Tag Archives: global celebrations

Make a Prediction

In 2011, consider adopting the German practice of predicting the future on New Year’s Eve.

Germans used to try to predict the future by dropping molten lead into cold water and “reading” the results.

Instead, why not anticipate the good things you hope will happen in 2011 by writing a news story or a letter to a loved one dated one year from now.

Ask everyone in the family what they think will happen – for themselves and other family members – and write up the results.

In the future, you can save these letters and re-read them on New Year’s Eve as a reminder of all you hoped would be.

Happy New Year!

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The New Year’s Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit – or good appetite – is the traditional way the French encourage each other to enjoy their meal.

On New Year’s, this expression has an added significance as families in France gather at the table to share a celebratory meal to welcome the new year.

You can mimic this idea not with a fancy French menu for your children (unless they like that sort of thing) but by soliciting their input in putting together a menu for a feast for the family.

They may also enjoy making suggestions for the guest list. There’s no reason not to include the people who mean the most to you on the final night of the year.

In my house, my son’s guest list would be extensive but his menu would be straight off the plate of a college kid: spicy chicken wings, pizza, popcorn, and maybe some carrots if I beg him to include a vegetable.

If your child is like mine, don’t worry about incorporating ALL their suggestions – just serve one or two special dishes that make them feel part of the planning.

Besides, the best part of celebrating the new year is being with the people you love most in the world. So it doesn’t matter if you make your toast at midnight with champagne or 9 o’clock with cranberry juice, either way you’re sure to have a memorable New Year’s celebration.

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Thanksgiving Around the World

Thanksgiving

Photo UC Davis Health System

Few holidays have more of a food-focus than Thanksgiving.  

Ask any child what the most remarkable thing about Thanksgiving is and they’ll tell you it’s the quantity of food that is consumed around the dining room table, from the massive turkey to the creamy pumpkin pies.  

But it is important to remember that the real message of Thanksgiving – for harried parents and hungry kids – is gratitude, and gratitude is a common sentiment across cultures.  

While there may not be Pilgrims or cranberries fresh from a can, many nations have some sort of “thanksgiving” celebration in which they show their gratitude for a successful harvest. 

Pongal is a harvest festival in South India that celebrates the contributions of people, the sun, the rain, and even the cattle in providing a successful harvest.  

The Pongal Festival lasts for four days in mid-January.  On the first day, old clothes are thrown away or burned to indicate that a new life has begun.  

On the second day, rice or milk is boiled in new pots until it boils over.  This signifies the hope that the new harvest will produce plenty of food for everyone.  

On the third day, families wash and adorn their cows and buffalo to show their appreciation for the animals’ labor in producing a good harvest. 

Finally, on the fourth day families celebrate with a picnic.

In China and Vietnam, families celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, in September with a feast.  

The highlights of the meal are mooncakes, spongy cakes made from bean paste or lotus and imprinted with designs.  

The holiday is also marked by carrying lanterns and revering the moon.

Many people in Africa celebrate in late August when the first crop of the season, the yam, is harvested.  

People wear masks, often made from grass and leaves, listen to music, and dance.  

In Ghana, the celebration is called the Homowo Festival and it literally means “hooting at hunger.”

However and whenever you celebrate, it’s always worthwhile to give thanks and share with others. 

Moon Festival

IndoChina Oddyssey Tours

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