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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in holiday

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Pagan Do Not Labor Day Picnic

I've always strongly felt that "Labor Day" should read, "Do Not Labor Day," on the calendar. In fact, I usually mark it as such on my own and in my planner. Besides celebrating the hard-earned rights of workers, that is what this holiday is all about, right? We all need some relaxation time – to give ourselves permission to do nothing except decompress. This weekend, besides a small birthday lunch for my brother, I plan on celebrating the season finale of "Twin Peaks: The Return." I will do this with a bottle of, as Gordon Cole would exclaim, "fine Bordeaux!" Aside from that, what else can we Pagan-minded folk partake in, that is both relaxing and none-too-taxing? Well –

There's nothing quite like the simple joy of a picnic on a pretty day that brings your breathing rate right back to normal. Go on a short hike first and by all means, enjoy the last hurrah of summertime. A romantic picnic for two could make it all the less stressful. If you should start feeling frisky in a secluded spot in the woods, who am I to stop you (wink).

You can always pack the easy go-tos, such as fresh fruit, veggies, and various sandwiches. If you feel like upping your picnic game though, one of my favorite French chefs, Daniel Boulud, has some great suggestions for doing just that. If you must have your sandwiches, try his take on this staple, referred to as, "pain surprise." This would be a loaf of hollowed out wheat bread, stuffed with cream cheese and smoked salmon – what's not to love about that? Or how about Boulud's idea of dessert: An apricot puff pastry tart with three cheeses to choose from! For more Chef Boulud inspirations, follow the links listed at the end of this article.

Most importantly, bring plenty of hydrating liquids, "con gas or sin gas." A little mineral water always makes a simple occasion feel more festive to me – also more in touch with my European roots. If it floats your boat too, by all means, go for it. So chillax, already. Times like these are rare indeed. Set aside one day not to do work of any kind. No housework, no homework, no take home office projects. We should seize these rare excuses not to labor away. We should soak them up to savor while we can, in low-key style.

References:

http://www.bonappetit.com/people/chefs/slideshow/daniel-boulud-perfect-french-picnic
http://www.bonappetit.com/people/chefs/article/daniel-boulud-picnic
Photo by nenetus at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Candle to Light the Way

Growing up, my mother used to have white candles in the every window at Christmas time.  I remember loving how it looked.  Our traditions was different from most of the other people I know.  

Christmas eve my siblings and I went to the barn with my father.  Cows were milked, fed, tended.  None of us could go to the house.  We weren't allowed to go outside to play.  We all had to stay in the barn while the chores were being done.  My mother stayed in the house.  As an adult, I know she was prepping the house, gifts, and stockings for us.  As a child I thought it was magical.  

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
HOLIDAY PARTY ON ICE

An odd mix of emotions can flood us during the stretch between the Winter Solstice and the coming New Year. Missing those who we have lost, fretting about what we haven't yet accomplished, or just feeling blue about finances in general can all be commonplace. Sometimes the best remedy for this is breaking out of your normal routine and challenging your safety zone. I've always been a better roller skater than an ice skater, but my weak ankles won't keep me from doing my best at a cold winter rink.

Whether outdoors or in, just the clean fresh sound of those blades cutting their way through the ice is enough to wake up your senses and reenergize you. Many rinks offer their ice for free, and only charge for skate rental. For ideas of where to visit, check out my list of Midwest area resources below. If you have your own pair of blades collecting dust in the basement, all the better reason to clean them off and get going. Bundle you and your adventurous buddies up and glide around for at least an hour. Ice skating offers a lot of healthy benefits, according to Bonnie Schiedel at besthealthmag.ca. It's a low-impact sport, and good for strengthening your balance. Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid a stiff fall on your tailbone. If you do feel yourself starting to topple, it is safer to do so on your side, protecting the back of your head and your aforementioned butt. Don't worry about spinning out or looking silly. You're all in this together, and you never worried about that as a kid, right? Did you know that ice skating can burn a minimum of 387 calories, if you stay out for that whole hour? All the better reason to grab a Rum Hot Toddy or Irish Coffee after. If you haven't gotten your fill of cool treats for the night, indulge in one of those naughty spiked ice cream drinks, like a Grasshopper. Green crème de menthe equals a little cup of holiday heaven.

Resources:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/the-fitness-benefits-of-ice-skating

http://county.milwaukee.gov/RedArrow11930.htm?docid=11930

http://thepettit.com/public-skate/

http://madisonice.maxgalaxy.net/Schedule.aspx?ID=5&GUID=c01e0143-2d57-4b00-86f1-4c041eca0663

http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/millennium_park10.html

http://www.thedepotminneapolis.com/ice-rink.php

http://www.claytonmo.gov/page392.aspx

http://www.bryantscocktaillounge.com/Home.html

"White Countryside" photo by dan at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Yule Tarot Tree

Much magick is born in the moment of necessity. This month, my immediate need was to find something interesting to entertain and enlighten my monthly community tarot group.

I don’t always like to take credit for my great ideas, because often they don’t feel like my own. Often, they feel like a gift from the Universe.

