Friday, 30 December 2016

This Month I’m Celebrating The Year Of…The Rooster?

While most of the world rings in the New Year this Sunday, my friend Len and his family will wait until January 28. Know why? Because that’s Chinese New Year, and even though Len has lived in Canada for his whole life, his parents are from China and there, the annual New Year’s celebration is a BIG deal.

In fact, did you know that in China (and even some Chinese people who live in Canada) take SEVEN days off work to bring in the New Year? Len says that even though his family doesn’t follow ALL of the traditions (there are a lot of them!), it’s still the most important time of the year—New Year’s is a chance for family to gather for good food, celebrate a year’s worth of successes, and wish for a lucky and prosperous 2017.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a great idea to me, especially after THIS terrible year. (I wasn’t going to mention it, but my favourite actress, Carrie Fisher, died this week and I’ve been watching Star Wars NON STOP with my little sister ever since…I can’t tell you how many times she has dressed up like Princess Leia over the years!)

Len says I’m bound to see a lot of roosters around, too, since in Chinese culture, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. Apparently there are red rooster dolls for the children and New Year’s paintings with roosters on them. I kind of hope Len brings one of those rooster dolls to school…just so I can see it.

I looked it up and guess what? I was born on the year of the rooster too! Apparently that means my lucky numbers are 5, 7, and 8. Gold, brown and YELLOW are my lucky colours (Grandpa is going to love that), and I should steer clear of the number 9.

I’ve always heard about Chinese New Year, but until Len and I started talking about it, I never gave it much thought. It’s kind of cool to think that a whole other celebration is going on DAYS after I’ve already brought in the New Year. It makes me wonder how much more exists that I don’t know about!

Which is why I’m going to make only one New Year’s resolution this weekend: In 2017, I resolve to learn more about the cultures of the people who live in Canada.

How about you? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? And what is YOUR Chinese animal sign?

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend and…see you next year!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 23 December 2016

Christmas Traditions From Around The World

The past few days have been a whirlwind of traditions—from cookie decorating, to wrapping gifts at the local seniors’ center, to donating books, food, and clothes to kids in need. We’ve been busy!

And that’s just the beginning. My entire Christmas holiday is filled with family traditions. 

Even the way we decorate our tree is traditional. Dad always strings the lights, Mom always puts the star on the top, and my sister and I put up specific decorations. All while listening to holiday music and drinking hot chocolate with peppermint sprinkles.

Family traditions are important. So, I thought it might be fun to check out some different Christmas traditions from around the world. Boy, did I learn a lot!

Like, did you know that in Ireland, kids leave mince pies instead of cookies for Santa? Or that in Russia and Ukraine, Christmas is celebrated on January 7, not December 25th?

The people of Netherlands, who celebrate Christmas on December 6th, await the arrival of SinterKlaas and his sidekick, Black Pete. SinterKlaas leaves candy and nuts for boys and girls who have their shoes filled with hay and sugar for his horse.

I’m a BIG fan of turkey, but in Japan, traditional Christmas dinner is Kentucky Fried Chicken. Can you imagine? In fact, you’d have to make a reservation to eat at a KFC on Christmas in the country!

And you all know how much I love Halloween, so of course I’m all about the Austrian folklore that jolly Saint Nick makes his rounds with a sidekick in tow—creepy Krampus. He takes care of the kids on Santa’s NAUGHTY list, and trust me, his “punishment” is worse than a lump of coal. Er…not that I would know first-hand of course.

What are some of your family traditions? I’d love to learn more about them!

Gotta jet!

Have a great weekend—and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Tis the season for COOKIES!

This weekend marks the fourth annual Christmas Cookie Decorating Challenge at my aunt’s house.

Including me and my sister, Amelia, there will be FIFTEEN of us around a long table overflowing with sugar cookies, icing, sprinkles and other candy. It’s one of the most wonderful days of the season! (Mom doesn’t always think so, because we go home with bellies full of sugar, which she SAYS makes us hyper, but that’s actually a myth…)

My aunt makes a LOT of sugar cookies. Like, more than a hundred. We usually go home with about 20 each, depending on how many we eat when our parents aren’t looking. But even I know that 20 cookies (40 between us) is far too many—especially since Mom AND Grandma will be doing a bunch of their own holiday baking. (Grandma has already made her famous ginger snaps, and Mom is trying out a lemon cookie recipe that has my mouth watering…)

So this year, Amelia and I plan to give most of our cookies to the local senior’s center as part of our commitment to holiday random acts of kindness. Which means we’ll need to take extra care in decorating them. It’s better now that Amelia is older. A couple of years ago she just slathered on the icing and then dumped an entire bottle of sprinkles on ONE cookie. Yikes! My teeth hurt just THINKING about that.

I’ll take some pictures of the best cookies we make and post them on Instagram. Do you follow my account at @SupermanDuffy? Post some of your sugar cookie designs and tag me or use the hashtag #SupermanDuffyCookies. I’m excited to see your sugary creations.

Gotta jet!

Have a great weekend!

~ Chase Superman Duffy