Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blogging Out Loud: Celebrations Around The World


Deb and Barbara: In our first “Holiday Spectacular” Blogging Out Loud video, we want to talk about the joy of recognizing celebrations outside our own realm.



We hope you’ll explore unfamiliar celebrations as well—not necessarily to adopt them, but out of human curiosity for all that we do, in all its splendour. If you know of a great website that describes the details of a celebration, religion, or tradition that’s special to you, we invite you to leave the url in the comments and we will copy and paste them to this post. Happy celebrating! 

Updated on 12/12/12 at 11pm!


This is from Madge: The Meaning of Hannukah: Dedication

The meaning of Hannukah is rooted in Jewish themes and stories going back over two thousand years ago. The menorah, or Hanukiya (the Hebrew word for candelabra) has become one of the symbols of Judaism, visualized by the nine slotted Hanukkah Menorah.
What is Hannukah?

Hannukah itself goes by many names, called by some the Festival of Lights, and others the Feast of Dedication. It is an eight-day celebration which begins at sundown on the 25th day of December, the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. Hannukah is a commemoration of the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 167 BC. The story tells of how the Maccabees rejected the occupier Antiochus Epiphanes and retook the temple against great odds. When Judah Maccabee rededicated the temple, they did not have enough oil, but for one day. That little bit of oil though lasted for eight whole days until more oil could be prepared.

Antiochus IV was one of a long line of Greek rulers who held other religions and those who disagreed with his own views in disregard. After he attempted to use the Jerusalem Temple as an alter for Zeus and himself, Mattathias rebelled with his five sons and fought for the temple. When Mattathias passed away, his son Judah, nicknamed Judah Maccabee (“the hammer”) took up his father’s cause and in 167 BC was able to reclaim the temple after nearly two years of war and unbelievable defeats of Antiochus’ superior forces.
What is a Menorah?

The festival of lights today is an eight day celebration of that eight day miracle and the power of will it symbolizes for the Jewish people. The most commonly known and widely practiced Hannukah ritual is to light the Menorah, a candelabrum of nine candles, one for each day of the holiday and a shammas “servant” candle to light the others.

Menorahs do not need to be made of the typical nine armed metal that most often appears in store windows in December. The act is merely a chance to provide a representation of those eight days by lighting eight lights. In older times, lanterns would be lit so as those outside the house could see the lights. The purpose of the celebration is to publicize and share with everyone outside of your home the story of Hannukah.
How to Light a Hanukkah Menorah

The candles of the Hanukkah Menorah are placed in the menorah from right to left. The candles are lit from left to right. None of the eight candles can be used for anything beyond publicizing the Hannukah story. The candles must be lit and allowed to burn for one half hour after it has become dark. On the first day of Hanukah, three blessings are said with the lighting of the first candle. On each subsequent day, only the first two blessings are repeated. Each night represents a different word. Faith, courage, freedom, love, charity, integrity, knowledge, and peace.

This is from Shalaka: http://www.boldsky.com/yoga-spirituality/faith-mysticism/2010/ganesh-chaturthi-significance-puja-hindu-110910.html

Check out this video... the instrument the guys are playing is called a Dhol. They play this while welcoming and giving farewell to Lord Ganesha. (Most of the men wear "Pheta" what I'm wearing in my profile picture.) You feel that adrenaline when you are there listening those guys and gals play. Its like a parade, there are different groups of people playing different types of music. It happens in Pune, Maharashtra and it is the only place that has such an traditional way of celebrating it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBnH_EAlwxI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-6gx9siUcs

And this one is about Diwali. http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-meaning-significance.html


This from Aimee
St. Nick's Day!!! http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/holland.shtml


This from Sheyla: Well, I'm from Puerto Rico, and our culture and music is very lively, upbeat. We love to party, and we especially love Christmas time. But our culture is also a deeply religious one. A lot of traditions and celebrations are faith based, mainly Catholic. Apart from Christmas Day, our main celebration is January 6th, Three Kings Day. For us, that's when we give gifts, but we also celebrate Santa on Christmas Day (in other words, the children receive gifts on two days ;-). But as a Christian, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day has another meaning for many of us, don't think I need to explain :-).

This website explains our traditions and festivities during Christmas. As you wiil read, a lot is based on our faith, mainly Catholic. I was raised Catholic, but I'm currently attending and was baptized in the Baptist Church, so I no longer celebrate a lot of these holidays.

