traditions | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

traditions

This Valentine's Day is going to be a little less sweet.

SweetHearts, the colorful, heart-shaped candies with sugary messages like "Kiss Me" and "My Love" will be scarce this year. If you're lucky enough to find them, they'll be from last year's batch.

A guide provided to David Sedaris by Macy's on how to be an elf. A draft of "Santaland Diaries" is on the right.
Tubyez Cropper / Beinecke Library

David Sedaris’ reading of the “Santaland Diaries” is an NPR tradition. Twenty-six years ago, he first shared his tale of being Crumpet, one of Santa’s helpers in Macy’s.

Fouad Dagoum, Kutti Dagoum, Bonnie Bayuk, Azhar Ahmed, and Lames Abdelrahman
Amar Batra / Connecticut Public Radio

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family and friends and share a meal together. For many U.S. families, that means roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry, and pumpkin pie. But for some refugee families, the holiday can be a time to share native dishes and new holiday traditions.

Ashbridge Studios (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Ahh, the big floral holiday is almost upon us. Valentine's Day is one of the biggest flower-giving days of the year. It's estimated more than 250 million roses are sold on this day alone, traveling from as far away as Chile. And while roses are thought of as the go-to Valentine's Day flower, there are other blooms that make nice alternatives to the rose.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Xiomara Vega moved to Connecticut from Puerto Rico with her three-year-old daughter after Hurricane Maria knocked out the electricity in her home. She’s trying to make a new life there, but she doesn’t want to forget her old one. And celebrating Three Kings Day -- the Christian holiday also known as the Epiphany -- is a big part of that.

Diane Sobolewski

Nearly 175 years after it was first published, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens remains a holiday classic. The story has been retold many times in movie, TV, and stage adaptations.

Will Keightley / Creative Commons

You see the signs all around the state. Live Christmas trees for sale. They're beautiful, providing an old fashioned charm to our homes for the holidays. Some, such as balsam fir, have a woodsy smell, while others, such as blue spruce have a blue tinge.

Nannette Turner / Creative Commons

Oh, by gosh by golly, it's time for mistletoe and holly. Yes, holly shrubs are embedded in our holiday traditions and have a rich history.

Courtesy Nicholas Bolt, Norwich Free Academy

Pumpkin pie, roast turkey, cranberry sauce, and football -- Thanksgiving Day’s four basic elements. While pro football dominates the airwaves, it’s the hometown high school games that genuinely capture the spirit of the day.

Most Americans don't want their family members to pass along their political opinions while passing the turkey and dressing this Thanksgiving.

According to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, 58 percent of people celebrating the holiday are dreading having to talk politics around the dinner table. Just 31 percent said they were eager to discuss the latest news with their family and friends, while 11 percent are unsure.

Why I Love (And Question) Independence Day

Jul 3, 2017

On my first Fourth of July in the United States, I woke up in the morning, stretched and realized that my wife was still in bed.

I asked if she was going to work. She said, "Oh, don't you know today is July Fourth?"

I looked through our window. Just about everybody in Fernley, Nevada, the town where we lived, was on their way to Main Street with chairs, umbrellas, drinks and snacks.

A record-breaking 2.3 million New Englanders are expected to be hitting the road this Fourth of July weekend, driving more than 50 miles from home.

alashensemble.com / Courtesy Alash Ensemble

Musical masters of a remarkable vocal technique called “throat singing” perform in Connecticut on Thursday evening. They’re members of the group called Alash.

Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Creative Commons

Chartwell Dutiro is a Zimbabwe native and leading authority on the mbira tradition. He is also an experienced collaborator. This hour, we hear about his recent partnership with Timbila -- a band co-founded by Afropop Worldwide producer Banning Eyre. 

Timo Newton-Syms / Creative Commons

Well, the leftovers still fill the refrigerator, there's still reams of wrapping paper to recycle, and there's the Christmas tree. If you purchased one of the more than 20 million live Christmas trees sold this year, you're probably wondering what to do with it now. 

Ken Hawkins / Creative Commons

Whether it's red or white, boxed or bottled -- few beverages stimulate the senses quite like a glass of wine does. Still, the science behind how the human body "tastes" wine -- well, it's more complex than you might think. 

