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The Mythical Creatures of Christmas

27 Jul

For every yin there is a yang, and for every good there is an evil.  Christmas is no exception. Here you’ll discover some of the mythological creatures of Christmas and their darker counterparts from around the world.

mythical creatures of Christmas infographic

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Santa Claus vs. Krampus

Santa – He’s a “jolly spirit” who travels around the world delivering Christmas gifts to good children.

Krampus – This half goat, half demon creature carries a bundle of birch sticks and a burlap sack with chains to punish the naughty kids on Christmas.

There’s more to Christmas folklore than just Santa and Krampus.  If you are looking for the other mythical creatures, here’s a few that can be good, evil or somewhere in between.

Good creatures:

Reindeer – These loveable flying creatures help Santa make his magic trip around the world. Good children hear the reindeers’ footsteps on their roofs. This lets them know they’re about to get a gift.

La Befana (Italy) – Although she may be ugly, the children love her.  This witch hands out presents to all of the kids who have been good throughout the year.

Elves (US, Britain, Canada) – Unlike the greedy scarecrow seen on the right, these handy helpers make sure the toys are ready and may even help deliver them with Santa.

Sinterklaas (Spain) – This happy creature travels by steamboat every Christmas to give treats and snacks to good boys and girls.

Olentzero (Basque Country) – This friendly giant hands out gifts to all of the good boys and girls while eating tons of food and drinking wine.

Evil creatures:

Jólakötturinn (Iceland) – This evil cat eats children who don’t finish their chores.  If you get new clothing for Christmas, he’ll leave you alone. If you don’t, you’re cat food!

Frau Perchta (Germany and Austria) – This evil witch tends to the forest all but the 12 days of Christmas. During this time she comes to human villages and rips out the intestines of the bad children replacing them with garbage.

Hans Trapp (France) – This evil and greedy man dresses as a scarecrow and hides in the forest to capture, punish, and eat naughty kids who wander by.

Kallikantzaroi (Greece, Turkey, Serbia) – These goblins play pranks and cause mischief. They’re also known to make your food rot. Be cautious because if you have a child born on one of the 12 days of Christmas, there’s a chance that they could turn into one of these.

Gryla – Mother of the Yule Kids and evil Ogre.  She loves causing mischief and will lure bad children to her cave where she tortures and eats them.

Neither Good Nor Evil:

Belsnickel (Pennsylvania Dutch) – This spirit comes wearing tattered clothes and will frighten you with his whip if you were bad or reward you with candy if you’ve been good.

Jólasveinar – The Yule Lads started out as evil but eventually discovered good. Although they still cause mischief, if you’ve been good during the year, they may leave you a gift.

No matter where you live, if people celebrate Christmas you’ll have your own unique traditions and mythology.  If you need to send gifts overseas, let us be your delivery “sleigh”.  We can help with Hannukah gifts too so all your Jewish friends can rejoice too!

 
 

4 Things you Think you Know about Long Distance Relationships

08 Jul

Long Distance Limbo, Pt. 1 – Your Relationship Isn’t Real! Myths and Misconceptions

– Sempronia Hobgood GiftBasketsOverseas.com

Long Distance Relationship – the “blind date” of the modern age: no other relationship “phrase” has the potential to make people react like you’ve recited the chant to summon Cthulu, except perhaps, “We need to talk.” If you can get past the funny cats and even more questionable content on the internet, you’ll find virtual oceans of questions about the legitimacy of long distance relationships. We’ve seen everything ranging from “It’s not a real relationship,” to “How do you make it work?”  We’re wondering where all the confusion is coming from.

Has the media hyped up the idea that relationships must be tactile and clingy or they are nothing at all? Worse yet, have we bought in?

To help get some answers, here are 4 things you need to know about long distance relationships before you pass judgement:

1. You Can’t Handle The Truth!
You’ve heard this one: people have long distance relationships because they can’t handle “real ones.” We’re here to tell you that some towns are so abysmally out of candidates for real companionship, that looking elsewhere is actually the better option. We don’t have to name names, you know if you live in one of these.

Seriously, even if your town if is full of look-alikes of your idols, why limit yourself? In this day and age of instant connections, easily obtained webcams, free international communication, and even ridiculously fast international delivery services, chances are better than ever that you’ll find someone who fits you. Someone who piques your interests, shares your values, and expands your horizons if you increase your pool of potential friends and love interests to include connections you can make on the web – responsibly and safely.

