SYW: 2016 Week 51

Share Your World – 2016 Week 51 – Favorite Holiday Edition

“This is a special holiday edition.  The questions have to do with your favorite holiday you celebrate during the year Christmas, birthday, New Year, Hanukkah, Diwali.  Since our international blogs are great for teaching us traditions from around the world, I adore reading about other cultures traditions.  I really encourage everyone to join in the fun.” 

If you’d like to join in the fun, click here.

Thanks so much Cee, this will be fun, I too adore reading about other cultures and their traditions.

What is your favorite holiday?

Yep, it’s Christmas. Sometimes it feels a little strange celebrating a holiday when I no longer practice the religion or believe in the “reason for the season.” Yet, it’s so infectious — The lights, the trees, the decorations, the cookies, the gingerbread, the eggnog, the music, the gift giving and good cheer. It is at this time that the darkness turns and meets the light; at the solstice, that we celebrate and bring some warmth and green (yule and evergreens, poinsettia) into our homes. It just so welcome and fitting, especially in the Northern hemisphere. Four years ago I blogged about how I found my Christmas Spirit again in this post Yes, my son there really is a Santa Claus

What types of food is associated with your holiday?

Christmas Eve is the big night for us. Every christmas eve, as is the Italian tradition, we celebrate with a big fish dinner. I blogged about hosting my first Fish Feast and looking back over the post and the pictures, I can really see that the iPhone 4 and 6 do indeed take better photos than the Samsung Galaxy III (not sure if it’s improved,but I was considering on switching back to the Galaxy 7 when I upgraded my phone). 

Do you travel for your holiday?

We usually travel up to New York City to visit family and friends. Although for the past five years we have been staying home for Christmas morning so my son could stay home and unwrap his gifts and enjoy them. We then go visiting between Christmas and New Year’s day. This year, although it seems The Boy no longer believes in Santa or rather now realizes that mom is indeed Santa, we are still staying home because The Boy insisted we had to be in our new home for Christmas. On December 27th we will travel up I95 and hope for open road so the trip will be done in 4-6 hours.

Is it a religious or spiritual holiday?

It is not religious for us, so therefore it is spiritual. Although, we have started going to our neighborhood Presbyterian Church.  I was raised Roman Catholic and my husband was raised Greek Orthodox. We had been raising our son in the Unitarian Universalist church, but had slacked off in the last year. After we moved we just decided to quit church. But my son is a very lonely-only child and is convinced he needs a dog. We are still mulling that proposition over. The reason for going back to church is that although I am no longer a believer (in the lord, the savior, sinners, heaven or hell) it was a journey and a process for me to get to where I stand now. As a child, I was also lonely and confused and my faith in Jesus helped me through somseven_principles_wheel_originale unhappy times. Perhaps it will do the same for my son. And although I’ve been feeling quite the hypocrite, I have been enjoying going to church. I reconcile it this way, I am a spiritual person and I believe there is an energy or spirit to the universe – something we can neither see nor comprehend. So whenever Jesus or god is mentioned, rather than squirm in the pew, I choose to regard this as Atman or a fundamental underlying Unity that connects us all.

Is there a gift exchange?

Sort of. My siblings and I have decided a while ago to not exchange gifts, but to only give to the kids. My niece and nephew are 20 and 23 and pretty easy as they get cash. I try to get my son everything he wants for Christmas, but he is limited to only asking for five things. He is not getting everything this year as he waited too long to get his list in. He says Santa knows what he wants through telepathy, but then finally texted me his list. I’m starting to think this is his test to figure out if Santa is real or not. And I want to thank Cee for recommending a tripod to me, which I have purchased, wrapped and hidden in my closet. I hope he is happy with it, since it is something he’s been telling  me he needs, but not something he wrote on his list. His list was 3 Nerf guns and 2 Pokemon booster boxes.

How long does the celebration last?

Until we had enough. Growing up, I really never knew what The 12 days of Christmas was all about, you know from that song ,until one year I visited family in Italy for Christmas. The 12 days are the days that fall between Christmas and the Epiphany on January 6. In Italy, work and school are off for this time which is spent visiting friends and family and eating lots of chocolate, nuts and sweets. I wish it was like this in the USA instead of the mad rush between Thanksgiving and Christmas and trying to squeeze everything in between and afterwards.

Previously, I tried to meld all the traditions together: we had a solstice tree and attended a solstice ceremony at the UU church, we had the Italian Fish Dinner on Christmas Eve, on Christmas we stayed home recuperating in our PJs, on New Year’s day Ayios Vasili, the Greek Santa, visited and brought a gift for The Boy and we ate the Vasilopita and on January 6th La Befana would visit and leave sweets for my son. Now that all seems a bit much, a bit confusing, and a bit stressful. This year we are doing the fish dinner, the gift exchange, visiting friends and family and Ayios Vasili will bring money for my son at the hotel where we are staying. Sometime between when we get back and the 6th, I’ll make the cake to see who will find the coin and have good luck for 2017.

Christmas throughout the Years

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The Epiphany the New Year and Cake

Santa in Cyprus, a story from Highlights Magazine





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