One of the things I enjoy most about this feature is introducing readers to artists with whom they may be unfamiliar. In this case, gifted theatrical performer Hadley Fraser’s performance from his holiday show a couple of years ago perfectly fills the bill.
By the way, the answer at our house this year is “staying home,” as we’re both recovering from the cold that followed me home from Louisiana and refused to leave.
I wish all of you a safe and happy New Year’s celebration.
Hi, everyone. I hope your holiday season has been safe, peaceful and enjoyable. I’ve been a trifle under the weather; my husband and I are both suffering from head colds. Nevertheless, we’ve been having a relaxing time and enjoying our blessings.
Blogmas isn’t quite done for me. December 26 sees us with two holiday celebrations to consider.
The first is Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day. If you remember the words of “Good King Wenceslas,” you’ll recall that the Bohemian leader was walking among his subjects on “the feast of Stephen,” distributing largesse. This is where the tradition of Boxing Day comes in. Household servants would be given a box of food and clothing the day after Christmas. Nowadays, this UK tradition usually sees people like the postman being given a gift. Based on the legend of Wenceslas, the tradition of distributing largesse on this day goes all the way back to the 10th Century, when the man was murdered and martyred.
St. Stephen’s day is an official public holiday in several regions, including the Republic of Ireland, Catalonia, Denmark, Finland, and several others. You can learn more about it at this link.
Kwanzaa, which begins today and runs through Jan. 1, is an entirely modern tradition. Established in 1966, the celebration acknowledge the African diaspora, and celebrates African-American culture in the United States. The word kwanzaa derives from the Swahili matunda ya kwanza, which means “first fruits of the harvest.”
Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba—the seven principles of African Heritage), which Karenga said “is a communitarianAfrican philosophy,” consisting of what Karenga called “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.” These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili word meaning “common”. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:
Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
Irish folk singer Seamus Kennedy is one of my very favorite performers. This song tells the story of a true incident that took place during World War I. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate song for Christmas Eve than this one, with its message of peace and friendship.
I have watched this video several times and literally laugh aloud every time. This group of kids lip-synching The Stamps’ “Christmas Carols of Love” during the Florence Baptist Temple’s 2011 Living Christmas Tree is just delightful.