You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2008.

Unfortunately this is not a holiday post, but I felt I needed to say something to explain the lack of updates recently and in the near future.

Ironically the holiday season has become very busy for me and I when I have had time it has been a little difficult to find holidays for some of the days.  Over the next week I will be out of the country with likely no access to a computer so will not be able to update either.

But on the bright side I have recently made some contacts that I think will actually allow me to take this and the podcast to the next level.  I plan to come back with a co-host or someone to interview for the podcast.  The blog will be getting a make over and I should have a logo for both.

So thank you for being patent with the show and blog and excpect much more in the up coming year and of course Happy Hoiday to any may celebrate.

Flag of Alderney

Flag of Alderney

Homecoming Day, Alderney – 15th of December

During World War II the Channel Islands, British dependency where not defended and as such invaded and taken occupied by the German forces.  Before this happened the British government sent word suggesting that the population of the islands evacuate, of the islands only Alderney took this advise to heart.  There where only six people left on the island when the occupation occurred.  At the end of the war the population was not returned until December 15th so this became their national holiday unlike the other Channel Islands which mark the end of occupation.

A side note on another Channel Island, Sark has just held it’s first democratic election this month.  Until now it has been a feudal system, but they will now have an elected house represent the population.



Lucia Procession

Lucia Procession

While I was in middle school I had an assignment to do a report, unfortunately I do not remember what exactly the assignment was only that I choose to do it on the Christmas traditions of Sweden.  My father’s side of the family is from there and have only been in the U.S. for a couple of generations so we celebrated with some of the traditions.  Actually my mother grow up with a nanny who was Scandinavian as well and we lived in Minnesota which has a large Scandinavian population so I have always been interested in those traditions.  The one thing that I really remember about that report was Saint Lucia’s Day, not sure why.

This is one of the only Saint’s days to have survived the Reformation and there are a number of theories indicating that traditions associated with this holiday predate Christianity.  In the old calender Saint Lucia’s day fell on the longest night of the year, the winter solicits.  Lucia was born in Italy during a time when Christianity was not popular and became a martyr.

The tradition holds now that the in the Swedish households the eldest daughter would wear a white gown with a crown of candles and servers a bun made with saffron.  The crown was once made of Lingonberry  branches (an evergreen) and real candles, now the candles are mostly battery operated.  Through out Sweden there are many contests to choose Lucias.  From what I can tell any grouping of any size will choose one, from a day care, to a village to one for the nation.  These Lucias will be honored as well as visit different people during the day.  They have with them other girls dressed in white as the maids and more recently boys as well, who are known as Star boys.  There are traditional songs that go along with these visits that I understand are much beloved.

I found one reference to help explain why the girls where the candles in there hair and the giving of the food.  Ledge has it that Lucia was smuggling food to Christians during the night and to keep her hands free to care the food put the candles in her hair.  I also found reference to a festival of lights as this was the longest night of the year.

Actually this day and many of the traditions are recognized by other countries as well.  Through out Scandinavia as well as Italy to name a few.



Coat of Arms of KenyaKenya celebrates it’s most important holiday on the 12th of December each year as the day that, in 1963 they received their independence from Great Britain as well as the day in 1964 they formed their first government.
Flag of Kenya
Through out the country the Kenyans celebrate their culture through feasts, dancing and parades.  One entry I found said the over all theme of all the celebrations is that of unity.  I also found reference to all the events are to remember the heritage of the country and remember where they came from.



Even though the Presentation Ceremony for the Noble Prize does not conform to the general idea of a holiday, festival or celebration as such I think the idea behind it captures the spirit.  I am not going to go into too much detail on the prize and history of it or Alfred Noble, but I do want to take a moment to outline why I believe it follows the spirit.

I confess that I am not an expert on Noble but I have grown up with the understanding that prizes were given out to people who had made great contributions to the human race.  I believe that these people were not trying for a prize, for I think that they would not have been able to succeed to the level necessary to be named Noble Laureates.  The greater our understanding of all things the better we will be as a race.  I especially enjoy the idea of the Noble Peace prize which goes to the heart of what I wish this to be a small steep towards.  The human race has far to go to be at peace with one another but every steep we take gets us a little closer and to know that people are out there trying to bring this about helps me and I am sure many others have faith that we may one day achieve understanding among all people of the world.

I do know that controversy may have come up in regards to who has won prizes but it is the idea behind it that I applaud and that through a simple will, that may have gone through a lot ofcontroversy before being realized, the idea came from one man to acknowledge those who are examples to us all.

The official site:


princesiddharthaThe 8th of November is remembered as the day that Siddhartha Gautama, the historic Buddha, is said to have gain Enlightenment there by making him the first Buddha and bringing the foundations of the faith to light.

Siddhartha Gautama spent many years trying to find the answers to life, spending time studding with several different teachers.  He was unsatisfied with any of his studies and one day decided to break his fast and sat beneath a tree.  The tree has been said to be a pipal tree.  He vowed he would not get up or eat till he found the answers he searched for.  Eight days later he came to what is now known as the Four Noble Truths which according to the Buddhist Temple of Chicago are

1. All beings are subject to suffering.  No one escapes… suffering is universal.
2. The cause of suffering is Ignorance.  And Ignorance of oneself is the greatest Ignorance.
3. Ignorance, the cause of suffering, can be overcome, and
4. The way to overcome Ignorance is the Eightfold Path.

