Saturday, December 31, 2022

Blog-Letter January 1 2023

January 1 2023

Pam has written about Scottish New Year traditions a little further along. In the meantime, here are some perhaps lesser-known festivities from around the world.

In Brazil, New Years is the summer season and for those living near the water, it can mean heading to the beach. One is supposed to jump seven waves while making seven wishes. The tradition hearkens back to Yemanja, the goddess of water. And before getting in the water, make sure you are clothed all in white, which symbolizes purity.

If you’re in Spain, start off the New Year by eating 12 grapes, each symbolizing the strike of each hour on the clock. It began in the late 19th century, believed to ward off evil while boosting your chance at a prosperous and lucky new year. There’s a catch though. You must eat all those grapes in a matter of seconds – they need to be gone by the time the clock finishes striking midnight.

Moving further south to India, you’d make an effigy of an ‘old man’ to represent the old year, and then burn it – at midnight of course. A good way to symbolize the passing of grievances from the old year, to make space for the birth of a new year.

In Japan, people start the new year by eating a warm bowl of soba noodles. This tradition dates back to the Kamakura period, and is tied to a Buddhist temple handing out the noodles to the poor. The long thin noodles, which are firm yet easy to bite, symbolizes a literal break away from the old year.

These are just a sample, but its amazing to learn how much food plays a part in closing out the old and welcoming in the new. Norway and Denmark have towering cakes, the Irish bang loaves of bread against walls and doors. Three potatoes are needed in Colombia, but in Greece it's an onion. Then there are Mexican tamales, and fruits in the Philippines, while in Haiti it’s sharing soup.


These customs focused on food seem to also symbolize that worldwide, we are more alike than different. Something to keep in mind as we move into another year. Too much of this world has grown unkind and just plain old mean. Let’s remember food, the symbolism behind respectful breaking of bread together and the reminder that without food, there would be nothing left to celebrate.


From Pam:

Word of the Day - Blether

Origin - Scottish

To talk in a long-winded way without making very much sense."There's plenty of stuff I could blether about from today”
I can still hear my mother saying,”Stop yer blethering!” And Liz says this to me all the time!
Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the old year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner. Street parties and fireworks with much drinking and partying, as the New Year is celebrated the world over. Maybe not as loud and boisterous as the Scots, but most countries in the world observe the Gregorian calendar.
A custom still in use today is called “first footing”. It’s said to bring Good Luck for the New Year if a tall, dark haired man crosses your threshold, carrying a lump of coal for the fire to keep you warm, some whisky to also keep you warm (inside)  and some Black Bun to eat. This is a Scottish fruit cake with a hard crust and made black with a dense mixture of currants. An acquired taste.  No, a woman would not be the first foot in the door. Sounds a wee bit sexist to me but maybe times have changed.

December was the usual hectic time. Meeting old friends, eating and drinking with family and missing absent ones. 2023 has arrived, and Liz and I are looking forward to our continued passion, writing as Jamie Tremain. Book four in the Dorothy Dennehy Mysteries, Cultivating the Truth, is a work in progress.

If you like a good caper, another book we’re so excited to be a part of has been written by Gloria Ferris and Jamie Tremain.  A first for Ferris Tremain.
Worlds May Change — A Mechanic Falls Gem Caper. Publishing date TBD.
So bring on the New Year. We’re ready for you!

From Liz

As Pam mentioned above, December was a hectic time. Or maybe it's just been nearly three years since all this socializing and sharing time together was the norm and we're making up for lost time.  
In early December, we, along with Gloria Ferris, participated in a seasonal vendor event at Delmanor Retirement Home in Oakville. It was lovely to chat - despite the masks -  with some interesting folks and gain new fans of all our books.

Mother Nature derailed plans to have our Genre5 Writer Group Christmas get together just before Christmas. Freezing rain, and snow had us err on the side of caution and reschedule for January 4.
Also in December, we were happy to announce we now have our books available through Smashwords. If you're not familiar with it, Smashwords offers thousands of e-books, in multiple genres. Looking for a new favourite? Check them out - Smashwords. You can find us here: Smashwords - Jamie Tremain

Jamie Tremain wishes one and all only the best of health, happiness and kindness for 2023. Oh, and yes - please keep reading those books!                           


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