Easter- Festival that brings life

Easter- Festival that brings life

Easter Eggs

Christmas is the main festival of the Christians but Easter is another one. It is considered to be one of the most pious festivals of the Christians is the Easter. It is celebrated on Sunday just after the arrival of the full moon after the end of spring. It is eve time for the Christians to party and celebrate this day with their relatives and enjoy a lavish dinner. People rejoice this day. People read the Bible and elders tell the legendary story of this festival to the kids.

Most of the people this day exchange gifts with their relatives. The people believe in colouring the eggs in different bright and vibrant colours and distributing it among the relatives. This custom is believed to bring luck and new life to the people. The different churches provide various types of services to its people this day. The people go to the churches, sing prayers, hymns and songs and worship their lord. Read more..

Festival of the Crosses

Festival of the Crosses“La Fiesta de las Cruces” (The Festival of the Crosses) also known as “Cruz de Mayo” is celebrated in Spain on 3rd May.

Like some other Christian Festivals, it has pagan roots. During this festival, crosses made of flowers are installed in the city’s main squares and streets. Even the balconies of houses are decorated with floral crosses. These floral crosses are further decorated with other ornaments such as candlesticks and scarves.

Festival of the CrossesAlthough celebrated in many places of Spain, the cities of Granada and Cordoba are specially known for their remarkable display of floral crosses. A competition is held to pick the best floral cross later in the day.

Festival of the CrossesNo festival is complete without some sort of merry making and to complement this festival, temporary bars are set up where the locals gather to enjoy a few glasses of wine and tapas. Every Spanish festival features flamenco dancing and “La Fiesta de Las Cruces” is no exception. Dancing continues till the wee hours of the morning.

Festival of the crosses is a festival that brings a lot of tourists to Spain. It is a reason of visiting Spain for many tourists. Spain has a very deep rooted culture. Any festival of Spain with the colors of its culture becomes popular world wide, and Festival of Crosses is no exception.

Anastenaria

AnastenariaThe Anastenaria is another festival with deep pagan roots blended with Christian rituals. The Christian Orthodox festivals revolve around various Christian saints; the Anastenaria Festival is celebrated in some villages of Greece and Bulgaria to honor Saint Constantine and Saint Helen. A popular legend associated with its origin is that once the church caught fire with the saints trapped in it. Some brave locals on hearing the cries for help of the saints, rushed into the burning building to rescue the reverend saints. The blazing fire did not harm the locals and from that day onwards, a festival is held in which the devotees walk on burning coals.

Anastenaria is celebrated in May and dancing, music, animal sacrifice and walking on fire are the main rituals of the festival. The participants gather in a special building or a room called Konaki where the icons of the saints are placed along with other objects considered sacred. The festival commences with dancing; some devotees get so involved in the dancing that it seems as if they are in a trance. On the 21st of May, the participants march towards a holy well to be blessed by the holy water. Next ritual is the animal sacrifice; the meat is later distributed among the villagers. Then a bed of burning coals is prepared and devotees dance around it. Some of them even run barefoot on the hot coals carrying the icons. The festival lasts for three days and ends with a private fire walking ritual.

Easter

Easter eggsEaster is the most important Christian festival of the year relating to the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is a movable festival which occurs between 22nd March and 25th April as it is celebrated on the first Sunday that falls after the first full moon following the spring equinox. Easter marks the end of the Lent; a 40 day fasting period.

The Roman Catholics offer special prayers in the church every Friday till Good Friday. As Jesus was crucified on Friday, it is a sad day for the Christians. A special mass is held on Friday at 3 pm sharp as Jesus Christ was crucified at this hour. A Special midnight Mass is also held on Saturday, the eve of Easter. In some churches, all candles are extinguished on Thursday and then on Easter eve, new candles are lit. The main candle called the Paschal candle is white in color with a red cross on it and signifies the presence of the Christ amongst the people. This candle is lit for a whole month and also on special occasions. People light their candles with it as well. Easter Sunday symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus and begins with special prayers in the church. For Christians too, it is a sign of a new beginning.

Easter candleThe day is then spent greeting and visiting friends and family and feasting. Easter eggs and Easter bunnies are some Easter traditions. Easter eggs represent a new life. Brightly colored eggs are hid all around the house and the garden for children to find. The eggs can be of chocolate or they may be an egg shaped container with goodies inside. Other traditional Easter foods are hot cross buns, roast duck or roast lamb.

