Celebrating the Summer Solstice and Christmas right around the corner? Welcome to December in the Southern Hemisphere! While our calendars and many of our seasonal celebrations coincide, our seasons certainly don’t. While those of us in Northern Hemisphere welcome our Winter Solstice, those in the Southern Hemisphere are settling in for their hottest of seasons.
No matter if you’re suffering through a heat wave or a wicked Nor’Easter, we all love to celebrate this time of year with grand feasts and fellowship.
In Australia, our neighbors are decorating their tables with much traditional fare, including roasted meats and savory puddings, but have you ever had your Christmas turkey served as cold cuts? Quite often, due to the heat of the season, many Christmas feasts are outside gatherings, featuring cold versions of Northern Hemisphere favorites, or grand seafood feasts of fresh local catches such as prawns and other shell-fish. Breads are also popular, and the bread of choice for Australians is the Christmas damper, pictured above.
Visiting Brazil, Christmas is also in full swing, complete with roasted turkey. However its unique preparation could have you changing up your own holiday tradition! Typically marinated in a sugar cane liquor know as Cachaca, or in champagne, the bird is then stuffed with toasted manioc flour, called farofa, and fruit.
Columbia, a country straddling the equator, offers up a sweeter tradition. Christmas often includes the creamy molasses like dish known as Natilla which is typically served with sweet or savory fritters that are popular throughout most of Latin America.
While Christians the world over are celebrating the birth of Christ, one can not forget our pagan roots. Winter and Summer Solstice are both celebrated in December. In the Southern Hemisphere, pagans, Wiccans, and many nature based religions are celebrating the time when the gods are at the peak of their power, and this time of year in the Southern Hemisphere, means the time is ripe for magick and love rites. Again, there are feasts aplenty, featuring local, seasonal produce and specialties.
No matter the celebration, the festival, or the hemisphere, one thing remains clear. This is a time of rest, of gratitude & appreciation, of turning toward the New Year with hope for better…and of course, gaining a few extra pounds as we break bread with friends and family, to sit an honor those close to us, to remember those no longer here.
So whether you are enjoying a beach side rest with the barbecue sizzling, or a cup of hot chocolate after an evening of sleigh rides, The River would like to wish you a most joyous holiday season. May your holiday time be filled with light, love and laughter, and may 2012 shine bigger and brighter than ever. (and may those ten extra pounds disappear as easily as they were found!)