Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Around the World for Christmas – Coals and Switches

 

On the 6th day of December, Sinterklaas leaves his home in Spain and sets sail for a random Dutch harbor. Every year, there is a different harbor that hosts the Sinterklaas and his sidekick Zwarte Piet. If they land in the Amsterdam harbor, they will say “hey” to the queen. When he hits the shores, all the church bells ring, and he trades a boat for a large white horse from which he leads a parade. Children will put out carrots and hay for Sinterklaas’ horse. Preparations for the arrival of Sinterklaas starts in the last few days of November.

Our Santa Claus is a derivative of Sinterklass, who is a red robed jolly character. He is clothed in his bishop’s robes. The 6th is St. Nicholas Day, which is where we get the interchangeable St. Nick and Santa.

The children of Holland put their clogs and shoes out on the 5th where they hope they receive toys, fruits, nuts and other goodies. Zwarte Piet is in charge of punishing bad children with coals in their shoes and a swat on the backside with a switch. He has been known to chase children with a stick. Black Pete as he is known in English is given the task of being a helper to Sinterklaas who is charged with entertaining the children when Sinterklaas arrives. However, his roles have changed over the years. Originally, he was charged with punishing the bad children. Today, he is a helper who also delivers sweets. My DH spent a few childhood years in Holland; Zwarte Piet did not deliver sweets in the 1950s. He was still beating children in the 50s.

Sintkerklaas in a traditional bishop robe, while Zwarte Piet is dressed in Spanish attire.

On Sinterklaas Eve, there are parties that are filled with treasure hunts. The children, and a few adults, follow riddles and clues to find their presents. The gifts are hidden and disguised as much as possible. Like a small book in a large box, or a gift hidden inside of a vegetable or pudding. These games are accompanied by biscuits, cookies and other treats. This celebration is a wonderful time for all. On St. Nicholas Day, people exchange Secret Santa gifts. The people draw names and they are charged with presenting a gift that will aid the recipient with their hobbies. The gifts are secret, but the giver can include a poem that may offer up a clue about the giver, but the purpose of the gift giving is to keep it all fun and secret. It is supposed to be for the children, but it can spill over into adult fun.

There is a second Santa that shows up on Christmas Eve for some children, but this is not their traditional fat man, he is more western.

Christmas Day is filled with church services and family meals. The gift giving is done, now is the time to worship. The Christmas story is told in the afternoon of Christmas Day, and there may be some remaining gifts for children.

The Dutch decorate their homes with Christmas trees and other decorations. Their bosses will give them a hamper with food and a personal gift that has the company logo on it. It can be a serving platter, a book or anything else of value.

The typical Christmas meal will consist of shrimp, salmon, eel, stewed meat or poultry and seasonal veggies. They serve wild boar, duck, turkey or venison. The desserts are spectacular and can be adorned with fireworks that really make the dessert explosive. They like fried ice cream. If there is no time for one person to create the meal, it has become increasingly popular to set up a buffet or to go to a restaurant.

Mid-winter Horn Blowing

The farmers begin blowing their horns starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This continues until Christmas Eve. Every morning at dawn, the farmers use horns fashioned from the wood of an elder tree and blow over a well. This sound is to signal the coming of the Christ child. Apparently, it takes a lot of skill and practice to actually get the horn to sound.

Enjoy a little horn blowing

A popular bread served on Christmas is Kerstbrood or Christmas bread. Another bread, Christmas stollen, is served as well. This bread is filled with raisins and currents. There are plenty of almond pastry rings, chocolate pastry rings and marzipan. Lots of pudding and hot chocolate is on the dessert menu.

 

 

Dutch almond butter cake Boterkoek

Dutch cookies

These are not secret gifts, but with a little imagination on your part, you could get any one of these gifts hidden in pudding.

