Tag Archive | Christmas

Merry Armenian Christmas — Orthodox Christmas

Armenia

Armenians celebrate Christmas (surb tsnunt, Սուրբ Ծնունդ, meaning “saint birth”) on January 6 as a public holiday in Armenia. It also coincides with the Epiphany. Traditionally, Armenians fast during the week leading up to Christmas. Devout Armenians may even refrain from food for the three days leading up to the Christmas Eve, in order to receive the Eucharist on a “pure” stomach. Christmas Eve is particularly rich in traditions. Families gather for the Christmas Eve dinner (khetum, Խթում), which generally consists of: rice, fish, nevik (նուիկ, a vegetable dish of green chard and chick peas), and yogurt/wheat soup (tanabur, թանապուր). Dessert includes dried fruits and nuts, including rojik, which consists of whole shelled walnuts threaded on a string and encased in grape jelly, bastukh (a paper-like confection of grape jelly, cornstarch, and flour), etc. This lighter menu is designed to ease the stomach off the week-long fast and prepare it for the rather more substantial Christmas Day dinner. Children take presents of fruits, nuts, and other candies to older relatives.

It is frequently asked as to why Armenians do not celebrate Christmas on December 25 with the rest of the world. Obviously, the exact date of Christ’s birth has not been historically established—it is not recorded in the Gospels. However, historically, all Christian churches celebrated Christ’s birth on January 6 until the fourth century. According to Roman Catholic sources, the date was changed from January 6 to December 25 in order to override a pagan feast dedicated to the birth of the Sun which was celebrated on December 25. At the time Christians used to continue their observance of these pagan festivities. In order to undermine and subdue this pagan practice, the church hierarchy designated December 25 as the official date of Christmas and January 6 as the feast of Epiphany. However, Armenia was not affected by this change for the simple fact that there were no such pagan practices in Armenia, on that date, and the fact that the Armenian Church was not a satellite of the Roman Church. Thus, remaining faithful to the traditions of their forefathers, Armenians have continued to celebrate Christmas on January 6 until today.[42]

In addition to the Christmas tree (tonatsar, Տօնածառ), Armenians (particularly in the Middle East) also erect the Nativity scene. Christmas in the Armenian tradition is a purely religious affair. Santa Claus does not visit the nice Armenian children on Christmas, but rather on New Year’s Eve. The idea of Santa Claus existed before the Soviet Union and he was named kaghand papik (Կաղանդ Պապիկ), but the Soviet Union had a great impact even on Santa Claus. Now he goes by the more secular name of Grandfather Winter (dzmerr papik, Ձմեռ Պապիկ).

CREDITS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_worldwide

The Boxing Day Rush – No Thank You

Well, it is that time again where Christmas is behind us, and today is boxing day. Many people will go or have already gone out for Boxing day shopping to get their hands on great sales and deals in the retail world, where people get discounted products and everything. I am one of those people who has never gone out to shopping centers, malls, and plazas to go shopping on a crazy day like today, and it just gets me stressed out. I really do not feel like getting trampled on, and attacked by other people. I would rather go shopping at a later time and not battle through big and long line ups, and I would rather shop being sane, then insane. It’s winter time, its cold, snow on the ground, what am I going to do? I would rather stay warm at home and relax, then having to venture out. The time I do go to Malls is Mid January, where things have calmed down, and where I can shop in peace.

Do you like to go shopping on Boxing day, or are you like me and stay home or stay far away from anywhere that requires shopping? If I really do not need something, I do not purchase it. Even if its on sale. When I do need something stores will always have something, so I am not in that rush to get something if I am not going to be using it. How about you?

Well, new years is a few days away. Cannot believe 2013 will be over and gone in less than a week. This year went by so quickly. It is unbelievable. How was 2013 for you? Did you do anything exciting? what were some of your highlights? Have a blessed new year, all the best to 2014.

How Electricity Plays a Huge Role In Our Lives

As you may or may not have heard in the news in last few days, Toronto, Canada and areas outside of Toronto was hit with a crazy  Ice Storm, that left the city and a lot of areas without power, knocking down tree branches on wires that connect transformers for power. As much as over 360,000 customers or more were without electricity and it can take anywhere around 72 hours and as much as a week to restore power in some areas. This Ice storm is known to be one of the worst weather disasters in history for the city of Toronto and areas. For the past 24-48 and even more hours have been left without power and all the food in peoples freezers and refrigerators have become spoiled and whoever started with their Christmas Dinner preparations, I am so sorry that they are going through all that and I surely hope that those peoples dinner plans will not spoil and that they will be able to salvage the food for their Christmas Gatherings in their homes.

It is times like this where people really think about how essential, important and how valuable electricity is to all of us.

