Christmas – Traditions and Customs

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Christmas is celebrated all across the globe. Yet, to many its meaning, traditions and customs associated with it remain a bit clouded in scepticism and lore. In the United Kingdom, a Christmas without the famous Christmas pudding or the mince pies would not be a complete feast. Now, I personally do not drool over a Christmas pudding, its richness is just too powerful for my already satiated stomach when it appears on the table. But I love its shape, look, the little holly leaves on it. I have never attempted at making one, although each year I tell myself, this year might be worth a try. But all things siad, it looks too complicated to me, and what if I cannot get the shape altogether ? Eventually, I like going to different shops and reading about the reviews of the best pudding by leading connaisseurs. According to James Cooper,

Christmas (or Plum) Pudding is the the traditional end to the British Christmas dinner. But what we think of as Christmas Pudding, is not what it was originally like!

Christmas pudding originated as a 14th century porridge called ‘frumenty’ that was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. This would often be more like soup and was eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas festivities.

By 1595, frumenty was slowly changing into a plum pudding, having been thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and given more flavour with the addition of beer and spirits. It became the customary Christmas dessert around 1650, but in 1664 the Puritans banned it as a bad custom.

In 1714, King George I re-established it as part of the Christmas meal, having tasted and enjoyed Plum Pudding. By Victorian times, Christmas Puddings had changed into something similar to the ones that are eaten today.

ver the years, many superstitions have surrounded Christmas Puddings. One superstition says that the pudding should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and His Disciples and that every member of the family should take turns to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon from east to west, in honour of the Wise Men.The Sunday before Advent Sunday (which is also the last Sunday in the Church Year), is sometimes know as ‘Stir-up Sunday’. This is because opening words of the Collect for the day (the main prayer) in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 (used in Anglican Churches) says:

“Stir-up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Although Christmas Puddings are eaten at Christmas, some customs associated with the pudding are about Easter! The decorative sprig of holly on the top of the pudding is a reminder of Jesus’ Crown of Thorns that he wore when he was killed. Brandy or another alcoholic drink is sometimes poured over the pudding and lit at the table to make a spectacular display. This is said to represent Jesus’ love and power.

In the Middle Ages, holly was also thought to bring good luck and to have healing powers. It was often planted near houses in the belief that it protected the inhabitants.

Putting a silver coin in the pudding is another age-old custom that is said to bring luck to the person that finds it. In the UK the coin traditionally used was a silver ‘six pence’. The closest coin to that now is a five pence piece !

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British Style Genius

British Style Genius – Breaking the Rules

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The BBC has gone and done it again. Their new series British Style Genius is amazing. The 3 rebels of the British fashion world were featured in the last programme called Breaking the Rules. You can watch it online for the next 5 days – be quick Watching the couture collections of Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood’s rise from Punk to Dame was mind blowing. Makes me proud to be British as we don’t follow any rules and have the best street style in the world and that’s official.

Coastal homes

I have lately been looking for some design inspirations …

I saw this … :  Elsewhere Goa. You would think it is a Spanish dig ? wrong. India, there you go.

Some fab designs where the love for all things natural is obvious. Light and air are king and queen of this concept. Why not ? the spot demands it. Sand, Sun, Sea …. wait is this a cliche tag line ? havelis, maharajahs, brocades, silk, gold, gems, spices  …… India has more than you ever know …

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Hot Indian Designs

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I came across Hot Pink ….

and discovered other wonderful designers’ works ….. I eventually visited Hot Pink while in Jaipur !

Fantastic !

Hot Pink – The first concept store in Jaipur, Rajasthan! A collaboration of Munnu Kasliwal and Marie-Helene de Taillac, Hot Pink offers chic and contemporary fashion from Indian designers, who respect and use traditional Indian techniques.

New blog: Textile Swatches!

Textile Swatches is the space where Seema Krish, an Indian textile designer now living in Boston, shares her passion and knowledge of textiles. Seema is also in the process of launching her own signature collection of decorative fabric products- including pillows, rugs, blankets and throws. All the products will be manufactured in sustainable environments using textile crafts in a contemporary way.

Another mega post, On Demand!

Call them

Indian style bedrooms, or

Bedrooms inspired by India, or

Indian bedrooms

Here they are:

A collection of inspiration for turning your sleep abode into a piece of India!

But wait, this is just Part I of inspiration!

In Part Deux (aka’ next post), I will share ideas on how readers outside India can re-create a mini India in their homes. From resources and stores available to you in your continent!

I love Japanese Packaging design

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Talk Zen.

Think Japanese gardens, tatami floors … and Japanese packaging.

For years Japanese Packaging have mesmerized Designers all over the world, including me. The sheer elegance, minimalist and splendour of their streamlined thinking patterns are reflected in their packaging style. I regularly take a glimpse at this fabulous blog : http://pingmag.jp

‘ Japanese packaging design is famous for being elaborate and rich with splendour. Yes, yes, we all appreciate that. But beloved reader, before you’re about to lose it again over the thought of wasting material, exhale! In Japan, we do indeed care about sustainable packaging! Going eco has become the recent buzz word and companies are using this oh-so-trendy eco-friendliness as a competitive advantage. On the flip-side, PingMag brings you examples that are inspired by ease-of-use, nostalgia and playfulness, rather than by explicit eco-consciousness. In particular, those that have the unique combination of Japanese design with eco-friendly packaging. And we will show you why. PingMag writes down a totally wholehearted journal of some thoughts.’

This chimaki sushi is as carefully enveloped in cellophane as it is wrapped into bamboo grass leaves. Traditional Japanese packaging requires manual labour. An effort that makes it rare or rather expensive.

Symbolic Representations

Once upon in the countryside, farmers started selling lunch sets to train travellers passing by: They prepared onigiri, rice balls, with pickled radish and wrapped them in bamboo sheaths. Whether fact or fiction – today’s lunch sets still refer to this origin. Who does not know Sushi nowadays ? It is THE most glamorous food among Hollywood’s A listers and followers around the world.

I tried making it several times, either the rice turns into a hard block, or the nori sheet gets torn while wrapping … anyway to cut short, I have failed in making a decent sushi till now. Luckily, neither my husband nor I are fashionistas, hence no damage to our peer relativity graph.