Festival of Candelaria

festival of candelariaPuno is a quiet town in Peru better known for its scenic beauty. Puno rings with festivity, color and music as the town celebrates the Candelaria festival.

This colorful festival is a blend of Catholic and pagan customs. It is celebrated to honor the Virgin de la Candelaria (Virgin of Candles) in a traditional pre Columbian style. Town people along with 200 dancers and musicians dance along the streets of the town dressed in colorful costumes. The statue of the saint is carried through the town in a procession including priests and altar boys. The procession is doused with holy water as it passes by the cathedral. Spectacular parades, masks and fireworks are a regular feature of the 18 day festival.

festival of candelariaThe first nine days are spent decorating the church and arranging banquets and fireworks. The later celebrations are more influenced by pagan rituals and are related to the farming and mining activities of the town. The main dance of the festival is the Devil Dance or the Diablada. It is said that a group of miners trapped in cave created this dance and left themselves at the mercy of the Virgin of Candelaria. In the end, the celebrant head towards the graveyard to honor the dead.

Christmas Markets in Germany

CHRISTMAS MARKET IN GERMANY-04Germany is the home of many age old Christmas traditions. Germany is also famous for its Christmas markets which are set up in every town, village and city from the mid of November since the 15th century. These markets uphold the traditional Christmas spirit. The Nativity Scene is reconstructed. The streets are lit and decorated accordingly and choir singing can be heard. The festive atmosphere literally sweeps you off your feet. There are stalls selling artistically made handicrafts like nut crackers, wooden stars, glass balls and other novelties and Christmas ornaments. Besides Christmas related objects, mouth watering delicacies like grilled sausages, baked apples, chestnuts and ginger bread biscuits are sold. To beat the winter frost mulled wine is also sold. Bernkastle-Kues is one place famous for the Christmas markets. The town is better known for its unique architecture.

CHRISTMAS MARKET IN GERMANY-02The true medieval market is set up in the town of Esslingen. Here you will find history re-enacted with musicians, entertainers, fire jugglers, peddlers and dancers for your entertainment besides some 180 stalls selling Christmas souvenirs. Hamelin is another place known for its Christmas markets set up in the middle of the town. Main attractions of the town are the 11 meters high Christmas Pyramid. The famous Hochzeitshaus (Wedding Hall) is cloaked as a huge brightly lit advent calendar. The glassblowing works of Hamelin however hold the major attention as people of all ages children included make their Christmas baubles under the supervision of the glassblowers. The Christmas cruise on the Weser River is another show stealer.

CHRISTMAS MARKET IN GERMANY-03The Christmas markets of Heidelberg spread over seven squares are just like a scene from the fairytales. To really get into the true mood of Christmas, you can take the guided tour of the town. Alternately you can have fun at the ice skating rink.

You can see Christmas concerts in the town of Lubeck with its five brick built churches. 4 markets are set up in this town to celebrate Christmas.

CHRISTMAS MARKET IN GERMANY-01There are many places in Germany worth visiting for their Christmas Markets. Although Christmas Markets are now being set up in other countries as well but the magic and charm of the German Christmas Markets is unparalleled.

Christmas Traditions

Some age-old Christmas traditions are still being followed, but very few people know about their origins or how they got associated with Christmas. Some interesting Christmas traditions are as follows:

xmas-traditions-11. Kissing under the Mistletoe

An age old custom of Christmas is that whenever a man and woman meet under mistletoe they kiss. The man then plucks a berry. When the last berry is gone kissing stops.
Mistletoe is a poisonous parasitic plant which remains green even during winters. Mistletoe was considered sacred by the people before Christ. It was supposed to have medicinal qualities and supernatural powers. Kissing under the mistletoe is a Scandinavian custom. The Scandinavians associated mistletoe with their goddess of love Frigga and all those who kissed under it had a happy and prosperous year.

xmas-traditions-22. Christmas Tree

Setting up a fir tree as a Christmas tree started in Germany. Later it spread to the whole of Europe and then in 1800s America. The custom of decorating a Christmas tree also commenced in Germany.

3. Christmas Dinner

The main dishes of a traditional Christmas dinner are roast turkey and plum pudding. The turkey is filled with stuffing and then roasted. The Christmas pudding contains dried fruits and is said to have originated in England.

