Christmas in Puerto Rico

Christmas (Día de Navidad) is a popular holiday celebrated in Puerto Rico. Christmas celebrations in Puerto Rico begin in early December and continues until almost February. The holiday is celebrated by joyous music and with family and friends and by consuming large amounts of food. In Puerto Rico the majority of people go on Parrandas (caroling). Three Kings’ Day is basically a second Christmas Day for the people of Puerto Rico. Many cities in Puerto Rico host festivals and parades on Three Kings’ Day to celebrate the event. Three men will dress as the three kings and give out gifts to children. All in all, Christmas in Puerto Rico is all about spending time with family and friends and enjoying each other company.

By: Amia Shyree Frazier

 

 

 

 

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Dia De Los Muertos in Mexico

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos means the day of the dead. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated from October 31-November 2 in Mexico. It is also celebrated by Hispanics in the U.S. This holiday is being celebrated because this is when Hispanics honor and remember their dead loved ones. During this particular days they are not sad. They are thinking of their loved one in the most happiest ways. This is a very special holiday. This is when they have colorful skeletons. They have altars built in the room. The altars are used to invite and welcome the spirits into the home. On the altars are special foods and also things that their loved ones once liked. The foods that are on their is sugar skulls, Pan de Muertos, a special bread for the season. They also have flowers on it, the name of the flowers is cempasuchil. Some people might think that Halloween and Dia de los Muertos are the same because they both come from death, but they’re different holidays.  So next time when you see a colorful skeleton you will know what day it is. 

-Jasmine Grier

Christmas in Jamaica


In Jamaica, Christmas Eve is “ grand market.” In every town and city in the country, there is a cross between a festival and market. On the day of the “grand market,” Jamaicans go shopping for Christmas foods, sweets, toys and other things. At 6:00 pm the evening part of Grand Market starts and   ends the next morning. Its street vendors selling food like jerk chicken, boiled corn and sweets like candy canes and  sugarcanes. Then some of the people will go to a midnight mass church service and  others will party all night. Lots of people will go to a church service on Christmas day before the end of the grand market. The Christmas day meal is usually prepared on Christmas Eve. They eat curry goat, stewed oxtail, rice and peas. – Aurielle Hinton

White Day Asia

A Husband giving White Day gift to his wife

As all of us should know, the day of romance we call Valentine‘s Day is about the many people who exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” We also know that Valentine‘s Day is widely celebrated basically everywhere around the world, but did you know that there is another holiday that comes one month after it, that works in similar ways to each other except its all about the guys giving gifts?

You’re already aware that Valentine’s Day is a few months away, and Easter is the next chocolate holiday to come after it. But Valentine’s Day would not be over just yet in other places, a holiday celebrated on March 14, one month after Valentine‘s Day is called White Day. In Japan and other Asian countries including Taiwan, South Korea and China, will celebrate White Day.

 Typically, women shower men with chocolate and gifts on Valentine’s Day, and White Day is when men are supposed to return the favor by buying two to three times more expensive gifts for the women on White Day. The name stems from the giving of primarily white giftslike white chocolate and lingerie, by men as an answer to Valentine’s Day gifts. In recent years, the exclusively white nature of the holiday has changed to include both dark and white chocolate, other shades of lingerie and non-chocolate candies like lollipops. Many convenience stores set up large displays out in front of their shops, with a heavy focus on chocolate and chocolate candies like Ferrero RocherTwix and Chupa Chups.

There is a strong tradition of women giving chocolates to men on Valentines Day. There are two types of chocolates, “Giri-choco” (obligation chocolate), and “Honmei-choco.” Giri-choco is meant to be for friends, colleagues, bosses, and close male friends.“Giri” means obligation meaning that Giri-choco has no romantic meaning involved. On the other handHonmei-choco is given to a boyfriend, lover, or husband with true love.
Here is an interesting fact to know about:
 Japanese women often prepare the Honmei-choco by themselves as many of them think it is not true love if they just buy the readymade chocolate at shops.

Another interesting fact to know about: Lovers in Taiwan have not one but three Valentine’s Days to celebrate, which just goes to show you that Taiwan is a little island big on romance. People celebrate the Western Valentine’s Day on February 14th, the Chinese lunar Qi-Xi on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, and the one that originated in Japan, White Day. -Donato Castrejon-Solis

Christmas In Mexico

The people of Mexico prepare and celebrate Christmas a little earlier than most of the people in the United States. They have their own traditions. A lot of them like to celebrate 9 nights earlier up until Christmas Eve so they start on December 16 because of the posadas and continue to celebrate every night until December 24.

The posadas are when the neighborhoods gather together and visit a different host house or store each night. The people at the host house give out gifts and food, Normally they give gifts for the kids (such as toys.) The food they give out to the many people includes tamales, empanadas, and bread. The next night, everyone meets at that place then walks together to the next house or store. On the way, they like to sing songs. This  most likely the same routine until December 24, which is often the largest gathering.

People walking with candles during a posada.

 

Festival of Deepawali at Nepal

Festival of Deepawali

Tihar is one of the most well known Hindu holiday/festivals  throughout Nepal and in different parts of India. Tihar is also known as the Festival of Lights. Tihar is mainly divided into 5 days in October.

Day 1 is known as Kag Tihar which means “crow worship day.” Crows are worshiped and fed early in the morning. People leave different food items outside for crows to eat. Crow is considered to be the messenger of death because back on the days at World War I and II Nepal did not have the kind of technology to inform or get any information about Nepalese soldiers, so every morning if they heard the crow making a specific sound they believed that their loved one is no longer with them.

Day 2 is Kukur Tihar which means “festival of dogs.” People celebrate this because they believe that dogs are the the most loyal friend of mankind. Dog Puja  is done by putting a red tika powder on their forehead and a flower garland around the neck and offering them their favorite foods. Male dogs are worshiped most because people believe that dogs can see danger and death coming. Usually whenever dogs cry, people believe that someone is going to leave them and go far away where they cannot return back with them.

Day 3 is Gai Tihar which means “cow worship day.” Cows are worshiped with light sesame oil, garlands of flowers and the color red all over their body. In Hindu culture, people who don’t have their own mother worship cows as their own mother because they believe that they get older by drinking their milk. Others worship Lakshmi, a god and the mother of wealth and prosperity. Later in the afternoon they clean their houses and decorate with flowers and lights. Then when they are done they make small footprints in front of their main entry in belief that Lakshmi has  entered their house, then the family comes together, worships and asks for blessings. When the night comes, people start to light the candles and electrical lights and hang out with family and friends.

Day 4 is Goru Tihar which is also know as worshiping Oxen. On that day, people perform three different puja (worship). People also do govardhan puja which is done by making a hill of govardhan parbat which is literally cow dung. People in Nepal give much importance to cow dung because they use this for light at night and they paint their house floor with it. They believe that without this their festival is incomplete.

Day 5,  which is the last day of the festival, is Bhai Tika, which means “celebration of brothers.” On this day, sisters put different kinds of colors on the foreheads of her brothers, to ensure his long life and health. Then, brothers do the same thing for their sisters and give them gifts and money. On this day, brothers who are far away from their sisters try to make it to their sister’s place and share happiness. Some brothers don’t have a sister, so they go to the temple or they also “adopt” their friend’s sister or go to their neighbor and ask for favor to become their sister. Later on at night people go out and have parties. – Lachu Adhikai

Kwanzaa

The name Kwanzaa comes  from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. families celebrate Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African

drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gets the candles and a child lights one of the candles on the candle holder. The principles are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture. These are some of the symbols.

Unity:Umoja (oo–MO–jah)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.

Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

source : http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/kwanzaa-history