Umeboshi

Moonlit Chrysalis Dichroic Fused Glass Iridescent Pendant OOAK

Moonlit Chrysalis Dichroic Fused Glass Iridescent Pendant OOAK

specialtivity

White Wedding/Prom Pearl and Swarovski Crystal Hand Beaded Necklace

White Wedding/Prom Pearl and Swarovski Crystal Hand Beaded Necklace

RSSDesignsInFiber

Sparkling White Heart - Irish Crocheted Lace - MultiLayer Roses 6 Inch

Sparkling White Heart - Irish Crocheted Lace - MultiLayer Roses 6 Inch

SewAmazin

Pretty Purple Snow Girl Gift Holder Gadget Case Stocking Stuffer

Pretty Purple Snow Girl Gift Holder Gadget Case Stocking Stuffer

TwistedThreadAndHook

Whoo, Whoo let this large owl in your house - 46 in Owl Rug - Handmade To Order

Whoo, Whoo let this large owl in your house - 46 in Owl Rug - Handmade To Order

evezbeadz

18" White 9-10mm Cultured Pearl Necklace

18" White 9-10mm Cultured Pearl Necklace

LittleApples

Clear Quartz Necklace Cream Ivory Howlite Butterfly Stones Antique

Clear Quartz Necklace Cream Ivory Howlite Butterfly Stones Antique

BronzeAgeJewelry

Multi-strand Beaded Bracelet in Pale Sage Green and Silver

Multi-strand Beaded Bracelet in Pale Sage Green and Silver

hollyknittercreations

Hand Knit Kitchen/Bath Cloth

Hand Knit Kitchen/Bath Cloth

ResetarGlassArt

Flower Nightlight, Bouquet of Pink and Green on White, Fused Glass

Flower Nightlight, Bouquet of Pink and Green on White, Fused Glass

cardsbylibe

Get Well Wishes Simple Flower Handmade Greeting Card Purple White

Get Well Wishes Simple Flower Handmade Greeting Card

QuiltTops

Cream Soup With Under Plate Krautheim Selb Bavaria White w Gold Rims

 Cream Soup With Under Plate Krautheim Selb Bavaria White h Gold Rims

bluemorningexpressions

Handmade Polymer Clay Brown Yellow Beaded Bracelet Green Glass Pearls

Polymer Clay Lentil Beaded Bracelet

WireCrafters

Black Steel Heart and White Pearl Earrings

Black Steel Heart and White Pearl Earrings

postcardsintheattic

Antique Postcard Beautiful Swans Swimming on a Lake with Lily Pads - Pond - 1909

Antique Postcard Beautiful Swans Swimming on a Lake with Lily Pads - Pond - 1909

ChristieCottage

Bridal Fascinator - Head Piece - White - Beaded - Sequins

Bridal Fascinator - Head Piece - White - Beaded - Sequins

PrettyGonzo

White Pearl Amethyst Necklace Earrings Set Swarovski Wedding Prom OOAK

White Pearl Amethyst Necklace Earrings Set Swarovski Wedding Prom OOAK

KatsAllThat

Rustic Natural Magnesite and Copper 19 inch Gemstone Necklace

Rustic Natural Magnesite and Copper 19 inch Gemstone Necklace

adorebynat

Gnome Nature Friend Birthday Party Invitations - Set of 8

Gnome Nature Friend Birthday Party Invitations - Set of 8

KevsKrafts

Handcrafted Stocking Bulb Christmas Ornament White Ash Wood

Handcrafted Stocking Bulb Christmas Ornament White Ash Wood

craftingmemories

White Beaded Flower Earrings

White Beaded Flower Earrings

Wyverndesigns

Crocheted Snowflake Ornament

Crocheted Snowflake Ornament

jnldesigns

Exquisite Handmade White and Crystal Watch Bracelet

Exquisite Handmade  White and Crystal Watch Bracelet

Covergirlbeads

Etched White Lampwork Beads Handmade Opaque Glass Matte Silver 204efs

Etched White Lampwork Beads Handmade Glass Beads Opaque  Fine Silver

AnZiPanZDesigns

Faux Pearl & Silver Crystal Faceted Earrings .Pierced LeverbackFaux Pearl & Silver Crystal Faceted Earrings              .Pierced LeverbackHandmadeJewelrySpecialOccasionWomenFashion

