FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Happy (Belated) Lunar New Year!

Featured photo from PFLAG

Hey Straddlers! Happy Friday, Happy Saturday if you’re in my part of the world, and Happy Lunar New Year to those of you that celebrate it!

I personally don’t come from a culture that celebrates Lunar New Year, but growing up in ~Malaysia Truly Asia~ with friends, neighbors, and oodles of “aunties and uncles” from multiple cultures meant that you celebrated everyone’s holidays – all the food, all the money packets, all the family open houses. And of course, all the decorations and the holiday music that permeate the ridiculous number of malls across Malaysia (we have too many malls). The ringing of “Gong Xi Gong Xi Gong Xi Ni Ah” will never leave me.

My family’s main cultural holiday, being Muslim, is Eid – specifically, Eid ul-Fitr or Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which celebrates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The vibe is a lot like Christmas meets Thanksgiving – with money packets instead of gifts and a larger focus on asking for & granting forgiveness than gratitude necessarily, but plenty of festive spirit and so. much. food. Curries with every kind of variation on meat and vegetable, multiple types of rice, snacks, desserts – it’s like we’re trying to make up for a month of not eating anything from dusk to dawn by eating it all in one or two days. I’m especially fond of Malaysian kuih raya – cookies, crackers, chips, cakes, and other confections only really available during the holiday season and somehow almost always the exact same recipes across decades & households but still so good that I beg my parents to hold on to a few boxes for me and bring them over next time they visit me or I visit them. (Just under six months to go.)

mmmkuih

Do you celebrate any particular cultural holidays? Are there any that are coming up, or any that just happened? What’s your favorite part of your holidays? Does it also involve copious amount of cookies and jingles?

Or just tell me about your past week! Friday Open Threads are our little kind of cultural holiday anyway! (Maybe we should design an Autostraddle holiday kuih.)


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Creatrix Tiara's philosophy is to sign up for anything that look interesting, which gets her into some fun adventures. She's passionate about liminality, inclusivity, and intersectionality, especially in arts, media, tech, games, fandom, education, and activism.

Creatrix has written 25 articles for us.

108 Comments

  1. Purim was on Wednesday! It’s a fun Jewish holiday where you’re obligated to get drunk (although I didn’t drink). My work throws a big LGBTQ Purim party. Twas fun.

    Last night, I re-watched San Junipero. This was my second time seeing it. I cried SO MUCH. All of a sudden, I thought ‘where did these tears come from?’ I had started bawling, and an hour after I finished watching it, I was still crying. I clearly have a lot of feelings.

    I’m in a bit of a funk. I sat in therapy today in silence for over half the session. I just sat there without saying anything…I had so many thoughts, but I couldn’t get any words out. It was weird.

    I want challah because it’s almost Shabbat, and there was 1 loaf left at work to buy, but I didn’t buy it, and now it’s probably gone. I’m trying to eat low(er) carb, but these cravings, oh my goodness, they’re strong. I think I might go to synagogue tonight for services. I need more G-d in my life.

    • A belated chag sameach to you!! I hope you have a good time at services – I’ve been meaning to go to services more often but the nearest Reform synagogue is a pain in the butt to get to from my apartment.

    • Happy belated Purim!

      San Junipero broke me when I first watched it. There’s a bit of weirdness on my part about death and love and such so it hit a nerve, and yeah like you I was BAWLING.

      Sometimes silence is what’s helpful. Though yeah, the feeling of so many thoughts but no way to express them can be weird to experience. I hope you get out of your funk soon!

    • I also was super affected the second time I watched San Junipero! I have a huge crush on Mackenzie Davis from Halt and Catch Fire, and Gugu is ?.

      I felt the way straight girls feel when they watch The Notebook…

    • I was raised secular (Passover was the only holiday that survived in my family). My kid is going to a Jewish preschool and she is SO STOKED on Purim. I have never seen her so excited about a holiday, even one that involves presents (though she got candy and we got an ice cream kit for her school PTA mishloach manos, so there is sugar involved, hah). I didn’t know how fun these holidays can be, and I hadn’t thought about what a special time family shabbos can be with lighting candles and being together. I’m feeling good about bringing these traditions back in my kid’s generation.

      We barely eat challah at dinner (well, I would eat a ton of it if it was in front of my face!). One local bakery sells challah knots so we basically break up a little roll between us and it is plenty. Maybe that can help with moderation? It has helped me. I do a food diary (sometimes for weightlifting or fat loss, right now because I’m pregnant and watching for gestational diabetes). My bit of challah last night, from my diary, was 8 grams of carbs. Hope that helps!

