Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winter Holidays and Traditions

Teach your child to respect other people's traditions and cherish her own.

The month of  December, or rather the winter season, is observed by people

 in many parts of the world as  a time for observing many seasonal days. 
Most of  them are linked to the winter solstice in some 
way, especially in the northern hemisphere.

Hanukkah,  Christmas and Kwanzaa are the most well-known winter holidays celebrated in USA.
We should all celebrate the holidays of others around us in keeping with the spirit of the season.
 I have a multicultural family, my husband my children and me are fom Mexico, my daughter in law is from Poland;  we have  nieces whose husbands are from:  Korea, Lithuania, Italy and  
Turkey and, our friends are from all around the world.

Let me tell you something about our mexican traditions

The Biggest Holiday Tradition of Mexico are 

La Posadas," the remarkable buildup to Christmas Eve, is perhaps the most delightful and unique Mexican tradition. Beginning December 16th, it commemorates the events in the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

After dark, each night of the "Posada," a procession begins led by two children. The children carry a small pine-decorated platform bearing replicas of Joseph and Mary riding a burro. Other members of the company, all with lighted long slender candles, sing the "Litany of the Virgin" as they approach the door of the house assigned to the first "Posada." Together they chant an old traditional song and awaken the mast of the house to ask lodging for Mary. Those within the house threaten the company with beatings unless they move on. Again, the company pleads for admittance. When the owner of the house finally learns who his guests are, he jubilantly throws open the doors and bids them welcome. All kneel around the manger scene or "Nacimiento" and offer songs of welcome, Ave Marias and a prayer.

Now it's time of the "Pinata," refreshments and dancing. The "Pinata" is a pottery (or paper) container, brightly decorated and filled with candy and toys. It is hung from he ceiling or a tree. One by one, the children are blindfolded, turned around and instructed to strike the Pinata with a stick. Usually several attempts are made before the container is broken. Of course, when that happens, there is an explosion of goodies and a scattering of children.

On Christmas Eve another verse is added to the Ave Marias, telling the Virgin Mary that the desired night has come. Small children dressed as shepherds stand on either side of the nativity scene while members of the company kneel and sing a litany, after which the Christ Child is lulled to sleep with the cradle song, "El Rurru" (Babe in Arms).

At midnight the birth of Christ is announced with fireworks, ringing bells and blowing whistles. Devout worshipers surge into churches to attend the famous "Misa de Gallo" or "Mass of the Rooster." Following Mass, families return home for a tremendous dinner of traditional Mexican foods. The dishes vary with the different regions. However, somewhat common are the ,"tamales," rice, rellenos, "atole" (a sweet traditional drink) and "menudo," which is said to be more sobering than strong coffee.

Mexican children delight in the game where the "Pinata," a pottery or paper container, many times shaped like a bull or donkey, is filled with candy and suspended from the ceiling on a rope. Each child is blindfolded and attempts to break the Pinata with a stick or bat. The child who succeeds is the hero of the festival and the candy is shared by all

Polish customs, especially at Christmas time, are both beautiful and meaningful.  

oles are famous for their hospitality, especially during Christmas. In Poland, an additional seat is kept for somebody unknown at the supper table. No one should be left alone at Christmas, so strangers are welcomed to the Christmas supper. This is to remind us that Mary and Joseph were also looking for shelter. In Poland, several homeless people were interviewed after Christmas. Some of them were invited to strangers' houses for Christmas; others that were not asked inside the homes but were given lots of food.

The Breaking of the Oplatek
One of the most beautiful and most revered Polish customs is the breaking of the  oplatek. The use of the Christmas wafer (oplatek) is not only by native Poles in Poland but also by people of Polish ancestry all over the world.

The oplatek is a thin wafer made of flour and water. For table use, it is white. In Poland, colored wafers are used to make Christmas tree decorations. In the past, the wafers were baked by organists or by religious and were distributed from house to house in the parish during Advent. Today, they are produced commercially and are sold in religious stores and houses. Sometimes an oplatek is sent in a greeting card to loved ones away from home.

