Its Holiday Time Let’s Celebrate

One of the best things about growing up in India was all the holidays we celebrated. As a multicultural country, all festivals are celebrated with lots of joy and gusto. Some of the popular festivals are Diwali, Holi, and Eid, but you may be surprised to know that India is home to a considerable population of Christians, who, along with the rest of the country, celebrate Christmas with their own rituals and traditions.

Bright Color & Lights

It is a colorful festival — as are most in India — and local stores, markets, and malls are draped in multicolored twinkling fairy lights, paper streamers, and flowers. One of the things that my daughter noticed about Christmas in India last year was the brightness of it all. For Indians, festivals are always celebrated with lights and colors, and Christmas is no exception. Churches are decorated using stunning light shows and look spectacular in the night.

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Most families put up a Christmas tree. Snow is in short supply, but that does not deter enterprising children from draping cotton wool all over their trees to imitate snow-covered evergreens. A lot of decorations and ornaments are handmade, and stars are everywhere. My dad put up Christmas stars all over the house and out on the roads to welcome friends, neighbors, and family to our home at Christmastime.

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Christmas Food in India

Christmas cooking also starts early. Christmas sweets — mainly originating from Goa and adapted in the rest of the country — are traditionally called “kuswar,” and they range from deeply delicious dense Christmas fruitcakes to rose cookies and “kidiyo” (literally translating as worms, but these are deep-fried curly dough balls, dusted in icing sugar). We also make sweet dumplings called “newrio,” stuffed with palm sugar, sweet grated coconut, and sesame seeds. Savoury banana chips, crisp chaklis (a round, deep-fried savoury made with lentils), and cardamom and cashew macaroons round up a versatile collection of Christmas goodies.

I love all the cultural influences that go into these sweets. Fruitcakes, for example, are heavily influenced by British plum puddings, and indeed, are also occasionally called plum cakes in India. Rose cookies are a result of the Dutch occupation, and a lot of the other sweets are the result of Portuguese and French cuisines. Our Christmas is, therefore, a true melting pot of all the cultures that were part of India during colonial times.

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The Christmas Crib

Along with food, the nativity scenes — we call them Christmas cribs — are an important part of our Christmas traditions. We planned our cribs early in the month, as there was always (not-so) friendly competition in the neighborhoods and between churches as to whose crib was the most elaborate. My sister and I spent hours planning our own. We grew paddy plants in small trays, and we collected bricks and sand. We could hardly wait for the day our schools closed for the Christmas break, as that is when we would pull out all our nativity statues and go about creating beautiful, detailed cribs, resplendent with lights, fields, bridges, and waterfalls.

At midnight on Christmas Eve, we would reverently place the baby Jesus statue in the scene, and then admire our handiwork all through the season.

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Christmas Morning

We don’t do Christmas presents in India. Instead, we would wake up to a hot, spicy breakfast, and then we would gather up the boxes of dark fruitcakes and homemade kuswar and head over to all our neighbors’, family, and friends’ homes. It didn’t matter if they were Hindu, Christian, or Muslim — all neighbors got some goodies, and we wished them a Happy Christmas. We would finish our sweet errands by noon, after which it was time to savor a spicy Indian Christmas lunch.

Lunch done, and pleasantly satiated, we would make up for our late night with a siesta, after which it was time to head to the Christmas dance with our friends. We danced the night away, and when the sun rose on Boxing Day, we all piled into cars and headed to the beach to watch the sun rise. Then it was breakfast in a small roadside café, and home to celebrate the end of another wonderful year and look forward to the new year.

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Christmas Eve

By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, we would be delirious with excitement. All that week, preparations for the day were being made. The pork (dukra maas) and chicken curries — staples of our Christmas dinners — were made in advance and left to mature. Batter was ground for sannas (steamed rice cakes) and left to ferment overnight for soft, fluffy breads, perfect to soak up all those curries. Last-minute alterations were made to our Christmas clothes and there was a lot of excitement in the air.

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Green Events Guide [Infographic]

The events industry is one of the most wasteful, it’s a hard fact. In an age in which the world’s resources are running out it’s vital that we pay attention to this fact.

This infographic sets out to explain the current ethos concerning green practices in the events industry. We’ll see which factors contribute to an event’s carbon footprint​ and why it’s important to reduce this carbon footprint.

​Most importantly we’ll see some top tips on how to run a green event.

Take a look:​

GREEN EVENTS GUIDE INFOGRAPHIC

Green Events Guide Infographic
 source: http://www.losberger.co.uk

Life !!

Life is a characteristic distinguishing physical entities having signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not,either because such functions have ceased (death), or because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate. Biology is a science concerned with the study of life.

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The smallest contiguous unit of life is called an organism. Organisms are composed of one, or more, cells, undergo metabolism, maintain homeostasis, can grow, respond to stimuli, reproduce and, through evolution, adapt to their environment in successive generations.A diverse array of living organisms can be found in the biosphere of Earth, and the properties common to these organisms plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaea, and bacteria are a carbon- and water-based cellular form with complex organization and heritable genetic information.

