Tag Archives: 2014 S2 bloggers

Christmas in the Netherlands by Abigail

In the Netherlands the Dutch eagerly await December 5th for it is on this day that they celebrate the comming of Sinterklaas avond or St. Nicholas Eve, whose legends of generosity and kindness are well known.

In the Netherlands St.Nicholas is known as Sinterklaas. Dutch childeren are told that he sails from Spain on his feast day, they fill their shoes with hay and sugar for his horse and awake them filled with gifts such as nuts and candy. Sometimes Sinterklaas appears in person in the children’s father  or an uncle. He questions the children about their behaviour during the past year. He hasn’t always been a kind figure but he is now.

In mid -November Dutch television broadcasts the official entry in the Netherlands of St.Nicholas and his helper ‘Zwarte Piet’ live to the nation. Coming by steamer from Spain, each year they dock in the harbor of a different City or Village. Wearing traditional bishops robes, Sinterklaas rides into town on a white horse to be greeted by the mayor. A motorcade and a brass band begin a great parade which leads Sinterklaas and Piet through the town. Sinterklaas is the most important tradition for the Dutch , a 2008 centre for Dutch culture survey found. Celebrated the evening of December 5 is traditional tasty food , it is the main time for family gift- giving.


St Andrew’s Day by Mia C

st andrew heart mia

The tradition i have chosen to write about is St Andrews Day . This tradition is usually celebrated in Scotland but it is also celebrated in different countries such as Barbados , Romania, Russia and Ukraine. This tradition is celebrated because a man called Andrew the Apostle was crucified on a saltire shaped diagonal cross.  That’s why the Scottish flag has a saltire shaped diagonal cross on it. St Andrew was known as the very first apostle. In Edinburgh there is a week of celebrations concentrating on musical entertainment and traditional ceildh dancing. In Scotland they eat haggis on St Andrews Day . 

Personal advice

St Andrew by Jim Bain [CC BY-SA 2.0]

St Andrew by Jim Bain [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Personally I think St Andrews Day should be a holiday for everybody.

What our school did on St Andrew’s day

In Our Lady’s High School we celebrated St Andrew’s Day. We pay particular attention as one of our school houses is named after St Andrew.  We sold little tartan bows and we paid to get our face painted. We had a non uniform day we wore tartan instead . All the money that we made went to St Andrews hospice .



Christmas stocking by Christopher

The celebration i have chosen to write about is Christmas and Christmas stockings. Most Christians celebrate  this tradition. Christmas stockings started in Europe althought there is no written history of the Christmas stocking.

Hanging Christmas stockings is a modern tradition and you usually hang them on the fire place. A Christmas stocking is usually shaped like a sock and they are brighty coloured and Santa puts small presents in them.

The tradition is that Christmas stockings  hang on the fire place on Christmas Eve children usually open them on Christmas morning and find out what is in them.

The Christmas stocking is very important and it is just as important as the Christmas tree. Even  in some house the pets have their own Christmas stockings. The Christmas stocking  comes in all different sizes and colour and sometimes have names on them.

A long time ago Christmas stockings were filled with lots of different things like apples oranges sweets and small toys.

Sock icon by Zeus Box [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Sock icon by Zeus Box [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Sylwester – New Year Eve by Agata

The celebration I have chosen to write about is ‘Sylwester’ the Polish celebration of  New Year’s Eve. The farewell is a feast  that has been celebrated  since  the turn of  the century. To begin with it was a  celebrated only by poor people. In the early twentieth century  more people began to celebrate this feast. The local custom is to celebrate  New Year  Eve at night. In Poland, like in other places you celebrate with fireworks and alcohol. You need to be 18 years old and the celebrations do not start until 12 o clock, when the New Year begins.


I get my information from http://sylwester.trojmiasto.pl/

Midsummer fireworks in Warsaw by Alina Zienowicz [Public Domain]

Midsummer fireworks in Warsaw by Alina Zienowicz [Public Domain]

Guy Fawkes by Stephen B

Stephen star

On Friday January 31 1606 Guy Fawkes, Ambrose Rookwod, Thomas Wintour and Robert Keys were taken  to old palace yard at Westminster and got hung, That’s why we celebrate Guy Fawkes Night on November the 5th because they won’t be any anyone trying to blow up the parliament.

