The origins of the Easter Bunny – that long-eared rabbit who generously leaves candy in the baskets of good boys and girls and hides brilliantly colored eggs for them to find – can be traced to Alsace, a region that is now located in France but which was for many years part of Germany.
The first written mention of the Easter Bunny came in a book by Germany’s Georg Franck von Frankenau called De Ovis Paschalibus (About Easter Eggs).
The Easter Bunny came to America in the 1700s when German immigrants came to Pennsylvania and brought with them the legend of the Osterhase, an egg-laying hare. Children made nests for the rabbit to lay colored eggs.
Eventually, the Osterhase, or Easter Bunny, began to deliver chocolate, jelly beans, and other candy and gifts.
To thank the Easter Bunny, children left out carrots to help him keep his energy up!
American Independence Day – also known as the Fourth of July – is one of the biggest barbecue holidays of the year.
This year, you can freshen up your party menu by incorporating cuisines from around the world. Not only will it give your guests some new flavors to enjoy but it will also permit everyone to celebrate one of the greatest things about our country: that we welcome all people here from around the world.
1. German Potato Salad
More than 17% of Americans report themselves as having some German ancestry, which is the largest self-reported ancestral group. Odds are, if you’re hosting a barbecue for the 4th of July, at least some of your guests are German-Americans. Here’s a Food Network recipe for German Potato Salad to help you celebrate.
2. Tandoori Chicken
Try something new on the grill with this recipe for Tandoori Chicken. You can adjust the seasonings to make it more – or less – spicy without sacrificing the amazing flavor.
3. Korean Barbecue
There’s nothing like barbecued spare ribs on the 4th of July, so tuck your napkin into your collar and get ready to get messy with this Korean Barbecue recipe from Epicurious.com. As of the 2000 Census, there are more than one million Korean-Americans in the United States.
4. Mexican Salad with Avocado Dressing
Fresh and delicious, this salad would go beautifully with whatever else you’re serving at your celebration. It’s also a great way to honor Mexican-Americans, whose numbers have increased 58% between the 1990 and 2000 Census.
5. Austalia/New Zealand’s Pavlova
Not only is this a beautiful-looking dessert, it’s also light after a heavy meal of barbecued foods. It uses fresh strawberries, but if you want to re-create the American flag, go ahead and dot in some blueberries to give the dish our traditional red, white, and blue look.
Like most people, I love listening to lots of different kinds of music.
From Edith Piaf to Bob Marley to Loretta Lynn to Ali Farka Toure, I’m interested in many different voices.
I’ve succeeded in getting my son hooked (a little). He enjoys French children’s music; in fact, it’s his favorite CD to listen to in the car.
And we both enjoy a CD of African lullabies that I bought him when he was a baby.
I’m always looking for new ways to broaden our collection and a relative recently gave us Putumayo’s Picnic Playground with fun children’s songs from around the world.
The Putumayo World Music company and their Putumayo Kids collection is a great resource for CD’s from different countries and regions of the world. According to their website, their goal is to “introduce children to other cultures through fun, upbeat world music.” As a result, they’ve been acknowledged by the Parents’ Choice Awards and the National Parenting Publications Association.
But you don’t have to buy a CD in order to get your child to listen to different music from around the world. YouTube has many songs from other cultures that are fun for kids. As always with YouTube, you have to monitor it carefully to ensure your child doesn’t accidentally see something inappropriate.
Did you know that Halloween originated as a Celtic holiday? Or that people in Germany hide their knives on Halloween night because they believe that it’s the one night of the year when ghosts return to earth? Do you know why Halloween’s traditional colors are black (for the darkness of the night) and orange (for the bonfires that are traditionally lit throughout Europe)?
With just weeks to go, Halloween madness has struck – and not just children! Halloween has become a multi-million dollar industry and is enjoying increasing popularity among adults. Too mature for trick-or-treating, grown-ups are hosting Halloween parties that offer a new take on traditional autumn foods – and giving them a ghostly twist or two!
For some ideas on what to serve at your Halloween party, check out the new e-book from www.CookingClarified.com. “Tricks and Treats: Recipes & Tips for a Delicious Halloween” is available as a free download. Just provide an email address and get lots of ideas (and even more history about Halloween past and present).
My favorite recipe is probably the Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, although the tips on caramel sauce were a close second.
On November 9 and 10, 1938, Kristallnacht, or the “night of broken glass” tore through Jewish communities in Germany and Austria. It is viewed by many historians as the beginning of the Holocaust.
As parents, how do we begin to educate our children about tough topics like the Holocaust? When is it appropriate to talk to children about other man-made tragedies such as slavery, oppression, and genocide? How does your cultural background inform when and how you discuss these issues with your child?
These are questions that I am struggling with in raising my child. There are some things I would prefer he hear from me, at a time and in a way that I can control. At the same time, I’m not a child development expert. Like doctors, I feel compelled to “first, do no harm.”
Are these issues that you are facing as parents? If so, how are you handling them?
Filed under Europe, Learn
Believe it or not, Munich’s famed Oktoberfest starts on September 19 and runs through October 4. Oktoberfest started in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
In later years, the festival was moved to September to take advantage of better weather conditions but the name Oktoberfest remained. It’s the same logic that permits the New York Giants, the New York Jets, and the New York Nets to play their home games in New Jersey but use their neighbor’s name. I’m just sayin’.
Personally, I loved Munich when I visited in 1996; everyone looked like my Great-Uncle Joe, right down to the hat with the feather in the brim and the beer stein! It sounds a lot like a typical American fair or carnival but with better beverages and a more laissez-faire attitude.
If you can’t make it to Oktoberfest this year, fear not. Here are the dates for the next few years:
2010: September 18 – October 3
2011: September 17 – October 3
2012: September 22 – October 7
Or you can celebrate the 199th anniversary of Ludwig and Therese with a mini Oktoberfest of your own. Instead of beer, pour some apple juice for the kids and serve them a meal of pretzels and sausages. Play some traditional German polka music and serve dinner outside under a tent just like the Germans do. Finally, there are even some Oktoberfest games kids can play.
Dancing is a must in order to really celebrate Oktoberfest, but feel free to skip “The Chicken Dance.” It was actually written by a Swiss accordion player!
Filed under Eat, Europe, Holiday