Saturday, December 17, 2011

Favourite Holiday Traditions

Favourite Holiday Traditions is the topic for this week's Thursday Writer's Post

Christmas is one of the major holidays that I enjoy but there are others too, so I will take the liberty of writing about those as well.

Christmas
Each year the kids select an ornament that they like for the tree. It's fun to look at them over the years. And each year we choose a colour theme for the tree. We chose Red and Gold this year but ran short of a few so added the purple ones from some years ago. And then there are 6 little teddies and no matter what the colour scheme, these teddies must be on the tree. 
The night before, the kids leave a glass of milk and cookies for Santa.  When they were little they made lists now they just ask for a surprise. (I'm sure Santa breathes a sigh of relief). We open the gifts first thing on Christmas morning and I love watching the kids as they pull each gift out of the sack. Santa never fails to please!
And then there is the Christmas lunch. We usually have some ham and roast lamb or chicken and vegetables. We often invite friends who are alone at Christmas so that they have a place to go to and celebrate.
And then we watch a biblical movie on TV together - there is always a movie on the life of Jesus. A nice reminder of what Christmas is really about. 
For me the giving of gifts is more than a Santa thing - it's about showing the love you feel for another at an auspicious time of year.
And then zooming back to the school days,  I just loved the Christmas Carols.  My favourites are "Silent Night", "Mary's Boy Child",  "Oh Holy Night / Night Divine",  "Oh Come All Ye Faithful".


Diwali
Diwali is also another festival that we celebrate with great joy. For us it signifies the end of a year and the beginning of a new one that is filled with hope and peace.
When I was little we were given new clothes on our birthday, to celebrate an occasion (like a wedding) or a festival like Diwali. Our Diwali clothes were traditional Indian clothes and this was the time when we could select some nice piece of jewellery out of my mother's jewellery box to wear on the day. 
On Diwali day, one member of our very extended family would host a Diwali gathering - often this was at my place or at my grand aunt's place as my grandmother and her (sisters) were the oldest surviving members of the family at the time. It was a grand occasion - beautiful clothes, lots of food and sweets to eat - and family bonding.
I miss those days now. All of us have moved to different parts of the world. Our "families" are now our friends and these festivals are usually celebrated quietly. We usually make Diwali traditional sweets and savouries and exchange these with our friends.
This year however I had a party for my mother's birthday a couple of days before Diwali so I combined the birthday and Diwali celebrations.


 Raksha Bandhan
This is another Indian festival celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters. On this day sisters tie a Rakhi (a sacred thread) on their brother's wrist. It symbolises a sister's love and prayers for the well-being off her brother and her brother's lifelong vow to protect her. Hence Raksha - to protect   Bandhan - to tie.
In our family this is symbolised by the tying of the Rakhi and by the sister giving her brother his favourite sweets (my brother loves chocolates and chocolate cake) and the brother giving his sister a gift.
With my kids however we changed the tradition a little with both kids receiving gifts from each other. 
I think this is a beautiful tradition that brings brothers and sisters closer and reinforces the loving bond that siblings have. 
I think the tradition originated sometime in the 1500s when soldiers went to war, their families tied a sacred thread to bless them for success and thereby protect the families and villages.

Enjoy your holidays.

Warm Regards
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11 comments:

  1. Fun to read everyone's tradition posts. Yours are a bit foreign to me and I loved learning of your holidays.

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  2. Sounds like you have some great holiday traditions. I mentioned a holiday about showing love for your brother and sister and my youngest baby said, "I don't celebrate that one." :(

    Joyce
    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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  3. what a great bunch of traditions... i learned a few things on your post...

    my kids are old enough to know who santa is... so this year we have decided to shop together.. i will wrap what they pick, but then i will get a few surprises (i know, i know- christmas is in a week i have yet to begin shopping!)... honestly, without my husband here, the excitement of the holidays is evolving.... slowly.

    hope your holidays are grand...
    thanks for reading, suzy...

    i am a new follower...

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  4. Thanks Everyone and have an awesome Christmas.
    @Jo - yes there were some amazing posts - loved reading them all
    @Joyce - kids are so cute.
    @Danneromero - this is going to be a quiet Christmas for me too. I still need to buy 2 gifts too so you're not alone :)

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  5. This was so much fun to read and interesting!!! Brilliant!

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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  6. Thanks Kathy - I love your tradition too, so beautiful. thanks for sharing that.

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  7. Thank you for sharing all of your holiday traditions with us...like others here I learned something new!! Happy New Year! Cheers, Jenn.

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  8. Thanks Jenn. Wish you a wonderful 2012.

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  9. What lovely traditions! Thank you so much for sharing all about your favourite holidays and how you celebrate.

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  10. Great that you explained the traditions of 3 festivals in a single post. It's always interesting to know how people celebrate as everyone has their unique way. Thanks for linking this to Diwali celebration 2015 post of mine. Enjoyed reading it Suzy :-)

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  11. You took me back to childhood with the Diwali celebrations. Wearing new clothes used to be such a big deal back then! I remember selecting the outfit weeks in advance :)

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