Tag Archives: Christmas

Giant Venezuelan Christmas Dinner Claims World Records

Giant Venezuelan Christmas Dinner Claims World Records

There are still more than 30 shopping days till Christmas, but people around the globe are already getting in the holiday spirit. In Venezuela, a cook-a-thon of the country’s traditional Christmas dinner staples earned world records for the largest pan de jamon, a type of ham-filled bread, and hallaca, a tamale-like dish. The cook-a-thon is not without controversy, however, as it comes at a time when many Venezuelans are struggling with shortages of basic goods and skyrocketing inflation. More… Discuss

Saint of the Day for Friday, November 21st, 2014: St. Gelasius

Image of St. Gelasius

St. Gelasius

St. Gelasius I, Pope (Feast day – November 21) Gelasius was born in Rome, in the fifth century, the son of an African named Valerius. Later, ordained a priest, he was elected Pope on March 1st, … continue reading

More Saints of the Day



Fireworks, which are generally believed to have been invented by the Chinese, have been used throughout history to celebrate happy occasions. In 1789, George Washington’s inauguration was accompanied by a display, and today, fireworks help mark Independence Day in the US, Diwali in India, Bastille Day in France, and New Year’s Eve around the world. In 1999, Disney World began launching fireworks with compressed air rather than gunpowder. What are the advantages of this type of launch? More… Discuss

One’s new book. Described by the Prince of Wales as “a bloody great idea for Christmas”: http://t.co/wcfm06t2u4#BuyTheSoddingBook — Elizabeth Windsor (@Queen_UK) November 1, 2014

Excerpts:  “Sixty years on the throne. Only the second monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee. Its been a challenge, one doesn’t mind telling you. But despite it all, ones still here. Still keeping the ship afloat, still in charge, still iconic, still keeping the gin industry in business, still ruling the world. Still reigning. God Save One. On Politics & State Occasions: Winston Churchill used to write the best speeches, of course. In those days, before TV cameras in the house, one could have a bit of fun and read them out in assorted accents. Ones Gandhi impression had the Lords in tears of laughter once. Those were the days. On the Royal Birth: Traditionally, of course, royal births were witnessed by the Home Secretary and Archbishop of Canterbury, but we’ve decided that they needn’t bother this time, although William promised to text them a photo from his iPhone, just to put their minds at rest, on the strict understanding that they didn’t upload it to Facebook. The last thing we need is a French magazine publishing them. On America: One thinks of them as a mother thinks of a teenage boy: with a mixture of pride and exasperation. Although there is no denying that the American division of the British Armed forces has been awfully useful over time, even if they do have a habit of turning up late for wars and then taking the credit.”

List of Midsomer Murders episodes

from Wikipedia:
List of Midsomer Murders episodes:

The following is a list of episodes for the British drama Midsomer Murders that first aired in 1997. As of 12 February 2014, 100 episodes have aired, in sixteen series and three Christmas specials, “Ghosts of Christmas Past” in 2004, “Days of Misrule” in 2008, and “The Christmas Haunting” in 2013.

Morten Lauridsen – O Magnum Mysterium: make music part of your life series

Morten Lauridsen – O Magnum Mysterium

From python7275

Composer: Morten Lauridsen (b:1943)
Piece: O Magnum Mysterium (1994)

make music part ofyour life series: A. Corelli – Sonate da Camera Op.2 – No.12 in G Major

A. Corelli – Sonate da Camera Op.2 – No.12 in G Major




word: dispraise


Definition: (noun) Disapproval; censure.
Synonyms: disparagement
Usage: Heaven forbid that she should say a syllable in dispraise of any member of that excellent family, above all, of my Lady, whom the whole world admires. Discuss.

word: bauble


Definition: (noun) A small, showy ornament of little value.
Synonyms: fallal, gaud, gewgaw, trinket, bangle, novelty
Usage: The tacky bauble she wore around her neck was intended to attract attention, but it mostly drew snickers. Discuss.
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Just a thought: “Captivating: Advertizing is all we are about profitsprofitsprofits

Just a thought: “Captivating: Advertizing is all we are about profitsprofitsprofits: 

Do you remember a time when the internet was full of information, but advertizement free?

Well now is just the opposite!”

