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

Kitchen & Time Saving Tips for The Upcoming Holiday’s

It is that time again and it is quickly approaching where we are just a few weeks away from Christmas and New Year holidays, and a lot of people get so frustrated, and are confused with what to cook, what to do to save time in Kitchen and so much more. The Holidays are about spending time with your loved ones, making memories and cherishing precious and personal moments with them and to spend less time in the kitchen, which is why I have these tips and tricks to help you in that department. Well, without further a do, here they are:

— 1 or 2 weeks before your big dinner night with your loved ones, decide on the menu and what you will cook and serve as snacks, as dinner and dessert. We know how hectic it can be to make several types of dishes, but simplicity is key. Do not overload your table with so many options of foods. Limit the amount.

— a week before the big event, do all your grocery shopping. Do not wait until last-minute as that time is to start preparing the day or 2 before, but if they are foods that will need to be prepared on the day of, make sure you start early in preparations.

— If you have more than 10-20 people or more or less, it is a good idea to buy Christmas Holiday style disposable cutlery and plates to set the table or set them to the side like a buffet table along with of course napkins, disposable cups and glasses for juice, soft drinks, wine, beer, alcoholic beverages, so that no washing dishes are involved. Keep the garbage bags on standby where you can get a reach of it quickly. (The only washing of dishes would be servers, and plates, pans that have the food that is cooked from it.

— Before your loved ones arrive, set all the desserts to the side where it will be quick to bring out.

— Do not spend half your time in the kitchen. Besides your loved ones came to get together and spend time together, to see each others faces. Preparation in advance is so important to do. Do not be afraid to ask for help, and delegate tasks for the whole family to do before others start coming over.

— Of course the house should be clean and tidy, use a rug at the front of the door to put people s shoes and organize them so that shoes will not be everywhere. make room in your closet for people’s coats. So take all the coats out that you and your family who live there and take them and put them in another room. If you have enough space for all jackets in your closet, then its all good.

— Before the meal, when people start knocking on your door and come in, have vegetable trays and chips bowls on the table or whatever snacks you will serve, but not over indulge in the snacks so that you have room for the main dinner. Then after the dinner is done, put out the snacks and dessert table. again limit the desserts as well.

— In the kitchen when you are about to start cooking, take out all cooking equipment out and once you use something and will not need it anymore, simply wash them, dry them and put them away, so that you have less dishes to wash later.

— when your loved ones are over, make sure everything is ready, then all you do is just bring them over to the table which won’t take more than 5 minutes, keep the food warm on the oven, until it is time to serve. After serving your food, and after eating, clear the table and of course throw out the disposable plates, cutlery and cups and glasses, then just give the table a quick wipe. Then quickly convert it to the dessert table where everything is self-serve. Also use disposable dessert plates and cutlery as well.

— Leave the washing of the big dishes until later so that you can enjoy your loved ones to the fullest and if people want to volunteer to help you clean and wash, allow them and it will be fun as well-doing things together. just not all on you.

— make the coffee, espresso and put the water into the coffee maker, in advance. after dinner, just press the button and the coffee will start to brew. Also make those disposable cups. Remember less washing the better it is for you.

— decide on decorations on table, centerpieces and theme. I have read that people dress up in Christmas sweaters, and same colours, sometimes people just come in anything.

This is super important if your loved ones have a little too much to drink, do not allow them to drive a vehicle and make sure they stay over, until they are sober to drive again. Do not drink and drive and enjoy the holidays responsibly. You can save your life, your loved ones lives and others lives who share the road with you. When you know there is alcohol involved and you know that your loved ones will drink, ask to collect everyone’s car keys and place them in a basket and put the basket in another room and keep the door locked and when people leave just bring the basket out and let people grab their keys only if they have not drunk. or if they had one drink or something that still gives them the capability to drive.

— When nature calls, some of your loved ones will want to use the washroom. It is a good idea to have paper towels on standby so that your towels won’t be soaking wet when another person decides to dry their hangs, and a couple of rolls of toilet paper on the side, and extra hand washing soap if need be.

That is all for now, but if there is any particular questions you need to ask, do not hesitate to comment or personally e-mail me. You can find my e-mail on my contact me site which is located on top of the page. Thank you and have a great, safe, happy Christmas and Holiday season!

