Monday, March 12, 2012
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I bet you didn't know that the celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays being observed for the first time in ancient Babylon about 4000years ago and lasting for eleven days. Each day had its own mode of celebration. The Babylonian New Year (around 2000 BC) began with the first new moon after the Vernal Equinox, which would be the first day of spring. This seemed to be the logical time to start the new year with the planting of new crops and blossoming of trees, shrubs and flowers.
Through many years the calendar changed to our new year of today which is January 1. But through the years the many traditions celebrated today have been brought forward from other lands. As Christianity spread thoughout the world these so called pagan traditions turned to more of Christian traditions. At one time the use of the baby to symbolize rebirth in the new year celebration was considered pagan and was denounced. But through the years the church finally allowed its use as the symbol of the birth of baby Jesus.
It was once thought (and maybe it is still today) that one could alter his luck and fortune for the new year by what he ate and did on the first day of the new year. So it has become common for folks to celebrate the first few hours of the new year surrounded by relatives and friends.
Then on New Years Day came the tradition of eating foods thought to bring good luck. And in many cultures anything that takes shape of a ring is good luck. While I like the tradition that the Dutch use because they believe the donut is good luck, in America it seems to be the black eyed pea. Well, good luck eating those! Usually accompanied with ham and turnip greens, my grandmother always had them on New Years Day. As a family we'd pile in the car and drive over there just for the "dose" of black eyed peas. I never saw any benefit in that but it made my mother and grandmother happy and that's all I cared about.
I find it amazing that so many traditions have a history that goes back for many years. And many families even today have their own New Years Eve and New Years Day traditions. And, yes, there are those of you that doze in the recliner until the ball drops, Auld Lang Syne is sung then stumble to your beds. That's your tradition.
Our family has always been big on celebrations. My father carried the tradition of our family having steamed shrimp on New Years Eve and bbq'd chicken on New Years Day! He kept that tradition for years and all of us would be there. And no, no black eyed peas.
So in your travels to the grocery store don't forget to buy some to cook for the family. They may bring you good luck and/or good fortune in the New Year. And don't look for me to taking a spoon full, I'm eating donuts.
Happy New Year Everyone! I hope 2010 is your best year yet.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Well here we are again folks on the eve of another Thanksgiving Day!
Some of you will finish packing today to begin your journey towards
your dinner destination. Others, like me, will be busy preparing what has been asked of you to bring to big family meal that just includes a short ride.
Family, extended family, and friends is what Thanksgiving is all about. Some family members you haven't seen in ages and some you may have seen last week. That doesn't matter. It's the wonderful fact that you are all there in one space for the day as family.
Thanksgiving, as I see it, is a day that its name claims. A day of thanks giving. No matter what menu you plan and no matter how elegant the meal it is only as good as the thankfulness and love you put into it.
At just about every dinner table across America on Thursday a new place setting will be added or one, sadly, taken away. For those that have been added we rejoice to have them with us. And for those that are no longer here we swallow the lump in our throats and choke back the tears because we miss them.
It is a comfort for me and my family to know that even though my mom and dad are no longer here they started this tradition in our family many years ago and stuck by it. They won't be there again this year to sit beside us and chat and enjoy the meal but they will be there in sprirt.
How do I know? I know my dad. He loved to eat and see people enjoy food.
So, if you are missing someone this Thanksgiving, regardless of where they are, the spirit of your loved one is beside you. You just have to believe.
Be thankful for what you have and feel blessed. Please don't forget to say a prayer for those that may not have a home to go to or family to share it with. And please, as always, send special prayers to our great men and women in the military.
Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.