Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Writing Prompt: Make Up Your Own Holiday

U.S. Army Celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage MonthMonday, March 26 is “National Make Up Your Own Holiday” day.

(This is another one of those oddball ‘national’ days that has no basis in fact. It’s supposed to be supported by the “Wellness Permission League” of which I can find no verifiable data on the intranet. Although, I did find this self-typed news story which mentions the League.)

Sometimes it’s an easy thing to create a holiday: in ancient Rome, conquering generals arrived back at the gates and were often rewarded with a day of celebration in their honor. No brainer.

When you’re creating a holiday as part of world building in your story, it may not be so easy (unless some general arrives at the city gates…)

Keep in mind: Not all holidays are a cause for celebration. They may be a cause for mourning. Others may be celebrated differently in different places. St. Patrick’s Day is a case in point: in the U.S. celebrants eat Irish Food, drink green beer and party. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s day for some is a solemn affair made up of church-going and prayer.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  1. Consider the reason for your holiday. Is it based on a military event? A national movement? A religious miracle? What time of year did the event take place? Was the ensuing event a local one? Does it remain so, or has it grown? What is the history of the celebration?
  2. How is the holiday celebrated? A reenactment of the original event? (Fireworks on July 4th) A religious service or blessing? Do celebrants wear anything special to celebrate? (Green on St. Pat’s.) Are traditional foods eaten? (Hamantashen) Prayers said? (Novenas) Parades held? (Ticker tape for welcoming home.) Are there any special props needed to celebrate, or which show observance? (Decorations.)
  3. Does the holiday include any human or animal sacrifice? (Disclaimer! We’re making up a fictional holiday here, not practicing it. Do not sacrifice any humans or animals in the creation of your holiday, please.)

    Sacrifice has long been associated with celebrations. We keep the symbolism of sacrifice in our modern celebrations: burning candles, giving something up (Lent), donating money or time, etc.

    Does your holiday include any other kind of sacrifice?

  4. Is the celebration held inside a building, or outside in the open air? (Time of year will likely have something to do with this choice.)
  5. Are there special symbols, writings, speeches, holy books, etc.
  6. What is the exact date of the holiday? Is it the date the event happened, or the birth date (or death date) of a principal participant? Perhaps it’s the date the event was thought to occur (if the celebration comes into being years or decades after the ensuing event.)
  7. What governing faction decided there would be a holiday? Why? What gives them the right to declare it such?
  8. Are there people who don’t celebrate this holiday? Why not? What happens to those people (if anything) if they choose not to participate?

Good luck!

Photo Credit: The U.S. Army – West Point Asian Pacific American Observance Celebration. These guys look like they’re having a blast!

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Carnival Squash

Once again I’m headed north for Thanksgiving.

Looking forward to turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, and this fantastic vegetable medley that my aunt makes with Velveeta cheese.

(Yeah, I know it’s not real cheese, but it’s fabulous!)

I’m also looking forward to a tryptophan (and carb) induced torpor.

And seconds on those vegetables.

We’ll also probably have venison and sauerkraut and pies…many, many pies.

This year, I’ve candied jack-be-little pumpkins and carnival squash and made pudding (lots and lots of pudding…because, who knew cooked pudding wasn’t supposed to be boiled?)

I’m looking forward to complaining about work, and hearing everyone else complain, and getting advice about everything, and hauling out the family photo albums, and talking about Thanksgivings past. I’ll groan the loudest when Mom tells me she’s finished her Christmas shopping, and admit that I haven’t started yet.

(Except that’s not exactly true. I have: I’ve bought one gift for my sister. I’ll admit that, too.)

I’ll ask my Uncle how his fig tree did this year (he swore he was giving up on it, and maybe he has…) And I’ll tell them I’m experimenting with mine: trying to winter them over in my harsh climate just like my great-grandad Spina did, by roping them down to the ground and burying them until Spring.

The kids will fight. (Someone might get hurt.) The dog will bark. Loudly.

One or two will slip from the table to watch the game while the rest of us talk about ‘all that boring stuff.’

It’s the same recipe every year…and just like those vegetables, I can’t get enough.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

And thank you to everyone who reads my blog, and for all the wonderful comments. Thank you for the emails, and the advice when I’ve asked for help, and for reading my stories. You guys are the best!

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

American Flag

I’ll be celebrating by gorging at a family picnic today. The menu includes:

  • steak
  • chicken
  • hamburgers
  • hot dogs
  • corn on-the-cob
  • (my) Mom’s Famous Potato Salad
  • other miscellaneous salads
  • three cakes
  • and more stuff I can’t remember.

I think there will be seven of us in attendance. That’s the kind of parties my family throws.

The good news is: like Thanksgiving, we will not have to cook for the rest of the week!

What are you doing today?