Banter Bites

Celebrate With … Candles & Boxes?!

After Christmas & Chanukah … there’s still Boxing Day & Kwanzaa

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Every year, Kwanzaa and Boxing Day are on December 26 (this year, it’s also the last day of Chanukah), which got Red thinking about how she has no clue what Kwanzaa’s all about, while Black was thinking the same thing … except about Boxing Day.

Red only recently became aware of Kwanzaa from, of all places, seeing Kwanzaa cards in her local Hallmark store. Many of them had candles on them, which made her think of Chanukah, where the lighting of the menorah for eight nights is not only a beautiful “ceremony” (who doesn’t love the flickering of candles and the beauty and “warmth” it brings to a room), but a reminder of the miracle of the oil that was supposed to last one day but lasted for eight. Then Black pointed out,

Unlike Christmas and Chanukah, religious holidays that go back centuries, Kwanzaa is a modern (created in 1966) cultural holiday. A seven-day celebration of Black people to honor their family, community, and culture, it includes the lighting of candles (one each night), with each representing one of the seven principles guiding Kwanzaa.

The thought of people celebrating two holidays – one based on their religious beliefs and one based on their heritage, each based on important values and priorities – reminded Red of Boxing Day. (She had been married to a Brit, lived in England for many years, and was fascinated by British history, although she preferred the Tudor era.) She had been told years ago that it started in the days of Queen Victoria, although some say it dates back even further. Regardless of when it began, the “why” of Boxing Day being the day after Christmas is,

As anyone that’s watched Downton Abbey (or any British series or movie that features the upper classes of a century or so ago) will know, while the wealthy enjoy a truly fabulous Christmas, their servants are the ones hard at work making it all happen. So, December 26 is when “the elite” would show their appreciation by giving their servants the day off, and small gifts of food, clothing, or cash.

And the holiday's name? Some say it came from the box the gifts were given in. Although Red also remembers hearing about the tradition of placing alms boxes near church doors requesting donations to help those in need, so maybe that’s where the name came from.

Unfortunately, much like Chanukah and Christmas, Boxing Day has now become about shopping and is one of England’s busiest shopping days. But we’re not going to let Black talk about the big business of the holidays, as there are more important things to think about …

This holiday season, regardless of what holiday (or holidays) you may celebrate, we hope you appreciate the true meaning of the celebration and enjoy the time to be with family and friends.

If you think today’s politics are ugly … let’s talk about a man who named himself “dictator for life” of the Roman empire, and is then assassinated by a group of senators, including his best friend. (However, there’s a “pretty” part – Cleopatra was his mistress.) Food trivia and leadership lessons aside, the fact July is named after him is the perfect excuse to rerun one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites

Quick! If someone says "Julius Caesar," what comes to mind?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Almost everyone has heard of Julius Caesar, but how many of us really know much about him, or at least that's what Red starts to wonder when she receives the usual flippant, but still accurate, reply from her sister, after feeling very proud that she knew that July was named after the famous Roman.

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We don’t know about you, but we hate bathing suit shopping. So, we can’t imagine what it must be like if you’re looking for a gender-fluid one. And why would anyone get their panties in a knot (as Black would say) if Target sells them? Or Pride-themed merchandise? But clearly, people did. Which makes us ask … why should Target have such a difficult time supporting their LGBTQ+ (there are variations of this acronym) customers? And, more importantly, why can’t we let people celebrate who they are without facing a backlash of prejudice and violence?!

Rainbows are beautiful and suggest something magical. But during Pride Month, they also become a symbol of love, support, and understanding for the LGBTQ community.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Until yesterday, when Black explained it to her, Red, like many people, didn't realize that Pride Month evolved from a tragic event, the Stonewall Uprising, into both a tribute and a memorial before it became a worldwide celebration of the LGBTQ community.

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No matter what holiday you may celebrate, Red can’t help but quote a line from one of her favorite Christmas songs, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light. From now on, your troubles will be out of sight.”

And Black can’t help but point out that the song wasn’t introduced in a Christmas movie but in the movie "Meet Me In St. Louis."

Wishing you a merry everything and a happy always!