The fact is, long distance relationships of any sort (and there are many) can be just as complex, fulfilling, rewarding, and even fun as the types of relationships society is more ready to accept.

2. You Can’t Possibly Know Each Other
Not living next to one another means you have tons more to talk about. You don’t have the same friends, you likely don’t run across the same things, maybe you’re countries apart and have different cultures. In this way, distance can be a perk. Distance gives couples the opportunity to explore every tiny detail of a partner’s life, and, in turn, to come up with fun ways to spill theirs.

While “normal” couples often spend time turning into vegetables watching their show of choice cuddled next to each other in silence, those who live apart learn to fill the distances with discussions, meaningful messages, heartfelt romantic gifts, creativity, and honesty.  It can mean admitting the dark things you’d rather hide, learning to take the time to treasure each moment you can connect, and finding creative ways to remain a part of each other’s lives, even far away.  If we’re brutally honest, cuddles would be great, but they aren’t everything, and living without them is doable.

3. It Can’t Be Real…(you’re not doing ‘it’)
Another misconception is that long distance relationships are sexless, depressing things for those who can otherwise not “get any.” Wrong! Suffice it to say there are ways around such things, and, believe it or not, despite our severe lack of teleporters, it is not impossible to visit one’s far off love.

Plus, while love-making for many traditional couples can become routine, couples that are separated have to become inventive to keep the fires of romance burning. They get flirty, they learn the art of intellectual foreplay. If you didn’t know, pictures are fun, presents don’t have to be mundane, and phone calls don’t have to be about talking.

For the record, when separated loves do come together, they have drawn up ideas nearly as complex as battle plans for what they’ll do when they’re together. The moments apart make the ones together sweeter. And despite the myth, after months of only talking, long distance couples certainly have more tactile things to do.

4. Long Distance Relationships are all Romantic  
Here is the grand-daddy of Long Distance Relationship myths. You don’t need Cupid to be involved in a long distance relationship. If you’re interacting with someone on a regular basis, you’re in a relationship with them. Whether it’s a business relationship, a family relationship, a friendship, or something else. Keeping up with your school buddies from home on Facebook? Or enjoying weekly raids with your WoW guild? These modern activities have sparked awesome, long-lasting, healthy, relationships that were at one point in time long distance only.

But it’s not just computer and video game enthusiasts, even businesses are jumping onto the long distance relationship bandwagon.  Are you Skyping or emailing with team-members from departments in other states, or working on international issues with co-workers or customers across time zones? You’re in a long-distance relationship.

And don’t forget about the circumstances that can bring distance to families – both joyful and sad. Sending your overachiever for a semester overseas? You’ll be doing the long distance dance. Or maybe your family homes a hero who’s deployed overseas. Yep, that’s a long distance relationship too.

And of course, there’s one of the most common kinds of long distance relationship – the ones where family members or friends have simply moved to other cities, states, or countries. In fact, there are so many types of long distance relationships, we’d be surprised if you aren’t in at least one.

Long distance relationships are nothing new. Ever since civilization started people have developed ways to connect with each other from afar. Messengers on foot, packages and gifts in ships, carrier pigeons, smoke signals, telegraphs, telephone, even Twitter. Why? Because there have always been long distance relationships, and we’re just getting better at them.

Image #1 by Dvortygirl

Image #2, #3, #4 by Brightdrops.com

 

Three Delicious Recipes to Celebrate Eid al-Fitr!

05 Jul

It’s the final day of Ramadan. Ramadan Kareem! And tomorrow is a delicious celebration of Eid al-Fitr. If you’re looking for some last minute recipes to sweeten up your Eid al-Fitr meal, or you want to try something new and scrumptious for your next celebration, there are some easy, mouthwatering recipes below.

Start your celebration with a refreshing drink that’s family friendly, and that will definitely leave your family and friends asking for another pitcher. Here’s our recipe for Mint Lemonade (or Lime-ade).

You’ll need:

3 Cups of Sugar

1 2/3 Cups of fresh lemons (or limes) quartered and de-seeded, but leave the skin on

1/8 Cup of fresh mint leaves

4 ¼ Cups of Water

Ice cubes to serve

Add the water and sugar to your food processor, process on high until the sugar is dissolved completely. Then add the mint and lemons – almost whole. Pulse until everything is chopped as small as possible and the flavors are infused into the liquid. Strain the liquid well, and chill. Serve over ice.

