Mai durează ceva până când iarna își va intra în drepturi depline. Fără zăpadă parcă nu e același lucru. E doar extrem de frig, blocurile sunt reci și înghețate, amorțite și sumbre. Câteva luminițe ici, colo, încercând să aducă spiritul Crăciunului care se cam lasă așteptat. Italy’s EpiphanyCelebrated on Jan. 6, the Epiphany honors the story in Christianity of the three wise men who came bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. In the same spirit of gift-giving, children who have been good all year receive treats from La Befana, which translates to “Christmas Witch,” according to Maria Liberati, author of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions. Italy’s version of Santa Claus, La Befana is a good witch who spreads happiness. Dressed in peasant clothing, La Befana would give gifts of fruit, nuts and candy. The tradition comes from a time when there was a lot of poverty in Italy.“This also relates to the Italian culture of not celebrating a commercial Christmas, but one that is filled with family, friends and special sentiments,” Liberati says.Hanukkah Called the “Festival of Lights,” Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days starting on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislev, which usually falls in November or December.This Jewish holiday honors the story of the Maccabee people who defeated their Syrian overlords to enter their Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Defiled by the Syrians, the Temple was to be rededicated by the Maccabees, but they only had enough oil to light the lamps for one day. Miraculously the small amount kept the Temple lights burning for eight nights.The celebration of Hanukkah today honors its history by lighting a special candelabrum, called a menorah, that has nine candlesticks: one to honor each night of Hanukkah, and one that is lit for the purpose of lighting the other candles. United States’ KwanzaaA non-religious holiday, Kwanzaa is celebrated to honor African-American heritage, culture and community. It lasts seven days, beginning the day after Christmas and ending on New Year’s Day.Inspired by the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s, Kwanzaa was founded by African-American scholar and activist Maulana Karenga in 1966. Its roots come from African first-fruit harvest celebrations; Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” meaning “first fruits.” The young holiday has multiple activities common to other African first-fruit celebrations, such as gatherings of family and friends and showing reverence for the creator and creation.Yukon QuestLooking for a fun sporting event? In February, head to Alaska to cheer on mushers and their sled dog teams, as they make their 1,000-mile, 10- to 16-day trek, from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon in Canada. The Yukon Quest Trail follows historical Gold Rush and Mail Delivery dog sled routes from the turn of the 20th Century. The champion wins a $35,000 purse.Ottawa’s WinterludeIn Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec, they celebrate Winterlude or in French, Bal de Neige. Canada’s National Capital Commission runs the 3-week winter festival in February, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. There’s no shortage of things to keep people busy. Some activities and entertainment include musical concerts, an ice sculpture competition, ice skating in the largest ice playground, or relax and chill out in the ice lounge.
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