Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Happy Holidays: Pre-Christmas Day Celebrations

part 4 of 8 by Glenn Littrell

Dec. 23 Festivus

…was conceived by writer Dan O'Keefe and was celebrated by his family as early as 1966. The holiday was later introduced into popular culture by O'Keefe's screenwriter son Daniel on an episode of Seinfeld. The holiday's celebration, as it was shown on Seinfeld, included a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum "Festivus pole," practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength"," and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles."

Celebrants of the holiday sometimes refer to it as "a Festivus for the rest of us," the saying is taken from the O'Keefe family traditions and popularized in the Seinfeld episode to describe Festivus' non-commercial aspect. It has also been described as a parody and as playful consumer resistance.

Dec. 24: Posadas Day:
Las Posadas is a nine-day celebration with origins in Spain, now celebrated chiefly in Mexico, Guatemala, and parts of the Southwestern United States, beginning December 16 and ending December 24, on evenings (about 8 or 10 PM).

Posada is Spanish for "lodging" or "accommodation"; it is plural because it is celebrated more than one day in that period. The nine-day novena represents the nine months of pregnancy, specifically the pregnancy of Mary carrying Jesus.

The procedure has been a tradition in Mexico for 400 years. While its roots are in Catholicism, even Protestant Latinos follow the tradition. It may have been started in the 16th century by St. Ignatius of Loyola or Friar Pedro de Gant in Mexico. It may have been started by early friars who combined Spanish Catholicism with the December Aztec celebration of the birth of Huitzilopochtli.

In Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, the Vallarta Botanical Gardens hosts a Las Posadas celebration on December 20. During workshops in the daytime, participants make their own nativity scenes with local natural materials, including Spanish moss. In the evening, carolers proceed to nativities placed among important plants, including poinsettias and native Mexican pines: a bonfire and more singing rounds out the celebrations.

In Wisconsin, the procession may occur within a home, rather than outside, because of the weather.

An event in Portland, Oregon, terminates with Santa Claus and donated Christmas gifts for needy children.

In New York, worshippers may drink Atole, a corn-sugar drink traditional during Christmas.

A large procession occurs along the San Antonio River Walk and has been held since 1966. It is held across large landmarks in San Antonio, Texas, including the Arneson River Theater, Museo Alameda, and the Spanish Governor's Palace, ending at the Cathedral of San Fernando.

Dec. 24, Christmas Eve:
Christmas Eve is the evening or entire day before Christmas Day, the widely celebrated annual festival commemorating Jesus Christ's birth. It occurs on December 24 in the Western Christian Church. It is considered one of the most culturally significant celebrations in Christendom and the Western world. It is widely observed as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of Christmas Day.xmasKAL (2)

One reason celebrations occur on Christmas Eve is that the traditional Christian liturgical day starts at sunset, an inheritance from Jewish tradition. This practice is based on Creation's story in the Book of Genesis: "And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day." This structure for the liturgical day is followed for all feast days throughout the year in the Eastern rite. It is retained for Christmas (as well as for Sundays and other major festivals) in the West, where the liturgical day ordinarily begins at midnight. Many churches still ring their church bells and hold prayers in the evening before the holidays; for example, the Nordic Lutheran churches. In some languages, such as the Scandinavian, Christmas Eve is simply referred to as "Christmas Evening."

Since Christian tradition holds that Jesus was born at night (based on Luke 2:6-8), Midnight Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve, traditionally at midnight, in commemoration of his birth.Santa Cake

In the Philippines, this custom lasts for nine days, starting on December 16 and continuing daily up to December 24, during which Filipinos attend dawn Masses, usually starting at around 4:00–5:00 am. In 2009 Vatican officials scheduled the Midnight Mass to start at 10 pm so the 82-year-old Pope Benedict XVI would not have too late a night.

Whilst not performing any kind of Mass per se, the Church of Scotland has a Watchnight (similar to the one on Hogmanay) service beginning just before midnight, wherein carols are sung.

On Christmas Eve, the Christ Candle in the Advent wreath center is traditionally lit in many church services. In candlelight services, while singing Silent Night, each member of the congregation receives a candle and passes along their flame, which is first received from the Christ Candle.

Lutherans traditionally practice Christmas Eve Eucharistic traditions typical of Germany and Scandinavia.

Methodists celebrate the evening in different ways. Some, in the early evening, come to their church to celebrate Holy Communion with their families. The mood is very solemn, and the only visible light is the Advent Wreath and the candles upon the Lord's Table. Others celebrate the evening with services of light, which include singing the song "Silent Night" as a variety of candles (including personal candles) are lit. Other churches have late evening services at 11 pm, so the church can celebrate Christmas Day together with bells ringing at 12 am. Others offer Christmas Day services, as well.

The annual "Nine Lessons and Carols" broadcast from King's College, Cambridge, has established itself as one of the signs that Christmas has begun in the United Kingdom on Christmas Eve. [It is broadcast outside the UK via the BBC World Service and is also bought by broadcasters worldwide.]

In The Washington Post, the first reference to a “Christmas Candlelight Service” is December 22, 1929, at 4 pm at the YWCA.

A 1931 Post newspaper article includes this description of a church service: “From the rear of the church the vested choir approaches, each bearing a tall candle. The whole church is then lighted only by the rays of the candles in the candelabra on the alter, those in each window and the ones carried by the choir.” Sometime after this date, it became common in protestant worship services for everyone to hold and light a candle on Christmas eve.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Christmas Eve is referred to as Paramony ("preparation"). It is the concluding day of the Nativity Fast and is celebrated as a day of strict fasting by those devout Orthodox Christians who are physically capable of doing so. Nothing is eaten in some traditions until the first star appears in the evening sky, in commemoration of the Star of Bethlehem.

On Christmas Eve in 1914 and 1915, unofficial Christmas truces began in the World War I fighting. German soldiers lit candles and sang Christmas carols. On the other side, British troops responded by singing English carols. Soldiers from both sides shouted greeting and visited each other, sometimes exchanging small gifts. On Christmas Eve in 1968, astronauts of Apollo 8 read from the creation story in the Book of Genesis. This was widely broadcast on television.xmasKAL (4)

Christmas in most homes begins on the evening of December 24th, where excited young children are encouraged to go to bed early to not miss out on gifts from Santa Claus.

Christmas Eve in the United States is a combination of a lot of traditions. Some families open presents Christmas Eve night, go to church, or have different dinners, like ham, goose, etc.

Traditions in other parts of the world include;

The idea that animals have the power of speech at midnight on Christmas Eve. This superstition exists in various parts of Europe, and no one can hear the beasts talk with impunity.

There is also a French belief that on Christmas Eve, while the genealogy of Christ is being chanted at the Midnight Mass, hidden treasures are revealed.

In Russia all sorts of buried treasures are supposed to be revealed on the evenings between Christmas and the Epiphany, and on the eves of these festivals the heavens are opened, and the waters of springs and rivers turn into wine.


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