 It is believed that guy Fawkes left England either 1593 or 1594. Guy Fawkes night is also known as “Fireworks Night and Bonfire Night”. In 1578,  Guy Fawkes father died and he got buried at St.Michael-le-belfry he died on January 17th. Guy Fawkes cousin became a priest. Guy Fawkes was born on or about April 13th,  1570 in Stonegate, Yorkshire. He was the only son of Edward Fawkes of York and Edith Blake. He was in jail for along time he thought have got out hung but he thought wrong and got hung with his 3 friends.

Effigy of Guy Fawkes by Terrence Lacon-Childe [CC BY 2.0]

Effigy of Guy Fawkes by Terrence Lacon-Childe [CC BY 2.0]

Christmas in New Zealand by Ross

ross mcmillan

At Christmas in New Zeland they do every thing the same as us except they sleep on the beach on Christmas Eve. In the morning they get up and get their presents. At lunch they get a great big lunch with bacon and  lots of other food. During the day they play on the beach and play in the water.

Queen Street, New Zealand by Abaconda Management Group [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Queen Street, New Zealand by Abaconda Management Group [CC BY-SA 2.0]

When I was in New Zealand on Christmas  not many people were on the beach because it was raining. In New Zealand everyone goes out on the streets and have fun. Many New Zealanders have a barbecue for Christmas lunch and this is becoming more popular.

The food cooked on the barbecue is often ham slices or even venison or some other kind of exotic meat. Shrimps and other fish are also barbecued! Desserts are also very popular.

Norouz by Fatemeh

What is NOROUZ?

Norouz is a traditional feast that is celebrated in countries such as:

Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Zanzibar(in Tanzania).

It’s not exactly specified in which period of time Norouz came and we don’t know exactly the reason of Norouz; but there are some sources that give us some histories and reasons of Norouz.

In Shahnameh of Ferdosi, the great Poet of Iran, they name Kiumars as the founder of Norouz,  King Jamshid during crossing Azerbaijan, ordered to put a throne and he sat down on it with a golden crown. With sunlight in his golden crown, the world went luminous, people celebrated and named the day Norouz feast.

Also on 538 BC, in the period of Achaemenian, the Great King, Koorosh, named this day as a celebration and everybody brought presents and gifts for him.

The Ethics before Norouz

Housecleaning: A few days or even a few months before Norouz, people start to wash and clean their houses and all the stuff in it. People in Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan do this for Norouz.

Charshanbe Souri: People celebrate The Last Friday of the Year by fire bugging and jumping over it and saying “The yellowness of you is from me (diseases) and redness of me is from you (I think freshness).”

They go to each other’s door and ask for sweeties and nuts (something like Trick or Treat in Halloween).

They also make big noises and fun with firecrackers.

Table Linen of Norouz

We put a special table linen for Norouz and call it it “Sofreh  Haft-Sin”. Sofreh means table linen, Haft means 7 and Sin means the word “S”.

We put 7 main things that their name starts by “S” in Persian language. Each of them represents a good and living meaning: Sir (Garlic), Sib (Apple), Sabzeh (Brunette), Senjed (Sea-buckthorn), Serkeh (Vinegar), Samanoo (Kind of dish prepared from the juice of germinating wheat), Somagh (Sumac), Sekkeh (Coin) and…

We also put a Quran, goldfish, nuts, a mirror and pastry.

In the moments before new year people pray.

In the new year, people wear new clothes,  visit each other. The older people give younger ones money and gifts. The common food for the new year’s meal is a special vegetable rice and fish.

We’ve got 15 days off for Norouz.

Smingus Dingus by Marcel

The celebration I have chosen to write about is the Polish tradition of  ‘Smingus Dingus’ (this can be translated as wet Monday). This celebration is relatively simple but very interesting. It happens on April 1st.

Back in the old days boys would pour water over girls or sneak into their houses and pour water on them while they were still in their beds. The more water is poured on them, the higher are chances  they have of getting married. Sometimes the ‘victim’ would be dropped into a river while still sleeping in bed.

