Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Our Celebrations

 I find that life is much more full when we find things to celebrate on a regular basis. While many people talk about feeling stressed during "the holiday season" of November and December, I find the celebratory spirit uplifting and exciting. Celebrations do not (in fact should not) have to mean stress! They can be simple and still be joyful and uplifting without being elaborate or complicated. Our family has ancestors from many countries, so on the national day of each of those countries we have an authentic meal from that place. That is no more stressful than making dinner on any other day of the year, except that I'm learning a few new recipes (which we like to do anyway!) On the equinoxes and solstices we mark the passage of the year and the beginning of a new season by having a potluck with friends.
There are so many days in the year where we celebrate that I thought I'd put together a little calendar here as a sort of index. I've been trying to document them more here with photos this last year especially, so anything that I've posted about has a link (and anything that does not have a link, well, I'll work on making more posts this year!) ☺
As a note, we are Christian, so we celebrate Christian holidays. We celebrate national holidays of the USA, and family birthdays and anniversaries. As I mentioned above, we also celebrate (a little) the national holidays of our heritage. You may also notice several traditional Pagan holidays on this list (the 8 "quarter days" and "cross-quarter days" of the wheel of the year). We do not find this to be in conflict with our Christianity at all, and I have written about that in some more detail. (You can also follow more detail of integrating LDS and pagan holidays at MotherWheel)

1--New Year's Day/Hogmanay
16--Bear's birthday
22--Hubby's birthday

2--Imbolc/Candlemas ~ making candles, candlelit medieval meal (no electric lights, no utensils, just simple food eaten with our hands)
14--Valentine's Day

17--St Patrick's Day (national day of Ireland) ~ Irish meal
21ish--Spring Equinox/Ostara ~ Spring cleaning + eggs, bunnies, lambs (for dinner, as cookies, etc)

1--April Fool's Day ~ crazy dinner (we don't play jokes on anybody)
(varies)--Easter/Resurrection Day ~ all about Jesus, no baskets, no eggs (that stuff was on Ostara)
6--Jesus' birthday
23--St George's Day (national day of England) ~ English meal

    mid--Mother's Day
    17--Norwegian Constitution Day (aka Syttende Mai) ~ Norwegian meal

      5--Danish Constitution Day ~ Danish meal
      6--Swedish National Day ~ Swedish meal
      12--Russia Day ~ Russian meal
      15--Wolf's birthday
      mid--Father's Day
      20--Family Birthday ~ celebrate the beginning of our family, usually with a big family gift (such as camping equipment)
      21ish--Summer Solstice ~ dutch oven/fire-cooked potluck with bonfire and staying up late

        14--Quatorze Juillet (national holiday of France) ~ French meal
        22--my birthday!

        24--Mormon Pioneer Day


        21ish--Autumnal Equinox/Mabon ~ Pie night (usually held on the nearest weekend)
        22--Bilbo and Frodo Baggins' birthday ~ a hobbity dinner

        3--German Unity Day (national holiday) ~ German meal

          12--Eagle's birthday
          30--St Andrew's Day (national holiday of Scotland) ~ Scottish meal

            6--Finnish Independence Day ~ Finnish meal
            6--St Nicholas Day
            20--Our Wedding Anniversary
            21ish--Winter Solstice/Midwinter/Yule ~ soup potluck with family/friends, or a solstice spiral
            23--Lil Juleaften ("Little Christmas Eve")
            24--Christmas Eve
            31--New Year's Eve


              PaTcHwOrK jEnN said...

              Can you explain family birthday? At first I thought it was your anniversary then I kept reading...So do explain. Thanks.

              Jenni said...

              Sure. Family Birthday is a simple idea, it's just the date we do it that's complicated.

              When I was a kid, my parents instigated Family Birthday on their anniversary (in July) because 2 of their first 3 kids had birthdays within a month of Christmas. So Family Birthday was something like a mini-christmas... there were little presents for everyone and it helped the winter-birthday folks pass the loooong year between present-receiving-occasions.

              My husband has a January birthday, and when he heard the idea he LOVED it. The only catch was that our anniversary is December 20!! So we opted to do it on June 20, which was the date that we knew we were getting married (the official ring/proposal was a couple of weeks later, but we figure our 'family' started from the time when we knew).
              Rather than individual presents though, we have opted to get a family item, since it's the birthday of our family.

              Open and Shut Case said...

              i totally thought of you the other day. i had a ton of apples that were past the point of delciious snacking on their own so i cut them up and froze them to make a pie with. i thought it was a resourceful use instead of throwing them out. i really hate applei pie but my family loves it. i then commented about how i wish my family liked a different pie more than apple (they beg me to make it weekly) and someone chided me by saying i should just go to marie callendar's instead of baking from scratch. nah, i was proud of myself for using them up!

              Jen said...

              Dear Jenni - I'm so grateful for your list of celebrations (and for your blog!)! The little bookshop that I'm opening is going to celebrate books each day based on national holidays and people's birthdays - yours'll be super fun to add to my (rather obsessive) Excel spreadsheet! Thank you! - Jenny

              P.S. I really, truly have been enjoying perusing your blog - we live in sorta opposite sides of the universe, but I feel such a sense of resonance with your energy. - J

              nicole said...

              I agree that holidays and traditions are critically important for happy family life... especially for kids! It gives us something to look forward to, and a special sense of unity- that we're all in this celebration together.

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