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December Holiday Joys

Image of Festive dishes
December brings us an array of holiday celebrations: Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve. All these holidays are celebrated nationwide with family gatherings, and of course, plenty of food! Melissa's is your source for healthy recipe ideas and easy to prepare foods that will "wow" your guests. Try some of our traditional recipes and serve some holiday traditions like black eyed peas to bring in 2013 with good luck.

Hanukah
Hanukah begins on December 8th at sundown and lasts 8 nights. Hanukah is celebrated with the Festival of Lights. Each evening, the family gathers for a candle lighting ceremony where one candle of the menorah, an eight-branched candlestick, is lit each night until all eight candles are burning. The festive evenings are filled with games of dreidel, an ancient ancestor to today’s spinning top, and Hanukah gifts are exchanged. The feasts of Hanukah are abundant with Jewish specialties such as brisket, matzo ball soup and potato latkes.

Christmas
Christmas is the most celebrated holiday of the season and celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. There are lights and trees everywhere along with decorations and festive gatherings. Christmas Eve is often spent with families and friends exchanging gifts, leading into Christmas day where everyone enjoys gifts, family, friends and a delicious feast.
Image of Cranberries
Some popular ingredients for preparing a Christmas feast are: fresh cranberries and dried cranberries, sweet potatoes, pearl onions, fresh herbs, mushrooms and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Image of Corn
Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa begins on December 26, 2012 and ends January 1, 2013. There are many traditions for Kwanzaa from food to beliefs. There are 7 principles which Kwanzaa is based:
  1. Umoja (Unity) To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  5. Nia (Purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  6. Kuumba (Creativity) To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  7. Imani (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green; black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. There is a candle holder called a Kinara that holds 7 candles. There is one black candle, three red and three green candles. These are the mishumaa saba (the seven candles) and they represent the seven principles above. Fresh colorful fruits and vegetables are eaten on Kwanzaa. Corn is a necessity for the holiday signifying children or family.
Image of Black-eyed Peas
New Year’s Eve New Year’s Eve is celebrated world wide with food, fun and endless festivities! Melissa’s black-eyed peas are a MUST on New Year’s Day. Southern tradition states that eating black-eyed peas on the first day of the New Year will bring you good luck in the following year. Black eyed peas are a good source of fiber, low-fat and are delicious. Melissa's makes it easy with our ready to eat, steamed black-eyed peas! Try our delicious recipes and have a great year!
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