For the next recipe, you can really get creative. Mahshi is a great favorite across the Middle Eastern world, especially in Egypt. These will take a little time, but your friends and family are going to love the succulent vegetables stuffed with rice and herbs; you can even add your favorite meat to the mix to make them heartier. You can mix and match your favorite veggies for stuffing, and play with the spice profile, but the recipe below is traditional Egyptian version of Mahshi.

You’ll need:

1 Cup white, short grain rice

1 Large onion, diced

1 Large onion cut into thick rings

½ Cup of tomato sauce

A half-bunch of parsley, cilantro, and dill (you don’t have to use all of these, and can substitute your favorite herbs here)

½ Cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 ½ teaspoons of olive oil

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of allspice

Salt and pepper to taste

A serving of any of these vegetables: 8 zucchini (particularly short, fat ones); 8 eggplants (again look for small, finger length ones); 20 cabbage leaves (parboiled and with the middle rib removed); OR 20 grape leaves, parboiled

Start by sautéing the diced onions (NOT the onion rings) in oil until they’re wilted. Combine the pepper, salt, tomato sauce, cinnamon, and allspice. Simmer for three minutes. While the onion mixture is simmering, rinse the rice, finely chop the herbs, and add the rice and herbs to the onion and tomato sauce mixture.

Core the vegetables (or prepare the leaves for stuffing); when coring be careful to keep them as whole as possible. When you’re using eggplant, make sure to put it in a bowl of water after coring, but before you get to stuffing it.

Carefully stuff your vegetables with the rice mixture, but leave the top ½ an inch empty because the rice will grow as you steam it.

Add a ½ teaspoon of oil to a non-stick pot, cover the bottom with your onion slices – these will make a tasty barrier so your vegetables steam without touching the bottom. Place your veggies on top so that they’re standing up (and your rice stuffing doesn’t escape). Add ½ Cup of broth, and simmer on low until the rice is tender (usually about 15-20 minutes, but be patient and check each one for doneness). When they’re done, serve the stuffed mahshi and discard the onion slices.

And finally, a recipe that tops off the celebration with something sweet, of course. Your whole crew is going to love this decadent treat that looks a lot more complicated than it is. Impress them this Eid al-Fitr with a luscious Kunafa.

You’ll need:

1 Cup of water

1 Cup of sugar

1 can of sweetened, condensed milk

2 Cups of heavy cream

7 Tablespoons of powdered sugar

1 Cup of butter

1 package Kunafa Dough

First, boil the water and add the sugar. Dissolve the sugar thoroughly and boil for 3 – 4 minutes, until you have a simple syrup. Turn off the heat and set it aside. Whip the cream until it’s foamy, and set it aside as well. In a big mixing bowl, start working with the kunafa dough by pulling it gently apart. Slowly add melted butter and pull the strands apart, moistening them. Sprinkle the dough with the rest of the powdered sugar, mix thoroughly, then separate the dough into two halves.

Press the first half into an oven tray, press it into the edges, and pour the foamy cream over it evenly. Press the second dough half on the top, and flatten it gently. Bake this in the oven at 360 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, or until it’s golden brown on top. Pour the sweetened, condensed milk over it, then add the sugar syrup. Cut whatever sized chunk you want and serve while it’s warm, creamy and delicious!

Images

Lemonade: Rob Bertholf

Mahshi: Gozamos

Kunafa: stu_spivack

 

Testimonial from Arpine Babloyan about GBO

30 Jun

We couldn’t do what we do without you – our customers. We love that we have the chance to touch your hearts and earn your loyalty. That’s why with every single order we go the extra mile to make sure both you and your recipients are 100% satisfied with our service. In return, we receive a lot of positive feedback from our customers on a daily basis, but it’s especially pleasant when a verified customer finds the time to share their experience in person.

In this short video, Arpine Babloyan, a customer for over five years, shares the story of her relationship with GiftBasketsOverseas.com. Being a Russian immigrant living in US, her family is spread out between Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, and US. See why we’ve become Arpine’s go-to company for all of her gift needs.

