Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum, so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.
I once wanted to become an atheist,
but I gave up – they have no holidays.
– Henny Youngman
I love finding out about celebrations in other parts of the world. What people do to spread joy, express spirituality, or mark changes of the season, and why they do what they do, never cease to amaze and intrigue me.
In 1978, Chögyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Buddhist master, created Children’s Day, a special holiday for the Winter Solstice. The “King and Queen” of the mythical Kingdom of Shambala (which is mentioned in both Buddhist and Hindu texts) welcome and bless the children. Plays, songs, and poems celebrate the rebirth of the sun, and the beginning of winter. Unfortunately, most of the videos about Shambala Children’s Day on YouTube were done by parents at local celebrations, so I will spare you the motion sickness of their hand-held camerawork.
Apologies in advance for this first video’s chirpy narrator, but the stories she’s telling at warp speed are fascinating. The video starts out as an ad for KFC, but does give us information on nine actual traditions.
Here’s the list of weird traditions discussed:
- Japan – KFC “Holiday” Meals
- South Wales – Mari Lwyd (Gray Mare)
- Sweden – Goat vs. Fire
- Catalan Region, Spain – Christmas Log
- Caracas, Venezuela – Roller Skate to Mass
- Ukraine – Spiderwebs on Trees
- Norway – Hide Your Broom
- Oaxaca, Mexico – Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes)
- Greenland – Moldy Seal (warning: Eeuww!)
- Austria and Alpine areas – Krampus Night
I’m not sure why most of the holiday narrators I found are racing the clock, but this is a very quick summary of Hanukkah/Chanukah/Hanukah (or however you spell it — transliterations are a pain in the tuchas).