Captivating Advertizing is all we are about moneymoneymoney

Captivating: Advertizing is all we are about profitsprofitsprofits

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Wreck May Be that of Santa Maria

Wreck May Be that of Santa Maria

“In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Three ships set out on this historic voyage, the Santa María, the Niña, and the Pinta, but only two returned. The Santa María ran aground on a reef near Haiti on Christmas Day and was stripped of its timbers for use in building a small fort, La Navidad, on the island—the first European settlement in the New World. Now, more than 500 years later, the remains of the famous ship may have been located. Further investigation is needed to conclusively identify the wreck, but its size and location are consistent with historic records. More… Discuss

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Today’s Holiday: Garland Day

Garland Day

On Old May Day, the children of the Dorset fishing village of Abbotsbury still “bring in the May” by carrying garlands from door to door and receiving gifts in return. Each garland is constructed over a frame and supported by a broomstick, which is carried by two young people around the village. Later, the garlands are laid at the base of the local war memorial. At one time this was an important festival marking the beginning of the fishing season: fishermen rowed out to sea after dark and tossed the garlands to the waves with prayers for a safe and plentiful fishing season. More… Discuss

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Ensemble Passero – Adoramus te Christe von G.P. da Palestrina (1525-1594)

Adoramus te Christe von G.P. da Palestrina (1525-1594)
gesungen vom Ensemble Passero am 2. März 2013 in der Alten Kapelle zu Regensburg anlässlich des Konzertes “Glaube als Passion – Botschaften Papst Benedikts XVI. in Liedern”

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Great Compositions/Performances: Richard Wagner – Siegfried Idyll (Conductor: Sergiu Celibidache & Münchner Philharmoniker)

Great Compositions/Performances:  Richard WagnerSiegfried Idyll
Conductor: Sergiu Celibidache & Münchner Philharmoniker

Apart from the operas, Wagner composed a small number of pieces; this stems from his reluctance to conceive music which didn’t belong to the sacredness of the drama, fundamental expression of his thought.
The “Siegfried Idyll” is a symphonic poem for chamber orchestra, composed by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) as a birthday present to his second wife, Cosima, after the birth of their son Siegfried in 1869. It was first performed on Christmas morning, 25 December 1870, by a small ensemble on the stairs of their villa at Tribschen.
Wagner’s opera “Siegfried”, which was premiered in 1876, incorporates music from the Idyll. It was once thought that the Idyll borrowed musical ideas intended for the opera, but it is now known that the opposite is the case: Wagner adapted melodic material from an unfinished chamber piece in the Idyll and later incorporated it into the love scene between Siegfried and Brunhilde in the opera.


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FABULOUS COMPOSITIONS/PERFORMANCES: Marian Anderson “Ave Maria” by Schubert

Marian Anderson “Ave Maria” by Schubert
With Leopold Stokowski, 1944
Latin Text
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

English Translation
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and in the hour of our death. Amen.

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UK Calls Off the Toddlers’ Truce (1957)

Today we are used to turning on the television at any hour of the day or night and having access to countless channels broadcasting all manner of program, but this was not always the case. In television’s early days, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was the UK’s sole public broadcaster; it started out with just one channel, and it cut its feed from 6PM to 7PM to accommodate parents putting their children to bed. What caused the BBC to eventually abandon the so-called Toddlers’ Truce?More… Discuss


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encore: Great Compositions/Performances: Valentina Lisitsa Plays Paganini-Liszt “La Campanella”

Paganini-Liszt La Campanella

Live from Seoul. Encore #1. Liszt “La Campanella”
Buy La Campanella video http://www.amazon.co.uk/Live-Royal-Al..


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Great Composers/Performances: Duke Ellington The Great Paris Concert

Duke Ellington Orchestra
■Recorded at the Olympia Theater, Paris , France , on Feb.1st,2nd and 23rd, 1963
1.Kinda Dukish,
2.Rockin’ in Rhythm (01:51),
3.On the Sunny Side of the Street (05:39) ,
***4.Star-Crossed Lovers (08:42),
5.All of Me(12:53) ,
6.Theme from “Asphalt Jungle” (15:29) ,
7.Concerto for Cootie (19:35),
8.Tutti for Cootie (22:10),
9.Suite Thursday: MisfitBlues (26:57),
10.Suite Thursday: Schwiphti (30:36),
11.Suite Thursday: Zweet Zurzday (33:28),
12.Suite Thursday: Lay-By (37:21),
13.Perdido (43:49),
14.The Eighth Veil (49:10),
15.Rose Of The Rio Grande (51:46),
16.Cop Out (54:28),
17.Bula (1:01:25)
Related articles:

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Definition: (verb) To cry or screech like a cat in heat.
Synonyms: yowl
Usage: Ever since the neighborhood strays chose my garden as the place to congregate and caterwaul, I have not had a sound night’s sleep. Discuss.


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Great Performances: Beethoven “Für Elise” Valentina Lisitsa Seoul Philharmonic (it’s like you’re listening to it…well, for the first time!)