ThaddeusRose

Light Green Necklace with Prehnite Slabs and Black Crystals

 Light Green Necklace with Prehnite Slabs and Black Crystals

ShadowDogDesigns

White Marble Heart Mothers Day Earrings Handmade Pyrite Unique Jewelry

White Marble Hearts Pyrite Summer Earrings Handmade Beaded Jewelry

Thesingingbeader

White pearl cha cha cluster ring fire polished adjustable handmade

White pearl cha cha cluster ring fire polished adjustable

artbysunfire

Greeting Card Your the Best! by ArtBySunfire 2701510 135

Greeting Card Your the Best! by ArtBySunfire 2701510 135

ElunaJewelry

Fine Jewelry, Pearl Earrings - Silver Daisy Flower and Pearl Dangle Earrings

Fine Jewelry, Pearl Earrings - Silver Daisy Flower and Pearl Dangle Earrings

craftsofthepast

Carved Jade Rose, Onyx Beads on Bronze Earrings, Gold-filled Ear Wires

Carved Jade Rose, Onyx Beads on Bronze Earrings, Gold-filled Ear Wires

Gingers-Garden

White Daisy Glycerin Soap Flower Handcrafted in a gift box

White Daisy Glycerin Soap Flower Handcrafted in a gift box

TheOldBarnDoor

Snow Covered Bird House on Blank Photo Note Card Fresh White Snow Nature Photography

Snow Covered Bird House on Blank Photo Note Card Fresh White Snow Nature Photography

dianesdangles

White Cats Eye Nugget Pendant Necklace

White Cats Eye Nugget Pendant Necklace

PutmanLakeDesigns

White and Cream Poinsettia Table Runner with Green and Silver Squares

White and Cream Poinsettia Table Runner with Green and Silver Squares

jazzitupwithdesignsbynancy

Cream Lace Hand crochet hairband White flower Purple Crystal head band

Cream Lace Hand crochet hairband White flower Purple Crystal head band

 

Maybe we should not put any of these gifts in this pretty pudding, but the idea is really cool none the less.

 

Gather up all your Secret Santa gifts and finish your hot chocolate, we are off to the next adventure.

 

Enjoy

Julie and Blu

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Waltz of the Flowers - The Year of the Handmade Bracelet

Friday, October 25, 2013

Countdown to Christmas Week 6



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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Christmas Around the World – Taco Viva!

Without the help of their neighbors to the north, Mexico has a Christmas tradition that clings to the influence of the Roman Catholic church. The Mexican traditions have been created with a definite Spanish tilt. They celebrate La Posada, which is the re-enactment of the search for a place for Mary to have her child. The posada is a procession or parade of participants who go from home to home looking for a place for Mary and Joseph. Those who are participating carry replicas of Mary and Joseph. This parade takes place for nine days, from the 16th through the 24th. The participants sing, light candles and pray as they go from home to home looking for a place for Mary and Joseph.

The Posada

Santa is an afterthought in Mexico and does not have a prevalent place in their celebrations. As many know, the poinsettia is a Mexican flower, and it is a predominant in their decorations. The story is that a young boy was on his way to see the Christ child and realized he had no gift to give, so he gathered the first greens that he saw to present to the child. He brought a handful of boughs and presented them to Christ. The others laughed at his feeble offering, but the greens burst into the brilliant red star flowers that we know of as the poinsettia.

The celebrations in Mexico begin on the 12th of December, which is considered the birthday of La Guadalupana (the Virgin of Guadalupe) and finishes up on the 6th of January with the Epiphany. The children receive their Christmas gifts on January 6th, and on Christmas day, the children are given a piñata and a stick. They celebrate by breaking open the colorful piñatas.

Although Santa is not front and center, he is responsible for bringing the children their larger gifts. The smaller ones are delivered by Reyes Magos in January, and in some cases, Jesus even delivers gifts depending upon the regional celebrations. The Reyes Magos are of the traditional three kings. They are given the task of delivering the smaller gifts to the children.