I am so Thankful to the Hydro Electrical workers of Toronto and areas for working around the clock, and taking time out of their Christmas vacations that they had planned with their families to ensure that everyone gets power back into their homes as quickly as possible, so that others can have a Christmas, so that others can have electricity back. Whatever the cost of a hydro maybe every month, I can say it is well worth it, because some people do not realize that electricity is one of the most important things and which make life easy for us all with basic things like doing Laundry, cooking, listening to music, which keep our phones charged, which keeps our computers turned on, that heat up our water supply, which keeps our lights on, heats the house and so much more.

Let us take this time to really appreciate, and keep with the Christmas spirit and always be grateful for what we have and lets be thankful to the Hydro workers who are working extra hard to get everything going again. Reach out to those and lets help each other get back up on our feet. God bless and I hope everyone gets power soon. My prayers, thoughts are with those effected by this Ice Storm.

The Toronto Ice Storm and Areas Around – Be Careful Out There

On Saturday December 21st, 2013, on the first official day of winter, a terrible ice storm hit the City of Toronto, GTA, and areas around, where over 300,000 homes were and are still without power, knocking down tree branches, trees, sparks from hydro electrical wires, and making it very dangerous for driving and being out and about. Many places have closed stores, restaurants and even churches were cancelled as Sunday approached. Many trees and other surfaces have thick layers of ice due to the rain, freezing rain and ice pellets that hit the ground.  Many people have put their skates on and started skating on the roads and on their driveways in the city, many pictures show that trees have been toppled on cars, driveways, and roadways creating havoc, blockage and so much more. Winter has hit Ontario, Canada very early this year and it has been a month of active weather with snow, sleet, and very cold conditions. We are officially in winter now, and we still have about 3 more months to deal with this all. This is the first time Toronto has been hit with an ice storm and it is the worst in History as it has been reported on television today.

Hope that people can get electricity restored in time for Christmas. This is not something people want to deal with before Christmas begins. Hopefully food in peoples fridge does not get spoiled, and hopefully people’s plans will not be put on hold. I pray that everything goes back to normal. Electricity is something that is so important and of value to people. I cannot imagine how people used to go without electricity back in the olden days. I want to say to people to stay safe during this active winter weather, and if you do not have to drive out if its not so important, please stay indoors, keep warm, and keep off the roads, and if you know any elderly people who live around you or have elderly people in your family, do keep in touch with them to make sure they are okay, and if they need anything or need to be with anybody right now, its a good idea to look after them and as well as anybody else who needs anything.

At times like this it truly shows peoples great heart and love for others to help them during this difficult time in this terrible ice storm. Its very great to be seeing people helping each other on the news on the residential streets, and giving each other a helping hand with clearing off the tree branches from the streets, and so much more. Hope all goes well and things will workout for the better in the end.

My Christmas Movie Favorites

For the past month or two, we may or may not have seen all the classic Christmas movies that have been airing on television and some of the Christmas movies stand out for me and are tradition for me to watch annually, and I never miss watching them. I enjoy watching them with having some popcorn, drinking hot chocolate, putting a blanket on me, and enjoying them with family and friends. These movies are wonderfully and tastefully done and I really enjoy them. Here are my favorite Christmas movie’s in no particular order.

1. Home Alone

2. Home Alone 2 Lost in New York

3. Santa Clause 1 and 2

4. Jack Frost

5. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

6. Four Christmases

7. Jingle All the Way

8. Miracle on 34th St

9. Christmas with the Cranks

10. Elf

11. Frosty the Snowman

12. How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

13. A Charlie Brown Christmas

14. The Muppet Christmas Carol

What are your favorite Christmas movies? What is your Christmas Movie tradition?

Would love to hear from you. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2014.

WestJet’s Beautiful Christmas Surprise – I Love This Airline

Christmas holidays are just around the corner and as you may or may not be aware or know about this, but in the last week or two, there has been a video that has gone viral around the world with millions of viewership of WestJet Airlines  when WestJet employees went on an incredible journey to surprise many of their Customers with unexpected packages and gifts awaiting them at the baggage claim area of Calgary’s Airport. In the beginning, there was a screen where you scan your boarding pass and a Santa Claus appears and he knows each passenger by their first and last names, Santa asks what they want for Christmas, whereas behind the scenes the Staff of WestJet were so organized and they wrote everyone’s wishes and then set out to buy these gifts, some thought it was a joke by saying they want Underwear and Socks, A Family wanted a TV, some wanted Tablets, a Camera and so much more. So everyone received exactly what they wanted for Christmas. The Person who wanted Socks and Underwear is probably kicking himself saying Oh my goodness, what did I do? lol

WestJet Flights were from Toronto and Hamilton on their way to Calgary so the team of WestJet staff sent e-mails right away to Calgary and where the staff there ventured off so quickly to buy the presents, bring them back to the airport and get them wrapped up and shipped to the Baggage claim area and get them all ready until the flights arrived there. More than 150 passengers came to a complete shock and some cried, were emotional and so many incredible things unfolded.

