Prompt: Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Did your immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions from their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned?
My family and friends, for the most part, celebrate just Christmas. As all of my ancestors arrived in North America prior to 1880, I don’t really know if they had holiday traditions that they lost in the move.
I did like the tradition outlined in my great-aunt’s book below. By the time I knew them, however, this was not part of their holiday observances.
Excerpt from Where the Saints Have Trod, Judith St. John, 1974 (Oxford University Press). The book is based on the author’s childhood memories (ca 1914-1924). She was my great-aunt.
“Then we went to bed. My mother fastened back the curtains on every window of the house, placing in each one a lighted Christmas candle. “These will guide the Christ Child across the snow tonight,” she said.
“I watched the candle in our room flicker. “Will the Christ Child come near here?” I asked in wonder.
“ “They say He wanders over the earth every Christmas Eve,” my mother said.
“ “They will help Santa Claus, too,” I said. It was years since children had lived in the parsonage. I hoped he would pause on the roof long enough to see our letters.”