Christmas Haikus

Anfangs nur Weltschmerz.
Dann mit schnee kam Vorfreude,
fand ich Weihnachten.

R McKelvie XX

Je me promene lente
Vers les arbres couverts de neige
Et j’ecoute un chant.

La chorale chante lente
Un hymne pour les jours passés
J’adore la musique

Je rentre chez moi et
Je suis seul. Noël encore
Moi et moi tout seul.

Mein Ohren klingeln
Mit den Glocken der
Kirche Ein Tannenbaum schwankt.

Die Lichter glitzen
Und Kuchen und Kerstkranjes
Schmücken die Tisch.

Ich liebe Weihnachten
Und meine schöne straße
Und ich bin dankbar.

L Guard EB

Выпал первый снег,
Не сможет больше солнце,
Своим светом будить.

Mariia Sobolenko FB

Už sú Vianoce
Dostaneme darčeky
Budeme šťastní

Daniela Vaudrey FB

Im Lichterglanz des
bunt geschmückten Weihnachtsbaums
besinnen wir uns

Anne Wagner

Navidad en España — Abba Wada

Cada ano entre el 24 de diciembre y el 6 de enero, España cobra vida para celebrar. Las vacaciones de España son una mezcla de tradiciones cristianas y paganas. La Navidad se celebra el 25 de diciembre en honor al día del nacimiento de Jesús. El 6 de enero es una fiesta muy importante en España llamada El Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos, un día que no celebramos en Inglaterra. Cada año, el 22 de diciembre, se sortean los números ganadores de la muy popular Lotería de Navidad en España y los escolares los anuncian con canciones en la televisión en directo. En los meses previos a este evento, muchos españoles compran billetes de lotería y esperan a ver si su número tendrá suerte ese año.  Una vez que se han anunciado los premios de la lotería, las vacaciones han comenzado oficialmente y todos comienzan a hacer los preparativos finales para las grandes celebraciones. La Nochebuena se celebra el 24 de diciembre, generalmente se pasa en familia. Los católicos devotos van a la iglesia a la medianoche para honrar el nacimiento de Cristo con himnos y villancicos. El día de Navidad, el 25 de diciembre, las familias vuelven a reunirse para comer, pero no tanto como la noche anterior. Especialmente en familias con niños pequeños, que están más interesados ​​en saber qué regalos recibieron de Papá Noel. Incluso después del 25 de diciembre, todavía quedan muchas tradiciones navideñas españolas que mantener antes de fin de año. El 28 de diciembre, España celebra el Día de los Santos Inocentes (Día de los Santos Inocentes). Se celebra como una especie de Día de los Inocentes en España, cuando las personas se hacen bromas (bromas o inocentadas) entre sí.  31 de diciembre, último día del año. La Nochevieja (Nochevieja) se celebra con amigos.  Momentos antes de que el reloj marque la medianoche y comience el nuevo año. La gente se reúne en plazas o casas para comer las 12 uvas de la suerte (12 uvas de la suerte). Durante los últimos 12 segundos del año, todos comen 12 uvas para que la suerte esté de su lado durante todo el año que viene. El 5 de enero es un día muy emocionante para los miembros más jóvenes de una familia española. Durante toda la tarde, cada ciudad organiza un evento especial en el que grandes carrozas desfilan por las calles con músicos, artistas, personas disfrazadas y, lo más importante, los Tres Reyes Magos, quienes saludan a todos los niños de la ciudad. Después del desfile, las familias regresan a casa para cenar temprano para que los niños puedan limpiar sus zapatos y dejarlos en la sala de estar. De esta forma, cuando los Tres Reyes Magos visiten la casa en las primeras horas de la mañana, sabrán dónde dejar los regalos para cada miembro de la familia.  Cuando se despiertan la mañana del 6 de enero, los niños de toda España saltan de sus camas y corren al lugar donde dejaron sus zapatos la noche anterior para ver qué regalos les han dejado los Reyes Magos.

