The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Community News Network

December 24, 2013

Expatriates try to adapt elements of home for Christmas

WASHINGTON — All Esessien Offiong wants for Christmas — or at least for his Nigerian Christmas stew — is antelope. But the stores in his Laurel, Md., neighborhood don't carry African game, so Offiong and his family will do what they do every year: Wing it.

"We have learned that goat meat is a pretty good substitute for antelope," Offiong, a federal pension agency staffer, said with a Santa-worthy laugh. "You have to improvise when you are far from home, but we find ways to have a very Nigerian Christmas."

Such are the holidays in Washington, where one in five residents are foreign born and immigrants and expats improvise, import and adapt Christmas traditions from all over the world. Even in the age of Internet shopping, global trade and Pier 1, decking the halls can be an effort if you want to deck them with straw "yule goats" (Swedes), defecating manger shepherds (Catalonians) or bamboo-and-tissue parol stars (Filipinos).

"People come in every year asking for them," said Emma Bioc, co-owner of Manila Mart, a Filipino grocery in Beltsville, Md. She tries to lay in a few locally made parol stars each December, but her usual supplier hadn't been around this year.

There's better news for local Filipinos with visions of puto bumbong dancing in their heads: Come Dec. 24th, Bioc can guarantee a supply of the traditional Christmas cakes of purple rice and coconut. It's a welcome treat, especially for those finishing Simbang Gabi, the nine-day series of evening masses leading up to Christmas Eve, held at St. Columba Catholic Church in Oxon Hill and other area churches. "We always sell all we can make."

For Icelander Fridrik Jonsson, the annual ingredient hunt begins with a search for rock ptarmigan, a game bird more common to the mountains of the Arctic than the aisles of a Safeway.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • When your doctor commits suicide, things get complicated

    When they call for appointments, patients are told they can't see their doctor. Ever. The standard line: "We are sorry, but your doctor died suddenly."

    July 15, 2014

  • NWS-HB0713-HowardMartin-004.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    The mystery of what happened to a military transport plane that disappeared in the fall of 1952 into an Alaskan glacier was solved two years ago when a helicopter crew spotted the wreckage. But it took another two years to retrieve the remains of Airman Howard Miller and 16 other servicemen passengers. Saturday, Miller was laid to rest in his hometown of Elwood, Ind., with full military honors. Hundreds turned out for the funeral and burial services.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps

     I climbed the ladder quickly, free to work any hours in any location for any pay. I moved from market to market, always achieving a better title, a better salary. Succeeding.

    July 8, 2014

  • Nation's first soda tax could come to Berkeley

    The Berkeley City Council unanimously decided last week to put the 1-cent-per-ounce tax on the ballot this November. Approving the tax would mean a major defeat for the soda industry, which has spent millions to crush the effort nationwide.

    July 7, 2014

Front page
Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

What are your plans for the weekend?

Enjoying the outdoors
Staying in out of the heat
Traveling
Other
     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.