Some traditions recognize Siddhartha Gautama birthday as more important then Bodhi Day but others see this as the most important of the days.

I found one website that gives ideas how to recognize this day though I do not know how accurate it is, it is an interesting read.


Chicago Buddhist Temple:

How to celebrate:

russian_icon_instaplanet_saint_nicholasI had hoped to do a podcast on Saint Nicholas Day but was unable to find anyone to do a recoding with so will instead just write a blog post.

Many people know at least a little something of St. Nicholas but I would venture to say very few know very much about him.  He is a well known figure through out the Christian world but many do not know his Christian origins instead thinking of him as either St. Nick or Santa Claus.

The historic Saint Nicholas was actually from 260 A.D. which is before any of the real splits among the Christian church.  There for he is venerated in many different traditions and if the tradition does not subscribe to the idea of veneration he is at least acknowledged as an important person.  He was widely known for his generosity and due to a number of stories considered the patron saint of children.  The idea of his leaving presents anonymously comes from two sources, first a tale of a man who had become poor had no dowry for his three daughters so Nicholas gave the man three bags of gold.  The way in which Nicholas gave these bags range from him tossing them threw an open window to dropping them down the chimney.  In some they coincidentally land in a shoe or stocking that the girls had left to dry.  In all but one of the stories I found the poor man had stayed up to catch who ever was doing this and thanked him, to which Nicholas would not take credit.  The second story involved his putting coins in peoples shoes who left them out, again while no one was around.

These three bags of gold are said by some to be the source of the three balls that are associated with Saint Nicholas, though I also found that another story was the source of the this that had to do with him saving three small children.  Either way this symbol is one that is hung before many pawn shops as he is also the patron saint of pawn brokers.  These three balls are also mistaken for oranges which are given out traditionally in his honor.

While the United States does not celebrate his feast day the idea of present giving is but has been associated with Christmas and Santa Claus.  In parts of Europe the traditions still hold that the 6th of December is a day to give presents.  Some of these traditions hold that a shoe is put out which has a carrot or hay for his horse to be replaced by a small present.

Many believe that in the United States Saint Nicholas was brought over by the Dutch to New Amsterdam (now called New York) but according to one source there is very little actual evidence for this.  Instead they say that it was a story by Washington Irving,Knicherbocker’s History of New York.  Many of the modern things surrounding Saint Nicholas can be found in this story which was a work of fiction.



King Bhumibol Adulyadej

His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej (วันเฉลิมพระชนมพรรษา พระบาทสมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัว) of Thailand was born on the 5th of December in 1927.  His birthday is celebrated in Thailand as a national holiday and is also referred to as Father’s day by some as he is thought to be the father of all the Thia p

King Bhumibol Adulyadej

eople.  He is the world’s longest ruling sovereign ascending to the throne in 1946.  While there are laws that forbid insults to the King even extending to the Internet from the things I have learned he is very highly regarded among the vast majority of his people as well as people around the world.  KingBhumidol his well known to travel the cou ntry side, to learn of the poor’s concerns and to set up projects to help them.

Emblem of Thailand

Emblem of Thailand

Prior to the 5th many buildings through out Thailand are decorated with his portraits and Royal symbols.  One of the celebrations held during his birthday is a concert that is held just outside his residence.  The concert brings together all kinds of music and performers in order to please the entire crowd.
I really like the idea of this concert being of all kinds of music, to me this indicates he truly thinks of all his people.  From what I have read of other gathe

rings of this kind, the emphasis is typical on either traditional, high society type music or music that is favored by the individual.  I find it hard to believe that he likes all the different kinds of music though I did find reference that some of the songs are composed by the king himself.  Another aspect that I found very interesting is that not only is he to be the Defender of the Faith (in this case Buddhism) but the constitution also says he is the upholder of all Religions.
He is celebrating his 81st birthday today and I would like to wish His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej a very happy birthday.



The United Nations declared December 3rd as a day to raise awareness and promote the rights of disabled persons in 1992 at the end of the Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992).  The previous ten years were intended to not only call attention to the issues surroundings disabled persons but also to enact measures to improve there situations.  This was to be in all areas of life; education, legal representation, etc.  The day is now set aside to continue these goals with this years them being “Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities: Dignity and justice for all of us”.

The official title of the day was changed last year from “International Day of Disabled Person” to “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” per General Assembly resolution 62/127 on December 18.

The United Nation web site gives many suggestions on how to observe the day, such as getting involved, organizing discussions, celebrating contributions of those with disabilities and to just take action.  Please take a look at their site for more information.  I am also linking to an individuals site who has spent much more time and energy on this topic, please take a look there as well.


United Nations:


In 1949 on December 2, the United Nations adopted the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.  In commemorating this and to recognize the continued exploitation of people through slavery designated December 2 as The United Nations designated December 2nd as International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

It should come as no surprise that I find the continued practice of slavery as absolutely awful.  I am sure that anyone reading this would agree as well, the one thing we can do is bring about awareness of this issue.  The more people are made to understand that slavery of all kinds still exist the more pressure will be put on those practicing it and hopefully we can help to end it.

United Nations:

Other Links:


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