Tagged: traditions

Holiday Fun Facts

The winter holidays are here and it’s a great time to learn more about the traditions your familiar with and get to know the ones you aren’t. Here are some facts and stories you may not have known about just a few of the ways people celebrate during December.

Hanukkah: It’s Not All About the Oil

Menorah, a candle holder with nine Branches.

A Hanukkah, a type of menorah with nine branches. Source: Wikipedia

If you have only a passing familiarity with Hanukkah and its associated traditions, you may know it as a celebration of the lamp oil that lasted for eight nights when it only should have been enough for one. But this is only one part of the story, and one that doesn’t show up in the narrative until later versions. The main purpose of Hanukkah is to celebrate the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, a major victory in the Maccabean Revolt. The temple had been repurposed as an altar to Zeus and needed to be cleansed and reclaimed, which included lighting the menorah. The rededication of the temple does include the story of how a single flask of the kosher oil needed to light the menorah miraculously lasted long enough for a new batch to be prepared, but not in the earliest accounts of the event. Continue reading

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Cookie Monster – A Favorite Christmas Tradition

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Our wee little tree. Ornament themes include superheroes, robots, and chickens.

The holidays can be a tough time for folks, I know – there’s the stress of shopping, there’s cold and dark and nasty weather, there’s expectations that can’t be met. And yet…I love the holidays (pretty much all holidays, except for St. Patrick’s Day, but especially the fall and winter holidays). I love lights and food and gathering with friends and family. I especially love holiday traditions. There’s something magical to me about doing the same thing, year after year in celebration with the same people; it’s like the goodwill builds and grows with each repetition. It’s comforting and powerful. Whether it’s reading the Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve (and my father still does this with my niece and nephews every year), or putting a favorite ornament on the tree, it just makes everything a bit more meaningful to me, that chain of years behind the moment.

So I was pondering this here Christmas Eve blog post, and I didn’t have a clever Christmas poem for you, or an amazing Christmas craft to teach you. But I do have this, one of my very favorite traditions – our annual cookie decorating party. I’ll share it with you and who knows, maybe you’ll start this tradition, too.

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