I think I've blogged before about how non-traditional my family is about Christmas, despite being religious and conservative. I think it's really that we're pretty no-fuss people, and celebrations get so elaborate and complicated.
But I do enjoy hearing about other people's traditions. So I did a little research about Christmas traditions in the United States, just to see what other Americans were doing for the Christmas season.
So without further delay, my Top 5 Most Interesting Christmas Traditions in America, in no particular order:
1. Las Posadas - New Mexico and Arizona
This 9-day celebration (Dec. 16th through Christmas Eve) commemorates the Biblical journey Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem, and their search for a place to stay. The event includes a candle-lit procession and a colorful pageant that usually features the children of the town, and culminates in a big feast on Christmas Eve.
More information on Las Posadas can be found here, here and here.
3. Reveillon - New Orleans
Reveillon, or "awakening" in French, was a Creole custom, borrowed from their French ancestors. After a day of religious fasting on Christmas Eve, the Creoles would come home from Midnight Mass and enjoy an elaborate feast to break the fast. The feast would go on through the night, ending in the early morning hours.
Though it's not celebrated the same way today, since not as many people observe religious fasts, many local New Orleans restaurants still offer Reveillon dinners during the Christmas season.
4. Christmas Luau - Hawaii
Mele Kalikimaka! The greeting is actually a Hawaiianization of the English "Merry Christmas," which the natives apparently had trouble pronouncing when Christian missionaries introduced the tradition to the islands back in the 1800s.
While most of Hawaii's Christmas Traditions were introduced by the Christian missionaries who arrived there in the 1800s, there was a New Year's festival already celebrated there by the natives, called Makahiki. When the holiday was Christianized to include Christmas, many of the food traditions of the holiday became part of the Hawaiian Christmas tradition.
5. The Mummers Parade - New Year's Day - Philadelphia
Though technically, this is a New Year's Day tradition, it comes out of a Swedish tradition of "Second Day Christmas," featuring post-Christmas visits to friends. The custom expanded to include New Year's Day as well, including a noisy and colorful parade to welcome the new year. There's a good history of the celebration here.
For Philadelphia, the Mummers Parade is as significant and distinctive as Mardi Gras is to New Orleans.
So, how about y'all? What are some of your favorite holiday traditions, here in the US or wherever you live? Please post all about them in the comments and share a little Christmas spirit with the rest of us. Or, if you celebrate a different holiday, like Hannukah, around this time of year, tell us about those traditions as well.
Need the pot sweetened a little bit? I'm going to select one lucky commenter to win a copy of Carla Cassidy's Scene of the Crime: Bridgewater, Texas, which I featured on yesterday's blog post.
So get to commenting!