Friday, December 18, 2009

(Belated) Advent Calendar 11 Dec: Other Traditions

Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Did your immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions from their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned?

We didn't really celebrate any other traditions.  When I was little, we had neighbors who were like grandparents to me and one of them was Jewish (and actually moved to Israel a few years ago).  So she taught me a little about Hanukkah growing up.  When they moved they gave us their menorah candles so I think that was the first time we lit the menorah we had.  My parents used to work in Saudi Arabia and one year they won a menorah in a raffle there.  For some reason this menorah only has seven holders so it isn't very authentic.  A few years ago we got a proper menorah which is displayed in my parents home along with the Buddhist and other religious mementos they have. 

I don't know that my immigrant ancestors had any special traditions though I sure they must have.  Whatever Christmas traditions they brought from the old country, they've been lost now.  I'd especially like to know how my Italian grandmother and her family celebrated Christmas, but I'm not holding my breathe until I find out.  Since Christmas trees are a fairly new invention to hit the mainstream, I'd also like to know how my ancestors celebrated Christmas before trees became cannon.  Probably the only ancestors I wouldn't want to spend Christmas with would be the pilgrims.  Frigid weather and no celebrating aren't my idea of a fun holiday.

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