New Year Traditions

In Florida, and pretty much the whole USA, New Years Eve is celebrated with friends and family, food and drink, a toast to ring in the new year, A kiss to commemorate what will be and watching the countdown at Times Square.

I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of the world celebrates New Years!

  • In China, firecrackers were believed to rout the forces of darkness and so they continue the tradition.
  • Italians let their church bells peal.
  • The Swiss beat drums and drop dollops of whipped cream on the floor (and allowed to remain there), symbolizing the richness of the year to come.
  • The tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight comes from Spain.
  • The Dutch eat fritters called olie bollen, or any ring-shaped treat (such as a donut) to symbolize “coming full circle” and leads to good fortune.
  • In England a mulled cider type drink, called Wassail is a holiday tradition. It usually contains fruit juices, cinnamon, cloves and other spices
  • The spiced “hot pot” is the Scottish version of Wassail. It’s customary to drink a glass or two at home before sharing with neighbors. They also follow the custom of first-footing which is an important part of the celebration of Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve Day.

These traditions still carry on:

  • Christian churches hold “watch-night” services, a custom that began in 1770 at Old St. Georges Methodist Church in Philadelphia.
  • The practice of making New Year’s resolutions, is said to have begun with the Babylonians as early as 2600 B.C. It is another way to reflect on the past and plan ahead.

And what would a blog like this be without uncovering a few rather odd New Years Traditions:

  • In downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, locals throw old appliances out the window.
  • Columbia, South America, hoping for a travel-filled year, residents tote empty suitcases around the block.
  • In Japan the faithful wear a costume of the next year’s zodiac animal to the local temple, where bells chime a sacred 108 times
  • In Denmark locals ring in the New Year by hurling old plates and glasses against the doors of friends’ and relatives’ houses. They also stand on chairs and then jump off them together at midnight. Leaping into January is supposed to banish bad spirits and bring good luck.
  • In the south american countries of Brazil Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuala it is considered lucky to wear special underwear on New Year’s Eve; in some large city markets, vendors start displaying brightly colored underpants a few days before the holiday. The most popular colors are red and yellow: red is supposed to bring love in the coming year, and yellow is supposed to bring money.

Whichever way you celebrate and whatever your traditions, We girls at Brides N Blooms, Wholesale & Designs will raise a glass and toast to the New Year, wishing everyone a year of joy, happiness, peace, prosperity, good health and good cheer.

Listen to Auld Lang Syne – a beautiful version by Mairi Campbell

 Now go out and have yourself a flower-filled New Year!

Christmas in Florida

You know… Both of us girls at Brides N Blooms Wholesale & Designs have been living here in the Tampa Bay Area for many years. We both are originally from New York, though one of us is from the ‘city’ and the other is from farther northwest into the state.  I have to say that spending a winter in Florida is a culture shock. It’s one that even after all these long years, still makes us shake our heads in wonder.

Here are a few things that will always amuse us:

  • Palm trees with christmas lights (this will always make me giggle)
  • Big blow up Santa’s on a front lawn that is still green
  • Lights that are supposed to resemble ice crystals (Thank goodness they are not real!!)
  • Fake snow (We live in Florida to escape the scourge of snow) and then we pay for the opportunity to play in it.
  • Boat flotillas all decorated for the holiday (A party in 70 degree weather on a boat is fun, a party on a boat in 20 degree weather is not)
  • Christmas ornaments that look like flamingos or gators, or Santa in swim trunks (They are incredibly cute, but still make me raise an eyebrow)

I think we here in the Sunshine State know just how silly we appear to those who are experiencing that traditional “White Christmas”, but the truth is… we don’t care! We love our flip flops and darn it, no Christmas day cold snap is going to make us take them off!

I say, lets revel in our warm air while those up in the northern climates are bundling up! let’s decorate that lawn flamingo with all the lights it can hold! Let’s plant those poinsettias we’ve bought because, yes, they will grow here!

And last but not least, lets leave Santa a little bit of orange juice and a pair of sunglasses when he stops by on Christmas Eve!

Wishing you all, our dear readers, a very happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year!


Boat with christmas lights, palm trees & dolphins too!

Poinsettias and Christmas

So… how exactly did the Poinsettia become associated with the Christmas holiday?  I wondered, so I did a little research! Here’s what I found…

Poinsettia plants are native to Central America… mostly in the area of southern Mexico known as ‘Taxco del Alarcon’ is where they grow and flower in winter. The ancient Aztecs called them ‘cuetlaxochitl’ and they had many uses for them. Two important ones were the use of the flowers (actually it is not so much as a flower as the special types of leaves known as bracts). One was to make purple dye for clothes and cosmetics and the other is the milky white sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers. (Today the sap is called latex!)

Poinsettias didn’t arrive in the United States until 1828 when the plants namesake, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett brought them here. After discovering it in the wilderness in southern Mexico, Dr. Poinsett, who dabbled in botony, sent cuttings of the plant back to his home in South Carolina.  While it didn’t gain much attention at first, its popularity caught on over the years, and by the 20th century it became a holiday mainstay. So much so, that there is now a National Poinsettia Day which is celebrated on Dec. 12, to honor both the plant and the man who brought it to America.

Okay…  But what does any of this have to do with Poinsettia being associated with Christmas? Well… I’ll tell you!

According to one interpretation, the plant is as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, the heavenly body that led the three magi, (wise men), to the place where Christ was born. There is also a Mexican legend which tells of a small girl named Pepita, who could only afford to offer weeds as a gift to Jesus on Christmas Eve. When she brought the weeds into a church, they blossomed into the beautiful red plants we know as poinsettias, ( also known as Flores de Noche Buena in Mexico, which is Spanish for “flowers of the holy night”).

Whether the Poinsettia has a special connection for you with the season or if you believe the story or not,  it makes no matter. I say, lets just choose to admire the vibrant colors this plant shows off at this special time of the year and enjoy!

Red, White & Pink Poinsettias

Brides N Blooms Wholesale & Design is offering some of these beautiful poinsettias at a great price. If you are local to the Tampa Bay Area, call today and find out how to get yours! 813.852.2052

Now go and have yourself a wholesale holiday poinsettia and fresh flower filled day!