Strega Nona Entertaining: Conjuring Creative Fun

From recipes to rituals, I will kindly divine the perfect celebration for you!

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Solstice Shindig 2012

This is going to be a banner year for Winter Solstice parties. If superstitious, you can choose to use the following theme on December 21. Or, opt to do a quiet solo meditation on that date. Then when you're still around to enjoy 2013, have a "The Mayans Were Misinformed" hootenanny to ring in the new year.

According to Lee Cart in the Suite 101 website article, "The Sacred Colors of the Ancient Maya," (January 20, 2011), the Mayan colors were red for the east and the birth of the sun, yellow for the south, black for death and the west, and white for north. You can construct an altar with a blue green candle for a centerpiece, as this was the fifth color and direction, believed to connect the other four cardinal elements. Incidentally, east/red was seen as the most important and should be placed at the typical north spot of your construction. Sacred plants and foods to the Mayans were wild corn, bees, flowers and beans. Choose one of each of these items to place at its corresponding color and direction– I would opt for yellow honey instead of actual bees, though.

Clare Green's, "The Ancient Maya Diet," (July 23, 2009) at the Discover Chichenitza website contains helpful menu ideas. Some of the staple foods of the Mayan diet that Green lists are: corn, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, pineapple, shrimp, avocado, and chocolate. You can use heat and serve products from your local organic food store or try out out some of the fun recipes here:

Serve up tamales with different colored tortilla and sweet potato chips. Compliment with homemade guacamole, salsa, and a pumpkin chutney dipping sauce. Add some sweetness by creating a fruit plate prominently featuring pineapple, and garnish with dark chocolate containing chili peppers. Go with a Spanish Cava for your bubbly, and have a signature drink at the ready. Here is a fun recipe from the I Drink site for a "Maya Sacrifice:"

1 pinch Amaretto
1 wetting of rum
1 shot of tequila

Mix together with crushed ice in a glass and garnish with mint leaves. Note: they do have versions of this that you can set on fire available on the Web, but I tend to like to keep flames mixed with alcohol to a minimum at large shindigs for safety reasons.

Echo the colors in your altar by stringing red lights throughout your place. Decorate with black helium balloons. When you get ready to count down, have those who wish to participate grab one for a "balloon sacrifice" to simultaneously pop in lieu of noisemakers at midnight!

For music you can mix an "endings and beginnings" party compilation, kicking off with the always catchy, "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," by R.E.M.

Have your guests participate in a post balloon sacrifice "endings and beginnings" ritual as well. Give them each a piece of scrap paper write on and a pen. On one side they should state what they want to let go or end, the other what they wish to begin for the new year. After casting a sacred circle, everyone should light a match and say, "With this sacred flame I burn away what I no longer need, and spark the ember of what I want to start."

They should then carefully place every match one at a time in a fire safe container along with their slip of paper. Return to the circle and hold hands. End with my old drama club favorite: the leader starts the silent power circle squeeze, sending the good energy around the circle clockwise until it comes back to them in the form of a squeeze to their opposite hand. Send the energy into the center, and everybody helps extinguish the flames.

Ground the circle, turn up your party mix and dance your ya-ya's out!

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Colleen DuVall has written articles, plays, short films, and a novel. Most recently, her work has been featured in her new blog, Off The Beaten Path for the Shepherd Express online (, and the Wisconsin Life radio show for WPR. She recently adopted a little grey and white cat named Tessa, after beloved 22-year-old Bootise passed on.


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