On Christmas Eve, the whole family gathers and waits impatiently for the appearance of the first star. With its first gleam, they all approach a table covered with hay and a snow-white tablecloth. A vacant chair and a place setting are reserved for an unexpected guest, always provided for in hospitable Polish homes.
The father or eldest member of the family reaches for the wafer, breaks it in half and gives one half to the mother. Then, each of them breaks a small part from each other's piece. They wish one another a long life, good health, joy and happiness, not only for the holiday season, but also for the new year and for many years to come. This ceremony is repeated between the parents and their children as well as among the children; then, the wafer and good wishes are exchanged with all those present, including relatives and even strangers. When this activity is over, they all sit down and enjoy a tasty though meatless supper, after which they sing koledy (Christmas carols and pastorals) until time for midnight Mass, also know as Pasterka ("the Mass of the Shepherds").

Hanukkah (sometimes transliterated Chanukkah) is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar.

In Hebrew, the word "hanukkah" means "dedication." The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States and Canada but also celebrated in the African Diaspora. The celebration honors African heritage in African Canadian and African-American culture, and is observed from December 26th to January 1st of each year, culminating in a feast and gift-giving.  

 It is ideological comprised of seven core principles (Nguzo Saba): Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. It was created by Maulana Karenga, and was first celebrated in 1966–67.

 Chinesse New Year

This is two-week winter holiday celebrated in the latter part of January or early part of February, or during the first lunar moon, by the Vietnamese, Koreans, and Chinese. In China this celebration is called Spring Festival, where it is marks the end of the winter season. It starts on the first day of the Chinese New Year and ends after fifteenth day, when the Lantern Festival is celebrated. The Korean New Year falls on the second new moon following the winter solstice. This celebration lasts for three days and is primarily a family oriented celebration. In Vietnam, like in China it heralds the arrival of spring. It is based on the Chinese calendar. Practices that are common to this celebrations are visiting friends and family, worshiping the ancestors, exchanging gifts, etc. People wear their best clothes and exchange gifts and food during this period.

These were some of the winter holidays around the world. If we have to closely examine these holidays, we will be able to conclude, there may not be a part of the world, which does not have some festival, celebration or event around the said time.

Merry Christmas!!!! Happy Holidays !!!!

The saying Happy Holidays includes all religions and cultures in its sentiment. It spreads good tidings to those who celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday.
 Happy Holidays also includes New Year's Day. This sentiment works both for people who celebrate for religious purposes and those who just enjoy the season for its own sake.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays used to be easily interchangeable. Everyone seemed to understand that the spirit of the wish was more important than the exact words said.  
Merry Christmas is felt to leave out too many people. Because of this, it has been abandoned by a lot of official institutions, such as governments and schools in the United States.

Merry Christmas!!!! Happy Holidays !!!!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why Handmade?

Why Handmade?   

Our friend Marsha Bourquin/Head Hag- Bags By Hags

explains some of the reasons in today post

Why Handmade?

Have you considered Handmade Items for your gift giving this year? 
Think you can get a better quality item from the big box stores? 
Think the people on your list would rather have something that is massed produced
 and everyone has one like it?

I am here to tell you all the reasons why you should MOST Definitely consider a Handmade Item this year.

  •  Higher Quality- no machine can take the pride in its work like an individual does.

  •  Handmade items are made with love - the creator usually puts a piece of themselves into the work.

  • A handmade item has a unique and special character that manufactured goods can never ever have. It has the life and breath of the maker flowing through it.

  • Handmade is unique and usually one-of-a-kind, the buyer is supporting the small business owners vs. the big companies that produce items with no care or love for the item or person purchasing the item.

  • Artists and Crafters put a little bit of themselves into their work. Everything they make has their own unique signature, be it a certain style, color palette, or stitch.

  • Buying handmade supports an individual doing a craft they love.

  • Because a real person took the time to make sure what they made was made with the utmost care and perfection. Nothing is more precious than one's time and each handmade gift is a gift of time

  • Customer Service - This is the big one for me, if you go into one of the big box stores and find something you like but want it in a different pattern, different length, or variations of the product, guess what? The selection available is what is on the shelf. Not with Handmade, most if not all Handmade Artists will bend over backwards to make the product you desire and insure your Custom Order is to your desire! 

