Welcome to December! Happy Holidays! This month on A Better Bag of Groceries we are going to be talking about holidays celebrated all over the world in the month of December. First up is Asia, Tara will then cover Europe, Amanda wants to talk about Africa, and then back to me for South America. We hope to enlighten you to some new cultures, customs, and recipes to try!
First up is Asia. With so many countries making up the continent of Asia, I’m going to focus on a few select holidays.
- Omisoka – Omisoka is Japan’s New Year’s Eve celebration. However, unlike America, it is the second most important day of the year (behind New Year’s Day), and celebrated throughout the country. Through the tradition of ToshiKoshi or “crossing over”, families and friends gather at around 11pm to eat long noodles symbolizing the crossing over of one year to another. Bells in temples through the country are rung at midnight to symbolize the coming New Year. Here is a recipe to try the traditional dish. “yoi o-toshi wo” – Have a good New Year!
- Bodhi Day – Celebrated by Buddhists across China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam on December 8th. Bodhi day is celebrated to remember the enlightenment of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. Tradition varies among different sects, but the day is often celebrated with meditation, study of the Dharma, chanting of texts, acts of kindness and traditional meals of tea, cake, and readings. Here is a recipe to try the traditional dish of rice milk.
- Mawlid Al-Nabi – The Islamic celebration of the birth of the prophet Mohammed. Typically this observance is celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar, which in 2016 happens to fall on December 11th and 12th! Celebrated slightly different in different countries, it is celebrated with either fanfare, in a festival or carnival like manner, or with nothing at all. Here is an interesting article about the dichotomy of practicing Muslims.
I hope you enjoyed this brief trip around Asia and some of its many holidays that are celebrated. Try partaking in something new this holiday season and let us know how it goes!