Posts Tagged ‘traditions’

The Roots of Baptism (and Confirmation)


Baptism has its roots in ancient practices that preceded Christianity. Jewish rituals of purification were centered on the cleansing of the body with water. Many Jewish customs found their way into the initiation rites of the Early Church.

Do You Genuflect?


As a child, I recall watching my father (also brought up “low church”) enter “our pew” in church with a bow to the cross as he also bent with one knee to the floor. A puzzlement to me of which I never asked. Only my Catholic friends did those weird body gestures, including moving their hands all over their foreheads and chest when praying.

Farewell Alleluia!


Despite the fact that Pope Alexander II had ordered a very simple and somber way of “deposing” the Alleluia, a variety of farewell customs prevailed in many countries up to the sixteenth century.

Message, Myth and Meaning


I live so close to Gillette stadium that my younger son and I thought we were under air attack when the jets made their flyover before the AFC Championship game in Foxboro, MA. We are not football fans and were going about our usual Sunday afternoon business when the Patriot’s–Raven’s game got underway.

The Year of the Dragon

Happy New Chinese Year 2012

Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time to honor one’s elders and families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Shrove Tuesday = Pancakes!


Although Lenten regulations varied with time and place during the Middle Ages, this was the day all households were to use up all milk, eggs and fat to prepare for the strict fasting of Lent. These ingredients were made into pancakes, a meal which came to symbolize preparation for the discipline of Lent, from the English tradition

The Feast of Christ’s Epiphany – History and Traditions


The feast of Christ’s epiphany or “manifestation” originated among the Christians of Egypt in the third century. The date of January 6 was probably chosen because the Egyptians celebrated their great feast of the winter solstice on that day, in honor of the sun god Horus.

History of the New Year


The celebration of the new year on January 1st is a relatively new phenomenon. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March.

New Year’s Eve: Hogmanay Style


It may not be widely known but Christmas was not celebrated as a festival and virtually banned in Scotland for around 400 years, from the end of the 17th century to the 1950s. So the celebration of a New Year took on a huge importance.

The Origin of the Candy Cane


I know a bishop who gives out purple candy canes each Christmas eve to the children at the cathedral where he serves. There are lots of stories of how candy canes were invented to symbolically represent a variety of Christian themes.

God and the Santa Myth


Many children express the thought that God and Santa Claus are brothers. Teens report that when they stopped believing in Santa Claus they wondered whether or not God was real. It is not surprising that children can confuse the two and have similar questions and doubts.



Kwanzaa (December 26 – January 1) means first fruits and is a non-religious seven-day celebration created in 1966 in the midst of the Black consciousness movement in the United States. It therefore reflects the activism of that time and the call for cultural unity.

Las Posadas


In the classic Las Posadas, a group of “pilgrims” from a church goes out into the neighborhood, accompanied by a costumed Mary and Joseph (or carrying Mary and Joseph images).

Ancient Future Disciples


Becky Garrison shifts the popular focus from the pioneers who founded emerging congregations to those finding appeal and belonging within them. What draws followers to these ‘emerging church’ communities? Why are they coming back, or are they? How do they understand themselves to be “church” or do they?

Making Halloween Holy – Christian thoughts on life, death, and October 31


The U.S. needs Halloween due to the “melting pot” nature of American society. It’s the only holiday of a spiritual nature that can be celebrated by all, regardless of faith status (spiritual but not religious, religious but not spiritual, or none of the above).

Guiding Children Through Religion


Some parents feel responsible to shape their children’s religious foundations while others prefer to let kids explore faith for themselves.

Making the Connections


The return of the regular September-June program year brings with it new opportunities for formation and relationships.

Creating a Prayer Space at Home


When you create a Prayer Space in your home, you are reminded of God’s presence at all times, while also making a connection between church and home.

The Long Green Season is Here!


Pentecost was June 12th, and now we’re into the long green season of the church year. Green is the liturgical color for the season of Pentecost, and this season takes us from the Day of Pentecost until the first Sunday of Advent. That’s a lot of time.

Storytelling: Essential to Christian Communities


My generation (at least in my experience) is in a place where the desire to know the stories of our families is intensified.