Thoughts from Aunt Dani: Holidays around the Globe!

Posted by the Mom (aka Kelly Biedny)

I adore the holiday season; there are so many reasons to celebrate and spread good cheer,no matter where you live. We all have traditions to look forward to throughout the year and memories to be made with family and friends to last a lifetime. I thought it might be fun to share traditions from around the world and learn how other people celebrate, share food, fun and family time! Check it out…..

First we’ll head to Denmark and see what Christmas is like in Scandinavia. Merry Christmas in Danish is God jul. During Christmas in Denmark, a little elf who is full of mischief, named Nisse, plays pranks on people. Nisse usually lives in old farmhouses, wears grey woolen clothing, red bonnet and stockings and white clogs. Nisse is generally a good natured elf who helps out on the farms and with children but likes to play jokes during the holiday season. Many families in Denmark leave a bowl of porridge for Nisse on Christmas eve so he is friendly to them. I think Nisse seems like a cute little guy to have around for Christmas!

In France, Christmas is a time for family and generosity, gifts and candy for children, gifts for the poor and midnight mass. French children put their shoes in front of the fireplace in hopes that Papa Noel will fill them with gifts. Candies, fruits, nuts and small toys may be hung on the tree overnight, too. The French also have a delicious Christmas dessert called buche de noel or yule log. This is a log shaped cake made of chocolate and chestnuts…..yum! This is representative of the special wood log burned from Christmas eve to New Year’s Day. Here is a link to buche de noel if you’d like to make one! Joyeux Noel!

Next, let’s celebrate the Festival of Light! Hanukkah is a religious festival that is celebrated by the Jewish people across the world to commemorate the victory of Jewish army over the Greek soldiers and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. One of the very important Hanukkah traditions is lighting the 9 branched candelabrum called Menorah. One candle is lit on each night of the 8 day festival. The festival pays tribute to the miracle of oil, the oil that was to last just one day, yet miraculously lit the candles on the Menorah for 8 day,s continuously. Oil is the key ingredient in Hanukkah cuisine and is used to make delicious potato latkes among other yummy treats. Here is a recipe for latkes that you can make; these are addicting!

As you celebrate your own traditions this season, I hope you will find some time to try new holiday foods and crafts from across the globe. Be inspired by the people and the world around you. I can’t wait to try out different holiday desserts….my favorite part of celebrating! All the information and facts regarding the worldly traditions in this post came from these websites that I encourage you to take a look at, too:

Danish traditions – GoScandinavia.about.com
French.about.com – French traditions
www.HanukkahCelbrations.com – Hanukkah traditions

Happy Holidays!

Aunt Dani

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