 

The Joyful Moments Of Cooking. How Much I Love It

In my life, one of the most joyful and satisfaction I receive is when I cook, bake and enjoy my time in the kitchen with all my favourite kitchen appliances that make my cooking a lot more enjoyable and fun at the same time. I was 8 years old and I remember cooking rice for the very first time. It was the best feeling in the world when my mom taught me how to wash it and cook it. Now with my mom’s supervision she watched me as I cooked and she said, great job and it was my first time doing it. I got so excited. From then on, I started cooking a lot for my family and then as soon as I turned 14 years old, I did not need supervision anymore, and I could do everything on my own. I learned how to make lasagna, chicken soup, and other different types of food since I was 10 years old. When I turned 20 years old, I began to take over the kitchen and I would tell my mom to go relax, and I told her I got this. So now without my mom being in the kitchen, I do all sorts of dishes, I bake cakes, cupcakes, I make cookies, jello, home-made ice cream, fruit platters, salads, I marinate meats, I make meatballs, Ravioli, Armenian and Middle Eastern Dishes, I make my famous Chilli, different types of breakfast, dips, sauces, and everything, Among other delicious things that my family, and who comes over to my house, that always want seconds and even thirds sometimes. I sometimes think, I should have made extra, but I love it when there is no left overs.  I love making everything from scratch. I seldom go and buy ready-made easy stuff, I enjoy making it all on my own. The best way to make it and you know exactly what is going into your food without all the added calories and ready-made products. Sometimes you see ready-made pasta, and lasagna trays from the grocery store, I never even touch those. I make mine fresh. You never know how long those things have stayed like that. I’d rather do it myself and it is a lot more fun that way.

I remember a time when I invited my whole group of friends over for Armenian Style Ravioli Called (Mante, Manti, Mantuh, Mantee, However they spell it), and the whole extra-large pot finished amongst everyone and to this day, they want my Armenian Style Ravioli, but that day will come again when I will invite them over.  I remember a time when I cooked for over 20-25 people and all on my own. I had over 4 or 5 different dishes with salads, meats, and rice. It was a lot of fun although it was very hard to take it all on myself, but I made sure that the flavours were perfect and that everyone enjoyed it and they sure did. I love taking on big tasks on my own. Although it is great to receive help too, but I like taking on challenges and doing things on my own. especially when it comes to cooking. I don’t know, but I have become a perfectionist in the kitchen and I just love things to be cooked evenly, the sizes and I love the presentation. Even if it’s just for my family on a regular dinner night. I just love the presentation. I get the joys and satisfaction when doing so.

When I go grocery shopping, I also donate food to the less fortunate, and I put food in the food bank boxes that are put in front of grocery stores or in certain shelters, at my church they have food banks and I put a few non-perishable food items in the box. I love donating food to them. Knowing that a family out there who is less fortunate and needy is fed, that also makes me happy and that also makes me feel great that someone doesn’t have to go to bed hungry at night. It feels great to donate.

Food is my specialty and knowing that my family enjoys it and knowing that I made this with my love and care is what it important to me. I don’t cook because I have to everyday and I don’t cook for the sake of it, I actually love doing what I do and making sure my family is fed with the best possible nutrition.  Happy Cooking everyone!

The Joyful Moments Of Cooking. How Much I Love It

In my life, one of the most joyful and satisfaction I receive is when I cook, bake and enjoy my time in the kitchen with all my favourite kitchen appliances that make my cooking a lot more enjoyable and fun at the same time. I was 8 years old and I remember cooking rice for the very first time. It was the best feeling in the world when my mom taught me how to wash it and cook it. Now with my mom’s supervision she watched me as I cooked and she said, great job and it was my first time doing it. I got so excited. From then on, I started cooking a lot for my family and then as soon as I turned 14 years old, I did not need supervision anymore, and I could do everything on my own. I learned how to make lasagna, chicken soup, and other different types of food since I was 10 years old. When I turned 20 years old, I began to take over the kitchen and I would tell my mom to go relax, and I told her I got this. So now without my mom being in the kitchen, I do all sorts of dishes, I bake cakes, cupcakes, I make cookies, jello, home-made ice cream, fruit platters, salads, I marinate meats, I make meatballs, Ravioli, Armenian and Middle Eastern Dishes, I make my famous Chilli, different types of breakfast, dips, sauces, and everything, Among other delicious things that my family, and who comes over to my house, that always want seconds and even thirds sometimes. I sometimes think, I should have made extra, but I love it when there is no left overs.  I love-making everything from scratch. I seldom go and buy ready-made easy stuff, I enjoy making it all on my own. The best way to make it and you know exactly what is going into your food without all the added calories and ready-made products. Sometimes you see ready-made pasta, and lasagna trays from the grocery store, I never even touch those. I make mine fresh. You never know how long those things have stayed like that. I’d rather do it myself and it is a lot more fun that way.