  2. I had bilateral breast reduction surgery two weeks ago yesterday, which I guess is kinda like a holiday: you’re excited for it and you look forward to it for so long, but it also involves a lot of weird conversations with your family unless you plan to just hide out and avoid them before, during and after said day.. Anyway, the surgery went great and I’m really happy about it. My partner was super supportive, which was great. I didn’t avoid my family entirely but I am rather glad my father is out of the country for an indeterminate amount of time. He has suddenly become a fan of the despicable nosreteP nadroJ, a fact I found out when he emailed me and a bunch of other relatives to enthusiastically recommend his new book. Of course, this resulted in me calmly explaining over and over again how things that sound reasonable can be totally unreasonable and transphobic/racist/misogynistic/etc. only to be told that I was being very “emotional” and it was I who did not understand how free speech was being threatened.

    There’s been a lot of exceptionally good things in my life in the past 6 months (engayged!!!, new summer research contract/award, breast reduction, half way through C25K), but also some really challenging things as well. I started therapy (again) to sort through some of it and that’s been a positive step… like recovery from surgery, though, it takes time. Sigh.

    I bought a new fountain pen (a yellow Safari by Lamy, with fine tip and Noodlers blue ink, if anyone here cares about that stuff 😉 to help me with personal accountability vis a vis the things I want to improve or change in my life, and to try to take things a little bit slower / manage my expectations. I used to write by hand a lot and haven’t in recent years, so its nice to go back to that.. and it is helping.

    Reading trashy (un)historical fictional about the escapades of various Roman detectives has also been a crutch of late – a guilt-inducing pleasure if there ever was one. Its bad guys, real bad.

    When I get through this next month and check off at least 75% of my list of things I really-really-really need to do, I’m going to reward myself with a new Tom boy X hat. Something to look forward to.

    • Congrats on the surgery, I hope you have an easy recovery! And enjoy the pen – I have a purple Safari w/Diamine grey ink that I use for almost all of my class notes, it’s my favorite of all my pens.

    • Congrats on the reduction, the award, getting through C25K, and the engaygement!!! Sounds like you have a lot of successes even when it’s hard.

      Do you use any kind of particular journalling method? I follow this bullet journaler named Boho Berry on YouTube and she’s a BIG fountain pen fan.

  3. I am Iranian and Jewish so we celebrate holidays that are relevant to both. As Rachel said it’s the holiday of Purim. It is a holiday where drinking is encourage, but also a holiday where we all dress up in costume and eat candy at Purim parties. Usually the parties last about a week. I plan to be going to one Saturday night hosted by cool women(some who are lbtq). The gist of the holiday is we celebrate Queen Ester who saved us from being persecuted by the King(Shah) in Iran when it was still known as the Persian empire.

    The next holiday for me would be the Persian New Year(Noruz), which occurs every year the moment Spring arrives(day is the same, but time can vary year to year). We celebrate with food and trinkets that start with a certain vowel in the Persian language. It’s celebrated in many of the countries that were once part of the Persian empire, like Tajikistan, & Afghanistan, but none of Arab countries celebrate it. Well except for the Kurdish people in Iraq, which borders the area of Iran where their Kurdish population lives.

    How’s everyone week going? It’s still winter here(in fact it’s raining today) and a bit bellow average temps, so I’ve been freezing. Most of the week was meh. Sunday spent time with a friend who’s internalized misogyny is really getting to me and says it’s part of who she is. Ugh. She keeps referring to me as boo, and her partner in crime. Then on Wednesday, thanks to ERWB and Autostraddle’s Wednesday instagram post, I went to Moonlight Roller way with the (bi/queer)girl I crush on. We had such a blast. I felt like a 16 year old girl as we skated, took selfies, made weird jokes, & me crushing on her(both wanting to be bff and making out with her).

    This Sunday I am meeting up some friends at Cuties coffee(again), and the girl I like, said she will try to make it if she can with her dog of course. Eeep Fuck I am such a useless queer around cute girls(more so if they have a pet).

    Skate night image

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

    • Happy Purim and Happy Noruz! Tell me more about those letter-specific food & trinkets – is it the same letter every time or does it change? And why that letter?

      Aww roller crush!! You’re killin’ it! Keep us posted on how it goes with her!

