This week we are asked if we have ever taken part in a holiday celebration that was totally new to us and my answer is, “Gee, no”.
I know people from all over the world. I have people that I consider friends of several religions, but I have never taken part in any different celebrations…not that I wouldn’t, in many cases.
After scouring my memory, I find that I have never been part of a ‘different’ celebration. There are two reasons that jump to mind as to why.
The first one is, that for all my acquaintances, I have had few very close friends. I am very friendly with many, but to say I have been “close” to those with whom I would share a different experience, is apparently not the right word; frankly,I have never been invited.
The second reason would be that my family, or I, have always been the host for holiday celebrations. If the people who celebrate differently celebrate the same holiday or on the same days, I would not be available…even if they were inclined to ask me. They may have known I would busy as a bee.
My husband I were actually invited to a Thanksgiving dinner just before our first wedding anniversary, which we declined. The people were friends and didn’t think we should be ‘alone’, but I was expecting our first child and their children were ill.(Thanks, but no thanks.) I am not sure how different it would have been anyway, as it was probably basically turkey, etc.
[I may have told the story here before of how my mother and her sisters took my mother’s fiancé, (my future father), home to Pennsylvania from Washington, DC for Thanksgiving to meet the family. He was shocked to see the biggest bowl of spaghetti in the world being served and thought, “Well, they are Italian, I guess that’s what they eat for Thanksgiving”, and he preceded to dig in, with all the sides, salads, breads he could never have imagined. After he was full, they brought out a big turkey with all the trimmings! As someone once said: Italians don’t understand that most people don’t eat their body weight at every meal. He never understood my mother stayed so slim for so many years.]
My family pretty much has the same Thanksgiving dinner no matter who is doing most of the cooking, but one year we had a ‘different’ Thanksgiving dinner.
Much to her dismay, my mother found that her oven was not working an evening before Thanksgiving. Mom well-known for her tasty and moist turkeys and always made a BIG one, which she cooked slowly overnight. (One year she found a 36 pounder; the oven door wouldn’t close completely.)
After some investigation, she found that the element was the culprit. All the hardware stores were closed. Somehow the idea of secretly ‘borrowing’ the element out of my sister’s boyfriend’s oven surfaced, but it did not fit. My mother was beside herself…the pies were made, the cranberry sauce was made, but there would be no turkey.
She called me, all upset and said she’d order carry-out.
I insisted on stepping in.
I had a couple of pre-made entrees in the freezer and I stayed up making more. We didn’t have enough of any one thing to feed everyone, but we had a good sampling and the day came off pretty well. People got to taste some of my cooking that they would never have had the chance to try.
Strangely, Mom had said about a month before that she wanted to do something different for Thanksgiving, but her conscience and sense of tradition had wiped out that idea. As she was eating away at what I brought, (including a Mexican layered pork dish and beef bourguignon), I said to her, “Gee Mom, you said you wanted to do something DIFFERENT for Thanksgiving, I didn’t know you didn’t want to do ANYTHING!” She laughed very hard, however,
on Friday the oven element was replaced and on Saturday we had the turkey, with every traditional side …even though we would have an almost identical dinner again on Christmas. Tradition would not let her do anything less.
The only really different Christmas was a strangely unseasonably warm one, where all Christmas-wear went unworn…so much so that as my aunt and I took my dog for a walk we saw many of the neighborhood kids in shorts, and my mother actually took the over-dried Christmas tree down before New Year’s Eve, which floored us all, given that she seldom took it down before February.
We had a ‘different’ New Year’s Eve one year, but that topic is coming up in a couple of weeks.
If anyone would care to invite me to a celebration of another custom when it isn’t on a day I host, I’d love to give it a go. Give me a call!