Celebrate Your Way

Call us cheesy. Call us old-fashioned.

We unabashedly love the holidays, and we’re not afraid to admit it. The songs, the parties, the food: bring it on! Every last card, cookie, and carol. Just give us a minute to put on this ugly sweater…

The end of the year is time for celebration. A time to appreciate all that we have, from the roof over our heads to the warm socks on our feet. It is a season spent surrounded by people that most often put a smile on our faces; who bring out the best of us and make us feel at home.

It is the time of year when words like ‘hustle’ and ‘bustle’ don’t bother us so much. The holidays go by fast; so fast in fact that if we’re not careful, we’ll blink and realize that the the champagne toasts are over, and it’s time to get back to the harsh reality that comes with the 2nd of January.

That is why holiday traditions are so important. Whether you light the menorah, place a star on top of the tree, or settle in for a grand karamu feast, your traditions take you back in time, remind you who you are. They help each of us realize the things that truly matter in our lives. Perhaps most important, they remind us of what it was like to see life through the eyes of a child.  When the doubt and apprehension that comes with adulthood didn’t exist, and only hope and possibility could shape the world around us.

So before December comes to a close, we thought we’d look at some of the great holiday traditions from around the world. Heck, it’s never too late to start something new.

Mari Lwyd – Wales

It’s late December. You hear a knock on the door – who could it be? Oh, it’s just an elaborately decorated horse’s skull attached to a long wood pole and covered by a sheet! Fear not, it’s only the Mari Lwyd (or the Grey Mare) and her party of revelers. Think of this tradition like a Welsh rap battle – the half dozen or so visitors engage the residents of the home or pub on whose door they knocked in a singing and rhyming contest. If they win, they are welcomed inside for good luck (and more merriment).

Photo Courtesy of This Is Gower

 

La Quema del Diablo – Guatemala

The Guatemalan’s have no time for snow – La Quema del Diablo (The Burning of the Devil) is all about ending the year with a blaze. Typically held on or around December 7, people sweep their homes and collect trash in order to basically create a massive heap of garbage in the street. The pile is then topped with an effigy of the Devil, and set aflame! Only then can the Christmas traditions begin, as the year has now been cleansed of negative energy and evil spirits.

 

Photo Courtesy of Soy502

Befana – Italy

Move over St. Nick. In Italy, once the sun sets on January 5 (or Epiphany Eve), it’s time for a visit from the Christmas Witch, known affectionately as Befana. A kind and benevolent witch, she delivers toys, clothing, and candy to well-behaved children. Just one thing – you can forget the milk and cookies. Adults traditionally leave a hearty plate of broccoli and sausage out for Befana, accompanied by a hearty glass of wine (that’s our kind of girl!).

 

Photo Courtesy of napolidavivere

Christmas – Australia

What’s the big deal? They celebrate Christmas like plenty of other people, and it even takes place on the 25th! While Australians may share most of the holiday traditions that we do stateside, consider this: December is smack dab in the middle of summer Down Under. With no chance of a White Christmas, Aussies head straight to the beach, where they typically celebrate being together by swimming and playing a game of volleyball (JEALOUS).

 

Photo Courtesy of abc.net.au

Around the world, each of these traditions has one thing in common: they are celebrations of hope, togetherness, and new beginnings. We hope that you spend the next couple of weeks with those you love, looking forward to the future.

Happy Holidays from d’aprile properties!

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