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Holiday Traditions

Each culture has its own special holiday traditions. In fact, some of our most treasured Christmas traditions were originally borrowed from other cultures and changed to suit our needs (there are lots of rabbit holes you can chase on the internet about those - I suggest you start with the origins of Santa Clause for fun).

For me, it's not Christmas without some John Denver and the Muppets Christmas music playing, my nativity sets being set up (Jesus is NOT in it until Dec. 25th and the wise men do not arrive until Epiphany - but they do travel across the house day by day, coming from the east).

In one grandmother's house growing up we could always count on tourtière being served to the delight of certain uncles. Meanwhile, my other grandmother always served her famous "sticky buns" which were a personal favorite of mine.

A favorite tradition over the years in the various United Methodist churches I have served is to turn off all the lights and light candles one by one during the singing of Silent Night, then ending worship with all the lights on and singing Go Tell it On the Mountain!

At Open Arms this year we gave our youth the opportunity to practice some of the traditions of their own (Mexican) culture. First, we joined our neighbors from Anthony's Plot for their annual Las Posadas. There the youth joined the procession of carolers who traveled the neighborhood seeking shelter for José y María (Joseph and Mary). Then, once we found the place of rest, we joined the fiesta with tamales and other treats as well as crafts and photos with Los Reyes Magos (the kings/magi).

The following week, we had our own Christmas party, complete with a piñata (a typical game at posadas/Christmas parties in Mexico).

We also ate traditional foods from a local restaurant and made our own traditional hot fruit punch called ponche or ponche navideño (Christmas punch). I would link a recipe for you, but nobody could agree on one! The one we made that day included tamarind, oranges, and a fruit from Mexico which I cannot remember the name of (or find on the internet)! Other recipes include apples, pears, hibiscus, lime, or other fruits. And cinnamon. Nothing says Christmas like a touch of cinnamon.

So holiday traditions include food, characters, games, faith traditions, and many other things. When you think of holiday traditions in your family or your culture, what do you think of?

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