancing in their heads, she just tried to grasp anything she could, forget the dreams…she only had nightmares.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

MwsR <3

blur bokeh candle christmas decoration

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