 

GBO Makes Global Wedding Gifts a Breeze

29 Jun

GiftBasketsOverseas.com makes sending wedding gifts to newlyweds around the globe easy
ARLINGTON, Mass., June 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — GiftBasketsOverseas.com (GBO), the experts in international gift delivery, announced today its overhaul of the company’s line of wedding gifts for delivery around the world. With the most popular wedding season of the year coming into full swing, the company has announced a number of changes that make the customer experience even easier, all while maintaining its standard of updating its product line with gifts customers want most. This summer GBO is happy to announce a host of new gifts to their 200 plus countries, with a focus on brides and grooms.
This year GBO has added special gifts specifically for the bride and groom, as well as for members of the wedding party. From lovely keepsakes for the bridesmaids, thank you gifts for the groomsmen, and an array of flowers for even the most exacting of brides, the new line offers gifts for each portion of the wedding. There is also the option of surprising the happy couple after they’ve exchanged vows. GBO is pleased to offer an even wider selection of wines and gourmet baskets to help them enjoy their honeymoon – delivered right to the new couple’s hotel, and personalized gifts for them to cherish long after they’ve made it home.
GiftBasketsOverseas.com has unique experience with coordinating deliveries to hotels, resorts, and even cruise ships!  With a larger-than-ever 24/7 customer service team, customers can have all of their questions answered by chat, e-mail, phone, or even social media. The company promises that gifts will continue to be updated year round, offering new variations on timeless classics that will help their love grow long after the last of the wedding cake is gone.
About GiftBasketsOverseas.com
GiftBasketsOverseas.com is an A-ranked, BBB-accredited company based in the United States that specializes in delivering superior quality gifts to over 200 countries.  GBO strives to provide online ordering convenience, excellent multilingual customer service 24 X 7, and secure payment options. Learn more at www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com, like GBO on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter. 

 

We Turned A Long Distance Relationship Into A Wedding

24 Jun

“Once in awhile, right in the middle of ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.” J. B. Jeffrey
Summertime means beautiful weather, sunny skies and, the most popular wedding season of the year. With elegant sunsets, and tantalizing views bursting with stunning plants it’s no wonder so many couples want to tie the knot this time of year. With love in the air, we just had to share one of our favorite romantic stories with you.  Take a moment and let it inspire you to be more romantic, a little spontaneous, and encourage you to show your nearest and dearest (and maybe far away) sweetheart how much you love and cherish them!
Picture a couple: 5 years ago and oceans apart. He was from the US, She was from St. Petersburg, and their love just didn’t care. He was desperate to make the 6-month anniversary of their first meeting special, and wanted to send gifts to Russia, but the distance was proving to be something made to ruin surprises. Long nights of browsing the internet for the perfect way to show his love and devotion ended in nothing but frustration. He was constantly warned away: gifts would be shipped internationally, and the delivery date something that could only be guessed at. As you know, for anniversaries the day after just doesn’t cut it.
But his persistence paid off, though he couldn’t have known at the time. Uncertain and frustrated he placed a call to the GBO customer service team. Touched by his determination and love, this order quickly became personal not only for him, but our employees. His first order was simple: a delicate long-stemmed red rose with mouthwatering chocolates, something sweet and elegant for the woman who captured his heart. By the time he called it was already Sunday morning for his love, and the surprise had to arrive Monday, or not at all. With a little luck, a lot of hard work, and a devoted GBO team, his gift made it to his love on time and absolutely overwhelmed her with joy.

Barely a month passed before he decided he had to surprise her again, and then again, and again. Each and every time he came back to the company that had made the impossible not only possible, but easy. The gifts he chose were personal and thoughtful. Sometimes he sent sweet fruit baskets to Russia, just to make her smile. Another time, a handmade shawl to keep her warm while she was away from his arms. He spared no effort working with GBO to track down custom and unique gifts that were near (but not quite) impossible to find in Russia. Truly their love was a fairy tale. He showered her with designer clothes, rare books, a Blackberry, and even an iPhone 5 to help them keep in touch.
Other times the gifts were more interactive. He treated her to days at the spa, her favorite restaurants, even the opera, and even made sure a limousine was there to pick her up and drop her off each and every time.  Each gift came with his unique signature, a bouquet of red roses with a stunning white rose in the middle, a symbol of hope that theirs was a love that could stand up to any test.
He didn’t stop there! He knew that if he was to be lucky enough to marry this woman, he had to win over not only her, but also her family. Her mother (in Armavir) and her grandmother (in Tolyatti) were also spoiled by his generosity. Like a true gentleman, he spared no expense sending them both flowers for all occasions, and sometimes simply as a reminder of his affection. Finally, years later, the time was right, and he was ready to ask them if he could marry the wonderful woman they had both raised. He set the mood by treating them to a fancy dinner at the best local restaurant, again complete with a limousine to take the women to and from. He also wrote a beautiful letter to ask them both if they would give their permission to let him make the woman of his dreams his wife.