Most of the families create a Nativity Scene in honor of Christ’s birth. Little children dress as shepherds on Christmas Eve as the Ave Marias is sung to let Mary know that the night has come. There is kneeling and singing before the Nativity Scene. A baby Jesus is added to the scene to represent the birth. The singing is designed as a lullaby to the baby.

At midnight sleeping is all over as the fireworks explode, bells ring and whistles are blown to announce the birth of Christ. This celebration is the call to worship as people head for Midnight Mass. The Mass of the Rooster heralds in Christ and it is said that this was the only time a rooster crowed at midnight.

At the end of mass, the feasting begins.

A wreath shaped baked bread contains a tiny baby Jesus figure. The person who gets the baby is the next host in the line of celebrations. The Christmas celebration goes on until the 2nd of February, and this person is responsible for Candle Mass Day on the 2nd. The hidden baby symbolizes the danger that Jesus was in. It was necessary to find a place to hide Christ.

This sweetbread fruit ring, Rosca de Reyes, has anise and candied fruit such as figs, cherries, mangos, lemons and oranges.

This Rosca is served with traditional Mexican food like tamales and rice. This is a tradition brought over from the Spanish. The celebration also requires chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

Mexico has an amazingly rich and complex set of traditions that all come together during the Christmas season. This country celebrates joyfully, noisily and everyone joins in. It is a time of great cheer, reverence and festive family gatherings.

Who can argue with a country that has that much chocolate in their celebration?!

Here are some more colorful gifts from those artists who know how to celebrate.

specialtivity

Red Candy Jade, Dalmatian Jasper Gem, Black Bead Cha Cha Bracelet

Red Candy Jade, Dalmatian Jasper Gem, Black Bead Cha Cha Bracelet

Thecrochetcubby

Very Soft Child Size Loom Knitted Hat/Beanie

Very Soft Child Size Loom Knitted Hat/Beanie

ResetarGlassArt

Yellow Gold and Black Drop Earrings, Checked Dichroic Fused Glass

Yellow Gold and Black Drop Earrings, Checked Dichroic Fused Glass

Covergirlbeads

Blue Flower Lampwork Bead Handmade Glass Floral Organic Navy Oval SRA

Blue Flower Lampwork Bead Handmade Glass Focal Oval Organic Navy SRA

TwistedThreadAndHook

Blue Wheel Rug - Soft Rug for Children Room Decor or Boy Nursery

Blue Wheel Rug - Soft Rug for Children Room Decor or Boy Nursery

KevsKrafts

Heart Wreath Portrait Wood Art Handmade from Oak Wood

Heart Wreath Portrait Wood Art Handmade from Oak Wood white Any Age Unisex

RSSDesignsInFiber

Crocheted Lace Mat of Bright MultiColor Flowers in Dark Green Border

Crocheted Lace Mat of Bright MultiColor Flowers in Dark Green Border

SewAmazin

Halloween Cats on Black Pet Bandana Collar Slipcover

Halloween Cats on Black Pet Bandana Collar Slipcover

ElunaJewelry

Fluorite Necklace with Glass Clasp, Beaded Fluorite Jewelry, Metal-Free

Fluorite Necklace with Glass Clasp, Beaded Fluorite Jewelry, Metal-Free

evezbeadz

59x25x18mm LEGO Block Rainbow Candy Sprinkles Resin Pendant

59x25x18mm LEGO Block Rainbow Candy Sprinkles Resin Pendant

bluemorningexpressions

Pink and Blue flower Charm Bracelet with Green Leaves and Glass Pearls

Pink and Blue flower Charm Bracelet with Green Leaves and Glass Pearls

shymouseecrafts

Colorful Flowers and Red Hearts with White Background Bias Tape

Colorful Flowers and Red Hearts with White Background Bias Tape

KatsAllThat

Autumn Leaves Miyuki Seed Bead and Leather Cuff 8 inch Bracelet

Autumn Leaves Miyuki Seed Bead and Leather Cuff 8 inch Bracelet

cardsbylibe

Best Wishes Polka Dot Dress Handcrafted Card With Pearl Accents

Best Wishes Polka Dot Dress Handcrafted Card With Pearl Accents

craftingmemories

Crochet Bead Bangle Bracelet

Crochet Bead Bangle Bracelet

postcardsintheattic

Antique Postcard Vintage Cordial Thanksgiving - Turkey & Pumpkin Arrangement plus