In this video you can hear our traditional music, and the music that's mostly played during Christmas time. This is our caroling. As you can hear, it's very upbeat. We love music! :-). That distinctive guitar sound is called a "Cuatro" (for four strings, very similar to the ukelele, but a little bigger). You can also see images of our traditional foods, and decoration during this time.

And this, pretty much sums our traditional music and dances (and in the second dance you can see and hear our African heritage). This music plays all year round, but it's played very heavily during Christmas time.

And this is a very short video (but pretty much all you need) which explains the main instruments of our traditional music (everytime I hear this music, I just want to get down with my bad self ;-D)

A lot of Puertoricans that live in the States, and abroad, love spending Christmas in the island because it really is quite a different environment. The weather, the music, the food, the traditions, etc. It's just not the same, and we are very family oriented. It's just different, it's all. And for us, keeping those traditions and the music alive within the next generations is very important.


And tomorrow we’ll post the Christian story of Christmas, as told and acted out by children. Too sweet! Thank you, everyone! xo

41 comments:

  1. Love blogging out loud. Such fun.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Meaning of Hannukah: Dedication

    The meaning of Hannukah is rooted in Jewish themes and stories going back over two thousand years ago. The menorah, or Hanukiya (the Hebrew word for candelabra) has become one of the symbols of Judaism, visualized by the nine slotted Hanukkah Menorah.
    What is Hannukah?

    Hannukah itself goes by many names, called by some the Festival of Lights, and others the Feast of Dedication. It is an eight-day celebration which begins at sundown on the 25th day of December, the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. Hannukah is a commemoration of the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 167 BC. The story tells of how the Maccabees rejected the occupier Antiochus Epiphanes and retook the temple against great odds. When Judah Maccabee rededicated the temple, they did not have enough oil, but for one day. That little bit of oil though lasted for eight whole days until more oil could be prepared.

    Antiochus IV was one of a long line of Greek rulers who held other religions and those who disagreed with his own views in disregard. After he attempted to use the Jerusalem Temple as an alter for Zeus and himself, Mattathias rebelled with his five sons and fought for the temple. When Mattathias passed away, his son Judah, nicknamed Judah Maccabee (“the hammer”) took up his father’s cause and in 167 BC was able to reclaim the temple after nearly two years of war and unbelievable defeats of Antiochus’ superior forces.
    What is a Menorah?

    The festival of lights today is an eight day celebration of that eight day miracle and the power of will it symbolizes for the Jewish people. The most commonly known and widely practiced Hannukah ritual is to light the Menorah, a candelabrum of nine candles, one for each day of the holiday and a shammas “servant” candle to light the others.

    Menorahs do not need to be made of the typical nine armed metal that most often appears in store windows in December. The act is merely a chance to provide a representation of those eight days by lighting eight lights. In older times, lanterns would be lit so as those outside the house could see the lights. The purpose of the celebration is to publicize and share with everyone outside of your home the story of Hannukah.
    How to Light a Hanukkah Menorah

    The candles of the Hanukkah Menorah are placed in the menorah from right to left. The candles are lit from left to right. None of the eight candles can be used for anything beyond publicizing the Hannukah story. The candles must be lit and allowed to burn for one half hour after it has become dark. On the first day of Hanukah, three blessings are said with the lighting of the first candle. On each subsequent day, only the first two blessings are repeated. Each night represents a different word. Faith, courage, freedom, love, charity, integrity, knowledge, and peace.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. lol just when I thought "Waiting for someone to post about Hannukah". Madge to the rescue!!!!!!!!
      Awwww I love that story! Thanks Madge.xo


      Ohh this is soo exciting. Waiting for more stories from everyone!! :D

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    2. This is great! Thanks for sharing, Madge.

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    3. Thank you so much, Madge! Posted to the blog -- and a GREAT description. Do you have the url so I can link to it?

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    4. http://www.jewishgiftplace.com/What-is-Hannukah.html

      Delete
  3. OMG YOU GIRLS LOOK ADORABLE AND ARE ADORABLE!

    I'm not gonna ask you "How do you girls KNOW what I am thinking about?" ANYMORE! It was like I'm thinking and you are speaking out loud.. BOTH OF YOU! My new question is...How the HELL did we not meet earlier...SOULSISTERS????? Yep! You are.

    I am like you, I live in a multicultural city. I know about a few Indian Festivals...But I DO WANNA KNOW MORE ABOUT HANNUKAH! And Eid! And Christmas!!!!! And....IDK keep the urls coming...I wanna know about everything.....And I always LOVED learning about different traditions and different celebrations. Gonna celebrate EVERYTHING sooo HARD once I get THERE....and get an apartment of my own!

