Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Spain

Source:  Deck the holidays
Christmas is a deeply religious holiday in Spain. The country's patron saint is the Virgin Mary and the Christmas season officially begins December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is celebrated each year in front of the great Gothic cathedral in Seville with a ceremony called los Seises or the "dance of six." Oddly, the elaborate ritual dance is now performed by not six but ten elaborately costumed boys. It is a series of precise movements and gestures and is said to be quite moving and beautiful.

Typical X'mas delicacies
Christmas Eve is known as Nochebuena or "the Good Night." It is a time for family members to gather together to rejoice and feast around the Nativity scenes that are present in nearly every home. A traditional Christmas treat is turron, a kind of almond candy.

December 28 is the feast of the Holy Innocents. Young boys of a town or village light bonfires and one of them acts as the mayor who orders townspeople to perform civic chores such as sweeping the streets. Refusal to comply results in fines which are used to pay for the celebration.

As in many European countries, the children of Spain receive gifts on the feast of the Epiphany. The Magi are particularly revered in Spain. It is believed that they travel through the countryside reenacting their journey to Bethlehem every year at this time. Children leave their shoes on the windowsills and fill them with straw, carrots, and barley or the horses of the Wise Men. Their favorite is Balthazar who rides a donkey and is the one believed to leave the gifts.

Source:  Christmas Around the World

Celebrating Christmas is a joyful event and it is filled with a lot of food preparation and gathering with family and friends.  For those of us who have emigrated to a different country to raise our own family, we tend to adapt our traditions to those observed where  we have  settled in.  But no matter where we are, the feeling of joy is still the same, for it is the  festive event of the birth of our Saviour that kindles the special gladness that comes only once a year specially on Christmas day.  Peace and joy to men.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Flash mob sings Hallelujah chorus in food court.

Posted By jamesw72 about a year ago from jamesw72 on GodTube.

At noon on November 13, 2010 unsuspecting shoppers got a surprise while enjoying their lunch. A flash mob singing the Hallelujah Chorus!

This should be done in all cities and spread the good tidings of the birth of the most important "Someone" in our lives.

Happy Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Little Match Girl - Hans Christian Andersen

Source of Image:  El Mundo.es
Once upon a time . . . a little girl tried to make a living by selling matches in the street.

It was New Year's Eve and the snowclad streets were deserted. From brightly lit windows came the tinkle of laughter and the sound of singing. People were getting ready to bring in the New Year. But the poor little matchseller sat sadly beside the fountain. Her ragged dress and worn shawl did not keep out the cold and she tried to keep her bare feet from touching the frozen ground. She hadn't sold one box of matches all day and she was frightened to go home, for her father would certainly be angry. It wouldn't be much warmer anyway, in the draughty attic that was her home. The little girl's fingers were stiff with cold. If only she could light a match! But what would her father say at such a waste! Falteringly she took out a match and lit it. What a nice warm flame! The little matchseller cupped her hand over it, and as she did so, she magically saw in its light a big brightly burning stove.

She held out her hands to the heat, but just then the match went out and the vision faded. The night seemed blacker than before and it was getting colder. A shiver ran through the little girl's thin body.

After hesitating for a long time, she struck another match on the wall, and this time, the glimmer turned the wall into a great sheet of crystal. Beyond that stood a fine table laden with food and lit by a candlestick. Holding out her arms towards the plates, the little matchseller seemed to pass through the glass, but then the match went out and the magic faded. Poor thing: in just a few seconds she had caught a glimpse of everything that life had denied her: warmth and good things to eat. Her eyes filled with tears and she lifted her gaze to the lit windows, praying that she too might know a little of such happiness.

She lit the third match and an even more wonderful thing happened. There stood a Christmas tree hung with hundreds of candles, glittering with tinsel and coloured balls. "Oh, how lovely!" exclaimed the little matchseller, holding up the match. Then, the match burned her finger and flickered out. The light from the Christmas candles rose higher and higher, then one of the lights fell, leaving a trail behind it. "Someone is dying," murmured the little girl, as she remembered her beloved Granny who used to say: "When a star falls, a heart stops beating!"

Scarcely aware of what she was doing, the little matchseller lit another match. This time, she saw her grandmother.

"Granny, stay with me!" she pleaded, as she lit one match after the other, so that her grandmother could not disappear like all the other visions. However, Granny did not vanish, but gazed smilingly at her. Then she opened her arms and the little girl hugged her crying: "Granny, take me away with you!"

A cold day dawned and a pale sun shone on the fountain and the icy road. Close by lay the lifeless body of a little girl surrounded by spent matches. "Poor little thing!" exclaimed the passersby. "She was trying to keep warm!"

But by that time, the little matchseller was far away where there is neither cold, hunger nor pain.

Source: Kaboose

Christmas to many consists of a lot of buying, spending and eating, however there are a lot more of those who can only look at windows to see what they cannot have and much less eat. Let us remember the sadness in some other people hearts this Christmas and help to make some needy people smile in our own way and make a difference. These people can be nameless just like the story of Hans Christian Anderson, because they can be anybody around us waiting for a chance to have a different day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Gift

Christmas season is among us -
and shoppers are on the fly,
running around like crazy,
looking for gifts to buy.

Looking for that perfect gift -
it seems so hard to find,
to give to that special someone,
who lingers in your mind.
So out the door and to the store -
and to the Mall again,
got to find that perfect gift,
to give to that dear one.
Finally tired and all worn out -
and about to fall apart.
But if you look - it's always been,
right there within your heart!
A gift that money just can't buy -
for it comes from God above,
a gift to cherish for a lifetime,
it's called the "Gift" of love!
So if you can't find what you look for -
it won't be on your list.
You'll have to search from deep within,
to give someone the "Gift!"

Written and Submitted By:
Deacon Steve A. Politte (DeaconSteve)

Merry Christmas!

Source:  nethugs.com

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Winter Time in New York

Rockefeller Center, NYC

Now, looking back 27 years ago since I have gone to live in New York city, I remember the hardship of the city life and the unbearable cold temperature I had to undergo  in wintertime.  It was the constant daily hustle of  rushing back and forth from work, specially complicated when it snowed and drizzled having to coordinate with an unbrella and at the same time making sure I did not fall on a slippery walk.  The tv dinners, I had to share with my roommate, when it was too cold to eat out and it was so cozy to get snugged in a warm blanket while enjoying a tv show.

But on a good winter day, it was fun watching the people skating in Rockefeller Center, while eating some charcoal broiled chestnuts.  As it was also fun, inspite of  having to get in long queue,  to finally get an entrance to  see a show in Broadway or in Radio City Music Hall with the stage that kept the audience at awe and with constant surprises everytime the curtains drew apart.  As it was also a great experience to watch so many elegant people just walking by in the plushy districts of the East Side in contrast with the creepy environment of some of the streets in the West End.

Finding bargains in some nooks and odd places were also a fun time specially when I needed something to wear urgently for one day and did not want to rent a dress but surprise a date with a different look.

I remember also  with nostalgia the happy times when I shared laughter and why not some tears with newly found friends.

But not to forget,  the scary moments when I had to be in the middle of two men shooting each other while I was behind a post trying to get out of range, or when I was being followed by a huge black man on 42nd street (which at that time was filled with sex shops and sex movies) only to discover later on  that he was just trying to make fun of my tiny steps, or while cycling in Central Park, a freaky guy would throw stones at me and run away.

Memories and experiences  gone by,  and yet somehow became a part of  who I am today.

Source of image:  El Mundo.es