Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What's in the Snow? Event Stop!

Hey everyone! So today is my stop of the What's in the Snow? event, and I'm so excited! But first, I do have to direct you to both my introduction page, as well as Cal's. On mine, you will also find the Rafflecopter for the 2nd BIG GIVEAWAY, with prizes ranging from a giftcard to a book to dinner with one of our featured authors! Thanks for checking out our event! (And sorry I'm posting this a tad later than I'd meant to.)

So! Let's talk about my holiday traditions. This ranges from Advent to Chinese New Year!

1. Advent

This is like the semi-holiday that nobody celebrates. If you don't know already, I'm Roman Catholic. Not devoutly so, but I'm pretty firm in my beliefs (which are very liberal--ask if you must; don't assume, please). That being said, while I don't really celebrate Advent in any special way, I wish I COULD, so this is what that would entail.

When most people think of Advent, they only think about Advent calendars. I mean, hey, they're cool, but that's not what Advent is all about. For those of you that don't know, Advent celebrates the weeks leading up to Christmas, spanning 4 Sundays. There's an Advent wreath with four candles, 3 purple and 1 pink. One candle is lit each Sunday (similar to the lighting of the menorah, but over a longer time span), with the pink one being lit the 3rd week.

 I won't go into the whole idea of Advent or how the readings work, but it's a celebrate nonetheless. If it were up to me, I'd have some form of an Advent wreath.

2. Christmas Eve/Christmas Day

Again, if it were up to me, I'd celebrate Christmas a little bit differently from how I actually do. But here's how I actually celebrate it.

First, of course, there's the tree. I don't have a picture of my tree from this year, so instead here's a picture of the tree at Rockefeller Center.

My family and I usually go into the city (NYC) and walk around 1) Times Square 2) Rockefeller Center 3) Radio City Music Hall, but this year I wasn't able to.

I also have a small nativity set put up under the tree, as well as stockings (one for me, one for my sister) set up on a cabinet in our house.

And every year, we spend one of the days at my godmother's house, where she cooks awesome Brazilian dishes and awesome desserts, and where we listen to nice Christmas music, laugh, talk, and have an overall good time. On the other day, we go to my sister's godparents house. Again, a nice big dinner and some nice Christmas music. This also means that we open gifts before Christmas (usually the 23rd, but it depends), with the exception of our gifts from Santa. ;)

3. New Year's Eve

First, let me clear this up. My school sucks and as long as January 2nd is a week day, we almost always start school again that day, which is why I'm not including New Year's Day in this (it usually involves doing homework last minute).

Being a New Yorker, I, of course, watch the ball drop every year. At home though, not in Times Square, although I do hope to do that once in my life! I usually watch the performances, switching between NBC, ABC, and CNN (mostly those channels). And of course, I count down, starting at 60, not just at 10 or 20. And then I drink a bit of sparkling apple cider! My favorite part is always seeing the other celebrations around the world after the one in New York. It's quite amazing, and it's always funny to know that some countries have been in the new year for over half a day while the rest of us in the US/Canada/parts of South America and the Caribbean wait to ring in the new year.

4. Chinese New Year

Now, this is the tough one for various reasons. Mostly that it varies every year, and that people celebrate Chinese New Year differently.

The main similarity between just about everyone that celebrates Chinese New Year is the giving (or receiving) of red envelopes.

Then there's all those Chinese superstitions. *mega sigh* These are just a few of them. (Sorry if they're wrong. I'm going off the top of my head, and I may be mixing things up.)
1. Can't wash your hair on the first day (it lasts for days, not just one day like in Western cultures)
2. Eat oranges and fish and noodles (don't cut them though!)
3. Wear new clothes!
4. Parents can't scold children.
5. If you cry on New Year's, you'll have a very bad year.
6. Clean BEFORE the New Year, not the day of.
7. When cleaning, you have to sweep a certain way (I want to say one way, but I'm not positive so)
8. Hang the character FU upside down.
9. Red. Just lots of red.
10. There are rules about which side of the family you eat with and when and a bunch of things you do on specific days in the New Year (I don't know because I don't have family here to do that with).

SO! That's a quick run-down of what I typically do for all these winter holidays! (Okay, the Chinese New Year one was a little lame because I don't do THAT much for it, so.) I hope it's an interesting post, especially since there's such a mix of culture.

Now, I'm sure you're looking for that pesky little clue so here you go:
Clue #14: A bird that can't fly and lives in a winter-y environment.

(Rules are listed in the Terms and Conditions on the Rafflecopter)

Thanks again to everyone that's taken part in this event! Don't forget to keep
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