Saturday, 27 December 2008
Jump on our merry go round and join a group of artists/crafts-women as they link hands around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art a
We are group of 8 women from all over the world, we have got together in what would constitute an example of peaceful idea exchange and diplomacy, and agreed to come to our blogs once a month and share a bit more about ourselves.
We choose a question and all of us have to answer it in our blogs. It will be very interesting to read what each of us has to say, taking in account how much our lives and crafts differ.
This months question is : how do you celebrate Christmas, what traditions do you have?
Well, the way I celebrate christmas has radically changed since I live here in The Netherlands. You see, Argentina (where I come from) is in the southern hemisphere...which means that christmas happens in...SUMMER! The holidays happen under the warm warm blanket of 35C to 40C. In addition, I grew up living right accross the street from a big, clean river and only 15minutes away from the Atlantic ocean. By mid- december school is out for summer vacations (until March) so this time of the year always means people with little clothes on, spending their days on the beach. Not precisely the same image one gets here considering it is grey, dark and cold. Not very recommended to walk around with little clothes, beach or not. The thermometre has barely come over 1C.
So, back in Argentina, the holidays have always meant family gatherings. Aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, grandparents, nephews...and whomever else. When you cross the threshold of 15 people... 20, 21...or 25 is not a big difference. In my house it was always 30 people. My mom and grandma would start at the beginning of December to plan the menu. Cold food, but in epic abundance. Porks would be sent to be roasted at mud-ovens, lamb, chicken, whole cows! salads of every color... the same day of the party my sister and I would spend it filling devil eggs, tomatoes with tuna, pears with rockefort... My father, in charge of beverages, would start "collecting" the alcohol in advance, using the holidays as an excuse to go visit wineries and buy cases upon cases of wine and champagne.
The best linen tablecloths, the best clothes and shoes and jewellery come out for the dinner party on the 24th of December. Dinner in Argentina is ussually at 9.30-10pm and on christmas' eve ussually later. When the clocks mark 12.00hours, children get their presents and we adults...keep drinking. I think we stopped getting presents when we were teenagers. The presents part never had a great importance in my family. It was more like...what do you need? That's the present. And we never really cared that there weren't presents for us. One thing we, girls, did get...was the premonitory pink underpanties: every christmas eve the single girls of the family would get a pair of pink underpanties. Pink marking your innocence (or virginity) and girly demour. On New Year's Eve - for a party much as the one on Christmas eve but with even more grandieur, food and champagne all nnight long- you are supposed wear them and begin the new year with your innocent knickers which will tell the gods and whomever else...that you are there all innocent ready for a man. When you are married, like me...you get nothing. Not even a tanga. Just a drunken husband to drag home.
The last time I spent christmas and New years in Argentina, after the family thing, we left at 3am to have some drinks with friends and then we went out. We walked back home at 7.30am and we went to sleep having previously had a swim in the river accross the street and a bit of breakfast (are we hobbits?).
I know it is too long already but... Christmas in NL. In our case we spent it alone, just the 3 of us eating a rich cheese fondue and lots of chocolate. Since we are very healthy...we pased everything down with a bottle (or two) of a nice white wine...you need it to dilute the fat from the cheese and chocolate! There were no gala dresses or things like that. By 8pm we were sitting on the couch getting ready to watch a movie...warm and quiet. Presents are exchanged on sinterklaas day (5/12) as I mentioned before. Some people exchage gifts on both days (and apparently in The Netherlands, crisis and all, people spent even more money than last year on the holidays).
There is first and second christmas day in The Netherlands: 25th and 26th. Nobody really knows what the 26th means... other than just another holiday (there aren't many in this country). And the 31st is the same. At midnight we go out and greet the neighbours, wish them a good year and back in. Too cold to linger outside.
It is quite a change for me. Not only because of the weather. When I call Argentina on these days and I hear everyone gathered, chatter, laughter, music; it does feel a bit lonely just the 3 of us... but c'est la vie.
I would like to wish you all the best for next year. Many of us have started this year this new crafty venture...sometimes with more success than other times, but -at least for me- always learning new things and new people. And that is what I take with me from this year. Hopefully next year will be the same, or even better.
Happy New Year!!!
If you are interested, you can read more Christmas traditions following the links of the other ladies in the Merry-go-round:
Anna, Half and Acre
Agathe, Le bar du vent
Ruth, Birdland creations
Sara, Crafts of Texture
Posted by Mariana at 27.12.08