Celebrate Good Times

We celebrated every holiday in my family in true American “go big or go home” fashion. Despite our family being of Greek, Welsh and German heritage, everything was dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day, right down to the butter. My son even had a t-shirt one year that said “I’m not Irish but kiss me anyway.” We had heart-shaped pancakes for Valentine’s Day, dozens of dyed eggs at Easter, and red, white and blue fruit kebabs for the 4th of July. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween were the highlights of the year and brightened up the otherwise overcast and very rainy fall season of the northwestern United States. Any holiday was a good reason to have a fun, themed meal and to decorate every nook and cranny of the house.

Now that I have my own family, I have tried to perpetuate these festive traditions. It wasn’t always easy in mainland France to find decorations for every holiday, much less the festive spirit, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is alive and well in Reunion.

There are party supplies here! And we’re not just talking about candles and a few packs of birthday napkins, but real color coordinated, aisles and aisles of napkins, paper plates, and other decor. Even weddings are color coordinated and boy, do they dress up! In the states we have fireworks for the 4th of July, but here they seem to go off all the time! They really do seem to take parties and celebrations here to the next level; even I don’t feel up to snuff.

I don’t remember the last time I looked at a calendar to see what day of the week it was. When I open the window and hear music blasting, you can bet it’s Friday…sometimes even Thursday. Tents start popping up, lots are being taped off at parks and beaches, and the smell of barbecue chicken fills the air. I thought Americans were the kings of barbecue and too much food, but then I moved here. My puny little picnic consisting of a baguette sandwich and chips is nothing compared to the enormous pots and rice cookers being unloaded from the trunks of cars.

Reunion is a melting pot of cultures, races, religions and customs. The United States is for this mixture as well, and there is always something to celebrate because of it. But more importantly, everyone is welcome to join in. Regardless of your nationality or religious convictions, there’s always enough food, one more noisemaker and another chair someone pulls up when you arrive.

Vocabulary

to go big or go home = faire quelque chose à fond ou pas du tout
Welsh = gallois
heritage = origine
dyed = teint
heart-shaped: forme de cœur

kebabs = brochettes
highlights = temps forts
brightened = ensoleillé
overcast = couvert (météo)
nook and cranny = recoin

pleasantly = agréablement
supplies = fournitures
coordinated = assorti
aisles = rayons
to not feel up to snuff: se sentir inadéquate

blasting = à fond
popping up = poussent comme des champignons
lots = terrains
puny = petit, chétif
unloaded = déchargé

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