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Ahimsa Grove: Vegan Pagan Thanksgiving Food, Family, and Gratitude

 

Like the Sabbat of Mabon, the secular holiday of Thanksgiving gives us a chance to sit down with loved ones and enjoy a meal. The bounty of the table is essentially an altar where the abundance in all aspects of our lives is symbolized. It may be bounty that we have, or bounty that we aspire to. Vegan Pagans add the component to this ritual of aspiring to be deeply aware of where each recipe ingredient comes from. Though we are as imperfect in this pursuit as everyone else, we seek to practice harmlessness toward others. Therefore a turkey’s body will not be at the center of our altar. We will seek to eliminate other animal-derived products, as well. Many of us will also take fair trade and other consumer issues into consideration. Is it all too overwhelming?

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Time-Policing Our Holidays: Or, Why Americans on Social Media Are Hating On Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin spice.

1. What is it?

A mix of spices used in autumn harvest celebration foods, including pumpkin pie, apple pie, apple pastry, apple crisp, squash pie, pear crisp, and things that are supposed to taste like them, for example, spiced cider, spiced hard cider, spiced coffee, spiced wine, spiced mead, and spiced ice cream.

The basic spices are:
cinnamon
ginger
cloves
nutmeg
(allspice, sometimes)
(cardamom, sometimes)

So, for those of you outside the USA, it's basically the same spices as Lebkuchengewürz except without the coriander and star anise. When one sees a Facebook meme mocking pumpkin spice that starts with "white girls be like" they are referring to the fact that this holiday spice mixture is similar to a German holiday spice mixture. The idea behind those memes is that only Germanic descended people go nuts over this flavor, but that's really not true. All kinds of Americans like pumpkin pie and apple pie.

2. Why is it a seasonal flavor?

It's used to flavor things made from seasonal produce like pumpkins and apples. The harvest seasons for pumpkins, squashes, apples, pears, and so forth in the USA extend from August to December, since different vegetables and fruits come on at different times and the USA is so large that it has many different climates with different dates of the onset of frost.

3. Why are people mocking it?

Americans have been conditioned to time-police our holidays by observing the practice of our large corporations to start selling holiday related merchandise while another holiday is still coming up (for example, putting out Christmas decorations before Halloween), and in the case of Christmas, the practice of piping holiday music into the stores starting so early that it is nearly universally acknowledged that it reaches homicidal levels of annoying by the time the actual holiday rolls around. Americans think September is too early to start selling harvest celebration flavors. The people are attempting to time-police our corporations over it and shame each other into not supporting the practice by purchasing the product too early. The purpose of this social shaming is to cause the public to wait to make holiday purchases until the correct holiday season, and thus to cause market pressure to influence corporations to wait to attempt to sell holiday products until the correct holiday season.

4. Why are people saying it's "too early"?

To understand why Americans think selling a harvest celebration flavor almost precisely on the date of the autumnal equinox is "too early" one must first realize that the USA has an official national holiday to celebrate harvest in November, Thanksgiving. It's not celebrated in other countries at all, but it's actually our biggest national holiday -- at least for adults. Kids get a week off for Christmas and Easter, but adults only get 1 day for those if they work at a place that closes for national holidays, or if they work at a place where they can request religious holidays off and have requested the Christian set of holidays, but we get two days for Thanksgiving, a Thursday and a Friday, making for a 4 day weekend for those who get weekends off. It's the only national holiday that's more than one day.

5. Where can I learn more?

To read more about the origin, functions, importance, and modern practices surrounding Thanksgiving, and other holidays celebrated in the USA, see my book American Celebration.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Celebration-Erin-Lale/dp/1304916138/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1442241709&sr=8-20&keywords=Erin+Lale

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    The local Barnes & Noble had pumpkin spice muffins this Saturday. They even had free samples to entice people to buy them. I had

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Celebrating Ostara

American Asatru has a major holiday that does not exist in Icelandic Asatru, which is Ostara. Ostara is the heathen and pagan Easter. Because Easter is a major cultural holiday in the USA, with many holiday traditions in which people of all faiths participate, it has also become a major holiday among many American pagans and heathens. Like many of the seemingly secular traditions surrounding Christian holidays, Easter has pagan roots. 

Ostara is the Germanic spelling of Eostre, the English goddess name that developed into the word Easter. A goddess of spring and dawn, Ostara's sphere of influence is the fertility of animals, as exemplified by the fertility symbols the bunny and the egg. The holiday of Ostara can be celebrated on the Spring Equinox, or for a few weeks after. The American secular holiday tradition of hiding dyed chicken eggs and then having the children hunt for them replicates the way real farmers hunt for the eggs of free range chickens. 

The Easter Egg symbol is used in different ways by different individual heathens and pagans and by different heathen and pagan groups. Some families do the traditional American Easter Egg Hunt for their children. Like other Americans and some Europeans, they might dye or decorate the eggs at home, a project in which children can participate. Others buy candies in the shape of eggs, chicks, and bunnies as substitutes for the real thing.

Some kindreds fill blown eggs with confetti and break them on each other's heads to bless each other. There was a group in California that had an annual Ostara campout at which eggs and nickels were placed in a replica Viking longship, and the boat was set on fire and launched into the Pacific Ocean as a sacrifice to the sea goddess, Ran. 

Find out more about American holidays in my book American Celebration: http://www.amazon.com/American-Celebration-Erin-Lale/dp/1304916138/ref=la_B004GLACQQ_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425318146&sr=1-3

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