Monday, November 29, 2010

Celebrating holidays

One of the delights of childhood for me and for my daughter is celebrating the religious and cultural holidays. I grew up in England and I have very pleasant memories of Christmas. Our family had very specific rituals and traditions even though my family was not very religious. These rituals and traditions I have passed on to my daughter , we have kept a lot of them, thrown out others and created some of our own. We eat Christmas Cake, well maybe just the icing (I am one of the few adults in Northern California that loves fruit cake!!) decorate a Christmas Tree; buy a new ornament each year; attend a performance of the Christmas Carol ; watch the Nutcracker; open presents on Christmas morning; sing the Hallelujah chorus and take a hike before dinner with friends. Since being in America I also love to make bread each year. I often make Challah and take a loaf to share at the Chanuka celebration of our Jewish friends.

At this time of year , we celebrate Chinese New Year, by going to our favourite Chinese restaurant. We eat the same favorite dishes and watch the Lion dancers weave around the tables and chairs.

Both of us have adopted Thanksgiving and it has become our favorite holiday. Why? Because holidays and traditions for us are about celebrating with family and friends - being in community. My daughter is learning that an important part of gift giving at holidays is sharing food and laughter and conversation in a community of friends, who are very much part of our extended family. What traditions do you pass on? What traditions have you created together as family?

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