I remember a time when I invited my whole group of friends over for Armenian Style Ravioli Called (Mante, Manti, Mantuh, Mantee, However they spell it), and the whole extra-large pot finished amongst everyone and to this day, they want my Armenian Style Ravioli, but that day will come again when I will invite them over.  I remember a time when I cooked for over 20-25 people and all on my own. I had over 4 or 5 different dishes with salads, meats, and rice. It was a lot of fun although it was very hard to take it all on myself, but I made sure that the flavours were perfect and that everyone enjoyed it and they sure did. I love taking on big tasks on my own. Although it is great to receive help too, but I like taking on challenges and doing things on my own. especially when it comes to cooking. I don’t know, but I have become a perfectionist in the kitchen and I just love things to be cooked evenly, the sizes and I love the presentation. Even if it’s just for my family on a regular dinner night. I just love the presentation. I get the joys and satisfaction when doing so.

When I go grocery shopping, I also donate food to the less fortunate, and I put food in the food bank boxes that are put in front of grocery stores or in certain shelters, at my church they have food banks and I put a few non-perishable food items in the box. I love donating food to them. Knowing that a family out there who is less fortunate and needy is fed, that also makes me happy and that also makes me feel great that someone doesn’t have to go to bed hungry at night. It feels great to donate.

Food is my specialty and knowing that my family enjoys it and knowing that I made this with my love and care is what it important to me. I don’t cook because I have to everyday and I don’t cook for the sake of it, I actually love doing what I do and making sure my family is fed with the best possible nutrition.  Happy Cooking everyone!

Armenian Christmas Is Today – Merry 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

2012 Is Almost Over – Came and Went So Fast – Time Is Flying By Quickly

Can you believe how fast 2012 went by? It was like yesterday we celebrated 2012, and now were back toward the end of the year and ready to welcome 2013. Can you believe how fast it went? I can’t believe it. Well, It has been an up and down year for me, but I learned a lot of new things this year. I learned a lot about how people are in society, myself, my strengths, new experiences, about blogging, about social media, about different things that I had never experienced before. You name it. This year was an interesting year for me. Unfortunately, I lost loved ones, God rest their souls, I had the pleasure of traveling to different destinations, I met new friends, let go of people who weren’t really my friends, let go of those people who were true to me, above all, I kept a very positive attitude, and I didn’t let negativity overpower me. I sometimes had mixed emotions about certain things, but that is normal and we all have days where we are down and days where we feel sad, but This year taught me the importance of not taking things to heart and not being attached to things so quickly. 2012 taught me so much. I remember by detail what happened this year for me. I got closer to my great friends, and family, I got to see my cousins after 13 years, I had the pleasure of meeting family I never met before. It was quite an interesting year, mostly ups and that really puts a new perspective on things. I got to see a live filming of CSI Las Vegas and I was a few feet away from Actor Ted Danson, George Eads, and Jorja Fox, I got do a lot of things which are incredible, and I look forward to accomplishing a lot more in 2013. I feel like 2013 will be my year to shine, and will be my year to do more than I did in 2012. I believe each year that passes, we learn valuable lessons of life and I believe that with whatever and however we approach it, it teaches us things of life and I like to prepare myself in advanced. Sometimes you can’t prepare for things that happen out of the blue, but I truly believe that things work out in the end and that things will be better and fine. Lets see what 2013 has in store for all of us and what will occur. We don’t know, but we will see.

I just have this feeling that it will be my year. I don’t know, but when I get this gut feeling, it always happens. Lets see what happens. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous, Happy, Healthy new year 2013.

Stay Tuned For My Armenian/Middle Eastern Recipe Week Starting December 8 – 15, 2012

Hello everyone, due to popular demand and many people wanting to know about different types of food I eat, prepare and what my ethnic background eats, how it is prepared, what spices, herbs, among specific amounts to everything. I will be featuring an array and variety of Armenian and Middle Eastern foods that a lot of people are interested in. It is coming time to Christmas celebrations and gatherings with the family, and it is timely and it gets people to think about different recipes and create a new masterpiece in everything. So basically I will be writing and posting about different recipes that I have cooked myself, have learned from my family and friends, and basically what we love to eat with appetizers, deserts, dinner, breakfast, lunch, baking different cakes, pastries, salads, finger foods, meatballs, soups, among other delicious types of food. It will be quite exciting to me to share with the world my favourite Armenian and Middle Eastern Dishes. So stay tuned and get your taste buds ready for a new world in the culinary world and among everything else. Enjoy and have great Christmas and enjoy the holidays and every other day. :)

