This week Memorial Day was celebrated in the USA . Aside from remembering the men and women who died while serving in the Armed Forces, Memorial Day (last Monday in May) typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day (first Monday in September) marks summers end. Cee’s Share Your World Challenge this time is some kind of a special edition, dedicated to Memorial Day.
- Every country in the world has lost men and women in some kind of Armed Forces. When does your country celebrate or morn their deaths?
We celebrate our Veterans and everyone that still serves on ANZAC Day (I wrote about it here and here), which is on April 25th. It’s the day we remember the Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peace keeping operations. From what I know there’s no such think in Switzerland, given that Switzerland is a so called neutral country and not sending troops to conflicts.
- What is your favorite holiday or holidays?
Now that’s a good question… I guess it’s probably Christmas. Christmas is pretty special, don’t you think so? Back in Switzerland it meant only meant a short break from school but also the kick off of the winter season. And of course some yummy meals enjoyed amongst family and friends. And presents. When you are a kid, presents are important. It was the time everything was decorated, the houses inside and outside, the shops, the main roads and also some huge trees evenly spread out over the little town. It also meant that the Spengler Cup was just around the corner. For me as a huge ice hockey fan it was a highlight and as we grew up in the region it’s held, we often went there to watch games. It was just special to see Russian, Czech, US or Canadian teams play our local team. Even if the Canadian and US teams were not usually not teams that played together normally.
It’s still Christmas over here even if it means different things. December is summer down here so now snow and now early dark nights. Candles do not have the same effect when it’s not dark outside, right? It’s usually hot, even though I have to say we were “lucky” the first years during Christmas as it got suddenly unusually cold and it actually hailed one time so it looked as if there was snow. I bet we were the only one really excited then…
Anyway. Christmas is pretty different here. It’s the start of the long holidays, the summer holidays. It’s the time you go to the beach and the water starts feeling warm-ish (it never gets warm here, believe me!!!). You might take the kids on day trips to places in the area, do some activities that are only on during the school holidays. But usually it’s time to relax. It’s the time the kids are finally in summer break mode, the BBQs are fired up on an even more regular base. Although we like a good BBQ (usually enjoyed at someone else’s house as we are helpless with actually cooking on a BBQ) we tend to prepare our special Christmas dinner(s). Because multiple dinners it is. Normally we kick it all off with a nice meal at Grandma’s Christmas Eve and then it’s our turn on Christmas, also for dinner. Sometimes we cook again on the 26th (which is called Boxing Day here) but last year we were invited for another Christmas dinner at our very best friends place and it was so nice to spend the day with them. They feel like family anyway but actually being together on a day like this makes it even better.
Some of the houses are decorated (not as much as in Switzerland), the main roads have some sort of decoration on them and some of the shops actually make an effort too. We do our best to decorate our house and I truly love it and it makes me smile. But I can never shake the feeling of slight disappointment that there will be light until past 9pm and all the beautiful lights will only matter past then. To be honest, this feeling passes pretty quickly ones Christmas is over… It’s summer after all and who doesn’t like summer (I know some of you don’t really…)?
Christmas is also the lead up to one of my most favorite events of the year (yep, I do see it as a lead up): The Australian Open. Once you hit Christmas you know the first Grand Slam of the year is just around the corner. The TV is usually set on the channel that broadcasts the events held in Australia, leading up to the AO.
- How do you celebrate that holiday?
Well, I guess I’ve answered this question already, right?
I’m still kind of trying to figure out if there’s a public holiday that would top Christmas, but honestly I doubt it. Not for me at least but I really like the question and I can’t wait to read other answers.
Now Cee usually asks one more question and it’s about what we are the most grateful of this week. I promise I’m not going to mention spending time with amazing friends again. I’m grateful that we are all healthy. Last Sunday we were brutally reminded that it’s not always a given. We often leave our homes, on our own or together, and we don’t even consider that one of us might not be there upon our return. We leave things unsaid because we thing we can say it later but sometimes there is no later. Yesterday I left the house angry and went for a walk with one of our dogs (because the poor other one has torn her ACL…). While sitting on the beach I actually got upset with me. I got upset that I left and by doing so left things open. I don’t like it. We can’t take anything for granted not even coming home again to our families. No matter how upset you are, no matter how rushed you might be, make peace before you leave. It’s not a given that you can when you return. I’m grateful that I could. I’m grateful that my family is here and well and that we are all together.
And actually, maybe we should celebrate every day as a special day, because we get to spend it with the people we love…