Google+

Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe

 

Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe

by Amy Lignor

 

Thanksgiving has been had. Games have been watched and the golden turkey has caused a great many belts to be loosened. So…here it comes!

 

From hanging the stockings on the chimney with care to the red-nosed reindeer who had to be there; from Santa heading down that chimney just right to lovely sleigh bells ringing softly in the holiday season, traditions, Poinsettia, Yule log, nativity, did you know, Mistletoe, holiday magic, Christmasnight, the holiday season is a truly wonderful thing for all ages. And, no, it’s not the high-tech new smartphone or laptop that is as skinny as Twiggy was in the 60’s that makes this time of year the best; it’s the feeling of joy, laughter, spending time with family and the kindness that suddenly descends even on the worst of mankind. Well…maybe not the worst. But definitely that next door neighbor that seems to always be crabbing about your cat having the nerve to “water” his rose bushes.

 

We all have our own traditions, and even share some with other countries around the world. However, there are a lot out there that are cool to not only learn about, but also, perhaps, to add to our own little family fun time.

 

Many of the Christmas traditions we celebrate date only as far back as Victorian times, where most of it was “invented” during the early 1860s. Odd, aye? After all, our country was fighting a war against ourselves at the exact same time that this truly awe-inspiring event was being “brought together” with several well-known traditions coming into being.

 

In Sweden, the people actually honor a saint. Celebrated every December 13, St. Lucia (AKA: St. Lucy) has her day. Most of Scandinavia considers this to be the beginning of the Christmas fun, sometimes addressing it as the “little Yule.” So, what occurs? It may seem odd, but a family’s oldest daughter gets up early, dresses in a white gown complete with a red sash, and puts a crown made of twigs holding nine lighted candles on her head. (You definitely want to make sure you don’t trip wearing this outfit or “little Yule” could end up sparking a massive conflagration.) This is a day of pure light – from candles illuminating all the rooms and windows in the home, to a parade of torchbearers, ending in a celebratory night where everyone who carries torches throws them on a large pile of straw and a bonfire is had by all.

 

Norway is actually where the Yule log came into being. It was the ancient Norse who utilized the special log when they celebrated the return of the sun at winter solstice. “Yule” is actually derived from a Norse word meaning “wheel.” You would think it would mean light or fire of some kind, but this group believed that the sun was a great ‘wheel of fire’ that rolled toward and then away from the earth.

 

Germany gets a big round of thanks for the beauty of the Christmas tree. They were all about decorating those evergreen lovelies, ever since the beginning of the 17th century. German immigrants that came to the U.S. in the 1820s were the first to decorate Christmas trees, in the state of Pennsylvania. Another little known fact is that the first American newspaper, in 1848, actually printed a pic of a Christmas tree which caused the tradition to go countrywide in only a few short years.

 

Our friends in Mexico added the well-known decoration, the Poinsettia, to the holiday and an Englishman named John Horsley brought about greeting cards. Hallmark definitely owes this man a great deal. Back in the 1830s when he began creating small cards with holiday scenes on the outside and blessings written inside, he ended up laying the foundation for what would become a billion dollar industry.

 

Celtic people actually hung Mistletoe in their homes for good luck, but the English hung it from ceilings and above doorways in order to be the first to “sneak” a kiss without having to apologize for their ungentlemanly behavior. It worked, and definitely spread to the U.S. And when it comes to Christmas carols, it was also in England where musicians would travel to the richest of homes (hitting all those castle along the way), and perform some unforgettable Christmas songs, hoping to receive some gratuity in exchange.

 

In France, where Christmas is referred to as “Noel,” a log will burn in some fireplaces from the Eve of Christmas right through New Year’s Day in order to gain good luck for the harvest. Italians call Christmas “The Birthday” (Il Natale), and Eskimos in Canada celebrate a festival called “Sinck Tuck” that includes dancing and gifts.

 

When it comes to the nativity, it was St. Francis of Assisi who actually created the first “living” nativity scene back in 1224, in order to better explain the birth of Jesus to one and all of his followers.

 

In the end, whatever traditions you may celebrate this time of year, always remember this one very important thing: Never fail to experience the incredible magic that comes along with the holiday season.

 

Source:  Baret News

Entertainment

Prodigal Daughter Tries to Reconcile with Estranged Dad in Haunting Parable of Biblical Proportions

  The Levelling Film Review by Kam Williams Prodigal Daughter Tries to Reconcile with Estranged Dad in Haunting Parable of Biblical Proportions It's not very clear whether Harry Catto's (Joe Blakemore) death was a murder or a suicide. One thing's for certain, though. It wasn't merely a mishap, because nobody accidentally sticks a gun in his own mouth and pulls the trigger. The cops suspect that he killed himself, but his father (David … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

  The President's Kitchen Cabinet The Story of the African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas by Adrian Miller University of North Carolina Press Hardcover, $30.00 292 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-1-4696-3253-7 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This opus] vividly tells the stories of the African-Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder

  History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder by Amy Lignor   For the longest time, scientists and archaeologists have been confused and bemused by various discoveries they’ve unearthed that offer little or no explanation as to the who, what, and why of the people who created these things or left them behind. Even now, in 2017, there are discoveries being studied; stories that were once legends now have actual bits of proof being found that … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Badinage with Brother Hodge!

  Aldis Hodge  The “Underground / Hidden Figures” Interview with Kam Williams Badinage with Brother Hodge! Aldis Hodge is perhaps best known for his role as Alec Hardison on the TNT series Leverage which nabbed a People's Choice Award in 2013, in addition to his role as MC Ren in  Straight Outta Compton. Furthermore, he starred in the Amazon pilot The After and enjoyed a recurring role on the AMC Revolutionary War drama Turn: … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Lowrance Continues to Dominate After 60 Years

  Lowrance Continues to Dominate After 60 Years  For six decades, the iconic brand Lowrance has led the fishing and boating industries in product innovation and customer service, supported professional anglers around the globe and dominated the tournament trail. But how did it all begin? Founded by Darrell J. Lowrance, the company revolutionized the fishing industry with the design and manufacture of the original FISH LO-K-TOR – the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Will NASCAR Theatrics Bring Back Viewers?

  Will NASCAR Theatrics Bring Back Viewers? by Amy Lignor   For any of the millions who once watched ABC’s Wide World of Sports and heard the words “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” they remember the footage of a skier’s crash when it came to the “agony” side of things. Everyone knew that sight was a fact – a video that was absolutely real. Nowadays, however, it seems that more and more sports are “making up” shots that … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

How Are Retail Sales in 2017?

  How Are Retail Sales in 2017? E-Commerce Reigns by Amy Lignor   Despite consumer uncertainty, as well as a very sluggish beginning to 2017, the U.S. retail sales industry is projected to increase 4% this year. Headlines show that many retailers and companies posted “soft” holiday sales to end 2016, which caused some notable retailers to either cut jobs or close stores as a result. However, when it comes to 2017, the National … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home!

  Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home! by Amy Lignor   We speak about luxury vacations, budget vacations, vacations that are fun for the kids, and many more areas of travel at this time of year. But there is also a category that many do not touch upon because they “assume” it is far too difficult for those on a budget to be able to enjoy these jaw-dropping wonders. However, whether you are a backpacker looking to “become a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]