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Blue Monday

Munchachos Snacks Children: Blue Monday Smile

Blue Monday is a name given to the third Monday of January, the day that is deemed to be the most depressing day of the year. The premise behind this claim lies in the fact that it’s midway through January as people struggle to deal with their daily routines and New Year’s resolutions. 

Munchachos Snacks Children: Resolutions New Years
Did you write any New Year’s resolutions?

But at Munchachos, we refuse to subscribe to this day! Yes, January can be a bit dreary, none of us feel very flush after Christmas and, let’s face it, it’s the month that is the furthest away from the next Christmas celebrations (!) but there are many ways to beat the blues.

We don’t have a huge amount of sun in this country but even the little that we have can affect our moods as sunlight can boost the amount of serotonin (or ‘happy hormone’) in our bodies. The best thing you can do to make yourself feel less blue is to head outside and exercise. Exercising reduces stress hormone levels and makes you more positive in general. It makes you better prepared to conquer the day ahead.

Munchachos Snacks Children: Blue Monday Toboggan
Tobogganing is great outdoor winter fun!

Furthermore, a big blues-buster is to eat the right things. Whilst we’re all into beating the cold with comfort food, it’s always a good idea to strike a balance. Diet also has an impact on the quality of your sleep, another huge factor in the avoidance of the blues!

So, don’t be blue! Head outside, do some exercise and then go home, crack open a Munchachos snack and reflect on the adventures you’re going to have this year. Make 2019 a good one!

Sign up to Munchachos here and download our FREE app to explore, have fun, learn loads and get worldwise.

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Munchachos Snacks Children: Kwanzaa Full Image

What is Kwanzaa?

For seven days beginning on 26th December and lasting until the 1st January, African Americans celebrate Kwanzaa. This holiday is named for the time of year when African tribes traditionally celebrate the first harvest of their crops.  

In spite of the fact that Kwanzaa is a relatively new holiday, it is celebrated by many. Its rapid adoption by so many is down to the fact that it symbolises what it means to be an African; celebrate specifically family, community and culture.

How do We Celebrate?

Many houses put out candelabra a little like the Advent candle or Chanukah Menorah, called a Kinara.  Its seven candles symbolise the seven nights of the holiday and the seven principles upon which the holiday is based.  These are called the Nguzo Saba and are: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba) and faith (imani). 

Munchachos Snacks Children: Kwanzaa Principles
7 Kwanzaa Principles

As well as the Kinara, people decorate their houses with straw mats and ears of corn to symbolise the harvest.  Many decorations, crafts and ceramics are hung around the house in the traditional colours are red, green and black, to mirror many of the African countries’ flags.  

Munchachos Snacks Children: Kwanzaa Corn Food
Kwanzaa Decorations

On December 31st, the holiday culminates in a feast called Karamu. This feast is made up of an abundance of traditional food which could include African creole, Cajun catfish, jerk chicken or Groundnut stew (and many scrumptious munchables too?).

We think it all sounds delicious and are very keen to try out some of these flavours. Perhaps they could be incorporated into a new Munchachos snack for 2019! What do you think?

Sign up to Munchachos here and download our FREE app to explore, have fun, learn loads and get worldwise.

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Time to Make a Christingle!

Munchachos Snacks Children: Tray of Christingles

What is A Christingle?

Christingles are candles set in oranges held by children at Advent services.  Each element has a special meaning significant to the Christian church.  

The tradition was begun in Germany in the 18th century but then  popularised when John Pensom brought it to the UK and held Christingle services to raise money for The Children’s Society.  This year it is the 50th year since the first Christingle service.

Ready to Make your Very own Christingle?

You will need the following: 

  • An orange 
  • A red ribbon 
  • Dried fruits and sweets on skewers or cloves 
  • A lit candle 

The orange represents the world; the red ribbon indicates God’s love wrapped around the world and the blood Christ shed on the cross; the dried fruits are symbols of God’s creations and the lit candle symbolises Jesus.  

Now for the fun part!