      • It’s the same letter yearly. We will have stuff like sumac powder, coins, a platter(usually silver), a gold fish in a bowl(Persian supermarkets would sometimes give you one just for shopping there before new years), but it doesn’t start with that letter so not sure why it’s there. It’s pretty much all stuff that start with the letter that would roughly be pronounced as sin/sinne. Not sure what other countries do, but this is a tradition we usually have in Iran.

  4. This week was pretty great! On Sunday I went to my first-ever drag king show and was absolutely enchanted and now I kind of want to practice for my own drag-king debut. (Someday!)

    Later in the week I got Advance Reader Copies of my novel from my publisher, and it was all kinds of amazing to hold my little book baby in real life! 😀

    Then my HerStoryPersonals ad went live and though nothing has come of it date-wise, it was nice to see so many queer folks liking the ad. (I also saw Alaina’s ad go up, which is awesome and has the best title ever!!)

    I finished out the week traveling to a new artists’ residency, where I’ve been getting all cozy in my studio as I prepare for writing time.

    I hope everyone had some joyful moments this week, too!

      • Thank you! I haven’t gotten far enough into my drag-king explorations to think of a name, but probably something punny like a roller-derby name.

        The residency is in southern Washington. The novel is about a detective who goes undercover to investigate a drug-smuggling ring. It’s got a queer female main character, MoC/butch rep, multiple queer love interests, and the final cover design is so, so cool. It comes out this Fall and I can’t wait to share it with readers!!

          • Thank you, Adèle! It has a Goodreads page (which I hope will soon be updated with the cover, now that that’s finalized) to follow for updates and it comes out in November! ?

          • Woo, ARCs! I’m an editor at a small publisher and I love when galleys or print copies arrive for a book I’ve been working on. It always looks so much better in print than on screen.

            What’s the title? Doesn’t look like you mentioned it above.

          • Hi Larisa! It’s called THE BEST BAD THINGS. And yes it was so amazing to see it & read the printed pages! I have some photos of the cover on my Instagram @_kguay_

  5. This Wednesday/Thursday was Purim, but I had a full day of classes and a phone interview so I couldn’t really celebrate properly; I did put on my frog onesie as soon as I got home from school though.

    This weekend is my law school’s LGBTQ law conference and…it’s basically just straight-washed “corporate gay”, sponsored by a bunch of big morally shady corporate law firms to show they aren’t homophobic, with primarily cis and straight panelists and almost nothing relating to trans issues. Plus one of the organizers is incredibly transphobic. And they had the nerve to call it “Queer and Present Danger”…I just feel like in the year twenty-gay-teen we can do better than 90% cishet panelists at an LGBTQ conference.
    (It’s like that gender equality commission in Parks and Rec where every department sent men…)

    In better news, I applied to teach an undergrad class on Gender and Law next fall! I really hope I get the position, it seems like a really cool opportunity and I have a lot of ideas for things I want to do.

  6. This week I took my lil work babies and put them in buggies and wheeled them around the Big Kids playground while the threes classes played

    All the current threes used to be in my twos class (when I was a twos class teacher), so when my kiddos saw me they said “MICKAAAAYYYY”, and then clustered behind me, grabbing my shirt, Squealing at how silly they were being.

    I said “EVERYONE IS TOUCHING MY BUTT PLS STOP” and Austin looked up at me and said “Mith Mickey, do u wanna touch MY pants?” And I said “No thankyou Austin but I appreciate the offer”

    then I said “OKAY FRIENDS OKAY OKAY LINE UP SINGLE FILE, HANDS ON SHOULDERS” and we pushed the buggy around in a conga line.

    That was the Good part of this week. The Bad part was that I’ve been deeply dysphoric recently, and have been semi regularly calling out of work just to avoid all the reflective windows.

    You win some, you lose some.

    • Oooh, children and inappropriate touching. That’s one part I sure don’t miss being a Museum Education Officer. Hi, yes, I’m dressed in Neolithic clothing, please don’t pet the strips of fur on my chest.

      I hope the dysphoria lightens up soon!

      • @faustine you know I don’t LIKE being climbed on, per se, but also I Am The Teacher who will flip kids upside down and other silly things; like, like, I appreciate every “pls give me space” moment as an opportunity to teach kids about bodily autonomy, mine and their own

        but I also really enjoy working in early childhood education so maybe having a high tolerance for being groped by oblivious children is just a part of my personality

        • I might have been more accepting if that was part of my job. As an Education Officer, I had 20-40 children ages 9-10 for a day with the specific purpose of teaching them about Meso/Neolithic Scandinavia, while their actual teachers were still present and legally in charge… their inappropriate touching, climbing on the houses, flintknapping without goggles, demanding that I give them my jewellery, climbing on the viper’s nest of a Neolithic grave, etc. was all part of their teachers thinking it was a paid holiday.

