Happy Holidays! What does that mean? The holidays represent distinctive celebrations for different people. Both Canada and the US have their historical Thanksgivings commemorating the beginnings of their nations, giving thanks for the good harvest and bountiful success of their ancestors. To my Jewish friends, it means the eight-day observance of Hanukkah or the celebration of light. Candles are lit daily on a candelabrum called the “Menorah,” signifying their ancestor’s victory in which one pot of oil
lasted for eight days.
In Holland December 5th is Sinterklass or St. Nicholas Day, when children receive gifts from Santa. His helper Black Peter covered in ashes from the chimney scolds naughty children. France celebrates from December 6th with the St. Nick’s feast until January 6th, the feast of Kings. Also on the 6th Germany and Italy observe Epiphany Day to mark the three Wise men’s visit to baby Jesus. British Commonwealths have Boxing Day on Dec. 26. Historically, the merchant class filled boxes with money and presents to the tradesmen
who had worked for them.
New Year’s Eve and Day are called Hogmanay in Scotland ending the 12 days of Nativity. The “First Footing” or the initial guest to enter your home on the 1st requires a gifting of salt, coal, shortbread or whiskey. For Christians, it signifies “Merry Christmas” honoring the birth of Christ throughout the month, focusing on December 24th when his birthday is
observed. In many Latin American countries, there is a tradition of “Las Posadas.” Families walk door to door reenacting the journey of Mary and Joseph finding a place where to stay in Bethlehem. In the Costa Ballena, we celebrate the New Year with family gatherings or parties with friends at home, hotels and bars. When and however you celebrate, we at Ballena Tales Magazine wish you the Happiest of Holidays ever!
By Annie Drake
Contact: Annie Drake - Ballena Tales Magazine