Archive for the ‘Christmas Around the World’ Category

More Philippine Christmas Recipes

April 25, 2020

Tsokolate  (Philippine hot chocolate)

6 cups milk
3 cups (18 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 egg yolks

Heat milk until hot in a large saucepan.  Stir in chocolate pieces and heat over low heat until chocolate has melted.  Beat egg yolks slightly.  Whisk into hot milk mixture and beat over low heat until frothy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


LECHE FLAN 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4  egg yolks
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Caramel

  • 10 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. water

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Medium heat large pan or a steamer with a litre of water, you must cover it to get the maximum heat.
  • Prepare a couple Llanera’s or any deep tins, then divide sugar and water on both tins.
  • Heat Llanera on a low fire one at a time until sugar starts to melt, dissolved and syrupy. Turn off the heat when the caramel syrup turns light brown.
  • To coat all sides you must tilt the mold around and continue with the other Llanera and set aside to cool.
  • In a bowl whisk egg yolks and eggs together, pour in condensed and evaporated milk and whisk, vanilla extract and continue to whisk until combined. Use a strainer and a ladle to transfer milk mixture into tins to get rid lumpy bits and air bubbles.
  • Steam for about 30 minutes with a cloth under the lid, to catch water drippings and avoid flan from soggy.
  • Check with a toothpick if it comes out clean your done.
  • Turn off the fire and transfer on a wire rack and let it cool for 10 minutes.
  • Refrigerate Leche flan for about 30 minutes before transferring to a plate.
  • Serve cold

 

PUTO BUMBONG  (a favorite after attending Simbang Gabi)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pack (400 grams) glutinous rice flour
  • 2 Packs (115 grams) purple yam powder
  • 2 1/2 Cups of water
  • Brown sugar or mascuvado (raw sugar)
  • Banana leaves
  • Grated coconut

Utensils:

  • knife
  • muslin cloth
  • sifter or strainer
  • 2 pcs bamboo tube (bumbong)
  • steamer for making puto

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Prepare steamer with enough water for  steaming.
  • In a large bowl, combine purple yam powder and glutinous rice flour , Mix together until well combined.
  • Gradually add enough water to the rice flour to make a dough. Knead until smooth.
  • Pinch off about 2 tablespoons of the dough, using your hands make a ball and roll into a round and long shape, about 4 to 5 inches in long.
  • Spread margarine or butter in a  heat proof plate and layered the dough, steam for 3-4 minutes or until done.
  • Apply margarine or butter then roll in shredded coconut and serve with muscovado sugar.

Christmas in the Philippines

March 24, 2020

jeepneyIs your Christmas celebration too short?  Then celebrate Christmas in the Philippines.  They have to longest Christmas celebration

The cultural diversity of Christmas celebrations in the Philippines is great also.  If one were to observe Christmas in the Philippines one would see Spanish, Chinese, Indian, British, and American Christmas customs interwoven with Philippine Christmas customs to make a truly unique Christmas celebration.

Beginning December 16 many attend a 4:00 A.M. mass.  Everyday for nine days people leave their homes to attend this 4:00 A.M. mass.  These masses are called Simbang Gabi, meaning Night Mass.  These masses lead up to the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass celebrating the birth of the Christ child.  These people do not have to worry about being late to mass.  They may be wakened and hurried on their way by firecrackers, bands playing Christmas carols, carolers, or the village priest going door-to-door waking everyone for mass.

While Christmas carols may be heard on radios and sung in houses and on the streets in the days prior to December 16 they really take off on December 16.  Groups of carolers, some raising money for civic organizations or church groups, are heard every day after December 16.  Popular Filipino carols as well as English songs like “Jingle Bells” and “White Christmas” are sung and played for the enjoyment of all.

The Filipino people lavishly decorate for Christmas.  Everything from homes to vehicles, churches to government buildings, stores to office buildings are decorated for Christmas.  City streets and public squares are also adorned with buntings, lights, flowers, and more.

The most popular decoration found in every house, church, and public place is the parol.  Made with bamboo sticks, brightly colored rice paper or cellophane, and usually sporting at least one tassel parols are usually star shaped with lights and, possibly, a nativity scene inside.  Every house, whether in wealthy parts of town or in the poorest villages, is decorated with one or more parols often with every window displaying a parol.  While some parols are purchased from stores or roadside stalls many families make their own.  Parol-making is so popular in the Philippines that many towns, villages, and cities hold contests with big prizes going to the best parol entered.