Live in Seoul. Encore #4 Please come to London on June 19th of 2012 if you want to hear this piece live ! I am making my debut at Royal Albert Hall :-)
Валентина Лисица
Valentina Lisitsa Live at the Royal Albert Hall
US iTuneshttp://bit.ly/iTunesUSVal 
US Amazon - http://bit.ly/ValRAH


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St. Knut’s Day

The feast day of King Canute (or Knut), who ruled Denmark, England, and Norway in the 11th century, marks the end of the Yuletide season in Sweden. Rather than letting the holidays fade quietly, Swedish families throughout the country hold parties to celebrate the final lighting (and subsequent dismantling) of the Christmas tree. After letting the children eat the cookies and candies used to decorate the tree, and after packing the ornaments away in their boxes, it is customary to hurl the tree through an open window. More…


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QUOTATION: Jerome K. Jerome

From all accounts, the world has been getting worse and worse ever since it was created. All I can say is that it must have been a remarkably delightful place when it was first opened to the public, for it is very pleasant even now.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927)


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Tchaikovsky Suite No.4 ‘Mozartiana’

Suite No.4 in G major Op.61 ’Mozartiana

1 Gigue
2 Menuet
3 Preghiera
4 Theme and Variations

The Philharmonia Orchestra
Michael Tilson Thomas


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Great Performances: Schumann Kinderszenen Op 15 – Valentina Lisitsa

Schumann Kinderszenen Op 15 – Valentina Lisitsa 


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Fabulous Compositions/Performances: Valentina Lisitsa plays Schubert – Liszt’s “Ave Maria”

Ave Maria Schubert Liszt Valentina Lisitsa
From Valentina:  “The most beautiful and inspired melody ever written, isn’t it? I don’t feel any kind of video or visual is adequate for this music.
Too much action , with hands flying all over the keyboard  
( Liszt made sure it is one of the most difficult transcriptions – ever ) . To fully enjoy it , download a free MP3 at my Google Music store:

Outside of US download here : http://tinyurl.com/7zz3ewc
If you feel creative, please go ahead and make better visuals – or just use it as a soundtrack for a self-made Christmas card, or share it with your friends as is… Enjoy – and Merry Christmas !!!!
The video was recorded a week ago , in Hannover – for “Liszt project”, my attempt to recreate old style recording — with final result being an fully analogue vinyl LP
PS. Turns out Google music is not available for non-US users. I uploaded it on file-sharing and links are available at my twitter account ( ValLisitsa) and Facebook. or directly:

Sheet music is available at IMSLP here ( it is a beautiful first edition in public domain ): 


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The Christmas celebration in Ethiopia (observing theCoptic Orthodox calendar), which is officially called Leddat, is more popularly known as Ganna, after the game that is traditionally played on this day by boys, young men, and occasionally elders. According to legend, the shepherds were so happy when they heard about the birth of Jesus that they used their hooked staffs to play ganna—a game similar to field hockey. Pilgrims gather in the spectacular medieval churches in Lalibela for services, music, and food. More… Discuss


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British Library Series: A splendid Carolingian copy of the Four Gospels

Additional 11848
(Click on the image for an enlarged view.)
On Christmas day 800 the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor by the pope in Rome. Charlemagne was not only a great political and military leader, but also a scholar and patron of the arts who invited the most learned men of the day to his court. Some particularly lavish books were produced in the Carolingian period—this image shows a jewelled ‘treasure’ binding surviving on a manuscript written at Tours probably in the 820s. Very few medieval manuscripts still have their original bindings, although it is clear from accounts in saints’ lives and other literature that illuminated books were often given valuable covers. This example contains the bones of saints set within its wooden binding boards, making it also a reliquary. Part of its decoration was reconstructed in the nineteenth century.



Christmas comes to the Gaza Strip, despite storm damage and flooding – #Focus

The snow storm that hit the Middle East two weeks ago has affected people from Beirut to Cairo. In the Gaza Strip, thousands have been left unable to return to their homes, as torrential rains and melting snow flooded the streets. Christmas is coming too to some parts of the enclave; of the 1.7 million Gazans, there are 176 Roman Catholics and 1200 Orthodox Christians – fewer than 1% of the population. Our correspondent found out what kind of Christmas they’ll be having this year.
12/24/2013 REPORTS
An in-depth report on a major news issue.
More FRANCE24 reports:


The Glauberg

The presence of ancient ruins on the Glauberg plateau in Hesse, Germany, had long been attributed to the Romans, until the 1906 discovery of a torc—a metal necklace—which pointed to a Celtic influence. The Glauberg is one of a network of fortified sites found in parts of Germany. In 1988, a historian flying overhead discovered tumuli—mounds of earth protecting tombs—that were revealed to contain warriors’ remains and weapons. Perhaps the most significant discovery, though, was a statue of whom? More… Discuss


Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite – Russian Dance Trepak

The Russian Dance from Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker Suite. This is probably not only my favourite of all the movements, and I hope you’ll enjoy it!


