Two hundred and forty-seven

Happy All Souls Day!

A Memento Mori marks a tomb in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. "Memento mori" is Latin for "Remember, you must die." The image reminds us of our own mortality and the judgment to come. Photo © Scott P. Richert (from http://catholicism.about.com/b/2011/10/27/preparing-for-all-souls-day.htm)

All Souls Day (sometimes called ‘The Day of the Dead’ or ‘Feast of All Souls’) is a day of remembrance for those who have passed away.  It follows All Saint’s Day (November 1st) – a celebration of the glories of Heaven and those in Heaven.  All Souls Day is time to remember the dead and pray for those souls in purgatory who needs the prayer to help them achieve full sanctification and moral perfection and gain entrance into Heaven. (This is what I understand, from what I’ve read.  I am not Catholic, so if anyone Catholic would like to add more details, please do so)

There are many customs around the world to celebrate All Souls Day.  “In Mexico, relatives make garlands, wreathes and crosses of real and paper flowers of every color to place on the graves of deceased relatives the morning of All Souls. The family will spend the entire day at the cemetery. The pastor will visit the cemetery, preach and offer prayers for the dead and then bless the individual graves. “Skeleton” candy is given to the children.” (http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0199.html)

Sugar Skulls

Often an altar is made in the home with offerings of food and flowers.  It is believed that souls in Purgatory can return to earth on All Souls Day, so food is left to appease the spirits.  Sometimes a door or window is left open for these souls.  Marigolds and chrysanthemums are often placed on graves; the graves sprinkled with holy water, or in some places in the north-west of France, milk is poured on the graves.  In Italy, they bake cookies called “Ossi di Morto,” or “Bones of the Dead” – almond-type cookies (recipe at http://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost12ac.html)

Religious or not, it’s a good day to remember your own mortality and remember and honour all of your ancestors.  Happy All Souls’ Day!

For more information:

“All Souls Day” – http://all-souls-day.123holiday.net/

“Al Souls’ Day” – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Souls’_Day

“All Souls Day” – http://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost12ac.html

“All Saints and All Souls” – http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0199.html

World Vegan Day recap

It wasn’t very difficult to celebrate World Vegan Day, having been a vegan for the past month.  I continued reading some of my vegan literature.  I spoke a little to a couple friends about veganism and why make the choice of being vegan.  I also made a delicious warm quinoa, mixed greens, veggies salad that was so easy.  The vegan thing has taught me more about cooking and how to make simple ingredients taste delicious and be nutritious than any other time in my life.  I’m creating recipes now!

Warm Veggie Quinoa Salad

Boil 1/2 cup of vegetable stock (I used part of a veg stock cube in water).  Add 1/4 cup of quinoa and simmer for 15-20 minutes until quinoa has soaked up all the stock.  In a frying pan sauté mushrooms in garlic and olive oil.  Steam a handful of veggies – I used broccoli, asparagus and carrots, which is what I had in my fridge.

In a big bowl put a handful of spinach, arugula and sliced cucumber.  Add the cooked quinoa, sauteed mushrooms, steamed vegetables.  Top off with a bit of your favourite salad dressing (I used honey mustard), salt and pepper.

So delicious and healthy!

Two hundred and forty six

Welcome to my month of holiday celebrations and Happy World Vegan Day!

When a friend originally suggested this idea as something I could do during my year of month-long social experiments we had talked about picking random holidays and matching them up with random days during the month of November.  Celebrating Christmas on the 1st, Easter on the 2nd, Bring Your Child To Work Day on the 3rd (no I don’t have a child, and I’m not sure it would be legal to have a child following me while I’m serving pints at the pub, but would be a very amusing blog post), etc.

The more I got to thinking about it, though, and the more this year has developed, I realized the blog is about learning just as much as about my silly experiments.  So instead of random holidays, I’m going to celebrate holidays that happen around the world on the actual days of November (yes, there is a holiday for each day).  Not only can you follow along with my bizarre escapades, you can also have an excuse to celebrate every day in November.

I’m going to set things up a bit differently this month.  Every day I will write about the holiday – history, traditions, etc.  Then the following day I will share any fun stories that came from my celebrations of that holiday (and hopefully photos and videos).  Therefore, every day (besides today) will have two parts: information about the holiday of the day, and a recap of what I got up to celebrating the day before.  If this is confusing, follow along and you’ll see what I mean… I have a feeling this month will once again have some embarrassing moments in it…

Happy World Vegan Day!

It worked out perfect that I can celebrate World Vegan Day the day after I finish my first month ever of being vegan.  November 1st marks the start of World Vegan Month, the creation of the term ‘vegan’ and the founding of The Vegan Society in November, 1944.  It’s a way for people to celebrate being vegan and get their message out to the public through events around the world (check out The Vegan Society’s list for some of these events).

I wrote yesterday about some of the things I learned about veganism, so I won’t go into too much detail.  I do want to mention, however, that although I don’t believe everyone can be vegan (and I won’t be strictly vegan), we should all be aware of the health benefits, the environmental benefits and the animal rights issues that vegans preach.  Eating more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, quinoa, etc. can only be good for our bodies and our planet.

So Happy World Vegan Day!