Sunday, December 20, 2009

winter celebrations

My family flows from one celebration to another in December. I'm always curious about how other families build their traditions. I thought I'd share a tiny bit about ours. For us, Chanukah's emphasis is on the magic of lighting the candles with prayer and then singing festive songs. About five years ago we spontaneously choreographed a little dance to Sevivon. We've done this dance (while singing) each of the eight nights ever since. It's a silly one, and we all love it. It's our special family dance, not that we haven't shared it with others, but it feels like our unique tradition. We do open gifts, but it isn't the focus and I'm grateful for that.
Tomorrow we will celebrate the Winter Solstice, Yule: the shortest day of the year and the slow return of the sun. One of the ways we honor this day is by lighting a candle to signify the light and warmth of the sun and by singing our favorite sun songs... as you can see, we really like to light candles and sing. Next, we peel an orange for it's wonderful symbolism. We pass it around, taking a section and sharing our favorite memory of the sun over the past year. Then the person sharing eats their slice... tasting a bit of sunshine in each bite. We go around a couple of times. Our candle is by a local company, Sunbeam, that uses solar power to create their wares. Perfect. My son is an accomplished pianist and this year he will play a wonderful version of Here Come the Sun, while he and his sister sing along. I'm so looking forward to it!

These are not elaborate traditions, but they are meaningful and memorable to us. Happy Winter! Pin It

17 comments:

  1. What wonderful, special, heartfelt celebrations you have. Thank you for sharing such tender moments from your family. Absolutely beautiful. Many happy holiday wishes and warm hugs to you and your family!
    Jenny

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  2. We love that song, too! Happy Soltice celebration.

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  3. Thank you for sharing that! That is one of our favourite sing along car songs. Christmas light and joy to you too
    Ange

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  4. Happy Chanukah - the holiday that teaches us to never give up, even (or maybe especially) when things appear hopeless. And Happy Solistice too. And while we're at it, Happy ChrismaHannuKwanzaaDiwalEid... -mas!
    Best wishes for a lovely holiday season and a new year filled with love and laughter, health and happiness, peace and prosperity, and many happy returns.

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  5. oh how i relish the comings and goings of family celebration here..thank you for sharing

    a card for you here

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  6. what beautiful family traditions!!!

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  7. Hey Maya, I am an avid reader of your blog and I've loved your posts. I have a question that you don't have to answer. I was wondering what is the history behind Chanukah I've herad of Hanukkah, but am not sure what the history behind both of them are. My email address is amandashockey777@hotmail.com.
    A. Shockey

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  8. Thanks everyone! Amanda, check out Wikipedia's answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah
    warm wishes to you all!

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  9. I now have to go find Here Comes the Sun in my itunes! I love the orange idea. This is our first year celebrating solstice. It seems a little empty 'cause it's now really a tradition yet, but you have to start somewhere, huh! Have a wonderful celebration!

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  10. It sounds lie your traditions are wonderful and something your children will love to pass on to their children. Just like traditions are meant to be. Happy Happy Chanukah and Winter Solstice!

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  11. Wow, amazed how similar my post was today as yours, we're doing the holiday go round too! Happy Hanukkah & Solstice!

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  12. I love the symbolism of light and candles so much during Hanukah that I used to "wish" I was of Jewish faith. I have even imagined my father to be secretly a Polish Jew that once he immigrated to Canada had decided to keep it a secret even from his family. More about my theory behind this another day.
    My son is celebrating the winter solstice tonight with his close friends and a few family members tonight and I will be with them in spirit while I have a little wrapping marathon.

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  13. Here comes the Sun, doot n do do! We've had lots of cloudy days in a row and I'd love to see Mr. Sun. I love your traditions. What precious memories you are creating for your children.

    Jody

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  14. Winter is a season and feeling of cold and shivering.Wearing trendy sweaters and sleeping under a blanket are the sweet and lovely preparations and memories of winter.

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  15. Happy belated Winter Solstice! Very rewarding to read about other folks' untraditional traditions! I pledge to come up with my own term next year for MY holiday celebration! Enjoy this time with your family & friends! Cheers, Julie

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  16. Happy Chanukah! I did not know we shared this background. Yofi (Hebrew for Yippie). I'd love to share my Chanukah photo with you of grandpa lighting the menorah with our two five year old grandchildren, the same who got your gift bag for nature collecting, and with whom I share many of your art projects. It's in my banner as well as part of my Chanukah post. http://lynn-nonameblog.blogspot.com.

    Happy Solistice too.

    PS. Love the embroidery with kids post below this one and will check out that book and start this as next project with the grand kids. they have already started sewing on fabric by hand, and the little girl designed and sewed her first art quilt. (age five).

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