Of course, they said yes!
Five years of a fairy tale romance, the distance almost forgotten, and hundreds of gifts later, his one-time sweetheart became his fiancé, and then finally his happy wife who made a home with him in the US.  Even though he no longer needs GBO to send his wife surprises across the ocean (now he gets to do that in person), he still keeps surprising his mother-in-law in Russia with beautiful gifts and bouquets on all major occasions.
We’re happy to say, they truly have their happily ever after.  Thank you for inspiring us to give a little more often, to love a little harder, and to never forget that even the smallest of gifts can go the distance and bring us all just a little bit closer.

Wedding Image by: [Rich Bowen]

 

10 Interesting Wedding Traditions Around The World

21 Jun

Wedding traditions aren’t just about exchanging vows and rings. There are so many non trivial ways to say “I do.” From the well-known bride tossing her wedding bouquet, the couple’s first dance and the cutting of the cake, to wearing something old, new, borrowed and blue, American wedding customs became very popular around the world. But other countries too have their own beloved wedding customs. Some of them are heartwarmingly romantic, some are a little weird, and some might even make you uncomfortable. But what binds these disparate traditions from near and far is one simple thing: love!

1. China: Stars, Colors & Chicken Liver
In Chinese tradition, a middleman was used to cement a lengthy engagement. Once a man found a woman he wanted to marry, the go-between person would present gifts to the girl’s parents and consult an astrology expert to check the auspicious nature of the match. Modern Chinese wedding ceremonies also place a heavy importance on auspicious dates. It’s common to ask fortune tellers consult Chinese almanacs and analyze the prospective union.
A traditional Chinese wedding features a full procession, with the bride escorted to the ceremony in a covered sedan chair. Red is the main color in Chinese weddings, symbolizing love, good luck and courage. For centuries, Chinese brides wore the traditional qipao, a long bright-red silk dress with intricate gold embroidery, that covered her whole body, revealing only the head, hands and toes. According to an old tradition, the bride wears a red veil to hide her face, and her mother or attendant holds a red umbrella over her head to encourage fertility in the new family. Throughout the ceremony the bride changes gowns several times to demonstrate the opulence of her family.
In Daur region in China, there is quite a disturbing tradition that requires future husband and wife to dissect a chicken and check out its liver: if the liver is healthy, the couple can set a date for the wedding. If not, they should hold off on the marriage until they find one that will tell them otherwise.
2. Japan: Lady in White
Japanese ceremonies were traditionally held in Shinto Shrines. The bride’s skin is painted pure white from head to toe, she wears a white kimono and a big white hood hiding the “horns of jealousy” for her mother-in-law and signifying the desire to become an obedient wife. Throughout the ceremony a bride wears several costumes, first changing into another kimono in red and then into a Western-style dress. To symbolize their union, the couple drinks sake together, becoming husband and wife the moment they take the first sip.

3. Korea: It All Starts With a Duck
While in Fiji a groom must present his future father-in-law a whale’s tooth, in Korea a man gives their mother-in-law wild geese or ducks. The monogamous animals represent a man’s pure intentions and loyalty to his bride. Nowadays, brides and grooms exchange wooden geese and ducks on their wedding day instead as a symbol of their commitment.
4. India: Forget Jewelry
Indian weddings are surrounded by numerous rituals and ceremonies. A popular pre-wedding tradition includes a special engagement ceremony during which bride and groom exchange rings and their families exchange gifts and sweets. The ceremony is usually held at the bride’s home and is followed by decorating the bride’s body with henna art. As part of the visually stunning traditional Indian wedding, bride’s palms, wrists, arms, legs, and feet are painted, in tattoo fashion, with intricate henna designs to represent the joy, hope, and love of the occasion. The elaborate skin art takes hours to make and it lasts about two weeks making additional accessories totally unnecessary.
5. Malaysia: All About Numbers
There’s a Malaysian tradition of exchanging wedding gifts between the bride and groom-to-be. The number of gifts is very important – it must be a minimum of 7 or more gifts of an odd number. The minimum of 7 gifts for the betrothed bride generally includes a diamond or gold ring, brand new outfit, pair of shoes, handbag, traditional shawl or scarf, special container of aromatic and symbolic betel leaves, fruits or food gifts.
The Malaysian wedding ceremony also incorporates some Hindu traditions including painting hands with henna. At the ceremony, each guest receives an artistically decorated hard-boiled egg to symbolize fertility. And before the wedding a groom might send his future bride child-bearing presents, such as trays of food with origami flowers and cranes made from currency bills.