Thanksgiving Day in Japan (Kaede Sugano)

Origin and Traditions of Thanksgiving Day | Hotel Playa Mazatlan

When it comes to “Thanksgiving day”, what do you remind of? Most of you may imagine a table full of dishes, turkey, parades… etc. Those are classic ways of celebrating thanksgiving day in the US, which unfortunately suggested to be cancelled this year. Due to the global spread of COVID-19, most of the gatherings are cancelled in the US. Health experts worry that increased travel and mingling over Thanksgiving and into the December holidays could exacerbate an already dangerous situation as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising across.

However, do you know there is a similar customs in Japan? November 23rd is “Kinloh Kansha No Hi” (勤労感謝の日)in Japan, which is a national holiday to honor work and everything that has been accomplished by people’s hard working. Japanese thanksgiving day does not really involves festive stuff, rather they celebrates in the family.

In Japan, Thanksgiving day has originated from the “Nii-name Festival”(新嘗祭)which was a ceremony that honored the grain-rich food that had been around before 1945. It is similar to the American Thanksgiving, which comes from Pilgrims celebrating a good harvest.

On that day, kids often give handmade gifts to their mom and dad who are always working hard. They often make message cards with thank-you words or handmade mugs and so on. In addition, some companies may also give presents like gift certificates or items to express gratitude to the employees who are always working for the company.

It is an event so old that it is recorded in “Koji-ki” (Record of Ancient Matters), and it is a ceremony to “offer the new grains harvested in autumn to the gods to thank them for their rich blessings”. The word “new grain” is said to refer mainly to “new rice”, which means rice the first rice crop of the year. Thanks to God’s grace, Japanese enjoy the delicious new rice with gratitude.

New rice is rich in the natural sweetness and aroma of rice. Enjoying the natural flavor of the rice in its pure white form is a luxury, but if you add more flavor to it with broth and other ingredients in “takikomi gohan”(炊き込みご飯), the feeling of feast is inevitable! So, with the concept of enjoying a new rice with a new mood, we have picked up some popular “takikomi gohan” recipes with some novel ingredients.

【Ingredients】

450g Japanese short grain rice
150g Takenoko bamboo shoots
150g Renkon lotus root
100g Gobo burdock
4 Shiitake mushrooms
1 Carrot
1 Sachet dashi stock powder
600ml Water
2 tbsp Soy sauce
2 tbsp Sake
2 tbsp Mirin

【Recipe】

  1. Start by rinsing the rice in running water until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  2. Next, peel and slice the burdock root into thin slices. Soak the burdock root in water for 5 minutes along with the shiitake mushrooms. Remove and discard the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and slice the remaining part of the mushrooms, takenoko bamboo shoots, renkon lotus root, and carrots into small pieces.
  3. Add the sachet of dashi stock powder to 600ml water. Stir and bring to the boil. Add the shiitake mushrooms, burdock root, bamboo shoots, lotus root, and carrots and cook for 5 mins. Drain the vegetables and reserve the stock.
  4. Add the rice to your rice cooker or pan, then place the vegetables on top of the rice. Mix the dashi stock you drained and add some more water to make a total of 600ml. Pour the stock over the rice. Set the timer on your rice cooker to cook normally or follow our recipe for cooking Japanese rice if cooking in a saucepan. Once the rice is cooked, mix the vegetables and rice together well and serve.

Christmas in Hungary (ACL)

In Hungary, it is customary to eat a traditional dish called bejgli at Christmas time. This speciality, which is the essence of Christmas in Hungary, is made of yeast-raised dough is stretched thin and filled with either poppyseed or ground walnut filling, and rolled into cylinder shapes.

Budapest’s Christmas markets – particularly the most famous at Vörösmarty tér – have become part of the winter-time experience in the city. With vendors selling hot roasted chestnuts and the scent of mulled wine (forralt bor) wafting through the street, it makes this season one of the best times of the year to visit.

The Christmas season begins in Hungary with Mikulás-nap (St. Nicholas Day) on December 6th when children polish their shoes and set them on window sills in the hope that Miklós will fill them with small goodies during the night. For those who have misbehaved during the year, Mikulás’ helper, krampusz – a scary character who looks like a cross between a demon, a monster, and an elf – will instead leave switches.

