Celebrating with a different kind of holiday star: The unexpectedly pagan side of Christmas

Sharp smells of pine needles and holly, twinkling lights, and heaps of food spread out at parties, are just a few things that come to mind once December hits Canada every year. Widely known as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is one of the biggest North American holidays. But despite the holiday having primarily Christian roots, a lot about Christmas as we know it today, has unexpectedly pagan origins. While Christianity emerged as a monotheistic religion during the Roman Empire, experts say many of its holiday customs were influenced by the dominant Western polytheistic pagan religions around them. And even with the dominance of Christmas’ Christian narrative, some still appreciate and believe in the pre-Christian pagan […]

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Opinion: Prioritize Remembrance Day

Holidays are some of the most important times of the year. Whether it be Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas, we make it a priority to surround ourselves with family and friends. One holiday that our entire generation, as well as commercialism as a whole, seems to forget about falls on Nov. 11—Remembrance Day.  It shows up on our smartphone calendars, and people love getting photos with members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).  When it comes to actually supporting our soldiers and veterans, many people turn a blind eye. Remembrance Day becomes overshadowed by Christmas after Halloween has passed, even though it is almost two whole months away.  We seem to forget about our soldiers, some of which were our grandparents […]

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Food and Drink Blog: The time I made pierogies with Mom

Sometime back in the fall I was on the phone with my mom. We were talking about food (typical), and she mentioned she wanted to try making pierogies. Over Christmas the conversation continued, and we tentatively said in January, before I was due to leave for an exchange, we’d make the delicious dumplings. Then one day, she came home and asked, “Do you feel up to making pierogies today?” I grunted briefly, tempted to say no because I was in full hibernation mode, but alas I motivated myself to commit. Today was the day. And actually a perfect day to stay in and cook. Winter had finally arrived and I had done most of my exchange prep minus packing (ughhhhhh). Once […]

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Food and Drink Blog: Beer pairings for leftover gingerbread

My quest over the holidays was simple. It was framed with one question, and in my ample research, the answer was yes. The question: Does this beer go with gingerbread cookies? In my household there are a lot of cookies passed around at Christmas time. On average, we make 20 different varieties. And as we all know, I love beer, so naturally I had to find a way to have my two favourite things at the same time. There were naysayers. My mom is of the opinion that tea and hot chocolate are better accompaniments to cookies.  My dad, a fellow beer-lover, had doubts. But those were silenced when time and time again my instincts were right. So which beers […]

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Food and Drink Blog: Holiday drinks review

Nothing tells of the coming holiday season quite like the exhausted students dredging around campus holding coffee cups designed for the holidays. While a red cup or a snowflake emblem paired with your regular cup of joe might be enough to get you through exams, here’s a review for those of you looking to try a few of the new holiday drinks being served up at Starbucks, Second Cup, and Tim Hortons. Starbucks’ Chestnut Praline Latte This baby came in at almost $5 for a tall, and my expectations reflected that. I’ll preface this by saying I’m no nut expert. I didn’t know what “praline” meant before I tried this drink, and I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten a chestnut in my life. Regardless, I liked the Chestnut […]

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