There is a rhyme that is said : ” Dyngus, dyngus po dwa jaja, nie chce chleba tylko jaja.” (This translates as”Dyngus dyngus, for two eggs , i don’t want bread but eggs”). On the next day both  the girls would pour water on each other in act of revenge.

Michał Elwiro Andriolli [Public Domain]

Michał Elwiro Andriolli [Public Domain]

 Although this is quite interesting, sadly this tradition is not being celebrated as much as it was before and its more likely to be forgotten in about years to come, as less and less people celebrate it.



Christmas in Latvia by Viviana

Children in Latvia believe that Santa Claus (also known as Ziemassvetku Vecitis – Old Christmas Man ) brings their presents. The present are usually put under the Christmas tree. The presents are opened on during the evening of Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day.

Often the presents are secretly put under the tree when people are not around (such as when people are at Church). Sometimes to get a present you have to recite a short poem while standing next to the Christmas Tree! Before Christmas children learn to say poems by heart. You might also get a present by singing, playing a musical instrument of doing a dance!

Christmas in Latvia by Saeima [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Christmas in Latvia by Saeima [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Latvia also claims to be the home of the first Christmas Tree! The first documented use of an evergreen tree at Christmas and New Year celebrations is in town square of Riga, the capital city of Latvia, in the year 1510. Lots of people think the Christmas Tree first came from Germany, but the first recorded one is in Latvia!

The special Latvian Christmas Day meal is cooked brown/grey peas with bacon (pork) sauce, small pies, cabbage and sausage, bacon rolls and ginger bread.

You can find more about Riga Tree from this great website:


Home of the first Christmas Tree….it`s a Legend, http://www.firstchristmastree.com, accessed 17th December, 2014

Mājas pušķošana
Ziemassvētkiem gatavojoties, tīrīja un uzkopa māju, pēc tam to pušķoja. Mājā ienesa eglīti, kurai bija īpaša nozīme; vēsturiski tā nāk no senču dzīvības koka, ko ziemas saulgriežos ienesa namā. Pušķošanai izmantoja egļu zarus, krāsainus dzīparus, salmus, smilgas, putnu spalvas, olas, augļus, dārzeņus, ēveļu skaidas un kaltētus ziedus. Sevišķi populāra bija puzuru veidošana. Tie tika izgatavoti no salmu savērumiem, ko papildināja ar dažādiem citiem materiāliem, piemēram, krāsainām lupatiņām vai putnu spalvām. Dažreiz puzura vidū tika iekārts kartupelis, kurā sadurti salmi. Šāds veidojums tika dēvēts par saulīti. Rotājumus visbiežāk darināja bērni, ieliekot tajos savu mīlestību un bērna sirds skaidrību. Tāpēc šādiem veidojumiem piemita īpaša enerģētika. Arī mūsdienās uzskata, ka tie lieliski attīra telpu no nevēlamām enerģijām, par cik puzuriem ir daudzskaldņa forma, kas sastāv no daudzām mazām piramīdiņām.

Majowka/May-day picnic by Julia

In my post i will tell you about a Polish tradition. It is called “Majowka.” This means May-day picnic. It’s a really cool tradition . There are 3 days of it and on each day you do different things :

Swieto Pracy – International worker’s day

Grape worker by  Tomas Castelazo [Licence: CC BY 3.0]

Grape worker by Tomas Castelazo [Licence: CC BY 3.0]

Dzien flagi – Flag day

Polish flag

Polish flag

Swieto konstytucji – Constitution day

Pomnik Konstytucji Trzeciego Maja w Lublinie (Monument to the Constitution of the Third of May in Lublin) by Wistula [Licence:  CC BY 3.0]

Pomnik Konstytucji Trzeciego Maja w Lublinie (Monument to the Constitution of the Third of May in Lublin) by Wistula [Licence: CC BY 3.0]

Here is what happens on each day:

Day 1- International Workers Day :

This is for people who are working  or in school .

Day 2 – Flag Day:

The flag day celebrates when Polish flag was made.

Day 3 – Constitution day:

It was brought in  in 1791. The citizens need to remove the flags at 00:00 because of constitution day.

It is a patriotic time. On Majowka I spend that time with family and friends. We grill and we playing outside. Some parents celebrate by drinking. In the evening we have bonfire in the  garden, eat and have fun.