Guilherme Cardoso flickr.com/photos/guiskatenator / Creative Commons

I recently returned from a trip to India, and while visiting a friend in his garden outside Delhi, I was struck by one brilliantly colored, red plant. This five-foot-tall and -wide plant looked familiar. Upon closer inspection, it was a poinsettia.

Nu Haven Kapelye/Facebook

This year, Hanukkah and Christmas fall on the same weekend.

A growing tradition among American-Jews nationwide, has been to spend Christmas day indulging in Chinese food. But for the last decade, in the New Haven area a new tradition has emerged -- an annual concert of klezmer music performed by The Nu Haven Kapelye.

T. Charles Erickson / Hartford Stage

Hartford Stage's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" has become a Connecticut tradition, thanks in part to actor Bill Raymond's portrayal of the character Scrooge. But after 17 years, Raymond has said he will step away from the role after this year. 

Mónica Pinheiro flickr.com/photos/monica_andre / Creative Commons

Oh by gosh by golly, it's time of gifts for your favorite gardener. I may not be much of a singer, but I know gifts a gardener in the family might like.

terceirav / Creative Commons

Over the years, I’ve scrambled to think of ways to write about Christmas music.

Overrated, Underrated, Unfairly Neglected, Ten Best, 12 Worst, Pop, Classical – I’ve just about used up journalism’s standard-issue bag of Devices We Use for Recurring Yearly Phenomena.

Tracey Adams flickr.com/photos/bikracer / Creative Commons

One of the simplest and most rewarding activities to bring in some holiday cheer this time of year is to make your own wreath. You can go to local garden centers and take a wreath-making workshop, or buy a pre-made wreath. But I like to construct my own wreath made from materials around my home. 

Facebook

The documentary "Flory's Flame" gets its Connecticut premiere this Saturday at the University of Hartford.

The film explores the life of composer and performer Flory Jagoda, who is credited with preserving the traditional Sephardic music of the Balkans, an art form that was nearly wiped away by the Nazis during World War II.

Before you pass that gravy this Thanksgiving, you may want to make sure you got what you paid for.

Food giant Heinz is voluntarily recalling hundreds of cases of gravy just ahead of turkey day due to jars being possibly mislabeled.

The labeling mishap was for Heinz HomeStyle Bistro Au Jus Gravy. The jars in question were inadvertently labeled Heinz Pork Gravy and may contain milk and soy.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert via Twitter citing "undeclared milk and soy" in the HomeStyle.

Facebook

South African classical guitarist Derek Gripper is obsessed with the lilting and intricate music of the West African instrument known as the kora. Gripper, who performs this Friday night at Wesleyan University, has translated many kora compositions for guitar.

Lisa Brettschneider flickr.com/photos/flyfarther79 / Creative Commons

The big day is upon us. Halloween is here and one of the traditions is to carve a Jack O'Lantern. I like tradition, but if you're interested in something different this year in Jack O'Lanterns,  try decorating some other winter squashes, too. 

When she was growing up, Dina Gilio-Whitaker was constantly asked, "How much Indian blood do you have?" She could never figure out how to respond, which is not to say she didn't know who she was.

"I knew that I was Native, I knew that I was Colville, I knew my family up there on the reservation," she said recently. "But what I grew up with was a process of not being seen and not being recognized as being Native, because I was completely out of context.

Aaron Mentele / Flickr

The modern circus has been thrilling audiences for over 250 years, but as times have changed, so has the circus. What began as little more than an equestrian performance has come to include clowns, trapeze artists and even lion tamers.

Impressed, we are. With your #StarWarsDay celebrations, that is. The fourth is strong on the Interwebs.

It's a time for Star Wars-themed treats.

(Even here at NPR.)

And an excuse to show your creative side.

Of course, even this sacred day is not free of the presidential campaign.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says he will march in the city's St. Patrick's Day parade, ending his two-year boycott over a ban on LGBT groups.

NPR's Hansi Lo Wang tells our Newscast unit that the mayor's decision comes after organizers allowed a new group to march in the upcoming parade. New York's is the largest and oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in the country.

Pages