Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heartfelt and Handmade Holidays Celebrating and Embracing our Heritage

We all come from somewhere before we got here. Whether we know about our ancestors or not, our family before us had their own set of traditions and beliefs. It is great to be able to continue traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

But what if you don’t know where your family is from or what traditions they had? December is full of so many holidays besides just Christmas. For example this is a majority of religious holidays and observances for December 2009:

Advent is celebrated the fourth Sunday before December 25 (the Sunday between November 27 and December 3 inclusive.)

6 - St. Nicholas Day (International)

8 - Bodhi Day - Buddha's Enlightenment (Buddhist)

12 - * Chanukah (Jewish Dec 12, 2009 – Dec 19, 2009)

12 - Virgin of Guadalupe (Mexico)

13 - Santa Lucia Day(Scandinavian)

16-25 - Las Posadas (Mexico)

21 – Winter Solstice

25 - Christmas (Christian, Roman Catholic, International)

26 - Boxing Day (Canada, United Kingdom, Australia)

26 - Kwanzaa (African-American - Dec. 26, 2009 - Jan 1, 2010)

31 – New Year’s Eve final day of the Gregorian year

*Holy days usually begin at sundown the day before this date.

Do you know about all these holidays? There are a couple I had not heard of before, like Las Posadas or Bodhi Day.

When we celebrate our traditions that have been passed from generation to generation, we like to talk about the people before us, why they celebrated in the way they did etc. It is a great way to remember the world is bigger than just ourself.

Since we mention it in the video, I thought I would share our recipe for Pizzelles. You do need to have a Pizzelle iron to make these though.

3 eggs, beaten3/4 c. sugar3/4 c. butter, melted1 1/2 c. flour1 tsp. baking powder2 tsp. vanilla1 tsp. anise seed or extract
Add and beat ingredients together in order listed. Drop by rounded spoonful onto center of preheated grid. Close lid and clip handles together. Allow to cook until steaming tops about 30 seconds. Remove with fork. Allow to cool on wire rack or towels. Dust with powdered sugar. Store in air tight container.

I would love to know what your heritage is, if you have a tradition that has passed from generation to generation, or if you are going to learn about a new culture or religion this year.



Katrina here,

Another great way to learn about how other cultures celebrate the holidays is to check out story books about them. I tend to like to check out children's story books associated with different holidays to use as social stories for my boys. For years I would check out books that had stories that were similar t the way we celebrated Christmas. I looked for books that talked about all the events that happen during the holidays. I did this to prepare my autistic son for what was to come. So that maybe he could understand all that was happening better. Now I feel it is time to expand their view of the holidays.

Heartfelt and Handmade Holidays


Land family said...

Interestingly, our preschool had a huge Las Posadas celebration, even though it's a very white methodist preschool! The children would perform songs, then afterwards we would have the re-enactment of the kids going down the hill from room to room asking if there was any room for them to stay. Parents were situated in the rooms ahead of time (in costume!), and they would turn the children away sending them further on their journey. Afterwards there was a celebration in the Narthex (where there was room!) with cookies and drinks. It was a new twist for us!

CitricSugar said...

I think it's awesome to teach kids about other cultures as I have always been interested in them, too.

We don't have many "cultural" traditions in our family other than shortbread (mmmmm) but every year, after mass, we uncork a bottle of wine, toast to a Merry Christmas and chat until Santa yells at us to go to bed. :-)

Rodney and Erin said...

Erika, how is it that I came upon your blog!!! haha That's hilarious! I hope you are doing well. How's that little guy of yours? We all miss you guys!

Katie said...

I love pizzelle cookies, they are made every year by my Polish side of the family (I'm adopted). This post got me thinking that I have no idea how they are made. I will have to ask my aunt this year so this tradition doesn't end up getting lost.