Friday, 30 December 2011

New Year traditions

 (Si prefieres leer en español, sigue este enlace)
One more day and we will be saying good-bye to 2011 and welcoming a New Year. As I mentioned in my previous post, our end of year celebrations will be quite low key. No big parties or trips to dazzling European cities to welcome 2012...

Still, there are a number of things that I do like having, eating or doing for Christmas and New Year every time. I always put up a Christmas tree and decorate the house; I normally send cards to our friends and family to wish them "Happy Holidays"; I usually either buy or make the traditional panettone or pan dulce (though this year I was perfectly happy with a Dutch kerststol for Christmas; I will probably make panettone for the New Year) and I sometimes bring some turrones from Argentina to have at hand during the season.
Some of the Christmas cards I've received this year.
There are two more things I must have for New Year and they also involve food: oliebollen and las doce uvas (the twelve grapes).

Oliebollen (literally, "oil balls") are traditional Dutch  dumplings made with flour, eggs, milk, salt, baking powder and yeast, deep-fried and then dusted with icing sugar. You can make them at home, since they are easy enough to prepare; but if you are too busy during this time of the year to be bothered -or if you do not want your entire house to smell of fried food- you can buy them at the many stalls that pop up in every city or village across The Netherlands. Eaten cold or hot, plain or filled with raisins or sultanas, they are a real treat and they seem to be a permanent staple for the New Year table around here.

An oliebollen stall in my neighbourhood.

As for the twelve grapes of luck -las doce uvas de la suerte, a tradition that I have brought with me from Argentina- it is in fact, a Spanish tradition still kept in my family. When the clocks strike 12 at midnight on Nochevieja (Old Night, in Spanish), the twelve grapes are eaten, each grape representing a month and symbolising hope and good wishes for the New Year.
Sometimes it is quite a challenge to pop a grape in your mouth at each strike of the clock;  most of the time you end up either eating less than twelve grapes or choking from a full mouth while still trying to kiss those around you who are too eager to wish you a Happy New Year...

Oliebollen and the twelve grapes, my own New Year traditions.

What are your New Year traditions? Do you wear a special colour, make a toast, give someone next to you a kiss, sing Ald Lang Syne ... ?

Have a wonderful start of the New Year everyone!!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Happy Holidays!

Christmas decorations a la Argentine...

 (Para leer en español sigue este enlace)
I am finally back in the Netherlands and though I have been easing myself back into my routine for the last week and I am now operating at 85% of my usual Dutch mode (I am still having difficulties thinking in Dutch so most of the time, when addressed in this language I am still replying in either Spanish or Italian), I haven't been able to post here again until now. Hopefully my Nederlandse chip will soon be fully operational and I will be back here with my stories and photographs.

Are you getting ready for the end of year celebrations? Our Christmas/New Year holiday will be very low-impact this year - my husband and I will be staying at home or visiting friends and sharing seasonal lekkere dingen (tasty things), nothing too exciting or adventurous. No big parties planned, no huge amounts of cooking (the Argies in Dutchland food feasts will resume as of next year) and no more faraway travels for us until 2012.

Usually at this time of the year I tend to feel a bit down, mostly because I am still trying to go back to my Dutch routine and life after a long stay in Argentina. Christmas away from your homeland and your dear ones is never easy; but don't get me wrong - I count my blessings, give thanks for them and normally try to make the most of it and enjoy the festivities like everyone else.

Before closing this post, I want to thank you all for stopping by to read, comment and share on From Argentina to the Netherlands, for Love! and to wish you a brilliant Christmas and an amazing New Year!

Happy Holidays, everyone! 

Let me share with you again this year, the season's greetings I received from my friend Nico: Santa or Papá Noel as we call him in Argentina, skating around the city of Rosario. I hope you like it!