Today, is the first of May, a day that is widely celebrated and that has various traditions attached to it. I am happy to have M. L. Kappa as my special guest for Discovering Traditions. You can find a list of all guest post that have appeared on my blog so far here, and you can find the previous guest post for Discovering Traditionshere.
May 1st and the Making of the Wreath by M.L.Kappa
One of the most fun Greek traditions is the making of the May Wreath. We call it Μάης (pronounced Màïs).
May 1st is universally known as Labor Day since 1886, when the Chicago Syndicates rebelled, asking for better working conditions. But celebrating it is not actually a 19th century tradition—it has roots in Antiquity, when festivities were held in honor of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and Dionysus, god of grapes and wine.
Their purpose was to celebrate the fertility of the fields, the bounty of the land, the flowering of nature and the end of winter.
This tradition in various forms then spread throughout Byzantium and the rest of Europe. Continue reading “Discovering Traditions: May 1st and the Making of the Wreath by M.L.Kappa”
The 21st of March marks the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. Today, I am happy to welcome back Gulara Vincent for this lovely guest contribution to Discovering Traditions, you can find her previous guest post here, and an overview of this blog’s guest posts here.
Novruz – Spring festival in Azerbaijan by Dr Gulara Vincent
Novruz is the spring festival dearly loved and widely celebrated in Azerbaijan (and many other countries too). When I was a child, it was not an official holiday. The Soviet Union disapproved of my country’s fire-worshipping and pagan festivities. People kept it going for seven decades though. In 1993, it became an official holiday in a newly-independent Azerbaijan.
Although Novruz is celebrated on 20-21 March, the spring festival begins a month in advance. First, all households had a massive spring clearing. We washed everything: bedding, windows, walls, expensive dishes displayed in cupboards, candelabras and floors. We also cleared rugs and carpets, mended clothes and made or bought new ones. New trees were planted and gardens were tidied up. Families visited their dead relatives’ graveyards to pay their respects. Continue reading “Discovering Traditions: Novruz – Spring festival in Azerbaijan by Dr Gulara Vincent”
Today is Mardi Gras, the last day of Carnival and the last day before the lent season begins tomorrow. I have the pleasure of welcoming back Diana Gordon with a contribution to Discovering Traditions, she is shedding some light on the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. Last time she was a guest on my blog she shared her Christmas Traditions. Last week Conny Kauffmann contributed to Discovering Traditions with a post on Karneval as it is celebrated in Cologne.
Discovering Traditions: Mardi Gras by Diana Gordon
We here in New Orleans start the Carnival season just after Christmas and New Years end. January 6 marks the Epiphany/Twelfth Night, which is the start of Carnival season and the lead up to Mardi Gras, the last big hurrah before Lent. From Epiphany to Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), there’ll be parades and balls and costumes and king cake. Continue reading “Discovering Traditions: Mardi Gras by Diana Gordon”
Carnival is early this year, I am happy to have Conny Kaufmann as my guest for Discovering Traditions today. She is sharing this very important German tradition, especially for those who live or are from Köln, Düsseldorf and the surrounding region. This is the 3rd Discovering Traditions post, you can find the other two here and here.
Discovering Traditions: Karneval by Conny Kaufmann
Alaaf and Helau!
They call it “The Fifth Season.” A season of fun, festivities and frivolities, before the start of Lent. And when you’re in Germany, the Rhineland region – especially Cologne – is the place to be during Karneval.
Karneval is celebrated the world over and has many names. Within Germany, you’ll hear the common Karneval, Fasching or Fastnacht, depending on regional preference. They all traditionally refer to the last full scrumptious meal before Lent, the traditional, Catholic time of fasting. Even if you have never heard of the German celebration, chances are that Carnavale do Rio de Janeiro, Notting Hill Carnival, Venetian Carnival or Mardi Gras are fests you are familiar with. They all celebrate the same thing, just in slightly different ways. Mardi Gras even translates as “Fat Tuesday”, because nice and fatty foods were restricted from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday. So if your region celebrates Karneval, chances are it is – or historically used to be – predominantly Catholic. Continue reading “Discovering Traditions: Karneval by Conny Kaufmann”
Today, is Epiphany and I am happy to welcome back Robin Rivera for this second Discovering Traditions guest post, as well as her second guest appearance on my blog. You can find her advent calendar contribution here, and read the previous Discovering Traditions post by Dr Gulara Vincent about New Year’s here.
Epiphany Robin Rivera
When I was young, the Epiphany was a joy. It was a last little Christmas to prolong the holiday season, and I loved it. Before bed on the eve of the Epiphany (January 5th) my mother would tell us stories about the three kings. My mother went to a strict Catholic girl’s school, and her stories were vivid and packed with countless details. That night we filled our oldest pair of shoes with straw and set them outside along with a bowl of water. Continue reading “Discovering Traditions: Epiphany by Robin Rivera”