When it comes to Indian marriages nothing can beat it when it comes to the fun, cultural traditions and the plethora of activities that takes place. India being a land of varied traditions and ancestral cultures descending from all parts of the world each community has their unique way of carrying out marriage ceremonies and the activities involved. (more…)
Our contributors share their childhood memories of the holidays. Some feelings and experiences transcend borders and nationalities: families gathered around long tables laden with food, chatter and laughter.
Sean, contributor from the United Sates.
My mom is the oldest of 11 brothers and sisters, and almost all of them have multiple children. It’s a big German-American, Catholic farm family. Almost the entire mom’s side of my family goes out to her parents’ farm house, for a family dinner and to open presents afterwards. Once the cousins started being born (20+ of them), the gifts under the tree began to take up as much as 1/3 of the entire living room!
My grandma, with the help of my aunts, would prepare the Christmas feast, which always included: a whole roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy (with and without giblets), stuffing (with and without oysters), green bean casserole, ham, various salads, occasionally sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie, cherry pie, “buckeye” candies, and lots of whip cream to go with. My uncles provide homebrewed wine to drink, along with more common domestic American beers (and sometimes whisky).
It’s been fun to watch everyone grow up over the years; 15 of my cousins are within about 7 years of each other in age, so when I was in my early teens and the other cousins were getting to be around 9-10, they were a rambunctious group! We’d occasionally take shotguns out back and target shoot, though usually it was just a lot of eating and talking.
In the US, at holiday dinners there is commonly a “kids’ table”, where the children would sit and eat with one or two adults watching them. I remember being really happy to graduate to the adults’ table. My grandparents have been living in the same house, on the same farm, since the 1930’s and 40’s. My grandma finally said “no” to hosting Thanksgiving this year. It’s going to be strange when this tradition is over, and we all separate and start our own Christmas traditions.
DeeBee, contributor from France
My most cherished memory of Christmas is waiting for Father Christmas or the Père Noël as we call him in France to come down the chimney!
Every year I would place a glass of milk for him and a carrot for his reindeer under the Christmas tree and would settle on the sofa with my teddy bear, both tucked under a duvet, by the fireplace, ready for him…
And every year I would be determined to surprise him, but would struggle to keep my eyes open, would fall asleep… and wake up the following morning in my bed!
My disappointment at not catching him was quickly replaced, though, by my excitement at discovering the pile of presents he had left for me!
All I knew is that he and his reindeer must have enjoyed the little presents I had left for them as the glass was empty and the carrot was gone!
I have always associated the magic of Christmas to this moment along with the unique fragrance of the fir tree and the warmth and cozy sitting room of my childhood.
Each of my Christmas has been Merry!
Ana, contributing editor from Argentina
My memories of Christmas are all about family around the dinner table. We celebrate Christmas Eve with a big dinner and open the presents at the stroke of midnight. When we were little and still believed in Santa, an adult would suggest all the kids went outside to gaze at the stars and try to spot Santa. Meanwhile, somebody would frantically get the presents and put them under the tree. Then, we would be herded back inside to open the presents that sneaky Santa left while we were outside looking for him! It was great fun.
While writing down on cultural events from my region I feel this is probably the apt time to write. Why? This is the time the festivities begin marked by Durga Pujas which is definitely the biggest Cultural phenomenon from East India, now turning into Global event thanks to large Bengali and Hindu Non Resident Indian communities spread all across the Globe. As for personal reference I know my uncle who lives in Canberra, Australia, along with other fellow Bengalis
A real big fashion event is now this Durga pujas, where the real cosmopolitan word comes into play. Nearly every community in North and especially Eastern India joins in the celebration in the best attire, notwithstanding the difference in Budget, as even the struggling classes comes up in their best attire and join in the HALLELUJAH celebrations.
Coming to the biggest cultural event in this world, which surrounds the Hindu deity of Mother Goddess Durga, the business of cuisine steps up with people digging at delicious, or may I say so, experimental food. As the entire cultural entity of Bengalis revolve around Gourmet and pandal hopping, as they say in the best attires.
For the youngsters, it is more of a window to meet the best partners of the opposite gender, hoping that the cupid strikes. As for others, mostly the adult or elderly people, it is more of nostalgia where they cherish and garner their thoughts in a session of rendezvous.
Truly like in America, as it was once said, Durga pujas is one big melting pot of Ccultural identities, thoughts and desires into one joyful plate ready to be served.Photo credit: Wikipedia
Every August 2nd, Costa Ricans celebrate one of the most important Catholic holidays in our country: The Day of the Virgin of the Angels, our patroness saint, affectionately called La Negrita (The Little Black One).
The history behind it is very interesting: In 1635, a poor Catholic indigenous girl called Juana Pereira used to live in a town named Los Pardos, in Los Ángeles, Cartago, former capital of Costa Rica. On August 2nd of that year, she went to the forest to pick up some firewood and there she found on a big stone a small, black, stone statue of a Madonna and child, similar to a doll. (more…)
Every July 20, restaurants and bars around the country are filled to the rafters with people celebrating a very special day. It all started on 20 July, 1969, when Dr. Enrique Ernesto Febbraro sent a thousand letters to different people around the world in order to connect with them and create a bond. He chose that date to celebrate the landing on the Moon, which Dr. Febbraro considered a symbol of the coming together of mankind. It would be very different nowadays with email and social media, but at the time it was a big accomplishment. He got seven hundred replies and, as they say, the rest is history.
We Argentineans aren’t very formal and don’t usually plan social events too far in advance –except maybe for weddings-, so there’s generally a scramble the week of July 20 to book tables at restaurants, which may not always be successful as thousands of people are trying to celebrate the day with their friends.
If you have different sets of friends, like old school friends, work friends, friends you play sports with and so on, you may have to meet them on separate days (oh woe is me, I have to party all week!) Some choose not to get together on July 20 because everywhere is so busy, or maybe get together at home and have pizzas and empanadas delivered. As this is not a national holiday, most people gather after work, that’s why dinner reservations should be made way I advance. Some people, like my mother and her friends, get together for lunch, a more sensible option if you have the time.
Do you celebrate Friend’s Day in your country too? Tell us how, where and when!
This is a Sanskrit shloka chanted by the priest whilst the groom ties the mangalsutra or taali around the bride’s neck in a Hindu marriage. It means “This is a sacred thread which is essential for my long life. I am placing this around your neck so that you can live happily for a hundred years (with me)”. Taali is a sacred thread or chain which when tied seals the marriage and the couple is termed husband and wife. (more…)