Still not sure about buying Handmade?

 Well why not browse through this wonderful list of

talented Artist's?

 Here you will find Jewelry, Baby Quilts, Accessories, Home Decor, 

and more in fact I am almost positive you can find something

 for everyone on your list! 

Marsha Bourquin/Head Hag- Bags By Hags

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What is Halloween? And how did this originate?


What is Halloween? 

And how did this originate?   

Halloween, one of the world's oldest holidays, 
is still celebrated today in a number of countries around the globe. 

The word itself, "Halloween," actually has its origins in the Catholic Church.
 It comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve. 
November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), 
is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints
The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's 
by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine.

In Mexico and other Latin American countries, 
Día de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—
honors deceased loved ones and ancestors. 

In countries such as Ireland, Canada and the United States, 
adults and children alike revel in the popular Halloween holiday, 
which derived from ancient festivals and religious rituals.
Traditions include costume parties, trick-or-treating, pranks and games.

In Ireland, where Halloween originated, the day is still celebrated much 
as it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were 
in the days of the Celts, and all over the country, children get dressed up 
in costumes and spend the evening "trick-or-treating" in their neighborhoods.

Although it is unknown precisely where and when the phrase “trick or treat” was coined, 
the custom had been firmly established in American popular culture by 1951, 
when trick-or-treating was depicted in the Peanuts comic strip. 
In 1952, Disney produced a cartoon called “Trick or Treat” 
featuring Donald Duck and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie.

The custom of trick-or-treat is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, 
but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. 

On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village
 begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants. 
The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. 

At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, 
and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven.

The Jack-o-lantern custom probably comes from Irish folklore. 
As the tale is told, a man named Jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked Satan into climbing a tree. 

Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree's trunk, 

trapping the devil up the tree. 
Jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him again,
 he would promise to let him down the tree.

According to the folk tale, after Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven 

because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell 
because he had tricked the devil. 
Instead, the devil gave him a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. 
The ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer.

Monday, October 15, 2012

It is getting colder each day.

It is getting colder each day.

Winter scarfs, caps, hats and gloves, are really an essencial part of our cold time wardrobe.

The uniqueness of every individual hand made item is what's gives it a value. 
In a world that mass produces everything, everytime we make an item by hand, 
we are making one of a kind; we never can make two identical ones.
 I love to tell people that the hat or scarf I'm wearing, 
the hat my grandson is wearing  were custom-made for me.

 Winter hat sets with matching scarf and gloves 
are essential part of the wardrobe in the cold time.  

All scarves can provide warmth; 
knitted and crocheted scarves are casual and sporty, 
bulkier creations, like the cable-knit types, are very popular this time .

 Scarfs come in many size and shapes... 
Infinity scarfs, cowls, scarflettes, long skinny scarfs, buttoned scarfs, 
bulky cowls, moebius, circular scarfs etc.


Caps are popular among men,  and women

the most commonly seen types are baseball, truck-driver and newsboy caps. 


Beanies, dreadlocks and slouchy are unisex,

 and for women, 
the most popular are berets, cloches, ponytail hats, crocheted caps and fur hats. 
Ear flaps, are really popular this winter  

 can name them fingerless gloves, texting gloves, 
writting gloves, reading gloves, mittens, gautletts, wristlets, wristers,
 wrist warmers, hand warmers, driving gloves... 
They will help to protect your hands form the cold, 
yet let you carry on active lifestyle during winter months. 

You can see all the different items ToppyToppy offers to you here

 For custom orders, please contact me!
They can be made in any color and size as you request.


Monday, September 24, 2012

HMC Spooktacular Sale

  Hand Made Circle invites you to the

 HMC Spooktacular Sale ! 

Over 40 shops are offering you  wonderful hamdmade items.

 The special sale  runs from 24 September through  7 October.

 You can find discounts from 5% to 30%.  

Just use the special coupon code HMCSpooky at check out.

Individual shop discounts will be listed on each shop's etsy site.

HMCSPOOKY for 15% off in ToppyToppy

Augie and Lola Baby Boutique

Monday's Child Primitaves

The Prismatic Peacock