          But also, I probably have a low tolerance for that stuff. When I think about having a child, I think of a three year old running into the bedroom on a Sunday morning to climb into my bed and my ovaries re-sterilise themselves on their own. ?

        • Yay! Mickey you’re back! Are we sharing kid stories? Can I play? I was changing this kid and her Mom comes in to pick her up. As I’m helping her put her pants back on, she reaches out shouts “Boobies!” groping me really hard! I looked up at Mom in horror. Until that point, I’m not sure if she knew I was trans or not… but that’s one way of coming out ^_^

          • @teachersaga OMG HAHAHAHA, kids are incredible. I usually bind, but there was a point when I was still in with the twos that my shoulder / back started acting up in a Big way and I had to stop for a bit.

            Little boy points at my chest and goes “what’s THAT?”

  7. Well, I had a novel experience this week – getting sent home from work yesterday as non-essential personnel due to #stormemma here in the UK and so today is a snow day and I won’t leave my flat until Monday. I don’t mind because who doesn’t love a day off? But because I have no leave entitlement left, I either have to take the day as unpaid leave or make the time up, which sucks.

    It’s the worst snow we’ve had in this part of the SW of England for a *lot* of years. In fact, it’s the first time we’ve had snow in Bridgwater since I moved here in 2014!

    I’m rewatching lots of NCIS:LA (My current obsession) and writing fanfic for it. Plus hoping I get my grocery delivery tomorrow, although I can just about manage with the food I have until Monday if necessary!

  8. Y’all, it has been a week! I came out to my progressive, LGBTQ-affirming church this week, and it mostly went well (the divorced part was maybe harder than the lesbian part). Now I just have to get through the awkward time of people not knowing what to say after this BIG NEWS and not knowing when they can go back to just being normal around me (answer: now, now is a good time).

    In spite of the fact that I’m pretty involved in my church, I don’t really have any religious beliefs, so I don’t have a lot of holiday stories, but I love hearing about everyone else’s holiday traditions! Happy new year and blessed Purim and may each of you feel surrounded by light and love and beauty this week!

  9. I am in holiday limbo. For almost twenty years, I was involved in a particular polytheist spiritual current and during the last 7 years I had really found a way to express that through holidays in a way that felt genuine and affirming.

    Then, a year and a half ago, my life got turned upside down and, though my new spiritual identity isn’t necessarily incompatible with my former allegiances, I have been unable to find a balance between the two. Instead I’m stuck asking: “what’s the point?”

    That said, this boy celebrated his twelfth birthday with a new squeaky toy this week:

      • That is essentially what I had done, and “my” holidays had become “ours” and traditions in their own right.

        But now I am standing here with a wildly different understanding of divinity, of myth/scripture, of the purpose of the human soul in the cosmos, with the “truths” underpinning all my seasonal celebrations having been obliterated. I suppose I just have to go through a few years of uncertainty, trying to pin down what I want and slowly figure out how to position by past within the present. It just makes me a bit sad to suddenly have nothing again, because I struggled for years to find a way after leaving my birth religion.

  10. Finally actually coming out, embracing my whole self, yadda yadda. I’m almost 38, so it feels like a cliche, especially since I live in Missouri and all the ladies comes out after being married and having kids (neither of which I have) and it’s not like I haven’t known since I was a kid. But I was just plugging away, trying to make it happen with dudes. Because why???? Literally no one in my life has a problem with this.
    So, yeah, flailing around like a baby trying to find community. Because it turns out getting sober And coming out means a lot of things are just not “givens” anymore…….
    SPeaking of holidays, does anyone else find it Hilarious that Easter is on April Fools Day this year?

    • Congratulations to you!!

      I also got sober & came out at around the same time (finally figured out what pain I was trying to kill with alcohol — it was the pain of living as straight when I’m pretty damn gay).

      A couple Open Threads ago there were quite a few of us late-blooming queers (“gay divorcées” I think somebody phrased it!) so there’s community to be had here. 🙂

    • Way to go Molly! I cried reading your post this week. Getting sober and coming out were connected for me as well. I spent 7 years drinking myself to death because for 16 years I denied who I was. I tried all types of “cures”, religions, spiritual journeys, etc — always wondering why I could never be “normal” like everyone else… After chronic homelessness, treatment programs and suicide attempts, I was finally ready to surrender.