4. Christmas Carols

Christmas carols are songs based on the theme of Christmas. In the 12th century St.Francis of Assini introduced Christmas carols to the church. The word carol is derived from a French word “caroler” which means dancing around in a circle. These songs express joy and happiness and are very popular among Christians. The carol “Silent Night” is especially popular. A Christmas is not complete without carols.

xmas-traditions-35. Christmas Stockings

Children hang stockings by their bedsides or the fireplace on the eve of Christmas. Santa Claus is supposed to fill these stockings with toys and other gifts the children have asked for. This tradition began with Saint Nicholas a kindhearted pious person who loved to help people while remaining anonymous. One day he climbed to the roof of a house and slipped a purse of money down the chimney to help a girl. The purse landed in the girl’s stocking which she had put out to dry.

Thanksgiving Day

thanksgiving-2As the name suggests, Thanksgiving Day is a day to thank the Lord for His bounties. It is basically a harvest festival. Thanksgiving Day is mainly celebrated in the U.S. and Canada. It originated in the U.S. in the early 17th century when colonists and Indians joined together to celebrate a good harvest after a harsh winter of starvation and adversity. Over the years the festival gained importance and Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day. Realizing the significance of Thanksgiving Day, in 1941 the U.S Congress declared it a National Holiday. In Canada, it is celebrated on the 25th of October.
Thanksgiving Day is a joyous occasion and is celebrated with lavish dinners, bringing family together and colorful parades.Thanksgiving Day is a time for family get-together and an elaborate meal is prepared for this occasion. thanksgiving-1Roast

Turkey is the main item on the menu followed by pumpkin pies and lots of fruits.
A lively feature of Thanksgiving Day is the colorful parades that take place in major cities in the U.S. like New York, Miami, San Diego, Chicago and Phoenix. Animal-shaped Helium-filled balloons, beautifully-decorated floats with unique themes and vibrant colors and live bands are the main attractions of the parades. Thousands of people gather on the streets to watch the parades and many others watch on T.V. On Thanksgiving Day people sit back and enjoy time with their families.

Christmas Gifts for Men

Gone are the days when men dutifully accept utility items (socks, sweaters, shirts, and lighters) as Christmas gifts. Men today expect exciting gifts from the women they have spoiled all through the year. To show your appreciation and express your love for that special man in your life, choose something truly exciting this year.
When shopping for Christmas gifts for men the options are unlimited. This makes picking up the right gift a difficult task. As his wife/girlfriend you must be aware of his interests and hobbies and choose a gift accordingly. If your man is a movie freak get him copies of his favorite movies.

christmas-gifts-men-2

For the electronic gadget lover you can choose the latest cell phone, digital camera or a camcorder. For the well-groomed type, a pair of designer cuff links, watch or a silk tie will do. A men’s cologne and a spicy after shave also make a great gift. A leather wallet is also a good choice, however, if you have a limited budget then go for an artificial leather wallet.
Gifts are your way of expressing gratitude and telling a person that you really understand them. A gift of his liking will not only be special, it will be memorable too, and he will always cherish it.

Christmas Gifts for Women

christmas-gifts-women-1Christmas Gifts for Women

Christmas is the time to tell those dear to you how much you love them and how important they are. What better way than a Christmas gift? Choosing the best Christmas gift for the special lady in their lives is what men dread the most. Women are difficult to please. Admit it. They are bound to nag if you give them a juicer to replace the broken one. Try to find a gift for them and not for the house.

christmas-gifts-women-2It is better to choose a gift that appeals to the lady’s interest; this will show how well you know her and that you truly understand her. Believe me that is a gift itself.
Whatever gift you intend to buy, the internet is the best place to do some research. Various sites will guide you in selecting a proper gift as well as update your meager knowledge about the latest fashions. Among some of the things women like most are hand bags/purses, especially a designer hand bag. Choose one to fit her lifestyle. For a working woman and mothers of young babies, stylish yet roomy bags will do. For party goers, a sleek purse is a perfect choice. . christmas-gifts-women-3

Cosmetics, especially from a renowned brand, are guaranteed to bring a happy smile. Perfumes and other perfume related accessories make a great gift too, however, when choosing one keep her personality in mind.
Jewelry makes the best gift any day and for any age. Though diamonds can get you a lot more than smiles, diamonds are expensive and not within everyone’s reach. Lucky for you, artificial jewelry is available in many designs and the price range is more affordable.

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