Christmas trees are found in many Filipino houses; but because of the country’s proximity to the equator, real pine trees are rare and very expensive.  Most people use artificial trees, use other trees or plants as Christmas trees, or make trees out of palm branches, triangular pieces of cardboard, or twigs bundled together in a cone shape spray painted gold, white, or green.  No matter what is used for the Christmas tree, the tree is brightly decorated with tiny star lanterns, candies, fruits, carved wood or bamboo, painted shells, little baskets, tinsel, rice paper ornaments, empty matchboxes wrapped as presents, and, for some, artificial snow.

Watch my website http://www.customsofchristmas.com in the coming weeks for more about Christmas in the Philippines.

Maligayang Pasko!

Two Philippine Christmas Recipes

February 25, 2020

There are a number of dishes that are traditionally eaten during the Christmas season in the Philippines.  I have chosen two recipes to present here.

Puto Bumbong is usually purchased from vendors outside churches and enjoyed by those returning home from Simbang Gabi masses held in the predawn hours each morning from December 16 to December 24.

Rellenong Manok is a deboned, stuffed chicken.  It is said that the proficiency of a cook can be determined by the presentation and deliciousness of their rellenong manok.

Maligayang Pasko! (Merry Christmas!)

Rellenong Manok

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, deboned with shape kept
  • 2 tablespoons calamansi juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Stuffing

  • 1/2 kilo ground pork
  • 1/2 cup bacon, diced
  • 1 cup ham, diced
  • 1 can Vienna sausage, drained and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sweet green peas
  • 1/4 cup carrots, minced
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup pickle relish
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 5 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  • Marinate chicken in calamansi juice, soy sauce and sugar.
  • In a bowl, mix all stuffing ingredients well.
  • Stuff the chicken in all parts.
  • Sew the cavity opening and truss the chicken.
  • Wrap chicken in aluminum foil.
  • Heat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake breast-up for an hour or until chicken is cooked.
  • Open the foil and rub chicken with butter and put back in oven until golden brown.

Puto Bumbong

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pack (400 grams) glutinous rice flour
  • 2 Packs (115 grams) purple yam powder
  • 2 1/2 Cups of water
  • Brown sugar or mascuvado (raw sugar)
  • Banana leaves
  • Grated coconut

Utensils:

  • knife
  • muslin cloth
  • sifter or strainer
  • 2 pcs bamboo tube (bumbong)
  • steamer for making puto

Cooking Instructions:

  • Prepare steamer with enough water for  steaming.
  • In a large bowl, combine purple yam powder and glutinous rice flour , Mix together until well combined.
  • Gradually add enough water to the rice flour to make a dough. Knead until smooth.
  • Pinch off about 2 tablespoons of the dough, using your hands make a ball and roll into a round and long shape, about 4 to 5 inches in long.
  • Spread margarine or butter in a  heat proof plate and layered the dough, steam for 3-4 minutes or until done.
  • Apply margarine or butter then roll in shredded coconut and serve with muscovado sugar.

Valentine’s Day is coming.

January 25, 2020

I usually share Christmas related traditions that may be celebrated around the world.  However, I found this video on YouTube.com about Valentine’s Day traditions around the world.  Enjoy.

I also want to share my favorite Valentine’s Day special.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Christmas…I mean…Valentines blessings.

Poland’s Christmas Dishes

September 25, 2019

Last month I presented some of Poland’s Christmas traditions.  Now I will post some links to recipes for some traditional Polish Christmas dishes.  But, first, some fun with this little video.

 

http://www.pwaa.org/Polish_Christmas_Recipes.htm

https://culture.pl/en/article/the-12-dishes-of-polish-christmas

http://www.polskafoods.com/polish-recipes/how-polish-christmas-wigilia-recipes

https://www.polishyourkitchen.com/polishrecipes/polish-word-of-the-day-christmas/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/polish-christmas-dessert-recipes-1136988

Happy eating!

 

Christmas in Poland

August 25, 2019

Upside down Christmas treeChristmas in Poland is all about family. As often as possible Christmas activities are done by the whole family together.

Modern Christmas trees, pajaki, did not appear in Poland until the 1800’s. Early Polish Christmases did not see a Christmas tree. Instead elaborate, handmade mobiles were hung from the ceiling. In the 1800’s in southern Poland tops of fir trees were cut and hung upside-down from the ceiling. This allowed for more room for the family while still giving them a chance to hang their ornate, handmade decorations.   Once the custom of bringing whole Christmas trees into the house began the popularity of mobiles and upside-down trees waned until they finally disappeared. Christmas trees may be set up any time during Advent; but, traditionally, they are not set up until the afternoon of Wigilia, December 24. Many people do not take them down until the Feast of the Purification of Our Lady, February 2. Homemade garlands, paper cut-outs, apples, nuts, candy, and small cakes decorate the trees along with store-bought decorations, strings of electric lights, strings of peas, beans, and corn and blown-out egg shells painted with intricate designs.

