Dangerous Tea Party — Positive, Intuitive, Creative Musings from Brilliant Minds

Though there's a bit of a pejorative nature to the term, I am, at heart, an information junkie. One of my biggest assets, however, is my ability to extrapolate and integrate information from the myriad sources that serve as my teachers, and in turn, teach others. As it is in the collective, rather than in isolation, that we grow, I invite others to communicate their ideas and experiences here, as well, so we can each grow and improve our thoughts – and beings.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Holiday traditions that honor my MIXED heritage


As an Anglo-Hispanic of mixed heritage, I have enjoyed different holiday customs over the years. Growing up in the Southwest, my primary ethnic experience has been Hispanic, via Mexico (birthland to both my maternal grandmother & grandfather). However, upon researching Mexican holiday traditions, as well as those of the other cultures from which I descend (Italian from my paternal grandfather & Irish from my paternal grandmother), I discovered the following:

Ireland Flag

IRELAND — Nollaig Shona Duit! (null-ig hun-a dit)

A famous Irish tradition still practiced there — and here — is the placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas eve. The candle has a number of purposes, but primarily it is a symbol of hospitality and welcome to Mary and Joseph as they travel looking for shelter. The candle was a way of saying there was room for Jesus' parents in these homes even if there was none in Bethlehem. Some people even set extra places at their tables as a preparation for unexpected visitors. The candle once also indicated a safe place for priests to perform Mass as at times when this was not allowed.

Italy Flag

ITALY — Buon Natale!

One Italian tradition is the building of the ceppo, a wooden frame several feet high designed in a pyramid shape. The frame supports several tiers of shelves, often with a manger scene on the bottom, and small gifts of fruit, candy, and presents on the shelves above. Also known as the "Tree of Light," it is entirely decorated with colored paper, gilt pinecones, and miniature colored pennants. Small candles are fastened to the tapering sides and a star or small doll is hung at the apex.

In Rome and surrounding areas, bagpipers and flute players (Zampognari and Pifferai) in traditional colorful costumes of sheepskin vests, knee-high breeches, white stockings and long dark cloaks, travel from their homes in the Abruzzi mountains to entertain crowds of people at religious shrines.

Mexico Flag

MEXICO — Feliz Navidad!

Christmas for Mexicans, in traditional homes and rural areas, is a religious holiday.

One of Mexico’s most beautiful Christmas traditions is Las Posadas, a nine-day reenactment of Joseph and Mary looking for lodging in Bethlehem when, according to the gospels, they went to be counted in the Census. The actors are called los peregrinos, or pilgrims. Each family in a neighborhood schedules a night for the Posada to be held at their home, beginning on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th. Christmas Eve is known as La Noche Buena, or the Good Night. The peregrinos ask for lodging in three different houses, but only the third one will allow them in, that house having the Posada for that evening.

(Only the colorblind could miss the interesting similarity between all the flags of my ethnic origins, don't you think??)

US Flag

UNITED STATES — Merry Christmas

My favorite American tradition is watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I love the Who’s in Whoville.


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