Merry Christmas from The Chronicle

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Other December Holidays…

By Elyse Grau

Christmas and New Year’s Eve aren’t the only holidays celebrated in December. Here are a few others:

Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah)

“The Festival of Lights” is a minor holiday in the Jewish religion. It is a commemoration of the successful revolt against the Greeks, who had forbade the practice of Judaism and desecrated the temple. When the victorious Jews looked for the oil to light the menorah for the re-dedication of the temple, they found only enough to provide light for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight nights. 

The lighting of candles in a special menorah during the eight nights of the holiday commemorates this event. The menorah holds nine candles, one for each night and a ninth, usually placed higher than the rest is lit first, then used to light others, beginning with one candle the first night. The next night, two new candles are lit, and so on, adding one each night until all nine are burning.

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a modern holiday, invented by African Studies professor Maulana Karenga in 1966. It is a celebration of Afro-American culture, running from Dec. 26 to Jan.1. The holiday is built around seven principles of African heritage, and rituals are designed around various African harvest festivals.

Symbols displayed include fresh fruits and nuts, corn (also included in holiday feasts), and a candle holder called a kinara, which holds candles in red, black and green – the colors of the Pan-African flag. Originally Kwanzaa was designed to be an alternative  to Christmas, but it soon became an adjunct. Observation of this holiday has fallen since its advent.

Omisoka

Omisoka is the most important holiday in Japan. It celebrates the ringing in of the new year. Beginning on the eve of Dec. 31, it lasts four days. Traditional decorations are hung or displayed in the days preceding the holiday. The house is cleaned from top to bottom, and all family members participate.

Rituals are designed to ensure good fortune for the coming year. People will visit shrines, parties are held. Temple bells are rung 108 times, to signify the 108 Bonnou, or vices. 


Eating lots of sweets lately?

Here’s a health-friendly recipe to make with the family:

By Yaakov Levine

Glazed Chocolate Donuts
Servings: 8

Ingredients:
• ¼ cup coconut flour
• ¼ cup cacao powder
• ¼ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• 4 large eggs
• ½ cup coconut oil, melted
• 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Topping:
• ½ cup chocolate chips
• 1 tablespoon palm shortening

Instructions:
• In a food processor, pulse together coconut flour, cacao powder, salt, and baking soda
• Pulse in eggs, coconut oil, and maple syrup until thoroughly combined
• Fill each well of a donut mold halfway full of batter
• Bake at 350°F for 15-18 minutes
• Remove doughnuts from pan and place on a cooling rack
• Use a paring knife to cut hole in center of each doughnut
• In a saucepan, melt chocolate chips and shortening
• Drizzle doughnut with chocolate glaze
• Cool and serve

Recipe: Elena’s Pantry, adapted by Yaakov Levine


Last chance to go look at Christmas lights!

Hoffstot Farm at 31208 Camas Swale Road in Creswell

Drive by on a Friday or Saturday to see Santa, the grinch, and to enjoy hot cocoa and candy canes. This display has over 400 characters and 50,000 lights lit up this year.

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