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Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas / Yuletide

Christmas Overview
Today is Christmas Eve, and everyone in the office is either already on leave or in the “holiday mood” – carols are blasting on laptop speakers, everyone is going around mingling and eating logcakes or Gingerbread cookies,  dropping presents on tables on a very last-minute basis.

Once again, my favoritest time of the year is here again. What do we celebrate it for, and why?

For the Christians, this is an annual commeemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and has been a worldwide-observed holiday.

For the Pagans, it is a Mid-winter celebration of feasting and sacrifices to celebrate the beginning of the Sun’s revival, or better known as the Return of the God of Light (otherwise also referred to Winter Solstice).

Celebratory Rituals
The celebrations usually last for twelve days, with each country eventually adopting its own customs and rituals in terms of celebratory methods.

In North America and some parts of Europe, kids believe in Santa Claus bringing gifts for the good kids and birch for the naughty ones. He is known as “Father Christmas” in England, Sinterklaas” in Dutch folklore often accompanied by Black Pete, and “Tomte” in Scandinavia.

Some European countries link the gift bearers to other folklore related to St. Nicholas, St. Lucia, Befana the Witch etc, and children all over the world hang up stockings, sing carols, dance around the Christmas tree, snacks on the Christmas goodies, leave glasses of milk for their Santa Clauses, write out their Christmas Wishlists and read Christmas stories. Some write letters to Santa Claus and hang them outside the windows; others play Christmas games such as the French Cornucopia or Advent Calendars.

Adults decorate the Christmas trees, bake Christmas goodies such as cakes or cookies (I can never resist the sugar cookies, minced meat pies, logcakes and Christmas puddings!), cook up a feast with stuffed turkeys and honey-baked hams, attend parties and events, do massive Christmas shopping, exchange gifts, light candles and attend midnight mass.

As modernization continues, Christmas has also become a very commercialized period associated with retailers, restaurants and films.

My Christmas Wishlist
Well, what is my wishlist then, truly?

Lots of blink blink, furs, pretty antiqua ornaments, a yacht or exotic vacations?

Well, ain’t this everybody’s wishlist?

Oh well, yes, for the tangibles.

As for the intangibles, besides a roomful of gifts, of course Christmas should be a time of warmth, catching up with friends and family, sharing joy and love together, and of course, enjoying the traditions in the serenity of the night.

No fires blazing, no picturesque snow-covered scenes outside the window, but candles, a huge sweet-smelling tree, warm wine and quiet carols, soothe the soul.

Philanthropic acts to share the joy with the less fortunate too – especially after we’ve all received our bonuses.

And of course, gathering all those who matter to us to share in the warmth and magic of this special occasion, and wishing that we would all get to spend many Christmases together as partners, family and cherished friends.

A very Merry Christmas to you out there, wherever you are!

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