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8 Activities for All Saints’ Day

On November 1st the church remembers the saints of God - all faithful servants and believers. The day is seen as a communion of saints who have died and of all Christian persons. All Hallows' Eve, October 31st (from which our Halloween traditions come); All Saints' Day; and All Souls' Day (November 2nd - the Day of the Faithful Departed), are connected by tradition and are often celebrated together.

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Winter Tradition: Making Luminarias

The week before Christmas we would gather in the undercroft (basement) of the church and assemble the luminaria. Creating an assembly line, one of us would open white lunch-size paper bags, placing them on large trays. Another person would use a paper cup to dump about two inches of sand in the bag, followed by another person placing a white votive candle (one that would burn for eight hours) in the sand.

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UnPlug the Christmas Machine

Believing in the true spirit of Christmas, I commit myself to... * Remember those people who truly need my gifts * Express my love in more direct ways than gifts * Examine my holiday activities in the light of my deepest values * Be a peacemaker within my circle of family and friends * Rededicate myself to my spiritual growth

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Advent Colors: History and Meaning

Some churches use Bright Blue to symbolize the night sky, the anticipation of the impending announcement of the King’s coming, or to symbolize the waters of Genesis 1, the beginning of a new creation. Some churches, including some Catholic churches, use blue violet to preserve the traditional use of purple while providing a visual distinction between the purple or red violet of Lent.

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Make Easter Dove Cake (recipe included)

The Story of the Dove Cake is an Easter legend in Italy. Once there was a king who wanted to capture a city. His horse did not cooperated and would not enter battle. While trying to get his horse to charge through the city, a young girl offered the horse a piece of cake that was shaped like a dove, the bird of peace. Upon receiving this gift, the king decided not to conquer the city with his army after all.

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Easter Eggs: History and Traditions

During the Middle Ages eggs were not allowed to be eaten as part of the Lenten fast. So Easter Sunday became a day to celebrate with the eating of eggs. Children used to go house to house, singing and begging for eggs. They were paid in hard-boiled eggs, dyed with vegetables such as beetroot (red), spinach (green), onions (yellow)and tea (brown).

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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.

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Kwanzaa

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.

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