Nativity scenes are often placed under the Christmas tree to be joined by the family’s gifts later.

Creating and sending Christmas cards is becoming more popular in Poland. It provides the family a great time of making and sending Christmas cheer to friends and loved ones.

Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Like Advent celebrations in other parts of the world it is a time for reflection and fasting preparing oneself for the coming of the Christ child. A number of saints’ days are celebrated during Advent, St. Martin on November 11, St. Catherine on November 25, St. Andrew on November 30, St. Barbara on December 4, St. Nicholas on December 6, St. Lucy on December 13, and St. Thomas on December 21.

On December 24 everyone prepares for Wigilia. Wigilia is considered the first of the twelve days of Christmas or Gody in Poland. The house is given a thorough cleaning with attention given to barns and other outbuildings as well. Many families also visit family graves placing evergreen boughs or small evergreen trees on them. Food preparation is also a major component of Wigilia. The scrumptious smells permeating the house test the piety of the household as they are still in a period of fasting. Hay is placed either under the tablecloth or as part of the centerpiece to commemorate Christ’s birth in a stable. As evening draws near children make it a game to see who sees the first star to appear. The Wigilia feast starts with the appearance of the first star or 6:00 p.m. whichever comes first. The family enjoys many fish and/or vegetable dishes at this feast as eating meat is not allowed until Christmas day. After the feast, usually the eldest family member present reads the Nativity story followed by the family singing Christmas carols. Following the singing comes the gift-giving. Larger, more expensive gifts are for the children while smaller, more personalized gifts go to adults.

At midnight many families head to the church to attend Pasterka, Shepherd’s Mass. After mass some families will spend the night visiting friends, neighbors, or relatives.

Christmas day is spent with the immediate family. Now that the fasting of Advent is over the main meal at Christmas, served in mid-afternoon, features lots of meat.

December 26, St. Stephen’s Day, is almost treated like a second Christmas. Many families spend the day visiting friends and extended family members.

New Year’s Eve, the seventh day of Christmas (Gody), is celebrated with loud parties with family or friends

New Year’s Day, also known as the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, is a day for playing tricks on friends and family members.

The twelfth day of Christmas (Gody) falls on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. This day commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.

Christmas in July

July 26, 2019

Today I am seeing more and more references to Christmas in July.  From Rankin/Bass’ Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July to store advertising using that theme.  Movie channels on TV play Christmas movies and music providers play Christmas music again for a short time.

I do not mind it at all.  I listen to Christmas music whenever I want to listen.  I watch Christmas movies whenever I want to watch them, too.  I even watch Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July in July.  Why?  Because it ends shortly after the “final firework fades on the Fourth.”

Here is a short video on some of the origins of Christmas in July.  I have not verified all the claims, but I have heard or read most of them.  I hope you enjoy it.

I am also including the trailer for the movie Christmas in July referenced in the video.  You may want to add it to your watch list this year.

Perhaps you do something to celebrate Christmas in July.  If so, please let me know in the comments below.

Merry Christmas in July!

Candy Canes – a Custom of Christmas

May 26, 2019

view of christmas decoration

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Pexels.com

The candy cane started out about 400 years ago as a plain stick of white candy. As Christmas trees became popular in Europe people began putting them on their trees as decorations along with other foods like fruit and cookies. The first reference to these candy sticks in relation to Christmas came in 1670. A choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany gave the candy to the children that attended the church’s nativity services so they would be quiet. To make the candy go along with the spirit of the services he bent the candy into the shape of a shepherd’s staff.

The first reference to the candy cane in America came in 1847 when a German immigrant living in Ohio named August Imgard decorated his tree with the sweet treats. About 50 years later the first candy canes with red stripes appeared. Peppermint and wintergreen flavors were also added to the candy at this time making the candy cane the sweet Christmas favorite it is today.

The candy cane, as with many other things that we associate with Christmas, can be used as a symbol of Jesus and point others to the reason for Christ’s birth. Here are some pictures of Christ that we can see from the candy cane.

