Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy Speranza'a

I have hesitated to write about this before for fear that people would think I was disrespecting their holiday traditions, but I hope by now you know that's not how I roll. So here's what we've been doing this week.

A couple of years ago, my kids got a Sesame Street DVD called Elmo's Happy Holidays.
It's very cute, and covers Christmas, Hannukah, Eid and Kwanzaa, explaining the basic idea behind the holidays and showing real kids and their families celebrating them. My kids have watched this DVD over and over (and over). Somehow they got the idea that we should create and celebrate our own family holiday. Since their last name, like my husband's, is "Speranza," the obscure festival of Speranza'a was born.

Each winter, when the days are gray and cold and it seems like spring will never come, it is time for Speranza'a. (Technically speaking, it begins on the first Monday after Valentine's Day.) Each person in the family gets their own day. Monday is Tom's, mine is Tuesday, and so on, and the sixth and final day is for Charcoal. The person whose day it is gets to pick what we are having for dinner. Candles are lit and the person whose day it is gets to make a wish and blow out the candles. After dinner, we dance in the living room.

We are still working out some of the finer details; for example, someday I will have to take the kids to one of those paint-your-own pottery places so we can make special candleholders (a spenorah?). We still need to work on the Six Principles of Speranza'a: so far we've got the Principles of Irony, Gluttony and Magnetism, but I think they need tweaking.

But all silliness aside, it is sweet and surprising to see how much this family tradition means to my kids. They've been talking about it for weeks. They talk about what they are going to pick for their dinner (Elvis picked turkey breast; N. is opting for shells in tomato sauce; G. will probably ask for bacon and popcorn) and they are thrilled when it's their turn to make a wish and blow out the candles. From the parents' perspective, it is heartwarming to feel like we are making some special memories with our kids. I have little daydreams about them coming over when they are grownups, still celebrating this made-up holiday with us as we all grow older.

So from my family to yours, we wish you a happy Speranza'a!

34 comments:

Carol said...

Adorable! You are indeed making memories of the best kind. Simple wishes and time together - what all the holidays should be about. Happy Speranza!!

Emano said...

What an awesome family tradition!

Mama-E said...

I should know not to drink while reading your posts!
Very sweet! Very Very sweet!

Kathleen said...

That is great! Happy Speranza'a. We'll have to start working on some wonderful memory makers chez Purly.

mindy said...

I love it! Happy Speranza'a to you all.

Em said...

I think that's fantastic. Every family should have their very-own holiday! Happy Speranza'a!!

Misstea said...

I think you are doing this exactly right - holiday traditions are about family.

Bridget said...

What a great idea! And I don't see how anyone can think you were disrespecting their holiday traditions, when you are creating your own. (But there's always someone who's upset, right?)

I hope all of you enjoy your Speranza'a celebrations!

(P.S. Do you have carrots for dinner when it's Charcoal's turn?)

Tina M. said...

I think this is one of the coolest things I've ever heard, seriously. Your kids are lucky to have such a cool mom, and I think they'll look back on it with a lot of joy when they get older. I wish I could celebrate Speranza'a!

Sherry W said...

I can get behind any holiday that allows bacon and popcorn for dinner!!!

Have a good holiday!

Anonymous said...

True, years later they will remember and celebrate the same. I loved this post - thanks! Terry

bigdee said...

What a great tradition. Happy Speranza'a!

Knittah said...

Sounds so adorable. They will definitely remember, and want to pass it on to their own children!

anne marie in philly said...

rock on, dude! this is so kewl!

I personally would like to see charcoal blow out the candles...

anything to brighten up the days til spring!

Anonymous said...

I love it! We just finished what I like to call "Family Christmas" but what my grown-up kids (who've mastered the principle of irony) prefer to call "Fake Christmas." Living in NH, NJ, and Michigan, and with 3 sets of in-laws to deal with, we find Christmas has problems. So we designate a day (anywhere from end of November to early February) when all 12 of us can get together, and voila: Fake Christmas! It was lovely.