In Hungary, Santa Claus does not arrive during the night of December 24th. Rather, Jézuska (baby Jesus) and his helpers (the angels) come on the evening of the 24th. Jézuska drops off presents for good children and also brings and decorates the Christmas tree, with help from the parents. When the tree is fully decorated, sparklers are lit and the traditional Christmas tune to sing together is Mennyböl az angyal.

No Hungarian Christmas tree is complete without a generous selection of szaloncukor, pieces of fondant or chocolate filled with marzipan or other ingredients and wrapped in colourful foil wrappers.

As it is customary to abstain from meat on Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve dinner revolves around fish. While every family has its own traditions and favourites, the meal most often starts with halászlé (fisherman’s soup), followed by whole roasted fish or breaded carp and potato salad. A Christmas day dinner is often stuffed cabbage with sour cream, but it could be anything from roast duck to turkey. Dessert could be mákos guba (bread pudding flavoured with honey and poppy seeds). Whatever the meal, there should be plenty of sparkling wine for toasting and celebrating.

(Adapted from an article by Carolyn Bánfalvi, founder of Taste Hungary and food and travel writer who has authored two culinary guidebooks to Hungary)

‘Nu Det Jul’ – Now It’s Christmas, Mika & Tobias (ACL)

Mika Schulz and Tobias Madsen are Danish You-Tubers who have won awards for their original songs and music videos. Check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuDocvXt9T9PPJmuHlOAr3Q

Mika married fellow You-Tuber Jasmin Lind in 2019 and they now have their own channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZxAgrmmmL1g6ZWM5uQKxZw

This is Mika & Tobias’s Christmas music video from 2018, ‘Nu Det Jul’, which has a cosy ‘Last Christmas’ feel and includes mention of several Danish Christmas traditions, such as the family dancing around the Christmas tree, drinking gløgg (Danish mulled wine), eating aebleskiver (doughnut balls), giving out hand-made Christmas decorations created on klippe-klistre day at school, and hiding a peeled almond in the bowl of risengrød (hot rice pudding) for the lucky finder to get a present – usually the youngest child in the family.

Enjoy the video. Below are the lyrics in Danish with English translation. Glaedelig jul!

Danish LyricsTranslation
Mørket er faldet på
Vi har skiftet til vintersko
Vinteren er lige begyndt
Og vi holder ud i kulden
Darkness has fallen
We’ve got our winter shoes on
Winter has just begun
And we’re out in the cold
Stuen den er pyntet op
Drikker gløgg af min julekop
Jeg kan ikke lide det
Jeg har bare aldrig ku’ få mig selv til at sige det
The living room is decorated
I’m drinking gløgg in my Christmas cup
I don’t like it
I’ve just never been able to say it
Julehjerter det skal du ha’
Jeg har lavet dem til klippe-klistre dag
Pebernødder og honningkage
Mor, er der flere æbleskiver tilbage?
Here are Christmas hearts for you
I made them on klippe-klistre day
Peanuts, gingerbread
Mum, are there many æbleskiver left?
Lad os synge en julesang
Familien hånd i hånd
Vi skal danse rundt om træet
Let’s sing a Christmas song
All the family hand in hand
We’ll dance around the tree
For nu er det jul
Vi sætter stjernen på træet
Nu er det jul
Vi skal ha’ gaver og and
Nu er det jul
Med Lars, Chris, Mads og Allan
Nu er det jul
Cause now it’s Christmas
We put the star on the tree
Now it’s Christmas
We’ll have presents and duck
Now it’s Christmas
With Lars, Chris, Mads and Allen
Now it’s Christmas
Vi laver marcipankonfekt
Men vi smider det alligevel væk
Jeg ville ønske jeg var barn igen
For der fik jeg altid mandlen
We make marzipan sweets
But we still throw them away
I wish I was a child again
Because I always got the almond
Familien kommer langvejs fra
Vi hygger men vi mangler far
Julemanden kommer altid frem
Mens far sidder på toilettet
The family comes from far away
We’re having fun, but where is dad
Santa always comes along
While dad’s sitting in the toilet
Julehjerter det skal du ha’
Jeg har lavet dem til klippe-klistre dag
Pebernødder og honningkage
Mor, er der flere æbleskiver tilbage?
Here are Christmas hearts for you
I made them on klippe-klistre day
Peanuts, gingerbread
Mum, are there many æbleskiver left?
Lad os synge en julesang
Familien hånd i hånd
Vi skal danse rundt om træet
Let’s sing a Christmas song
All the family hand in hand
We’ll dance around the tree
For nu er det jul
Vi sætter stjernen på træet
Nu er det jul
Vi skal ha’ gaver og and
Nu er det jul
Med Lars, Chris, Mads og Allan
Glædelig jul!
Cause now it’s Christmas
We put the star on the tree
Now it’s Christmas
We’ll have presents and duck
Now it’s Christmas
With Lars, Chris, Mads and Allen
Merry Christmas!