    And Deb, like you said its the feeling....not whether its Jesus or Ganesh or Allah or whatever! I turned into an Atheist...AGES AGO...and when I say Atheist. I mean I dont believe in beardy dudes or Elephant men sitting on the clouds calling all the shots. Barb, you know I believe in the power of all that is, what I call the universe. I believe in that power, in that potential. I believe that if we can believe we can achieve, and what helps us achieve that is the immense power of our souls and the consciousness that comprises all that is! But I still wish "EID MUBHARAK" to my muslim friends! and Wish "Happy Diwali" to my Hindu friends and CELEBRATE SOOOO MUCH in Ganesh Chaturthi. Because....OF the feeling. That vibe I get from everyone. Everyone has immense faith. And that faith makes the whole place light up like a Christmas tree! And the traditions are sooooo cute! Its amazing!
    Ya know what? why dont you read about it yourselves..
    This one is about Ganesh Chaturthi the only festival that makes me feel at home.....for now atleast. Who knows what else I'm gonna find. ;)

    http://www.boldsky.com/yoga-spirituality/faith-mysticism/2010/ganesh-chaturthi-significance-puja-hindu-110910.html

    Check out this video...the instrument the guys are playing is called a Dhol. They play this while welcoming and giving farewell to Lord Ganesha. (Most of the men wear "Pheta" what I'm wearing in my profile picture.)
    You feel that adrenaline when you are there listening those guys and gals play. Its like a parade, there are different groups of people playing different types of music. It happens in Pune, Maharashtra and it is the only place that has such an traditional way of celebrating it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBnH_EAlwxI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-6gx9siUcs

    And this one is about Diwali.
    http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-meaning-significance.html


    And I am planning to celebrate the Indian Festivals once I get there....and You both are invited..well...you both HAVE to come. Okay?

    ..Dont worry I wont cook. :D

    P.S. Love the view from that apartment!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, thanks so much for this, Shalaka! So wonderful!! And also posted. and PPS the view from that apartment is even better -- our video doesn't do it full justice.

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    2. :D Just saw! Thanks for posting that! xo

      Is it????? I thought the view must be AMAZING!

      Delete
  4. I love Blogging Out Loud! What a wonderful idea to explore other faith celebrations and traditions. It's not something I was encouraged to do growing up, but is BIG in how I'm showing my kids the world. I have to admit, though, I have been caught up with all things Christmas and have dropped the ball on this lately. So glad you blogged about this, because today I'll be spending some time exploring these celebrations with my kids!

    Barb, I love that your Jewish Step Father celebrates Christmas. That is the spirit I hope more and more of us can adopt.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Eileen! We thought it was fascinating and figured you guys would too. Have fun with the kids!

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  5. Hello All

    First of all what a spectacular view I loved that. Being from the country all you see out of my back yard is darkness unless you look up in the air then you get a display of lights the stars put on.

    I come from about sixteen plus generations of Catholics as did my husband. For both of us you went to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and celebrated the gift opening the next morning Christmas day. But what and why we were celebrating was always important and talked about first. My children of course were raised in the same faith and did the same although things had changed a great deal. For instance Midnight Mass is no longer at midnight now they have three masses and one that is specifically a children's mass usually at five thirty. I added a tradition of my own; after Mass I always let them open one gift it was always a new pair of Christmas pajamas and a little special gift as well.
    When my kids were younger I encouraged them to go to other churches and learn about other faiths and they did. I remember how horrified I was when my daughter who was like eight and asked my Jewish friend Andy why he didn't believe Jesus was God's son? Andy was incredible and not offended at all. Now in their twenties they do their own thing on Christmas which kind of makes me sad. I don't think I've been to Mass in the last two or three years. I hate the way Christmas is totally commercialized now and the way so many are straying away from their faith. I miss the magic that used to be in the air during the holidays. I am by nature a curious person I love learning about other cultures and traditions so looking forward to hearing about them.

    PS: I have to add I was shopping recently with my daughter Amanda and she said she had to get one more thing for Ella. When I asked her what, she smiled and said. "Her Christmas pajamas to open Christmas Eve" I love it. I'm sure with Ella here now some of the magic is back and I might even ask Amanda if we can take Ella to midnight mass at five thirty this year.