  1. Tie a ribbon around the middle of your orange. Make sure its nice and tight!
  2. Cut a small cross in the top of your orange and lay a square of silver foil (1cm square) over the cross. This might be a good time to get an adult to help. 
  3. Place a candle on top and wedge it firmly into the orange.  The foil will help prevent hot wax running onto your hand.
  4. Load four cocktail sticks with raisins, sultanas or soft sweets and insert them into the orange around the base of the candle.  Alternatively insert cloves all over the orange (it smells amazing!) 
Does your Chrstingle look something like this? Congratulations!

Take a photo of your Christingle, send it to us here and tag us on Instagram (@Munchachos). We cannot wait to see your creations!

Sign up to Munchachos here and download our FREE app to explore, have fun, learn loads and get worldwise.

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Munchachos Snacks Children: Advent Calendar

What Is Advent?

Advent is about more than just 24 little pieces of chocolate! It’s an important part of the Christian calendar, leading up to Christmas Day. 

The word Advent comes from the Latin ‘adventus’ which means ‘arrival’ or ‘coming’. This refers to the birth of Christ, which is celebrated on Christmas Day (25th December). Advent starts on the closest Sunday to 30th November (this year it started on 2nd December) and ends on Christmas Eve.

What Are Advent Traditions?

As well as opening an Advent Calendar door each day, an activity that happens in many people’s homes, there are a number of other traditions that are observed both in the UK and across the globe. In the UK, the most widely recognised symbol of Advent is the Advent wreath. Four red candles stand in a circle and each one represents one of the four Sundays of Advent. A fifth white candle that sits in the centre of the circle is lit on Christmas Day.

Munchachos Snacks Children: Wreath

Advent Wreath

In China, Christians light up their homes with colourful paper lanterns, and stick paper pagodas in their windows. Germans, as we do in the UK, create five-candle wreaths around which they sing carols each time they light another candle. 

In Hungary, they make special advent treats called Beigli. A Beigli is a rolled crust, traditionally filled with poppy seeds or walnuts.

Munchachos Snacks Children: Advent Beigli Hungary

A Hungarian Beigli

Advent is a time of preparation in many other countries. In Poland, for example, people stay inside during the long, dark evenings making decorations for the Christmas tree and handmade gifts.

At Munchachos we are celebrating Advent the best way we know how – with a tasty seasonal worldwise fact each day. Take a look at our Instagram Stories to find out more!

Sign up to Munchachos here and download our FREE app to explore, have fun, learn loads and get worldwise.

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Tree Dressing Day 

Munchachos Snacks Children: World Curiosity Yarn Bombing Trees

What is it?

On 1st December it is Tree Dressing Day.  This is a national celebration of trees and their immeasurable power.  

Obviously December is associated with decorating and bejewelling Christmas trees in the front room. This festival, however, specifically focuses on living trees and the fact that they are vital to life on earth.  

Munchachos Snacks Children: World Curiosity Xmas Tree

How Did it Come About?

The idea began in 1990 when a group called Common Ground decorated trees in Central London with numbers.  The significance of the decoration was that they were trying to express that every tree counts.  

It has now become a tradition that, each year, people decorate trees in their towns, parks and local neighbourhoods to draw attention to and celebrate trees and therefore begin to value and care more for them.  

So how exactly do people dress trees?

The idea of dressing living trees is one that has existed in cultures throughout the world.  In Celtic tradition, they tied cloth dipped in water from a holy well to a tree for luck and good wishes. This is a similar tradition to that in Japan, where they decorate trees with strips of white paper, or tanzaku, bearing wishes and poems. 

Munchachos Snacks Children: World Curiosity Tree Dressing

A trend which has recently come about is that of  ‘yarn bombing’ where people decorate trees with bright fabrics and yarns.  This echoes the Buddhist tradition of tying ribbons around the trunk of the Bodhi tree in homage to Buddha.  Similarly, during the annual Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan, coloured strings are tied onto trees and plants to call upon the power of nature to protect loved ones.

In Hong Kong two banyan trees are visited during the Lunar New Year, and burnt joss sticks attached to a wish and an orange are thrown up in to the trees believing that if the paper successfully hangs onto a branch, the wish will come true.  In Glasgow there are a number of trees have been planted onto which people can tie white labels which feature their wishes.  

So this year, don’t limit your tree decorating skills to your front room.  Why not grab a munchable and head out into your town with friends and neighbours to celebrate your relationship with trees?  


Sign up to Munchachos here and download our FREE app to explore, have fun, learn loads and get worldwise.