      By completely accepting my identity, I decided to leave it in life’s hands and live my life as a trans bisexual person. Haven’t taken a sip since that day. Eight years and loving life ^__^

      • Congrats on 8yrs!
        Alcohol is so pervasive in our society, it’s hard to see that it’s the problem. It’s a sneaky trickster!
        Now I have to stop myself from being judgemental when people talk about getting into fights or being unhappy. I always want to ask “Was alcohol involved?” Because 9/10, it was.
        It’s Amazing how much we manage to tamp down and drown, including our actual selves.
        I thought I always had to be drunk(ish) for sex because it “helped me relax”; turns out I was having sex with ALL the wrong people and alcohol just facilitated that and numbed my actual discomfort.
        Being sober makes it so much easier to recognize what I’m Actually interested in, as opposed to just coasting along, feeling crummy ALL THE TIME. Like, “Oh, hangover is Not what I’m supposed to feel all the time???? Humans can actually feel good on a daily basis???” 😀

  11. For any Marvelous Mrs. Maisel fans, when asked if season 2 will feature more Midge and Susie, Rachel Brosnahan says, “Yes, yes, I think absolutely yes is the answer to that question, from the very little that I do know about what happens next. … Midge and Susie have a wo-mance, and it’s real, and it’s deep, and it will *definitely* deepen in season 2, whether they like it or not.”

  12. I just got home from a date!
    First date in years.
    However, we immediately got to talking and chatting for hours and it was nice.
    But like nice as in „chatting and talking with a friend“ instead of flirty, excited nice, and I do not know what to do with that information.
    Human interaction is so confusing sometimes..isn’t there a book or something?
    😉 Have a good weekend everyone!

    • Congrats for this ! I’m full of admiration.

      Was your date in the same situation, first date after a long hiatus ? Maybe nerves got in the way for both of you. Did you kind of want more, or were you also feeling like they were a (platonic) friend ? [I know, so many qvestions ! Sorry to be so inquisitive]

      The important thing is you’re back in the saddle !

      Since this thread is Lunar New Year-related I’ll segway into my favourite encouragement from the I Ching : “Perseverance furthers”.

    • I very much feel you on that. Sometimes you need two or three more dates/interactions to see where it goes. Who knows this person could become a great friend if nothing else.

  13. Hellooooooo Straddlers!

    So I don’t have and cultural holidays coming up until Ostara, buuuuuut I’m looking forward to celebrating International Woman’s Day on the 8th March which has a 24 hour feminist strike in Spain, and I’m playing drums with over 100 other women in the protest march which is going to be awesomely powerful!
    Well also yesterday it was Andalusia’s national day which is a cultural holiday I suppose, and which I celebrated with my girlfriend (who is from Andalusia) by doing lots of anti-patriarchal queer things.

    I still can’t believe that there is a beautiful human being who wants to be my girlfriend! In typical lesbian style we are madly in love after 2 months of knowing each other and 6 weeks of being girlfriends haha.

    Hope you all have a great weekend celebrating all of the things!

  14. i am a suburban white person with catholic family so my holidays are pretty run-of-the-mill norman rockwell-style fare BUT we do have family friends who throw an amazing holiday party in december with vegan, kosher, and halal food, really excellent cocktails, and a big eclectic group of artsy/academic/literary types. it’s one of my favorite nights of the year. i have mixed feelings about fourth of july (nationalism, jingoist mythologies, et cetera) but i love camping, fireworks, and drinking beer in bodies of water so i enjoy the celebration.
    i’m hesitant to talk about this because i kind of believe in jinxing things but i just picked up the application for a big promotion at work next year. it’s very scary but i really want it and feel like i have a good shot at it so wish me luck!!
    y’all, i’m reading jurassic park for a class and i’m baffled as to how a movie could be /so good/ when its source material is /so bad/. that’s the magic of steven spielberg, i guess. crichton’s novel is useful for my paper because it gets a lot more into the bioethics under capitalism and genetics stuff but the kids are so poorly written, the dialogue is clunky, and dr sattler completely fails the sexy lamp test. (there is, however, a scene in the book where she power-chugs a can of beer to the shock and awe of the men present and i’m like… personally offended that didn’t make it into the film.) it’s pretty heavy-handed with the idealization of a patriarchal family and making sure the two female characters end up “in their proper places” in a way the movie isn’t. i’m not usually one to say this but i’m glad i saw the movie before i read the book!
    did y’all see that rachel maddow wrote today’s nyt crossword? i’m off to pick up a copy right now.
    also, in great news, my conference proposal got accepted! i was feeling really crappy about my academic life last week but this is making me feel significantly less crappy! i can make it through the rest of this quarter!