The Earth was formed about 4.54 billion years ago. The earliest life on Earth existed at least 3.5 billion years ago,during the Eoarchean Era when sufficient crust had solidified following the molten Hadean Eon.imagesg

Though life is confirmed only on the Earth, many think that extraterrestrial life is not only plausible, but probable or inevitable.

Other planets and moons in the Solar System have been examined for evidence of having once supported simple life, and projects such as SETI have attempted to detect radio transmissions from possible alien civilizations. According to the panspermia hypothesis, microscopic life exists throughout the Universe, and is distributed by meteoroids, asteroids and planetoids.

The meaning of life its significance, origin, purpose, and ultimate fate is a central concept and question in philosophy and religion. Both philosophy and religion have offered interpretations as to how life relates to existence and consciousness, and on related issues such as life stance, purpose, conception of a god or gods, a soul or an afterlife. Different cultures throughout history have had widely varying approaches to these issues.

Hope Makes the Impossible Possible

By Lorna Byrne book

“The Angel of Hope is a beacon of light in all our lives. He helps to keep the light of hope burning inside of us all of throughout our lives,’ the angel told me. ‘Hope plays an enormous part in everyone’s life. Hope makes the impossible possible.’

 I was about twelve years old when an angel told me this.

I have been seeing and talking with angels since I was a little baby. I see angels every day and I see them physically as I see someone sitting in front of me. Angels are my friends and companions and I talk with them all the time, sometimes using words and sometimes without words. I have no idea why I should be able to see angels and you don’t. I’m just an ordinary person.

I see different types of angels – I see a guardian angel behind each and everybody. I see what I call “unemployed angels” – who are white and there are so many of them that I always say there are millions of them, I see teacher angels and healing angels. These are all different type of angels and while there are a lot of  healing angels, all healing angels look broadly similar.

Then there are angels of which there is only one. Archangel Michael is like this. There is only one Archangel Michael but he can be in several places at one time and he comes and goes. The Angel of Hope is another angel like this – just one angel but with a capacity to be in many places at once.

The Angel of Hope doesn’t look like any other angel I have ever seen. He looks like a massive flame. Within this very bright flame I am shown a faint human appearance, which is masculine, and a beautiful dazzling emerald green colour, holding a torch – like an Olympic flame. The brightness of the Angel of Hope looks different to any other angel; I think this is because it’s a light within a light.

The Angel of Hope is enormous, the height of a mature tree. When I see him he always seems to be very far away from me. So he should then look small, but he’s always massive. It’s quite strange – it’s as if he’s very far away but right in front of me at the same time, hard as that is to explain.

He seems to be forever moving, turning back constantly to encourage whoever he is leading at the time with a gentle smile. His expression is one of love and encouragement.

Lately I have been seeing the Angel of Hope a lot more than I would have previously. I probably see him every day. People seem to be needing hope so much at this time.

Recently I was walking on a busy street in the centre of Dublin and I could see the Angel of Hope  in the distance beckoning. He wasn’t beckoning to me or any one person but to all of us on that crowded street, as if to encourage us all to go forward, giving us all the strength to go on, whatever was going on in our lives.

The Angel of Hope has a very powerful effect on people. It’s as if he is able to communicate and influence people more strongly than other angels can. When the Angel of Hope is in front of someone he’s like a magnet, creating a force that pulls a person on giving them the physical and mental strength to hang on in and persevere and not give up.

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We don’t all need the Angel of Hope. Many of us get through most of our lives without the help of the Angel of Hope. We draw hope from other sources instead – from the people around us, from our guardian angels and other angels. But if a person is finding things very tough or feels really hopeless then the Angel of Hope will come to help.

I walked past the Social Welfare Office the other day and there were people queuing up to claim unemployment benefits. There were angels with all of them – encouraging and supporting them. I saw a man in his mid fifties walking towards the office surrounded by five or six angels and they were all whispering in his ear.  The Angel of Hope appeared in front of him, beckoning to the man giving him the courage and strength to believe that there was a future for him. He was helping him to see that going to the Social Welfare Office was a new beginning rather than an end.

The angels are constantly giving us hope – because hope is such an important thing. Hope as I keep saying makes the impossible possible. Hope gives us the courage and the strength to live our lives to the full even when things are very tough. When you are feeling a lack of hope in your life remember to ask your guardian angel for help and if your need is great enough the Angel of Hope will be there for you.

Lorna Byrne is the international bestselling author of Angels in my Hair and Stairways to Heaven. A Message of Hope from the Angels is her new book. The overwhelming reaction of readers to Lorna’s writing is that it gives them hope, helping them to realise that no matter how alone they might feel they have a guardian angel by their side. This response is global Lorna has been published in over 50 countries and her work has been translated into 24 languages. www. lornabyrne. com

See more at: www. spiritualmediablog.com/2013/09/30/hope-makes-the-impossible-possible/