A Season Full of Reasons . . . to Celebrate

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(A Season Full of Reasons)

Inter Valley Health Plan teaches members and guests how the world celebrates

Thursday, December 12, a room full of guests gathered at Inter Valley Health Plan at 214 E. Stetson Ave., Hemet where Candice Fagan, Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) presented “Winter Holidays Around the World.”

Fagan warmly welcomed attendees with an all-encompassing “happy holidays” to highlight the fact that many holidays, not just Christmas, are celebrated this time of the year. “This is exciting . . . I like learning about other people’s traditions, their culture and how holidays are celebrated throughout the world . . . and I want to share it with all of you,” said Fagan.

The presentation was an interactive discussion that described the history and background of each holiday mentioned. From the Hindu Festival of Lights in India, to the Japanese traditional celebration of Õmisoka–Fagan circled the globe making stops in Germany to discuss their celebration of Boxing Day, and who can forget–Oktoberfest!

Then traveling south of the border, we spent nine days celebrating Las Posadas in Mexico. Fagan guided guests around the world, spanning thousands of miles and many centuries, spiking the discussion with interesting factoids and debunking myths. She asked the room, “Does anybody know the history of the candy cane?   The symbolism behind it?”  Fagan enlightened attendees with the answer: “The Shepherd’s crook: the white represents the purity of Christ, and the red–his blood.” She even went on to discuss the origins of the iconic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The room was full of life experience, knowledge and “aha moments,” interrupted only by bouts of friendly laughter. Participants contributed to the discussion with their knowledge of various religions and holiday customs.  Some shared their personal family traditions. One guest shared, “During Christmas, in our family, we put oranges in each other’s stocking . . . this symbolizes charity and reminds us of the poverty we once lived in, and to be grateful for what we have.” Another guest taught the group about Filipino New Year and its symbolism of round fruits and the good fortune they are believed to bring.

At the end of the discussion, Fagan handed out gifts, and prizes were raffled off. Everyone left a little more enlightened and a little more aware of how the world and its various cultures celebrate the holidays.

For more information about Inter Valley Health Plan and future events, please visit https://www.ivhp.com/

And oh, by the way…Rudolph?  Rudy was a marketing ploy developed by Robert L. May.  In 1939, May wrote a promotional booklet for the Montgomery Ward stores. Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Frohe Weihnacten, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, and, well…you get the idea.

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