  15. I don’t really have anything to talk about, but can I just say how nice it is to see you become a more regular contributor to Autostraddle now, Creatrix? I’ve been following your content since…shit, I don’t remember. You made a comment at some point about wanting to work at Autostraddle and you also mentioned Homestuck and I was like “shit, now i _have_ to see how she progresses”. ANYWAY YOUR CONTENT IS GOOD AND I HOPE YOU HAVE A LOVELY WEEKEND.

  16. My tai chi club is gearing up for our annual Chinese New Year’s banquet in a few weeks. I love the organizing part and I used to love being in the kitchen doing dishes and serving. Now that I’m in the Front of the House on the big night it’s a bit more stressful, having to dress up, talk to politicians and even give the opening toast ! Whew ! This is where all my training comes in handy, putting my nerves in their proper place and doing what must be done gracefully.

    This week I watched both seasons of a local web series a few times, Féminin/Féminin – mentionned in Pop Culture Fix for Feb. 21 2018 :

    Pop Culture Fix: The Queerish “Heathers” Pilot Is Here To Get Your Goat and Other Stories Best Approached With Trepidation

    I can’t get over how thoughtful and clever it is, not to mention full of delightful humour when dealing with really tough subjects. The actors are fab, the scripts are fab, the music is fab. I think season one is available in English (regional black out for me, wtf?), not sure about season two yet.

    In other news, declaring bankruptcy has all sorts of interesting consequences, you become a pariah not just to banks, but to your Revenue Agency also ! Ah hahahaha, I don’t care, suckers ! I am so done with your House of Horrors.

    There. Better now.

  17. Well let’s see there’s Mardi Gras which was last month and then there’s St. Joseph’s Day coming up.
    Mardi Gras has king cake and I don’t think “Throw me somethin mista!” counts as a jingle but Iko Iko probably counts

    In case it doesn’t embed:

    There’s version done by I don’t know who that’s faster than the Dixie Cups one

    Mardi Gras Mambo is popular too but Iko Iko is catchier in my opinion. Still when Mardi Gras is on during a parade lull people dance to it.

    Older and still heard is Professor Longhair – Go To The Mardi Gras

    Lastly there’s “If Ever I Cease to Love” which is the least catchy song ever but according to my mother is the ‘official’ anthem of Mardi Gras just because it’s part of the Rex court tradition. It’s a British music hall song from the 1870’s, I loathe it.

    Another song that didn’t start with about being Mardi Gras but kinda became part of it is Mambo No. 5 because the lyric “A little bit of Monica in my life” sounds like a little bit of Mardi Gras in my life xD

    St. Joseph’s Day well there’s a parade with his statue as well as altars in churches all over town and around. The altar is covered in baked goods, some of which are very elaborate in design(I’m talking bas relief made of dough), and made by volunteers using family recipes handed down over generations.

    In the old days the altar would be covered in food to be eaten by widows, orphans and the needy. No meat tho because this feast day occurs during Lent but real food-food not just sweets.
    In modern times or at least where I live you put money in the donation box and then are permitted to take an item from the altar to eat.

    I know how to make the dough the elaborate ‘cookies’ are made out of and how to construct cuccidati. The filling is like a sausage, then is covered by the dough which is ventilated by diagonal slits on both side.

    Oh and in the parade you might get a painted fava bean, which is supposed to be very lucky.

    • Thank you for the detailed explanation! I used to date someone who was from New Orleans and her descriptions of Mardi Gras sounded really epic. And the food sounds like it’d be good! Do you have any favourites?

      • Of cookies that could end up on a Saint Joseph’s altar? It’s these hard almond cookies made from, I have no idea what their real name might be. They’re great with tea.

        As for king cake I like the drier more traditional ones with a cinnamon flavour and no filling. Filling is an abomination as far as I’m concerned. And ugh you have to put the baby in yourself because at some point it became a legal liability to sell king cake with the baby IN them.

        But if you mean like favourite traditional-ish local food of Cajun or Creole origin well uh that would be red beans and rice.
        Like I love jambalaya yeah but red beans and rice is home to me, the most comforting food of all. My favourite jambalaya is chicken with a more Creole bent which means tomatoes are in it in some form. Sausage jambalaya I’ll eat it if it’s beef sausage but not if it’s pork or has a thick casing.