The Joyful Moments Of Cooking and How Much I Love It

In my life, one of the most joyful and satisfaction I receive is when I cook, bake and enjoy my time in the kitchen with all my favourite kitchen appliances that make my cooking a lot more enjoyable and fun at the same time. I was 8 years old and I remember cooking rice for the very first time. It was the best feeling in the world when my mom taught me how to wash it and cook it. Now with my mom’s supervision she watched me as I cooked and she said, great job and it was my first time doing it. I got so excited. From then on, I started cooking a lot for my family and then as soon as I turned 14 years old, I did not need supervision anymore, and I could do everything on my own. I learned how to make lasagna, chicken soup, and other different types of food since I was 10 years old. When I turned 20 years old, I began to take over the kitchen and I would tell my mom to go relax, and I told her I got this. So now without my mom being in the kitchen, I do all sorts of dishes, I bake cakes, cupcakes, I make cookies, jello, home-made ice cream, fruit platters, salads, I marinate meats, I make meatballs, Ravioli, Armenian and Middle Eastern Dishes, I make my famous Chilli, different types of breakfast, dips, sauces, and everything, Among other delicious things that my family, and who comes over to my house, that always want seconds and even thirds sometimes. I sometimes think, I should have made extra, but I love it when there is no left overs.  I love making everything from scratch. I seldom go and buy ready made easy stuff, I enjoy making it all on my own. The best way to make it and you know exactly what is going into your food without all the added calories and ready made products. Sometimes you see ready made pasta, and lasagna trays from the grocery store, I never even touch those. I make mine fresh. You never know how long those things have stayed like that. I’d rather do it myself and it is a lot more fun that way.

I remember a time when I invited my whole group of friends over for Armenian Style Ravioli Called (Mante, Manti, Mantuh, Mantee, However they spell it), and the whole extra large pot finished amongst everyone and to this day, they want my Armenian Style Ravioli, but that day will come again when I will invite them over.  I remember a time when I cooked for over 20-25 people and all on my own. I had over 4 or 5 different dishes with salads, meats, and rice. It was a lot of fun although it was very hard to take it all on myself, but I made sure that the flavours were perfect and that everyone enjoyed it and they sure did. I love taking on big tasks on my own. Although it is great to receive help too, but I like taking on challenges and doing things on my own. especially when it comes to cooking. I don’t know, but I have become a perfectionist in the kitchen and I just love things to be cooked evenly, the sizes and I love presentation. Even if its just for my family on a regular dinner night. I just love presentation. I get the joys and satisfaction when doing so.

When I go grocery shopping, I also donate food to the less fortunate, and I put food in the food bank boxes that are put in front of grocery stores or in certain shelters, at my church they have food banks and I put a few non-perishable food items in the box. I love donating food to them. Knowing that a family out there who is less fortunate and needy is fed, that also makes me happy and that also makes me feel great that someone doesn’t have to go to bed hungry at night. It feels great to donate.

Food is my specialty and knowing that my family enjoys it and knowing that I made this with my love and care is what it important to me. I don’t cook because I have to everyday and I don’t cook for the sake of it, I actually love doing what I do and making sure my family is fed with the best possible nutrition.  Happy Cooking everyone!

I Love This Time Of Year During Christmas Season

Since I was a little girl, I remember when Christmas was approaching and I would be so excited to wear different dresses and see my cousins who would come out of town and those who are in town. I remember how much fun we all had together and we still do. We had so much food cooked every year, each person would bring something, and then Santa Comes over, and sings along with us and everything. We used to go all out. I love this time of year when my family comes together and celebrate the greatness of Christmas and the bonds and memories of it all. When we had Christmas parties at my cousins house, there would be Christmas Carolers coming over and singing a few Christmas songs and then heading over to the next house wherever you would call them. It was super nice and I would look around the room to see my family and just enjoy those moments when these songs were being sung. I said I am so lucky and so thankful to God, I have a great family like them and they all have a special place in my heart, my life and beyond. I would do anything for my family. I remember Traveling to Daytona Beach, Florida for 2 weeks during Christmas and New Years. We made a road trip out of it and we drove all the way to Daytona, It was long for me at the time in 1997 because I was too young to drive, and I was so bored, I said are we there yet? LOL, but when we went down there, we went to a Christmas party and then we went to this restaurant for New Years. It was a fun time. We have also been on Some Cruise Ship vacations during that time of year. I will never forget these moments for as long as I live. In the recent years, It has become difficult to get together with family, but this year we will be celebrating altogether in one roof again and I am very happy and cannot wait. Merry Early Christmas everyone! Enjoy!

What are your traditions and memories you have had?