Discover How Our Artisans Celebrate Christmas Around the Globe!
Posted on December 21 2019
Discovering Holiday Traditions Around our Vibrant World
If you get our email updates, these discoveries won't be new. But for those that don't (although you really should be...you will love them...and the eclusive sales), here is a reprisal of "5 Days of Discovering Holiday Traditions Around the World."
I asked 5 of our artisans what they usually do this time of the year as they prepare for the holidays (or what is typical in their country), this is what I found out:
1) Let's start with FRANCE!
I asked shop favorite, Eric et Lydie, who live north of Paris near Lille, what they would be up to!
Me and Lydie in their boutique in Paris!
When I asked Lydie how they celebrate the holidays, she responded with this:
"December is always a busy month. Eric and I are seperated with one in the shop and,the other one at workshop or vise versa. Our son is now living on his own flat so Christmas Eve means a lot to us as it is an opportunity for us to spend good time together! So we meet in our house in the countryside, make a fire in the chimney and we have always the same menu decided by our son: foie gras for our son saint Jacques (scallops) for us, then boar 🐗 🐗 and a homemade “bûche “ (Jen note: I will put a picture of a typical bûche below...it is a very traditional dessert in France in the shape of a yule log.)
We open our gifts and we usually go to bed early because every one is exhausted we always work so much before Christmas!!!
So...nothing amazing for us. The big family Christmas party takes time usually later on the Saturday night between Christmas and New Year’s Eve this year. This party takes place at home with 24 people around the table !!! We’ll make a buffet all together!!! This year it will be a Japanese buffet!!!
Happy Christmas to you!!!"
To curate all the stunning filigree Portuguese jewels in the shop I have the privilege of working with Alexandre, who along with his sister, Joana, are third generation in a family with a long tradition in the Portuguese art of filigree jewelry. They lead the family business and share their time between Lisbon, where the their company is based and Gondomar, the cradle of Portuguese jewelry in the north and where all the workshops are located.
They work with the artisans and closely follow all the processes to guarantee the authenticity and quality of each exquisite piece.
Hands of a Portuguese Artisan making a Heart of Viana pendant.
When I asked Alexandre how they celebrate the holidays, he responded with this (you will get a sense of how important his family has been in the filigree industry!):
"My grandfather who created one of the largest jewellery workshops in Portugal used to gather all his 7 children (who are all in the jewellery business) and his 18 grandkids (who half are also in the jewellery business) and have a big Christmas party.
After dinner we used to go at midnight to church and listen to mass, called Missa do Galo (translates as Rooster Mass)."
Jen's note: If you want a little more information about "Missa do Galo" click here.
The jewels we have in the shop from this vibrant neighbor to the south don't typically last long, but it seems like their traditions this time of year dooooo!
Gaby Vilchiz, a favorite shop designer from Oaxaca, Mexico (and the designer of the *FAB* earrings below) sent me an overview of some of the most important Christmas traditions in Mexico. Keep scrolling to read and explore more...
When I asked Gaby how they celebrate the holidays, she responded with this:
"1) Las Posadas:
The inn (las posadas) are a very important tradition of Mexican culture. These celebrations begin 9 days before Christmas, approximately mid - December. They made a representation of the tour that San José and the Virgin Mary made to Belén seeking a place to stay before the birth of the Niño Jesús.
During the procession, participants light candles and sing villaging, and finalize the tour of one of the participants, which has been chosen in advance (each night is a different House).
The celebration may be small or familiar, or include and friends. In some places like Veracruz, children make a similar version to the inns known as "the branches", wearing decorated altars filled with branches, figures of the Virgin and San José and toys, while caroling, and asking for money for the aguinaldos (gifts).
2) Las piñatas:
Pinatas are one of Mexico's most representative symbols, and at Christmas they can never miss. The traditional pinata was said to have been introduced by the Spanish friars during their evangelization enforcements, in which the pinata with a 7 - peak star form represents the 7 capital sins. This way, shaped, it beats sin, and sweets show the reward for the will, virtue and faith.
3) December 12th, Day of the Guadalupana
After the miracle of the fourth appearance of the Virgin on 12 December 1531, the event has since been held with great devotion. The first news we have of an official celebration is 1667, when the Papa Clemente IX Bula is instituted on December 12 as the Día party in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe. By 1824, the nation's Congress declared 12 December as a national holiday."
La Virgen de Guadalupe who is celebrated in Mexico on December 12th (oil painted image and embroidered by Oaxaquenos).
We love our artisans that work painstakingly to create beautiful jewels using recycled brass and reclaimed horn and bone in the lower income neighborhoods of Nairobi, but since this year you all helped make the dream come true of a young Kenyan woman, Sarah, to go back to school (read the story here), I decided to ask Sarah what she and her family will do this Christmas.
A selfie Sarah took of herself this week as she started her exams.
When I asked Sarah how they celebrate Christmas in Nairobi, she responded with this:
"Hi! During Christmas day we celebrate by wearing new clothes in case you happened to have them, cooking expensive food like chicken, meat and any food that we have not been using during the whole year, going to church to sing and dance. Also we visit Uhuru park during the day of Christmas to do something different (Jen note: I include a picture of Uhuru Park below).
Drinks are being bought like soda and many others.
Thank you for your concern once again. I will be doing my last exam paper tomorrow then we break for Christmas."
When I asked Sarah if they decorated for Christmas she wrote, "For now we haven't bought yet but I will send a picture immediately moment we have it."
To curate the exquisite DUBLOS earrings for the shop, I work with Ynés in Sevilla, Spain. She handles all the administrative tasks at DUBLOS, and keeps my Spanish fine tuned as she doesn't speak English.
When I asked Ynés about special holiday traditions in her family, she replied with the following:
"For Christmas dinner we eat fish and for dessert a very typical sweet called "polvorones". After we go caroling."
Since Ynes wasn't as verbose as some of our other artisans and designers, I found this interesting article on CultureTrip.com about "8 Spanish Christmas Traditions You Need to Know."
Enjoy! Merry Christmas!
I hope you enjoyed discovering more about our artisans and friends around the world and how they are celebrate Christmas. It was fun for me to connect with them in this way and learn about them in this way too!