        Oh and do love me some well done fried catfish (Middendorf’s is the best) which during Lent I might eat too much of. But the fish that is real treat to me is blackened redfish.

        If you ever come for a visit during Lent beware of school, church, or charity fish frys tho, don’t eat the first batch of the day. It might have sat out for a bit and seafood poisoning is the WORST. No cause is worthy that.

        Mardi Gras can be really epic depending on what you’re looking for and when you’re there. If you’re looking for good catches and lots lit up floats the weekend before Mardi Gras day is the best for that. If you’re looking for more DIY community stuff with a sense of humor earlier in the season is best. Chewbacchus, Krewe du Vieux, tit’Rex etc.

        But the gayest shit happens in the Quarter on Mardi Gras day. The Bourbon Street Awards which is a costume contest and Society of St. Ann. There are also some ball krewes that are gay, the oldest is Petronius. They don’t parade and I’ve never been to one of them just seen their pictures man does robing of the queen of Rex look drab in comparison.

        Still no matter when you go if you’re at a parade it’s like block party and you just chill, chat, even share a case of beer with people you might never see in your life ever again.

        *looks up at friggin paragraph about the place I’ve lived my whole life*

        And yet I tell people I don’t know enough to write about…

  18. My favorite holiday is Día del Amigo (Friend’s Day; yep, don’t ask me about it because is a bit difficult to explain, but we don’t celebrate friendship, we celebrate friends).

    The day is 20th of July and we go all the way even if the date is not actually a holiday and just a working day.

    We freaking plan this like weeks in advance because forget it if you want to find a place to eat or drink without reservations, and we can make gigantic get-togethers because you have your friends, your friend’s friends and the thing gets bigger and bigger each year.

    Just take this into consideration: in 2005 we provoke a breakdown of the mobile phone network in 4 major cities in Argentina (Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba and Rosario).

  19. I’ve been playing “Alien: Isolation”, and I’m so…SO…stressed. That damn thing was following me around medical and now I have to finish the first season of “Westworld” to calm down.

      • Your the daughter of Ellen Ripley from “Alien”, and you go to a spacestation to recover the flight recorder of the Nostromo. The spacestation was in the middle of being decommissioned, and now the skeleton crew has gone into mutiny/paranoia/survival mode. On top of that, nothing works, all of the doorways are jammed up, the synths have turned murderous, the AI in control of the station has paternalistically decided to try and muffle everybody, and there’s a xenomorph stalking the station. You personally move as slow as a pregnant buffalo and only have a crowbar and a revolver to fight off all threats. I’ve seen the xenomorph shrug off point-blank shots from shotguns. So when they talk about survival horror, this is it.

  20. It’s weird being The Nonreligious Queer Cousin because like okay yeah, we have the American Catholic Mainstay Holidays of Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July is only A Big Deal because it’s also my grandma’s birthday, but none of those are holidays I feel particular connection to, just weird familial obligation.

    The things that are holidays, that FEEL like holidays to me are the four big paddling festivals I go to–Spring and Fall Moosefest bookend the “okay it’s actually fairly reasonable weather for boating” paddling season fairly nicely, and then there’s Beaverfest (which comes the closest to “weird familial obligations” because of helping friends run it which means invariably getting sworn at in french when a certain contingent of Quebecois boaters show up because god, that crew is THE W O R S T), and in September, if I make the week-ish trip to WV, Gauleyfest, which is the rowdiest goddamn party around, and like that’s saying something because Moosefest gets freaking rowdy as well (there is a 300% chance of night laps happening during Moosefest. Last fall ft. my friend’s inflatable couch (made of raft material so it at least stood a chance of being okay) was one of the crafts used, which my friend regretted immensely the next day because he had spent almost 2 years preventing anyone from using it in that manner despite intense pleading and puppy dog eyes. And all of those fests feel like holidays because I am spending them with people I consider family (particularly friends as chosen family who have moved away and I no longer get to see often), and yes, they are wild and rowdy, and there is alcohol and poor decisions, but it’s also a celebration of whitewater and the paddling community, and also if/when rescues need to happen, they HAPPEN because we look out for one another.

