Monday December 22, 2014
In the Maori language Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Meri Kirihimete'. Following is a bit about how Christmas and Boxing Day are celebrated in New Zealand…
New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, so the holidays are in Summer in New Zealand. While much of the world is singing about a “White Christmas,” New Zealanders are celebrating Christmas in the warm summer sun. Many flowers and trees are in bloom at this time of the year, for example the Pohutukawa, which is a tree that grows mainly in coastal areas on the North Island. Because of its lovely red blossoms, New Zealanders call the Pohutukawa their Christmas tree.
As it is usually quite warm on Christmas Day, New Zealanders may eat their Christmas dinner outside – many people have a picnic or a barbecue. Some people even have a traditional Maori hangi - they dig a hole in the ground and heat it with hot stones, then they put meat and vegetables into this hole, cover it up and let the food cook inside. The hangi is served in the afternoon or evening and after the delicious meal has been enjoyed, people often sit around and sing Christmas carols.
Boxing Day is a public holiday observed in New Zealand every December 26, which also marks St. Stephen’s Day. St. Stephen was the first Christian to become a “martyr” because of his faith and he died by stoning. The exact origin of Boxing Day is still not known but it may have begun in England, where the upper class members of society would give cash or gifts to the lower socio-economic status or may have been when priests open charity boxes (church alms) then give them to the less fortunate on December 26. It may also have been taken from an old tradition where masters placed gifts for their servants in boxes and distributed them the day after Christmas.
During this festive time of year, our Mt. Beautiful team enjoys our Sauvignon Blanc paired with light seafood dishes and salads, and our Pinot Noir with all things barbeque. They also love our Riesling and Pinot Gris paired with lighter picnic foods and local cheeses.
Whether you are barbecuing on the beach in the southern hemisphere or bundled up enjoying a white Christmas in the northern hemisphere, warm wishes of Meri Kirihimete from all of us at Mt. Beautiful!