6. Fiji: Toothy Treasure
In Fiji, a man have to find an unusual gift if he wants to propose to the beloved one. Before asking for the hand of the woman he is in love with, the groom must present his future father-in-law a whale’s tooth.
7. Jamaica: Everyone’s a Critic
Jamaican weddings are a community affair, with the entire village often coming together to help plan the big day. Before the ceremony villagers line up in the street to take a look at the bride and call out negative comments and publicly criticize her if her appearance isn’t in tip-top shape. If the majority is critical, the bride must go home and make a second try at looking her best.

8. Mauritius: Go Large or Go Home
Many brides-to-be around the world go on a strict diet to lose weight before the big day. Not so in Mauritius, where young women are often forced to gain some weight before their wedding, sometimes causing them many health problems later in life. In Mauritania, a large, full-bodied wife is said to signify good luck and prosperity in marriage.

9. Kenya: Some Spitting Allowed
How would you like to be all dressed up in your wedding finery and have your dad spit on you?  In Kenya, as the newlyweds leave the ceremony, the father of the bride spits on his daughter’s head and chest in order not to jinx the good fortune of the married couple.
10. Venezuela: Missing In Action
Don’t wait until the wedding reception’s end to chat up a Venezuelan bride and groom — they could be long gone. It’s […] Continue Reading…

 

How to Celebrate Ramadan – Food, Fasting & More.

13 Jun

From fasting to food and the cultural history behind this important Muslim holiday, the infographic below will help you learn the basics about celebrating Ramadan.

Please use the HTML code below to embed this graphic:<a href=”http://blog.giftbasketsoverseas.com/infographics/how-to-celebrate-ramadan”> <img src=”http://blog.giftbasketsoverseas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/How-to-celebrate-Ramadan.jpg” alt=”How to celebrate Ramadan” title=”How to celebrate Ramadan” width=”600″ height=”3073″></a> <br> Created by <a href=”http://www.giftbasketsoverseas.com”>GiftBasketsOverseas.com</a>.

Ramadan is the holiest holiday for Islamic people. With more than 1.5 billion Muslims, this global holiday is an international celebration that lasts an entire lunar month.
What IS Ramadan?
Ramadan commemorates the month that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) received the first revelations of Q’uran from the angel Gabriel. Although Mohammed was unable to read or write, he was able to produce the book of Allah’s law which is a miracle of revelation.  When you celebrate Ramadan, that miracle is the origin of this important holiday.
How to Celebrate Ramadan
If you’re ready to celebrate, or want to know what to expect if you’re in a Muslim country or visiting Muslim friends, here are some of the things to know.

Ramadan begins on the new moon of the 9th month of the Islamic calendar.
The Ramadan fast lasts from dawn until dusk each day.
Fasting includes no food, no cursing, no smoking, and no love-making from dusk until dawn.
The young, sick, elderly, and pregnant are excused from the fast.
At dusk, families and communities celebrate together to pray, break fast, and ensure everyone eats.
Ramadan requires charity. Muslims give tithes, Ramadan gifts, and food to their friends, family, and the less fortunate.
Ending on the last day of the 9th month, it gives way to a three-day celebration called Eid Al Fitr.

Foods of Ramadan
Although fasting is a part of Ramadan, so is food. Here are some of the traditional foods that you’ll find as people begin to break their fast and celebrate.  In the spirit of the holiday, many of these dishes are served family style and are meant for sharing with everyone.