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    1. OMG!!! Christmas pjs for Ella!!!! OMG she would look sooooooo adorable! I want to see pictures ok!

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    2. Oh, lovely tradition -- and I do think small children revive the desire and energy to embrace traditions. I think this plan sounds wonderful, Mary. Ella!

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  6. "Happy Whatever... Happy Everything."
    Made me smile
    and completely disarmed me from making any snide remarks.
    Darn!

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    Replies
    1. That was my favorite part of the video too! Should be a Hallmark card!

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    2. Now I'm laughing at that, thanks, James and Steph!

      Delete
  7. Barbara and Deb, thank you for this.
    I grew up as an army brat, living around the world. My mom was German. My Dad is Texan, and on his side of the family most of my cousins are Mexican Jews.
    As a child I was sometimes envious that it seemed all my American friends had the exact same Christmas.
    As I grew older, I understood that my parents wanted to not only share our traditions, but experience other peoples traditions to get the full meaning of other peoples faiths by sharing and enjoying all traditions.
    I love this blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You see, I love hearing about how people mix up their holidays and traditions and are open, right from the start. The best part is that moment when you realize how special that is -- instead of feeling that by not being the same as everyone else, you're not as "good". Love this, Heidi.

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  8. Oh this is so neat.
    It is a little different this year for my family. It doesn't have to be but I can feel that it is gonna be.
    Since this is the first year at christmas that my family know I'm Atheist we have all be treading water so to speak, and figuring things out as we go. I think nothing had to change but I think it's making some people uncomfortable. (Little do they know I was an Atheist before for other xmas and all was well.) Love my mom thou! She is ok with it all now and even was joking with me about it : ) (this made me so happy ) anyway she asked if she should just give me my gifts randomly throughout december since the 25th means nothing special to me! We laughed and agreed that it was ok to give me mine on the 25th just like normal.
    For me xmas is about family and love and seeing everyone smile. I love the decorations and trees and lights I just tend to forgo the meaning behind it all and just relish in the joy it brings to everyone! So xmas means family to me.

    I dont think atheists have a general holidy portocall. Like how Jewish falilies celebrate Hanauakka and Christans do christmas. It is a little harder to pin down an atheist tradition. I know of some who just skip xmas all together and give gifts some time between the 25th and the 31st. Others go all out and just leave out and religious decorations or sayings. One universal I think is the use of xmas vs. christmas. Athiests use xmas. I use xmas most. It is shorter and something I believe in. But I know that it upsets some people I talk to so when needed I switch and write christmas to keep the peace. I never capitalize the 'c' thou.
    I think if you ask any atheist they will say that the holidays are for family.

    But I think that's most likely everyone's answer anyway, religious or not.
    Happy Holidays Everybody :)

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    Replies
    1. Even though I never considered myself religious, I also never considered myself to be an "atheist", per se. And here I almost forgot that there are many many people who do, and yet who still find other ways to celebrate. I totally agree with you that, for me, Christmas has always been about family. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective, Kelly!

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    2. As a fellow Atheist, I think you explained that very well. The holidays are for family. We don't have to believe in the religion behind the holiday, we can just enjoy being with the people we love.

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    3. As a fellow Atheist, I agree as well!

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    4. Thanks for the reassurance guys: ) Glad I was able to explain things properly <3

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    5. Me too. I love holiday music and hanging with friends as they celebrate. Also, have a friend who does every holiday with her kids so they get a feel for everything. I love this idea.

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  9. Love the Blooging Out Loud! So good to literally hear from you gals!
    Christmas has always been a very important holiday in my life. I celebrate it in a religious sense and use it to try to connect more with God. My grandmother was my guide in faith and this is my first Christmas without her. Her birthday is on the 20th of this month as well, so December is not an easy month for me this year.
    I will be spending Christmas alone, with my dog, this year. I don't get along with most of the people I am related to and have had a falling out with the only person that I did see regularly. I was upset at first, but Christmas, to me, is not a time to be selfish. I am at peace with my choice to cut some people out of my life because I am a better person without their negativity.
    Growing up, I did not have any specific traditions that were repeated every year. It was more of a general joyous celebration rather than anything structured. I tend not to plan things out because I want to just allow things to happen. I am running behind this year with getting the tree up and decorations because I've had to worry about finals and work and usually I am not the only person putting everything up.
    Happy Holidays to one and all!

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    Replies
    1. I so love your attitude, Steph. Nurturing this kind of positive attitude and taking care of your self and your needs will pay off hugely on every day of your life. Luckily, you still have lots of time to get that tree up and really celebrate your accomplishments. Happy You!