  1. The candy cane is in the shape of a shepherd’s staff. Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and we are His sheep. (John 10:11; Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:11)
  2. Upside down the candy cane forms the letter “J”, the first letter of Jesus’ name.(Luke 1:31)
  3. The candy cane is made of hard candy to remind us that Jesus is the Rock of our salvation.
  4. The wide red stripes on the candy cane represent the blood He shed on the cross for each one of us so that we can have eternal life through Him. (Luke 22:20)
  5. The white stripes on the candy cane represent the virgin birth, sinless life, and purity of our Lord. He is the only human being who ever lived who never committed a single sin, even though He was tempted just as we are. (1 Peter v22)
  6. The narrow red stripes on the candy cane symbolize that by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3)
  7. The flavoring in the candy cane is peppermint, which is similar to hyssop. Hyssop is of the mint family and was used in Old Testament times for purification and sacrifice. (John 19:29, Psalm 51:7)
  8. When we break our candy cane it reminds us, just as communion does, that Jesus’ body was broken for us. (1 Cor. 11:24)
  9. If we share our candy cane and give some to someone else in love because we want to, it represents that same love of Jesus because He is to be shared with one another in love. (1 John 4:7,8)

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2018

Luke 2:1-11

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Canadian Christmas Customs

June 24, 2018

Christmas Lights Across CanadaSettlers from many countries and many cultures contributed to the colorful Christmas customs shared by many Canadians today.  Yet they have all come together to form some traditions that are uniquely Canadian.

Since 1985, at 6:55 P.M. Ottawa-time in every province Christmas lights on every government building in Canada are turned on in a huge show of pomp and circumstance.  Many of the ceremonies are repeated nightly until January 7 and may include caroling, performances by local performers and national celebrities, light shows, fireworks, and Christmas treats.  While each ceremony may be similar in content each province adds its own cultural flare to the festivities.

On Christmas Eve many Canadians attend church services.  Churches of all sizes from the large cathedrals to the small-town churches offer the singing of the carols of Christmas, performances, and teachings on the meaning of Christmas.

Bringing Christmas trees into the house for decorating was introduced to Canada by German immigrants in the late 1700s or mid-1800s.  Now Canada is a major producer of Christmas producing about 6 million trees per year.  Nova Scotia, the Christmas Tree Province, produces over 1.5 million trees each year for sale in eastern Canada and the United States.  The province also ships Christmas trees to Central America, the Caribbean, and Venezuela.  Every year a 70-foot tree is sent to Boston, Massachusetts in appreciation of the help sent to Halifax from Boston in 1917 when a ship with a full cargo of explosives exploded in Halifax Harbour killing 19,00 people and destroying much of the city.

Many French Canadians still attend midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and participate in winter sports on Christmas Day.  Some still save their gift-giving for New Year’s Day, but others give their children presents on both Christmas and New Year’s Day.  On New Year’s Day many enjoy a lavish turkey dinner with family and/or friends.

Christmas cards were and are a favorite way for Canadians to keep in touch with friends and family who lived afar off.  Christmas cards first appeared in Canada in 1876.

In 1905, the Eaton’s department store sponsored the first Santa Claus Parade in Toronto.  The parade has grown in popularity and is now the largest Christmas parade in Canada.  Because of the success of the Toronto parade other cities started having Christmas parades of their own.

For years Canadians of all ages and especially British Canadians have spent Christmas afternoon either watching on TV or listening to the radio as the queen of England gives her annual message to the Commonwealth.

The Christmas season ends for British Canadians on January 6 with the Feast of the Epiphany or Twelfth Night.  A bean and a pea are baked into the Twelfth Night cake.  The people who find them in their piece of cake become the king and queen of the night’s festivities.

The First Nations Peoples of Canada includes all groups of people who lived in what is now North America prior to colonization by the Europeans.  Many of them held festivals during the winter season, such as winter solstice festivals featuring feasting, singing, dancing, drumming, racing competitions, and games of strength such as wrestling. 

Missionaries from the colonies taught these peoples the Christian Christmas customs they held dear.  Many of the First Nations Peoples started celebrating Christmas also mixing the old winter festival customs with the Christmas traditions brought by the missionaries.  Now many of the festivals include giving gifts and good things to children and to others.  Even Santa Claus visits these people with gifts and merry making at their Christmas festivities.

Canada’s Christmas customs have come from a wide variety of cultures.  They have given Canada a set of Christmas traditions unmatched anywhere in the world.  Yet they still have formed their own set of national Christmas customs. 

Merry Christmas!  Joyeux Noel!

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