Friday, December 21, 2012

It’s the End of the World as We Know It...and I Want Cocoa

Posted by: Unknown

Yes, I know; I’m probably the five-millionth person to write a blog post with this title today. Well, maybe not the cocoa part. ;)

If we’re all still here, I’m doing a special giveaway of a Mayan  Xocolatl hot cocoa gift set from Stella Leona and one of the books in my House of Arkhangel’sk series.

Xocolatl is a Mayan inspired hot chocolate beverage with a hint of cinnamon. Add milk and garnish with whipped cream. Um, yes, please. Yum!

Although the cocoa is Mayan, my series takes place in Russia, so I thought I’d share some Winter Solstice traditions from that part of the world.

It’s on this longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere that many of the rituals we now associate with Christmas originated. Celebrations of light emerging from darkness were common among pagan religions. In ancient Russia, Winter Solstice was the festival of Perun, the god of thunder and lightning, and of high places.

According to the website Trans-SiberianExperience, “The festivities for the Winter Solstice would have been led by Siberian shamans. They dressed themselves in a special festive hooded warm winter gown, adorned with exotic items. To work their magic, they would put themselves in a trance – in this trance they would fly through the air, in a sleigh drawn by reindeer. To celebrate the festival they would give attractive lucky charms to children, to bring them good fortune in the year to come. Does that sound like anyone we know?

Perun, according to the same website, is the son of Bielobog, god of light. On the Winter Solstice, Bielobog triumphs over Chernobog, god of darkness, in their eternal battle. There’s some argument as to whether these are two separate gods or two aspects of one god (or whether these gods of duality are actually a modern construct and were never worshipped at all), but the message remains the same—the ascendancy of light over the darkness begins after the longest night of the year.

And in Russia, the longest night is seriously that. In St. Petersburg, there are less than six hours of daylight today, while farther north in Arkhangel’sk, it’s less than four. And if you aren’t lucky enough to have a fire demon to keep you warm through the longest night like my character Anazakia in The Fallen Queen, I’m sure it will seem very long indeed.

But there’s something especially magical about the longest night, wherever you happen to be, because we know the darkness has reached its nadir and things can only get better from here. Which, after recent events here in the US, I hope very much is true.

To enter my giveaway to win a copy of one of my Arkhangel’sk books and a cup of Mayan xocolatl to keep you warm while you read, see the Rafflecopter below. One winner will be chosen at random on Christmas Eve.

The House of Arkhangel'sk - A dark retelling of The Snow Queen, war in Heaven, and the last days of Imperial Russia. Epic fantasy with an urban twist.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 comments:

  1. I would go with The Fallen Queen since I'm new to the series. I would share the cocoa with my sister who is cocoa-obsessed.

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  2. I'd love a copy of The Fallen Queen as I've not read this series yet 0 it looks awesome. I'd share my cocoa with my dad. like me he loves all things chocolate.

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  3. I would like The Midnight Court because I am in the middle of reading The Fallen Queen.
    I would share the cocoa with my hubby because he love cocoa. He loves it more than I do!

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  4. I would go with book 1 since I am new to the series. The cocoa I would share with my sister & nieces. (maybe, lol)

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  5. Book two, pretty please! I loved the first one.

    I'm obligated to share any and all chocolatey goodness with my mother and nephew. I don't mind. They (usually) leave plenty for me.

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  6. I just realized the auto-tweet from Rafflecopter was sending out tweets for a different giveaway. Yikes! Sorry about that! If it lets you tweet again, it's been fixed. :}

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  7. Congratualtions to the winner of the End of the World giveaway, jyl22075! Thanks, everyone, for stopping by, and Merry Christmas! :)

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