Drinking rules for the Holiday Season, actually mentions at No. 371 : “A man’s drink shall not involve pumpkin.” This is one Commandment that could do with some flouting.
It’s the festive season, I mean Yuletide. The aroma is RUMMY and the taste is PLUMMY. It’s the time for puddings, loads of baking, family time and decorations. Here are some fun facts :
(1) YOUR CHRISTMAS FEAST TAKES 295 DAYS TO GROW :—- According to a research study, it takes seasonal vegetables and turkey ten months to grow before it is ready for the festive feast. On the other hand, it just takes 30minutes to polish up the grand feast.
(2) 47 YEARS TO THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS DINNER :—-Burnt your turkey ? Fret not. A study says that it takes 47 years to master the culinary techniques for cooking Christmas dinner, owing to the techniques being tricky and challenging.
(3) The largest turkey on record weighed 86pounds, about the size of a large dog. According to statistics, 22 million turkeys are consumed each year during Christmas, compared to 45 million at Thanksgiving.
(4) WATCH YOUR SALT INTAKE :—-On an average, the salt RDA is 5 gm, but on Christmas Day, dinner contains about 8.87 gm. of salt.
(5) CHRISTMAS COLOURS :—-Always wondered why Santa is RED and the Christmas Tree is GREEN with GOLD and SILVER ORNAMENTS ? Well, these traditions come from Western and Northern European customs. GREEN is the colour of HOLLY & MISTLETOE which symbolises LIFE & REBIRTH. RED is the colour of LOVE & ENERGY which symbolises the Blood of Christ and GOLD represents LIGHT, WEALTH & ROYALTY.
(6) ON A SILVER DISH THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING REPOSED IN ITS GLORY :—-According to folklore, the pudding was traditionally made with 13 ingredients to represent JESUS & HIS DISCIPLES, and is always stirred from EAST TO WEST in honour of the 3 WISE MEN, who visited Baby Jesus. The tradition says, Christmas pudding should contain 4 tokens to foretell the future :—-a COIN, a THIMBLE, a RING and a BUTTON. It was believed, if you got one of the latter two, YOU’RE DOOMED TO BE SINGLE FOR ANOTHER YEAR.
(7) STIR-UP SUNDAY :—-The last Sunday before the season of Advent, is traditionally the day for families to make Christmas Puddings, giving the pudding plenty of time to develop flavours before Christmas. Traditionally, members of the family take turns and stir the pudding, whilst making a wish.
(8) SWEET CANDY CANES :-Christmas candy canes originated in Germany about 250 years ago. A story says that a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral handed out the sugar sticks among children to keep them quiet during the ceremony. He wanted to remind them of SHEPHERDS who visited Jesus at the 1st Christmas, so he made them into a ‘J’ shape. According to age-old tales, the WHITE of the cane represents the PURITY OF JESUS CHRIST, the RED STRIPE symbolises the BLOOD SHED WHEN HE DIED ON THE CROSS and the PEPPERMINT FLAVOUR represents the HYSSOP PLANT that was used for PURIFYING the Bible.
(9) RUDOLF, THE RED_NOSED REINDEER :—-Like the ENERGIZER BUNNY, Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer got his start in advertising in 1939. Copywriter ROBERT MAY created him for MONTGOMERY WARD department to attract shoppers.
(10) BUCHE de NOEL :—-A traditional cake, BUCHE de NOEL, is of French origin. The name translates to CHRISTMAS LOG, symbolising the belief that a large log should burn continuously on Christmas Night and if it goes out, it means BAD LUCK IN THE COMING YEAR. Traditionally, the next morning, ashes from the log is scooped up and kept as a GOOD LUCK CHARM to heal sickness and to guarantee success in business.
Credit: Anisha Bhatia.
Yesterday was Christmas Day. It brought to mind what Christmas meant for me when I was a child. Every year on the 24th of December, i.e. Christmas Eve, we were allowed to paint our nails with natural coloured nail polish. We always waited for this time of the year, because that was the only time we had nail polish on our nails. The rest of the year, the nails had to be clean, trimmed and bare. Then we prepared to go for the Midnight Mass in our new dresses and straw hats (the same colour as the dress ). All the little children, who were also our friends, looked so cute. Christmas carols were sung, and the Organ was played. Of course the Mass was in Latin, the language of the Liturgy of those days.
Today, I miss that beautiful Christmas Service and the ‘Silent Night’ and ‘O, come all ye faithful’. Those carols have given way to other carols that do not sound like carols. Even the Liturgy of the Church(Latin) has been replaced by the vernacular, and does not give me a high when I listen to them. I still feel that the true spirit of Christmas has been lost somewhere in transition.
The importance of the Birth of Christ is lost in the glamour and din of today. Christmas, as I understand it, is a festival of HAPPINESS, PEACE and SHARING. As children, we were taken to the Cheshire Homes of the Aged, where we shared eatables, like cakes, biscuits, chips, marzipan and other goodies. We were asked to bring whatever we could afford, and we were not compelled to do so. We did that out of our own free will. There were a few children who could not contribute anything, but they were also include in the group that visited the Cheshire Homes. It was a Community effort. No child was debarred if he or she couldn’t contribute anything. Such a child was not singled out.
We all went happily and sang carols danced with those old people, I mean at least those who were able to do so. At least at Christmas, we learnt that it was a good time to share whatever we had, be it goodies, laughter, hugs, kisses and thus we brightened the day for these people who had no one to make them happy. Most of them had been abandoned, maybe by their own children. We never knew or were told about their lives, but we, as children do, instinctively knew they were in need of a lot of love. This was an important part of Christmas for us ————spreading cheer and love to those who needed that most. Of course, we had our families and friends with whom we could always celebrate Christmas, but spending our time with those inmates of the Cheshire Homes gave us a lot of satisfaction. This is the Spirit of a true Christmas. Today, the materialistic aspect has taken over ——-eating rich food, cakes going for the Christmas dance (at night) instead of the Midnight Mass, and we forget those who are not so well-off.
The lord Jesus, came to us as a little child. We ,too, have to become childlike, not childish. We should retain that awe and wonder of a child and also the unfettered spirit that enables a child to love all, without any bias. Thus we will capture the Spirit of Christmas.
Here is a Christmas Meditation:
If we but had the eyes to see God’s face in every cloud
If we but had the ears to hear His voice above the crowd
If we could feel His gentle touch in every stirring breeze
And find a haven in His arms beneath leafy sheltering trees
We would not need to ponder or ask to understand
For we’d know He held the answers in the Hollow of His Hand.
—Helen Steiner Rice.
We all love gifts. The more, the merrier! And thats why Christmas holds such a special place in our hearts, it is the season of joy, of celebration, of gifts and pastries, of togetherness. When we were kids, we waited eagerly for the night of the 24th, when Santa would drop his goodies in the sock (although personally speaking, I would prefer hanging up a big bag instead…why give Santa a smaller bucket eh? hehe). When we woke, the first thing we would do is to rush to the tree, and open the gifts with glee!
Most of us are grown up now…(although we all secretly wait for Santa anyways)…So maybe its time to relive the dream, in a different way. Lets all bring a smile to someone who needs it, to children who look forward to Santa but may not feel his presence. I’ve learnt during the years that getting a gift is a great feeling, but giving one is more satisfying…
This Christmas…BE THE SANTA 🙂