J. S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, Part II: Sinfonia — CMDH & Laurenscantorij

Johann Sebastian Bach
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248
Part II: Sinfonia

Laurenscantorij & COLLEGIUM MUSICUM Den Haag
Wiecher Mandemaker, conductor

recorded live at the Laurenskerk in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
December 1st, 2012


Rimsky-Korsakov – Christmas Eve: Orchestral Suite (1895)

Christmas Eve (Suite)

I. Christmas Night
II. Ballet of the Stars
III. Witches’ Sabbath and Ride on the Devil’s Back
IV. Polonaise
V. Vakula and the Slippers

A thrilling orchestral suite by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), based on music from the 1895 opera of the same name. The plot of the opera follows the short story “Christmas Eve” from Nikolai Gogol‘s “Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka“. The same story also formed the basis of Tchaikovsky’s operas “Vakula the Smith” and “Cherevichki“.

A synopsis of Gogol’s short story is available on Wikipedia:

Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Scottish National Orchestra


Unique Musical Moments/Great Performences: The Evening Prayer – Kathleen Battle, Frederica von Stade

In the original German, with the English translation:

Abends, will ich schlafen gehn,
Vierzehn Engel um mich stehn:
Zwei zu meinen Häupten,
Zwei zu meinen Füßen,
Zwei zu meiner Rechten,
Zwei zu meiner Linken,
Zweie, die mich decken,
Zweie, die mich wecken,
Zweie, die mich weisen,
Zu Himmels-Paradeisen

Evenings, when I go to sleep,
Fourteen angels with me keep,
Two stand at my head,
Two at the foot of my bed,
Two are at my right hand,
Two are at my left hand,
Two in covers tuck me,
Two at morning wake me,
Two that point the way to rise
To heaven’s paradise.

Though maybe not quite a “Christmas” song, it’s as close to one as I can imagine! These 2 amazing perfomers are superb! We’ve Engelbert Humperdinck to thank for this unique song and melody, from “Hänsel und Gretel.” Just one of many from his brilliant opera.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!!


Gaudete, Christus est natus! (Rejoice Christ is Born!)

Gaudete, Christus est natus!

[Medieval Christmas Hymn, from an anonymous author.
Performed by the Swedish ensemble Joculatores Upsalienses]

Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite – 7 ‘Reed Flutes’ * Volker Hartung & Cologne New Philharmonic

Peter Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite op.71a is brilliantly performed by the Cologne New Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Volker Hartung. Filmed during their annual concerts in Hamburg and Wuppertal, Germany in February 2009 in amazing picture and sound quality, the sound was recorded live by Holger Siedler during their concert at Laeisz-Halle Hamburg, on sunday morning, February 1st 2009.


Arthur Fiedler & Boston Pops Medley – Here We Come A-Caroling/O Tannenbaum/I Saw Three Ships (1972)

“Here We Come A-wassailing” (or Here We Come A-caroling) is an English traditional Christmas carol and New Years song, apparently composed c. 1850. The old English wassail song refers to ‘wassailing’, or singing carols door to door wishing good health, while the a- is an archaic intensifying prefix; compare A-Hunting We Will Go and lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas (e.g., “Six geese a-laying”). According to Readers Digest; “the Christmas spirit often made the rich a little more generous than usual, and bands of beggars and orphans used to dance their way through the snowy streets of England, offering to sing good cheer and to tell good fortune if the householder would give them a drink from his wassail bowl or a penny or a pork pie or, let them stand for a few minutes beside the warmth of his hearth. The wassail bowl itself was a hearty combination of hot ale or beer, apples, spices and mead, just alcoholic enough to warm tingling toes and fingers of the singers”.

“O Tannenbaum”, or, in its English version, “O Christmas Tree“, is a Christmas carol of German origin. A Tannenbaum is a fir tree (German: die Tanne) or Christmas tree (der Weihnachtsbaum). Its evergreen qualities have long inspired musicians to write several “Tannenbaum” songs in German. The melody is an old folk tune (Lauriger Horatius). The first known “Tannenbaum” song lyrics date back to 1550. 