The only problem this year is that I proceeded to forget Valentine's Day, since Christmas and Valentine's don't usually come in the same week! But it makes the Christmas craziness a lot easier to deal with!

Barbara M.

TheAmpuT said...

Awesome. Personally, I'd take a family created tradition with real meaning over the commercialized version of more widely celebrated holidays any day. Besides that, I am very fond of how traditions like this have a "secret clubhouse" feeling. I bet that your kids DO share it with their special somebodies as they get older.

Sarah said...

This is a wonderful family tradition. Hope the week is great.

Loren T said...

Love it! I may shamelessly appropriate your idea for my family, but my husband is a bit weird just about celebrating holidays except on their actual days, so I don't know how he'd accept a made-up holiday. (When I was growing up, my family always had our Thanksgiving celebration on Friday, instead of Thursday, because we lived on Long Island, and my New Jersey relatives didn't want to drive out to LI on Thanksgiving Day. Freaked my husband out when we first met, so we always gave him a Swanson frozen turkey dinner on Thursday. He still insists we're unnatural.)

SparkCrafted said...

awww! that's super sweet!

my mom used to celebrate our half-birthdays with us, but that stopped a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

Carol,
That's so cool! Like Bridget, I am wondering, too, whether everyone has carrots and bunny food for dinner on Charcoal's day. Then again, maybe he's a bunny with epicurean tastes? Could be forest mushrooms with polenta on his mind, for all I know.

I like the new website, too !
Happy Speranza'a!

Allison

Anonymous said...

Never underestimate sarcasm as a Principle. Popcorn and bacon--the more you talk about G, the more she reminds me of my middle daughter at that age. (excpet the princess part--she like Gargoyles).
If Charcoal choose Peeps for dinner, does that make him a cannibal?
Michelene

Carol said...

A very happy Speranza'a! What a very cool invention for your family to enjoy for forever!

fuzzywool said...

Merry Speranza'a to all, and to all a goodnight, ya crazy chuckleheads!

Cat said...

Fantastic way to build into your family. I love it! I think we'll have a Snow Day Celebration today - cocoa and cheese rolls for all!

Anonymous said...

I love the family holiday!!! What a great personal tradition to have for your family.

I love G's dinner selection. And what a bonus this week to get snow to celebrate.

Eileen

Liz K. said...

But what happened to the principle of snark?

Really, though, Speranza'a is a wonderful tradition, and I'm sure your kids will want to celebrate it as adults.

Marin (AntiM) said...

This may be my favourite blogstory ever. Thank you for sharing.

the hanged man said...

That's odd - I seem to have gotten something in my eye while reading your post.

*sniff*

Laura Sue said...

Fantastic. Never underestimate the power of a tradition nor the power of a festival. Everyone needs to celebrate. (This is why I can't bandwagon with the anti-Valentine's Day lobby.) Things that are special should have a special celebration. Your family's celebration is very special because it's yours, not someone else's. Rock on.

Anonymous said...

So glad that dancing in the living room is part of your instant tradition. My own feeling is that we all need to dance more in our living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, hallways - wherever, in our houses, on official and unofficial holidays, and when something especially good happens for anyone in the house, and sometimes even when something especially bad happens.
- Beth

Carol said...

A few years after we got married, my hubby looked at me and said,"you know, we spend every holiday with family. even oin Valentine's day, my mom pops over. (creepy huh?) Let's make our own holiday." And Super Happy Fun Day was born. We celebrate on American Thanksgiving as it is an easy day to remember. Glad to know that we're not the only ones to create a traditon.

emmy koehne said...

i really like your blog! i'm working on a scrap booking project with female farmers and wanted to know if you would be interesting in participating? i also dye fabric and would love to swap dye recipes sometime! my email is: emmykoehne@gmail.com
i hope you contact me!

Kathy Merrick said...

Hey, Caro, when did you become a farmer.
Always the last to know, me.

Jennie said...

That is wonderful. Yum, bacon and popcorn. With a side of pudding, perhaps?

My son has decided Feb 26 will be a family holiday, as that is the day he earned his white belt. Not sure how we will celebrate, but we have a year to figure that out.