Dates – Traditionally the first food eaten to break the fast, these are the healthy candies of Ramadan.
Jellab – A sweet drink of date syrup, rose water, and carob topped with Pine Nuts. It is filling and refreshing on fast days.
Mahshi – Finger foods made with peppers, zucchinis, tomatoes, and leaves stuffed with flavored rice and meats.
Luqaimat – Sweet dumplings made of butter, sugar, milk, and flour.
Fatoush Salad – Packed with chickpeas and broad beans, this fresh veggie salad is delicious, and keeps you filled up for the coming fast.
Kunafa – A shredded sweetened wheat pastry filled with cream, cheese, nuts, or raisins. Every region has its own delicious recipe.

Ramadan Customs
Ramadan is a time for gratitude, forgiveness, generosity, reflection, and celebration.  It’s a time to be generous with the ones you love as well as strangers.  You are supposed to help one another with charitable acts and by showing kindness.  Here are some of the traditions, jargon, and folklore that go along with this holiday.

Sahoor – Gathering with family at dawn for a pre-fast meal.
Breaking the Fast – Eat an odd number of dates first for luck.
Search for the Night of Power – On the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan, worship is said to be better than 1,000 months of worship.
Engage in Du’a – Du’a is a prayer or calling out to Allah to praise his blessings, seek forgiveness, and ask for guidance.
Read Q’uran every day – Because Ramadan is about receiving the Q’uran, this is a way to connect to its wisdom and share The Prophet’s (PBUH) path.

 
 

Father’s Day History & Facts

07 Jun

We all know that Father’s Day is observed on the third Sunday in June in many countries around the world. We know it’s a perfect occasion to honor fathers, husbands and father figures but is there anything more to the holiday? What do we ACTUALLY know about this wonderful day honoring the most important men in our lives?

Father’s Day History Facts:

The person who invented the concept of Father’s Day is Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington whose mom died in childbirth and her father had raised his six children all by himself. Dodd was at a church service thinking about how grateful she was for her father when she came up with an idea of celebrating Father’s Day, which would be similar to Mother’s Day but celebrated in June – her dad’s birthday month.
Originally Dodd named the holiday Fathers’ Day (in plural possessive form), because it was “a day belonging to all fathers.” Somewhere along the way, the punctuation was changed and the holiday is now known as “Father’s Day” (in singular possessive form).
Father’s Day is the fourth biggest day for sending greeting cards, after Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Greeting cards make up the number one gift item for fathers on this day.
More than one third of Father’s Day cards are funny in nature.
Rose is the official flower for Father’s Day. Wearing a red rose on your clothes signifies a living father, while white one represents deceased father.
One of the most common Father’s Day gifts associated with the holiday comprises of a necktie, followed by flowers.
Female shoppers spend approximately 50% more than men on gifts for their dad.

Father’s Day in numbers:

The first Father’s Day celebration was on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington.
It wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day became an official national holiday in U.S. when president Nixon signed it into law.
Now Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June in over 50 countries around the world.
There are over 70.1 million dads in the U.S. About a third of them are married with kids under 18.
More than 214,000 American men are stay-at-home dads.
2 million fathers are single.
The world’s oldest father is an Indian former wrestler and farmer Ramjit Raghav who has been claimed to have his first child with his wife at age 94.
The world’s youngest father is an 11-year-old boy from Auckland, New Zealand, who has had a child with the 36-year-old mother of his school friend.
The most prolific father of all time is the last Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, Mulai Ismail (1646-1727). In 1703 he had at least 342 daughters and 525 sons and by 1721 he was reputed to have 700 male descendents.

Unusual Father’s Day Celebration Around the world:

In Thailand Father’s Day is celebrated on the same day as the birthday of the King, beloved by all Thai people. Thais celebrate the holiday by giving their father or grandfather a Canna flower, which is considered to be a masculine flower in Thailand. There is also a tradition of wearing yellow on this day (the official color of King’s birthday).
Father’s day in Argentina is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. However there have been many unsuccessful attempts to change the date to August 24th when the first child of Jose de San Martin, the “Father of the Nation”, was born.
In Denmark Father’s Day is celebrated on June 5th. It coincides with Constitution Day, which is a public holiday celebrating the signing of the Danish constitution of 1849.
Father’s Day in Germany also referred to as “Gentlemen’s day” is annually celebrated on Ascension Day which is the Thursday forty days after Easter. Traditionally, men celebrate it together by drinking lots of alcohol and pulling a wagon around town.

 
To learn more about Father’s Day and other holidays
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