30 December, 2008

Celebrating Laziness, Kwanzaa and New Year’s

I guess it's important to celebrate lazy too! I must because that's what I've been for what seems like the entire month of December. I had such a plan for all of the blogging that I was going to do leading up to my favorite annual celebration---Christmas...but what happened? I didn't even post my pretty new picture to wish you all a Merry Christmas. And I didn't even start on the 26th with information about Kwanzaa. Not to mention that I didn't find out anything about celebrating Chanukuh.

Well, obviously everyone made it through the holidays...fortunately my lazy posting came at a time where people are used to celebrating so I can only be grateful for that.

Let me tell you al little bit about Kwanzaa. It's a week long celebration which starts December 26th and ends on January 1st. It's a daily celebration of family, community and culture. These daily celebrations each have a specific purpose, based on the Nguzo Saba, The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa:

  • Umoja (Unity) To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
    Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.

  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

  • Nia (Purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

  • Kuumba (Creativity) To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

  • Imani (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

I think Kwanzaa is at a perfect time. It comes at the end of the year and is set up to allow a lot of personal reflection. The last day of Kwanzaa is January 1st…the first day of the new year…what better time to put things in perspective and get things in order and start off the new year right. While Kwanzaa is traditionally a celebration to uplift African Americans, EVERYONE can celebrate it and find elements to personally embrace!!

For more information about Kwanzaa click here.

Snopes, has a great list of New Year’s Superstitions (http://www.snopes.com/holidays/newyears/beliefs.asp) including:

  • Kissing at midnight – not only to celebrate, but to ensure the ties of affection continue through the coming year
  • Stocking up – no bare cupboards so the year will not have bear cupboards; also every wallet should be filled with money to ensure prosparity

  • Paying off bills – should not start off the new year in debt

  • Nothing goes out – nothing, including garbage is to be taken out on the first day of the year; but in recent years this has been changed so that if something comes in first, it’s okay to take something out. The general premise is the year must begin with something being added before anything is subtracted from the household.

  • Food – lucky foods are listed below, but from Snopes, I’ve learned that chicken or turkey aren’t to be eaten on the first day of the New Year because your year will be spent like that animal…scratching in the dirt all year for your dinner.

  • Work – you should do (and be successful at) something related to your work on the first day of the year (but not too much…serious work is unlucky)

  • New Clothes – wear something new on New Year’s day to get new clothes during the year

  • Money – don’t lend or pay back money or you’ll be paying out all year

  • Breakage – try not to break things or cry…sets the tone for the coming year

  • Letting the old year out – open all the doors at midnight to let the old year out before the new year can come in

  • Loud noise – scaring away evil spirits

  • The Weather – depending on the direction of the wind, the following year’s weather is determined

Check out the link Snopes for more detailed information.

Throughout history, people have eaten certain foods on New Year's Day, hoping to gain riches, love, or other kinds of good fortune during the rest of the year. Here are some food traditions that celebrate the new year:

  • Several cultures believe pork is lucky. Pigs are known to be “plump” and get plenty to eat. Also, they push forward when feeding (as opposed to birds which scratch backwards). Also because of it’s rich fat content, pork signifies wealth and prosperity.

  • In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest.

  • Cooked greens resemble folded money and are symbolic of economic fortune.
    Peas, beans and lentils look like coins and are symbolic of money.

  • The Dutch eat donuts on New Year’s day for good fortune because they, along with many other cultures, believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck as it symbolizes "coming full circle," completing a year's cycle.

  • The Spanish ritual is to eat twelve grapes at midnight on New Year's eve to secure twelve happy months in the coming year.

  • And of course here in the US we drop the ball in Times Square in New York. We also eat special foods meant to bring good luck and fortune Eat black eyes peas on New Year's day to have plenty of everything the rest of the year.

    (taken from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/newyearcelebrations.html, http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/newyearsday/luckyfoods and http://wilstar.com/holidays/newyear.htm)

Here are some sites that lists several New Year’s traditions from several US states as well as all across the world.


However you decide to ring in the new year, may you have a great celebration!! Here’s wishing you the best of the best in 2009!!

Celebrate!! Love Ya'll!!


15 December, 2008

Celebrating the Season!!

Sorry that I haven't written in a bit...I've been a little preoccupied---It's Christmas time!! My favorite time of the year!!! People are a little nicer...there are sparkling twinkle lights everywhere...Christmas carols...classic cartoons...special Church services...parties and get together with friends...and my all time favorite---shopping!!

Speaking of classic cartoons...when I was little, there were 3 cartoons that were always played on our local network, WGN. I've found them on YouTube in case you'd care to share in the fun!

SUZY SNOWFLAKE (courtesy of the Museum of Broadcast Communications)

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN (courtesy of the Museum of Broadcast Communications)

HARDROCK COCO AND JOE (courtesy of the Museum of Broadcast Communications)

There are so many ways to celebrate during this time of year. There are the formal holidays...Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve/Day; and you can just celebrate the simple things. I went to a cookie party yesterday. It was a small, intimate get-together of 7 people of all different kinds of backgrounds and we came together to taste cookies. As we shared time together, we found many other things in common and everyone had a GREAT time!!!

Something else that I am planning to do for the season...visiting the Museum of Science and Industry for their annual Christmas Around The World Christmas Tree display. I think there's about 50 trees decorated to represent various countries around the world. The trees are beautiful and it's a cultural walk as you learn various traditions from all around the world.

Another way I'll be celebrating this season is by doing something I've never done before. I'm going to a movie theatre with some friends for a Christmas movie double feature and sing along. The movies are "It's a Wonderful Life" and "White Christmas". I've never seen either of these movies before (yea, go figure)and I am looking forward to it. The last time I did audience participation was Rocky Horror Picture Show and I LOVED that, so I know this is going to be fun!!

Well, I've taken a long enough break. Just wanted to check in. Now it's back to the Christmas preparations...

Take a little time everyday to celebrate this wonderful season!!

Luv Ya!!