    But man, it’s been A Week. I had my gallbladder out on Monday. My body is super duper unhappy with that, and I have an impressive hematoma that needs to be seen early next week, more pain than expected (probably courtesy of the hematoma), and some really nasty antibiotics that are murdering my insides, again, courtesy of the hematoma because I don’t need to add an infection on this whole ordeal. My cats have been their usual considerate post-surgical selves and avoid my incisions which is very nice. Except for my one cat who now lays on my chest and is so floofy that when she declares it Cuddle Time, I can only listen to music or podcasts because all I can see is floof. My pup has been surprisingly considerate and gentle as well, even though I’ve limited my contact with him because as a seven month old pup he is an excitable 60 pound tank of a dog and I do not need knocking into or to be knocked over (because legitimately I could not get up. Getting in and out of chairs is hard and painful enough as-is), but he’s been a real angel for me and gets that I need to be dealt with gently.

    • Thank you for telling me about paddling season! That’s so fascinating to hear about how sporting events end up being their own kind of holiday.

      Hope you feel better soon from the surgery! A friend just had her gallbladder removed too and she mentioned something about not realising the underlying pain until the gallbladder was removed.

      FLOOF

    • Me too. I’ve always felt the same family obligations in relation to “traditional” holidays, with none of the joy that’s supposed to come along with them.

      Making your own religious/non-religious holiday calendar isn’t exactly the same as tuning into the collective mind and connecting with centuries old symbolism lying dormant somewhere in the back of your soul, BUT if you find some people to share it with, it only takes a few repetitions before it feels kind of similar. My partner and I are currently trying to make Midsummer into a big deal, the way Midwinter is. Like, a month of Midsummer, with the same drinks (Sangria – this was established as the summer equivalent of mulled wine last year), and baked goods and decorations every year.

    • “…invariably getting sworn at in french when a certain contingent of Quebecois boaters show up”

      Ahhhh hahaha. Not making any presumptions, because you may be a cunning linguist, but if you ever want pointers on how to cuss them right back, I’d be more than happy to help.

      And I wish you an exponential recovery ! Glad your pets are being decent nurses, especially the floofy one, naturally soaking up all that negative energy – or so I’ve heard. FWIW.

  21. I’m with Faustine and others on this one. I don’t really do traditional Western holidays anymore. Since coming out, there’s just too much pain being around family that doesn’t fully accept me. But I insist on using that weekend for fun, so I usually go off camping or hiking somewhere by myself. Self-reflection surrounded by nature is the best way to celebrate.

    Also, having lived in Japan most of my 20s, I celebrate a lot of Japanese holidays – my favorite being Tanabata. Tanabata is super romantic, and I’m a sucker for the mushy love stuff. Each summer, there is a celebration of two lovers meeting for just one fateful night. Orihime (Altair) was a weaver and daughter of the King of the Heavens. After weaving the entire milky way (you’re welcome), she confided in her father at how lonely she was. Seeing his daughter’s sadness, the king hooked Orihime up with Hikoboshi (Vega), who a lowly cow herder. The two fell in love immediately – so much so that Orihime began to skip her weaving duties. This made her father so angry that he cast the entire milky way as a barrier to keep the two from ever meeting again.

    However, his daughter was so miserable that the old dude had a change of heart – agreeing to let the lovers meet for just one fateful night. Really nice guy, really. Except that he let his daughter figure out how to traverse the entire galaxy to see her love. But Orihime is our girl and did what all sad princesses do – enchant a flock of magpies to carry her across the heavens. The only issue? Apparently if it rains the birds can’t fly. That makes sense… because they totally have magpies and rain in space. On festival day there are fireworks, good food, cute kimonos, and my favorite — writing our wishes down to hang on bamboo for everyone in the community to read.

    My wish every year: “Meet a cute, witty queer girl who loves dogs” ^__^

  22. It’s been a crazy week for me, but in the best of ways and I really feel the need to share it. I recently met someone, we went on a couple of dates and it was meant to be pretty casual but now I find myself unable to get them out of my mind. We had a pretty amazing date last weekend which kind of changed everything. Then this week they came over during storm Emma and we ended up being together pretty much for 24 hours. Because of the snow (and this being the UK) the whole town basically stopped, stores were closed and buses were not running and it just made the whole thing feel like a weird, beautiful post-apocalyptic dream. So i guess that was kind of like a holiday. It’s kind of complicated though because they’re poly and suddenly broke up with their primary long term partner this week, which feels like it kind of changes things. And I’m pretty new to the whole queer dating thing and haven’t really been with anyone for years and am feeling things I didn’t even know I could feel and it’s pretty overwhelming and I’m having real trouble focusing on studies or basically anything else at the moment. So that’s been my week.

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