I Saw Three Ships” (Come Sailing In) is a traditional and popular Christmas carol from England. A variant of its parent tune “Greensleeves”, the earliest printed version of “I Saw Three Ships” is from the 17th century, possibly Derbyshire, and was also published by William B. Sandys in 1833. The lyrics mention the ships sailing into Bethlehem, but the nearest body of water is the Dead Sea about 20 miles away. The reference to three ships is thought to originate in the three ships that bore the purported relics of the Biblical magi to Cologne Cathedral in the 12th century.


Deus In Adjutorium – Monteverdi Vespers 2007

Deus In Adjutorium – Monteverdi Vespers 2007

Igor Zhukov plays Tchaikovsky “Christmas”

Igor Zhukov plays TchaikovskyChristmas


Leonard Bernstein – Mozart Schlittenfahrt (Sleigh Ride) 1967

Leonard Bernstein – Mozart Schlittenfahrt (Sleigh Ride) 1967
Leonard Bernstein & New York Philharmonic Orchestra – Mozart Schlittenfahrt (Sleigh Ride) 1967 

Die Schlittenfahrt (Sleigh Ride) is the popular name given to the third of the Three German Dances K. 605 composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Christmas 2011 @ Chijmes — Part 1- 7. Do You Hear What I Hear – Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne

Christmas Concert 2011 by Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ @ Chijmes, Singapore


Colinde traditionale-Transilvania”COLINDITA-ZESTREA”(2005)instructori:Marinela si C-tin Istici

Filmări – noiembrie 2005 în incinta Mănăstirii Greco-Catolice Sf.Anton din Gherla.Grupul fiinteaza sub egida Liceului Ana Ipatescu şi Casa Municipală de Cultură Gherla, fiind instruit incepand cu 1994 de CONSTANTIN ISTICI si MARINELA ZEGREAN ISTICI iar din 2006 si pâna în prezent de CONSTANTIN ISTICI. Filmul reprezintă generatia 2005. Debutul grupului a avut loc la Sala Radiodifuziunii Romane Bucuresti in data de 13 decembrie 1993 – Concertul de Colinde – Realizatoar: EUGENIA FLOREA, prezentator: MIHAI POPESCU,cu aceasta ocazie debutează si RARES ZEGREAN ISTICI, “mascota” si năzdravanul grupului. Denumirea ZESTREA si l-a luat odata cu participarea la Festivalul de Folclor “Obiceiuri Uitate” – MAMAIA 2003, unde au câştigat locul doi.. Regia, scenariul si dialogurile,sunt semnate de C-tin Istici.

Silent Night Holy Night – Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (yes there used to be silent nights…

A new interpretation of a worldwide well known piece of music from a not so usual point of view: Imagine you were Joseph — who is not the father of ‘his’ son in this silent night …

This is what I had in mind creating this interpretation for piano; to give Josephs feelings a musically expression.

If you like it feel free to share!

Merry Christmas!
Wolfram-Maria Schröckenfuchs

The still image shows a part of ‘Totes Gebirge‘ (‘Dead Mountains’ – meaning there are no springs anywhere); point of view is ‘Ahornfeld Hütte’ on the ‘Kasberg’ mountain in the south of Upper Austria, near the homeviallage ‘Micheldorf‘ where I live. Photographed in spring 2011.


Christmas Message and Urbi et Orbi Blessing

Christmas Message and Urbi et Orbi Blessing
Messaggio di Natale e Benedizione Urbi et Orbi
Message de Noël et Bènediction Urbi et Orbi
Mensaje navideño y Bendiciòn Urbi et Orbi


Official opening of the nativity Crèche in St. Peter’s Square

(en) In the afternoon of Christmas Eve the Holy Father attends the official opening of the Nativity Crèche in St. Peter’s Square, offered this Year by the Diocese on Naples
(it) Inaugurazione del Presepe in piazza san Pietro


Colind Andra – Deschide usa crestine

Colind Andra – Deschide usa crestine K-Lumea.net


CONTEMPORARY CHRISTMAS HYMNS: Morten Lauridsen – O Magnum Mysterium

Composer: Morten Lauridsen (b:1943)
Piece: O Magnum Mysterium (1994)

Los Angeles Master Chorale, Paul Salamunovich



Latin text
O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!

Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum.
English translation
O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.


Festivus (1997)

The holiday of Festivus, celebrated on December 23, was popularized by an episode of the 1990s TV show Seinfeld. Unfulfilled by the year-end holidays, character Frank Costanza invents Festivus “for the rest of us.” The centerpiece of Festivus is a plain, unadorned aluminum pole placed in a bucket of cement. One by one, attendees grab the pole and air their grievances, detailing how other people have disappointed them in the past year. What happens after this gripe session? More… Discuss