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  10. St. Nick's Day!!! http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/holland.shtml

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love this topic! Also, i would love to do what your dad did :) If i wasn't from a small town, i would go to a synagogue (Or another place other than a church) and do something like that.

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  12. Bravo brilliant!!!!! I Adore "Blogging out loud!" You both are perfection!!!

    I love this topic. So fantastic! My first husband was Jewish, my second husband was Muslim, and my now husband is Atheist. I was raised in a Christian and Catholic home. And my Grandma was Wiccan. I lived in Japan for six years and studied Buddhism And the TaoDeChing. Needless to say, im humbly reminded daily that "i know nothing". And i LoVe that moment in my day.

    Enjoy the journey! I cant wait to see what magic lands in your hearts!
    Happy Everything LoVes!

    XXOO
    Seana

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    Replies
    1. Souzan Rezai from Vancouver, BCDecember 13, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      amazeballs, Seana. Just amazeballs.

      Delete
  13. Hi all, love this topic, you learn so much :-)

    Well, I'm from Puerto Rico, and our culture and music is very lively, upbeat. We love to party, and we especially love Christmas time. But our culture is also a deeply religious one. A lot of traditions and celebrations are faith based, mainly Catholic. Apart from Christmas Day, our main celebration is January 6th, Three Kings Day. For us, that's when we give gifts, but we also celebrate Santa on Christmas Day (in other words, the children receive gifts on two days ;-). But as a Christian, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day has another meaning for many of us, don't think I need to explain :-).

    http://www.elboricua.com/traditions.html
    This website explains our traditions and festivities during Christmas. As you wiil read, a lot is based on our faith, mainly Catholic. I was raised Catholic, but I'm currently attending and was baptized in the Baptist Church, so I no longer celebrate a lot of these holidays.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B64U_BEYS-4
    In this video you can hear our traditional music, and the music that's mostly played during Christmas time. This is our caroling. As you can hear, it's very upbeat. We love music! :-). That distinctive guitar sound is called a "Cuatro" (for four strings, very similar to the ukelele, but a little bigger). You can also see images of our traditional foods, and decoration during this time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VYJ9bOzRnE
    And this, pretty much sums our traditional music and dances (and in the second dance you can see and hear our African heritage). This music plays all year round, but it's played very heavily during Christmas time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51Ddqkr8pkE
    And this is a very short video (but pretty much all you need) which explains the main instruments of our traditional music (everytime I hear this music, I just want to get down with my bad self ;-D)

    A lot of Puertoricans that live in the States, and abroad, love spending Christmas in the island because it really is quite a different environment. The weather, the music, the food, the traditions, etc. It's just not the same, and we are very family oriented. It's just different, it's all. And for us, keeping those traditions and the music alive within the next generations is very important.

    Thank you all for sharing those wonderful insights and information into other cultures and traditions. I love to read on all that :-). Keep 'em coming, and thank you ladies for this wonderful blog.

    Sorry so late. Many blessings to you all. Take care.

    Sheyla

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  14. You guys this is so wonderful! Thanks to all of you, for sharing your thoughts and your traditions. I learned so much today and appreciated every point of view. Just what we hoped these conversations would bring out. Sean'a if there was a medal to be given out for a particular blog contribution, you might just win it today! :-)

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  15. happy anything. happy everything. peaceful everything.

    amen. <3

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  16. To me Christmas is not a religious thing. It is just time of the year to spend with family. If I would be spending it like a religious thing, then I would not buy any gifts to anyone. The gift giving is not part of what the idea is supposed to be, and it seems so funny that some take the commercial part of Christmas to be religious. I can't wait for the time when the whole holiday is renewed to match all celebrations. I don't mind taking part in religious celebrations as long as no commercialism is involved. I try to treat all holidays (religious or not) the same i.e. just another day for me. Only exception being the independence day.

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    Replies
    1. This is one of the best Christmas songs ever, if you ask me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q03lJuVOyZg

      Delete
  17. Aww...sorry...but Barbara, your jumper is lovely! :D

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  18. Thanks, Gae :) And Kasku, as I've never been religious, I have to admit I still get caught up in the whole "fairy tale" aspect of celebrating: ie, lots of "commercial" aspects (like gifts), but mostly a good excuse to get together with family, take some time off, and eat well. Becki, thank you!

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We love it when you share your own stories and experiences! Welcome.