How do we celebrate Christmas in Japan? クリスマスの過ごし方 Kaede Sugano (LXX)

Many streets, buildings and stores are decorated with twinkling festive lights during the holiday season in Japan. As you no doubt already know, Christmas is originally the annual Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and a widely observed holiday around the world. However, Christmas Day is not a national holiday in Japan.
Christmas in Japan is a little different from Christmas in western countries. Traditionally faiths such as Buddhism and Shinto are practiced in Japan, but usually people here enjoy celebrating Christmas regardless of their religion. (Of course, there are some people who are more strict about religion.) Christmas in Japan is more like a festival and a commercial matter for many people, rather than a sacred event.

Important Christmas food for most Japanese are cake and chicken. Usually cakes are not homemade but purchased, typically by fathers on their way home from work. Some people, however, order very luxurious cakes from famous hotels, while others just buy them at convenience stores.
Fried chicken, especially Kentucky Fried Chicken now enjoys increased popularity, boosted by its good image on TV commercials. At Christmas, many people eat not only roasted but also fried chicken these days, in contrast to people eating turkey, roast beef and so on in western countries.

Instead of decorating a real fir tree, people adorn fairly small, pretty and colorful artificial trees with ornaments - a practical choice for small Japanese houses.
Some couples stay at really luxurious hotels, or enjoy a meal at a restaurant, and exchange expensive gifts, such as watches and scarves and jewelry.
On the other hand, some people still retain a childlike festive wonder, filling stockings with presents and saying they are from Santa Claus. The presents are, however, generally Nintendo games, digital cameras, computerized animal toys and so on. It seems like kids’ presents these days are mostly electrical goods.

日本はこの季節になると、道も建物もお店も飾りたてられ、イルミネーションでキラキラです。ご存じのように、クリスマスは本来はキリスト降臨の日で、休日の国も多いもの。でも、日本では休日ではありません。
日本のクリスマスは、欧米のそれとはちょっと異なります。日本人は仏教や神道やいろんな宗教があるものの、宗教など気にせずにクリスマスを楽しむのです(もちろん、敬虔な方たちもいるのですが……)。日本のクリスマスは宗教行事というよりも、お祭りや商業的な意味合いが強いからですね。

日本のクリスマスに欠かせないものといえば、ケーキとチキン。母親が作るのではなく、父親が仕事帰りに買ってくるのが一般的ですが、ホテルに豪華なケーキを注文することもあれば、手軽にコンビニで買ってくる姿も見られます。
また、存在感を増したのが、フライドドチキン(特にケンタッキーフライドチキン)です。CMの上手さも手伝って、欧米ではターキーやローストビーフなどを食べる代わりに、最近の日本では、ローストビーフに加えてフライドチキン色が色濃くなりました。

クリスマスツリーは、本物のモミの木の代わりに、(おもちゃながら)小さく、可愛くて、色とりどりのツリーに、オーナメントを飾ります。小さな日本住宅にも合うサイズのものですね。さて、恋人たちはといえば豪華なホテルへの宿泊やレストランでのディナーを楽しんだり、時計やらマフラーやらと少々高価なプレゼントを交換したりします。
その一方で、プレゼントは、クリスマスの靴下を下げてその中に入れて、サンタさんからだよ、なんて子どもらしい夢を与えています。が、その中身は今らしくゲーム機、デジカメや、コンピューター制御の動物だったり……デジタル化の波も押し寄せているようです。