Country Harvest scene 1910 - Embossed - Autumn

Antique Postcard Vintage Cordial Thanksgiving - Turkey & Pumpkin Arrangement plus Country Harvest scene 1910 - Embossed - Autumn

hollyknittercreations

Multicolored Flower Hanging Dish Towel With Hand Knit Topper and Ties

Multicolored Flower Hanging Dish Towel With Hand Knit Topper and Ties

adorebynat

Robot Favor Tags Embellishment for Boys Toddlers

Robot Favor Tags Embellishment for Boys Toddlers

jnldesigns

Olive,Burgundy,Copper Fall Watch Band

Olive,Burgundy,Copper Fall Watch Band

QuiltTops

Completed Quilt Top Bubble Gum Fun With Applique Top Plus Backing

Quilt Top Bubble Gum Fun With Applique

dianesdangles

Turquoise Nuggets and Rhodonite Gemstones Wooden Beaded Necklace

 

Turquoise Nuggets and Rhodonite Gemstones Wooden Beaded Necklace

jazzitupwithdesignsbynancy

Fancy Jasper Swarovski Crystal Hematite Memory Wire Bangle Bracelet

Fancy Jasper with clear Swarovski Crystals and Hematite spacer Memory

LittleApples

Orange white stripes clownfish glass keychain or necklace sea creature

Orange white stripes clownfish glass keychain or necklace sea creature

Wyverndesigns

Fun And Funky Kaleidoscope Hand Knitted Wool Mittens Braided Cuff

Fun And Funky Kaleidoscope Hand Knitted  Wool Mittens Braided Cuff

ShadowDogDesigns

Swarovski Rainbow Chakra Earrings Handmade Spirals Jewelry Balancing

Swarovski Rainbow Chakra Earrings Handmade Spirals Jewelry Balancing

craftsofthepast

Eighteen kt Turkish Gold Earring Dangles, Art Glass, Sapphire, Quartz

Eighteen kt Turkish Gold Earring Dangles, Art Glass, Sapphire, Quartz

PrettyGonzo

Crystal Dangle Earrings in Tibetan Prayer Flag Colors Handmade Jewelry

Crystal Dangle Earrings in Tibetan Prayer Flag Colors Handmade Jewelry

ThaddeusRose

Crystal Earrings, Teal, Light Amber, Dangle, 1.75 inch, ear wires

Crystal Earrings, Teal, Light Amber, Dangle, 1.75 inch, ear wires

Thesingingbeader

Dragon vein agate necklace multicolored quartz large chunky gemstones

Dragon vein agate necklace multicolored quartz large chunky gemstone

Umeboshi

Queen of Hearts Pastel Dichroic Handmade Glossy Fused Glass Pendant

Queen of Hearts Pastel Dichroic Handmade Glossy Fused Glass Pendant

PutmanLakeDesigns

Quilted Scrappy Table Runner w/ Prairie Points in Fall Colors

Quilted Scrappy Table Runner w/ Prairie Points in Fall Colors

Dreamcatcherman

Dreamcatcher Gemstone Bracelet with personalized engraved charm

Dreamcatcher Gemstone Bracelet with personalized engraved charm

TheOldBarnDoor

Victorian Swedish Scripture Card Psalm of David 103 Verse 22 Bountiful Vase of Flowers

Victorian Swedish Scripture Card Psalm of David 103 Verse 22 Bountiful Vase of Flowers

Grab a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy this video of Christmas in Mexico City.

Finish up your chocolate, hit the pinata one more time, and let’s head out to our next destination!

Enjoy

Julie and Blu