Discovering Traditions: May 1st and the Making of the Wreath by M.L.Kappa

Discovering Tradition

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 Traditions here.

May 1st and the Making of the Wreath by M.L.Kappa

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May 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”

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Discovering Traditions: Novruz – Spring festival in Azerbaijan by Dr Gulara Vincent

Discovering Tradition

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”

Discovering Traditions: Mardi Gras by Diana Gordon

Discovering Tradition

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”

Discovering Traditions: Karneval by Conny Kaufmann

Discovering Tradition

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”

Discovering Traditions: Epiphany by Robin Rivera

Discovering Tradition

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”

Discovering Traditions: New Year’s Eve Celebration Soviet Style by Dr Gulara Vincent

Discovering Tradition

At the last day of this year 2015 I would like to welcome back Dr Gulara Vincent with the inurgal post for the Discovering Traditions guest series. You can find her first guest post on my blog here.

New Year’s Eve Celebration Soviet Style by Dr Gulara Vincent

As a child, I used to love the 1st of December. Not because there was some special festival on that day. But we were finally in December! That meant there were only 30 days before New Year’s Eve. I counted down the days to the celebration (why did time go so slow back then?). To make the wait bearable, I bought cards and wrote careful unimaginative messages to my family members. I also bought ‘khlopushkas’, poppers sold as tubes full of confetti. You had to pull a string and there was a pop with confetti scattering everywhere. Some tubes even contained a small toy or a carefully folded paper mask. I hated the pop it made, so I often made a hole on the top of a tube and took the contents out. Continue reading “Discovering Traditions: New Year’s Eve Celebration Soviet Style by Dr Gulara Vincent”