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February 8, 2023

Letters to the Editor, Nov. 28: Celebrating the holidays, Watsonville-style

Celebrating the holidays, Watsonville-style

To the Editor,

Do you hide a pea, a bean or a plastic figure in your cake around the holidays? Chances are you and your family have a tradition that feels special, but doesn’t make sense. It turns out that this time of year is Holiday Prime Time when all those exciting, heartwarming and sometimes weird traditions rear their heads and we all get in the mood to celebrate.

To help Watsonville celebrate, a group of community members and local businesses have come together to create Watsonville’s Multicultural Celebration — a day filled with more commonly celebrated holiday traditions like multicultural food, a visit from Santa, a holiday train and live entertainment. But if you’re looking for a way to make some new traditions, here’s a list of little-known celebrations that you might want to hand down to future generations.

The Discordian Holiday tradition called Afflux requires a piece of toast and two strong magnets. Gather around with your favorite people and place the magnets on either side of the toast and throw the toast at each other as if the magnatoast is a ninja star. This tossing of toast should continue until you’ve hit a designated target. If the target is hit, then they are blessed by the Goddess Eris (Chaos).

If being blessed by the Goddess of Chaos doesn’t feel warm and cozy enough, we can head into a holiday tradition that celebrates our desire to be connected: Human Rights Day. Since Dec. 10, 1948 government and non-government agencies will come together to raise awareness and kick off a year-long campaign. The UN is now headed into the 70th year of this celebration with “All Humans are Born Free & Equal in Dignity & Rights” campaign.

And finally, if celebrating human rights and tossing toast still doesn’t get you in the mood, maybe a pachanga will? Pachanga is a Cuban dance, a black cat from the Yucatan or a gathering of singing and dancing Chicanos in and around their communities.

If a pachanga doesn’t do it, maybe you’d like to light candles for Kwanzaa or Hanukkah? Candles not your thing, perhaps gathering around a Festivus pole will get you in true holiday spirit? Holiday traditions vary from culture to culture, family to family and person to person, and although we may have different ways of celebrating, in the end, we’re all just celebrating! Rediscover downtown this Sunday at the Plaza and celebrate the holidays, Watsonville-style.

Rachelle Escamilla

Watsonville Parks & Community Services

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What happened to giving thanks on Thanksgiving?

To the Editor,

It seems Thanksgiving is not about giving thanks anymore. If prayers are said before the Thanksgiving meal, they must be silent prayers, or talks having nothing to do with Thanksgiving or giving thanks. It would be interesting if people spent Thanksgiving day actually talking about who they want to give thanks to. Hours could be spent, if not days, talking about all the things and people one can give thanks for. An entire Thanksgiving day could be spent relating your stories of thanks and listening to everybody else’s. If that were to happen, Thanksgiving day would have to be elongated to Thanksgiving days, maybe even taking up the whole four-day weekend; an orgy of giving thanks.

Think about all the people you could thank throughout a lifetime. Here’s a personal short list. First, those directly related to Thanksgiving. Jay for getting up at 5:30 a.m. to drive me to the airport to fly back home for Thanksgiving. He was a suite mate that lived in the next room in the dorm I was living during my first semester at Cal State Long Beach. And Ed for rides to LAX the next two Thanksgivings, as well as many movie invites.

Randy for dozens of movies and baseball game invites which otherwise I could not have experienced. Bobby’s invites to come and watch the fights and movies on HBO, which I didn’t have, and 49er games. Watching movies with Matt, and airport drop-offs and pickups. Trips to Ensenada, Mexicali, and Palm Springs with Leon, as well as airport drop-offs and pickups. Erwin for coming over and watching TV and invites to Disneyland, concerts, and both live and closed circuit fights. Mike’s coffee conversations and invitation to my first 49ers game. John’s Salinas Pro wrestling and Lake Tahoe invitations. Martin for HBO fights, soccer, and the sold-out Giants game in 1978. John for setting up painting work when I really needed a job. Martin for a summer job on the Crosetti’s Broccoli line. Rich and Cliff for taking me on as a summer painter for the school district. Todd for making the phone call to the housing office to get me a dorm room after they told me they had no more rooms; as well as many rides to and from Junior College, Long Beach and invitations to the Crosby Gold tournament. Gary for initiating a surprise 22nd birthday party at the Bonaventure Hotel revolving bar in downtown L.A. Kevin for accepting me as a roommate in his apartment.

For the generosity of my late aunt, uncle and all my cousins and relatives both alive and deceased in Croatia. Thanks to the nuns who put me up in a German convent in Rome. For mom. For those overlooked, all apologies and dinner on me. For the family that invited me into their home this Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving.

Charles Birimisa

Watsonville

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