This and other reasons are why I love WestJet, they care about their customers and passengers, they go out of their way to make sure all passengers have everything they need, they have incredibly and awesome planes that is so comfortable. I flew with WestJet twice, so I know exactly how that felt. I wasn’t so lucky about the presents, but that is besides the point. Many airlines can learn and thing or two about service, about how to care for customers with always smiling, and so much more. WestJet is an airline that does not cut corners. They do everything so professionally yet wonderfully. This Christmas surprise was one that I will never forget and I keep playing this video on replay, and I have seen it more than 15 times. The smiles on these passengers faces and staffs faces are so beautiful, it is great to feel appreciated and money does not even justify anything at that point.

Passengers pay so much for airfare, people do their best to try to go away on trips and this tastefully done beautiful Christmas surprise was all worth it. I wish all airlines can give something back to their passengers. Not only to safely land and take off with their passengers to different destinations, but to show appreciation by eliminating the $25.00 luggage check bag fees, and by offering more services to better airlines. It goes a long way. These airlines do not realize it, but the more they do for passengers and keeping everyone happy, the more business they will have, the more better things will become. Money should not be everything, and Westjet made that very clear with what they did for these people. These things like what WestJet did to their passengers go a long way. It feels nice to be appreciated, it feels nice to make us passengers feel like we’re important, feel like were priority against anything else. Thank you Westjet for doing this. Beautifully and well done. Your forever customer, Talin Orfali — I will definitely be flying my third time again, but I hope soon.

Here is the video I am talking about. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zIEIvi2MuEk

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year – Love Talin Orfali

It is that time of year again. I cannot believe how quickly 2013 flew by. Just yesterday we were celebrating Christmas and New Years for 2012/2013, and now as 2013 is coming to a close, were doing it all over again with putting up the lights, the decorations, finding that perfect tree, or putting up a tree that has been in storage. I love Christmas time when everywhere is decorated with beautiful colours, beautiful Christmas lights on homes, wrapped presents, ornaments, tinsel, snow globes, candles, manger, stables, the nativity scene, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the Elves, Snowman, Mistletoe, Cookies and Milk, candy canes, the food, the celebrations, and of course and especially celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with Mary and Joseph and the Three Wise Men and how Mary was chosen to give Birth to a King.

What are your Christmas traditions in your family? What exciting things do you do? Some families put on Christmas Sweaters, some families play games, and so on and so forth. What do you like to cook and serve to your loved ones? Christmas for me every year is always different, either we have a lot of people come over, some Christmases are spent going to other peoples homes, or going out to a party, so I cannot really say what is tradition with my loved ones, but every year is always different, but we do manage to always find a way to get together. When we do, we love cooking turkey, ham, rice, vegetables, gravy, and other things. I love baking my signature cinnamon cake which people I know love it, so they want more and more of it. It has been such a long time I have not decorated a Gingerbread house, but I think I will do that this year.

I love watching Christmas movies at this time of year like Miracle on 34th street, Home Alone 1 and 2, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Jack Frost, Four Christmases, Santa Clause, Santa Clause 2, I also love watching the Santa Claus Parade on television. I must have watched Home Alone 1 and 2 8 or 9 times this year alone on TV and I just love that movie especially. There is something about Home Alone 1 and 2, that make you get pulled into it and its so hard to flip the channel. After that Home alone 3-5 was all downhill and I did not enjoy them as much because when you change Characters, when you change the setting, it won’t be the same as the first 2. I know Home Alone 1 and 2 by heart, and if you put the movie on mute, I can say the whole script.

Anyway, lastly, I also want to acknowledge those people who are not so lucky during the Christmas and New Year Holidays, that are alone, but not really alone because there are people in this world that are thinking of them and one of them is me, people who do not have a warm home to go to, those who are less fortunate, those who cannot afford or who do not have enough to provide for their families and I’d like to reach out to all of those people around the world and tell them that I am thinking of them and they are in my heart, mind and soul and my thoughts and prayers are with them all and I wish them the best for 2014 and I hope that they too can have a nice and lovely Christmas. I want them to know that they are not alone and that I am with them all. The presents and Materialism shouldn’t matter, but all that matters is togetherness and creating memories.  I wish everyone peace, harmony, happiness, health, success, and all the great things of life. I wish everyone a prosperous, great, and lovely new year. Many blessings to all and wishing everyone all the best. With love always, Talin Orfali