~★~♥~♥~★~ El Morno! ♥~★~★~♥ ~
★~ Todays Quote: In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary. ~Aaron Rose
★~ Santa Lucia Day:
Santa Lucia Day: According to the old Julian calendar, December 13th was the longest night of the year. The ancient people were very much aware of the diminishing daylight and feared the cold and hunger that accompanied the sun’s decline. Men yearned for a friendly spirit to intercede and restore the light to the earth. Over many centuries, this spirit of light became personified in St. Lucia, the Queen of Light. In the present day, St. Lucia’s Day is most commonly celebrated in Sweden. “Lucia,” usually the eldest daughter who comes singing the ancient Sicilian song “Santa Lucia,” awakens families all over Sweden. Dressed in white and wearing a crown of lighted candles, she presents saffron buns and Christmas cookies to members of the family.
One of the things I have loved most over the years that Cole has attended the Chicago Waldorf School is the opportunity to experience different festivals and traditions. Each year our second graders celebrate St. Lucia Day. Instead of the eldest girl in the class, it was the youngest girl in our class who wears a crown of candles and a white gown. The crown of candles is the more exciting part of the festival because the candles are all lit. Another second grader walks beside Lucia carrying a water spray bottle. The other children in the class follow St. Lucia through the school, passing out saffron buns and singing “Santa Lucia.” It is a beautiful festival.
If you have a Swedish museum or bakery in your city, I strongly suggest stopping by and having a saffron bun and sharing in the tradition of St. Lucia—perhaps with a cup of cocoa.
★~ Cocoa Day:
Cocoa is the champion of wintertime beverages because no one wants to come home after a day of sledding and relax by the fire with a mug of orange juice.
Hot chocolate is one of the only exception to my “always take the shortcut” cooking rule; we make our hot chocolate from scratch, using real cocoa and whole milk or half-and-half. Usually Cole and I add mini marshmallows or whipped cream to our mugs, but around the holidays we might add a little merry to our mugs by adding a candy cane.
★~ Ice Cream Day:
For those of you paying close attention, yes, we have already had holidays to celebrate ice cream flavors, ice cream cones, ice cream sodas, ice cream sandwiches, and ice cream sundaes. Does ice cream really need an additional day of reverence? Of course it does! And there’s no better opportunity than in the midst of the sweet-tooth overload that is part of the holiday season. Scoop up some of your favorite holiday flavored ice cream and celebrate Ice Cream Day! Ho Ho Ho.
★~ Today in History:
♥~ 1913 – Leonardo da Vinci’s La Gioconda or, Mona Lisa for us art neophytes, was returned to the Louvre Museum in Paris after a two-year absence. The stolen painting was recovered and was valued at that time at $5,000,000. In 1962, appraisers set the value at one hundred million dollars. It is said that Mrs. Gioconda’s only payment for four years of modeling was free entertainment by jesters, players and singers.
♥~ 1961 – Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robertson Moses) died at the age of 101. The self-taught artist took up painting in her sixties; having her first showing in New York City at the ripe, young age of eighty. Her style was nostalgic and primitive — mostly rural scenes: The Old Oaken Bucket, Christmas at Home, The Quilting Bee.
♥~ 1978 – The Philadelphia Mint struck the first Susan B. Anthony dollar coins, with 1979 dates and the first “P” mintmark since the silver nickels of World War II. Denver production began on January 9, 1979, and San Francisco minting began on February 2, 1979. The Susan B. Anthony dollar, the first coin to honor a woman, was not a hit with the public for several reasons, most importantly because it was often mistaken for a quarter.
♥~ 1913 – Archie Moore Boxing Hall of Famer: Light Heavyweight Champ: only boxer to have fought both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali; career: won 194, lost 26, drew 8, KOs 141 [world record], no contest 1; died Dec 9, 1998
♥~ 1925 – Dick Van Dyke Emmy Award-winning actor/comedian: The Dick Van Dyke Show, Diagnosis Murder
♥~ 1929 – Christopher Plummer (Orme) Emmy Award-winning actor: The Moneychangers [1976-1977], Madeline [1993-1994]; The Sound of Music
♥~ 1989 – Taylor Swift songwriter, singer: LPs: Taylor Swift, Fearless; singles: Tim McGraw, Teardrops On My Guitar, Our Song, I’m Only Me When I’m With You,Picture To Burn; she was highest-selling artist of 2008 in the U.S. with combined sales of more than four million albums; CMA Entertainer of the Year 
★~ Did You Know:
♥~ Cocoa beans are the fruit of the cacao tree. is the basis for cocoa powder which is used to make the hot cocoa beverage we all know and love.
♥~ ‘Cacao’ is a Mayan word for ‘bitter juice’; the word ‘chocolate’ comes from the Mayan for ‘sour water.
♥~ Monkeys were the first creatures to discover that the cacao plant was edible and quite tasty? Over 1500 years ago, monkeys began to consume the pulp of the plant and spit out the beans. Humans soon began to follow the monkey’s lead and the rest is history.
♥~ Cacao trees are grown all over the world, but it is believed that the first cacao trees grew in South America
♥~ Cocoa is is similar to wine in that its flavor differs depending on the location where it is grown
♥~ It’s a good thing that cacao trees are plentiful because approximately 300 to 600 cocoa beans are needed to make just two pounds of chocolate!
El Morno will conclude with the music of St. Lucia Day.
If you have a morno moment leave a comment..Odd Loves Company!