30    Dec 20081 comment

New Year: a new past and a new present

MyHeritage New Year Celebrations Family The period before the celebration of the New Year means for many a time of personal reflection, an evaluation of the past and a time to make plans for the future. It is a celebration, full of hope for the new things to come and another chance to be together with our family and loved ones.

As we get to the end of 2008, many events attracted the world's attention this year, like the Olympics in Beijing, China, the US presidential elections or the bad news of the global economy crisis; but happily the celebration of the New Year is the one recurring event that brings the world together in celebration every year again.

Many go to great length to make the most of this festive day. A different mix of food, drinks, traditions and superstitions makes the evening uniquely celebrated within many different cultures. As a reflection of that, cities around the world have been having their ways of celebrating New Year's Eve for many years.

New Yorkers traditionally get crazy in Times Square, the city's iconic centre, although a curious celebration takes place on January 1 in Coney Island, NY, where some people use the day to take a dip in the freezing waters of the Atlantic.
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29    Dec 20081 comment

Discovering MyHeritage: Creating family reports

Did you know that you can view your family's data in reports on MyHeritage?

MyHeritage reportsWith one click the site lets you display reports on ancestors or descendants, where your family is located and other interesting facts.

So here is how to do it:
Step 1: Go to your MyHeritage family website and go to your family tree.

Step 2: Select the tab named "Reports".

Step 3: Click on the reports you are interested in. There are a lot of nice options.

The Relationship report is a report showing
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26    Dec 20081 comment

Russian Christmas and traditions

In the past several years I have lived in various countries and observed how Christmas is celebrated in Estonia and USA. Originally I am from Russia and will be glad to share with you how our traditions of winter holidays are different from European and American celebrations.

orthodox christmas in RussiaThirteen days after many countries in the world celebrate Christmas, on January 7th, it will be the time for Russia to observe this great holiday. I am sure some of you wonder why Russian Christmas is in January. The reason is that Russian Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian calendar.

After the 1917 Revolution and during the reign of communism, Russian people were forced to stop celebrating Christmas. Only in 1992 the holiday was openly observed. Therefore a lot of traditions, which existed many years ago, were lost. Nowadays, on Christmas eve family members get together for a 'Holy meatless supper' which includes 12 different foods symbolic of the 12 Apostles:
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24    Dec 20080 comments

A real warm Christmas

Life is life everywhere but some things will never be the same. Take Christmas for example, millions of people are celebrating it throughout the world, but the sense of it will be different for practical reasons on either sides of the equator.

The most common imagery of Christmas, like the trees and the snow are unmistakably Northern Hemisphere ones. Mostly all these elements are also used to signify and celebrate Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere, but the feeling of it is completely different, putting the unequivocal religious significance aside.

christmas in the southern hemisphereFrom my personal experience, one can feel that in this part of the world (the north) the weather itself accounts for much of the idea of Christmas as a time for family reunion and for the believers, a time for reflection. The cold, the short days, the snow, among other things, inevitably make you look for the warmth of a home and to share the moment with your loved ones around hot food and drinks. See a nice description of these traditions in one of our previous posts. This situation matches the poetic force of the Christmas winter elements known worldwide.

In the Southern Hemisphere,
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23    Dec 20085 comments

Christmas wishes from India

We talked about "Christian Christmas", "Jewish Chanukah" and "Muslim Eid Al-Edha" in our holiday series.

Continuing our festival posts, today we take a look at what are the various ways of celebrating Christmas in India. Generally the Christians who live in the plains decorate mango or banana trees at Christmas time. Some of them also decorate their houses with mango leaves. However in some of the other parts of India, a lot of people use small clay oil-burning lamps as Christmas decorations. These small clay lamps are placed on the edges of flat roofs and on the tops of walls. During Christmas in India, most of the Churches are decorated with candles for the Christmas Eve service.

MyHeritage Christmas India CelebrationOne of the most famous states for celebration of Christmas in India is Goa. A former colony of Portugal, Goa is known for its unique culture, which is a perfect blend of Portuguese and Indian style. People here observe all the festivals of all religions equally. Christmas is one such festival, which is celebrated with great zeal in Goa. The Christians and non-Christians in Goa observe this day with great honor towards Christ. The celebrations last for 3 days and tourists also participate.

Although the Hindu and Muslim population are the majority in India, Christmas is celebrated with a large amount of fanfare. Christmas in India is declared as a national holiday and people irrespective of their religion enjoy it along with the Christians. Celebrations of Christmas festival begin
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22    Dec 200812 comments

Improved Help Center for better support

We're pleased to announce that our Help Center has been improved and enhanced for better support and service.

Now you can enjoy access to a larger directory of frequently asked questions to promptly cover and solve common issues when using MyHeritage.

MyHeritage Help Center
PHOTO: MyHeritage Help Center

This directory has been compiled from the most popular questions users ask when contacting support. If new issues come up and become frequent we will be add them as new entries in the FAQ list as well, to make the MyHeritage experience as pleasant as possible.

The Help Center is currently
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20    Dec 20086 comments

Holiday promotion for our brand new Premium plans

holiday promotion for premium plansGood news if you fancy becoming a MyHeritage Premium member: We have simplified our subscription plans and celebrate the launch of our new offers with a hefty christmas discount.
Get 50% off if you upgrade your family site to Premium now, that's only $1.95 per month. And you can still get even more discount, if you go Premium for more than a year.

You can also sponsor a Premium plan for the rest of the family. Or ask one of your relatives, if he makes a MyHeritage Premium plan the christmas present to your family.

And the good thing: A Premium membership is valid for the whole family site, so your relatives will benefit as well.

See all the details of our new plans here:
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19    Dec 20081 comment

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

christmas seriesThese days, we often wish "Merry Christmas" to people around us, rarely thinking about the fact that for many people Christmas isn't much more than a cultural phenomena. That's why we thought we would set up a couple of articles about the different kinds of religious holidays that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are celebrating these days.

The MyHeritage Team spans the whole world, from the US, the UK and Israel to Turkey, India, South America, France or Italy and consists of people from all the big religions as well as people that are secular altogether. So find my brief 101 on Christmas below, the article from our Turkish colleague Oguzhan on the "festival of sacrifice" here and Schelly's article about Chanukkah here.

Happy Holidays to all of you, whatever festival you are actually celebrating ;-)

I don't need to tell you about the cultural part of Christmas. Even outside Christian countries, some of the Christmas trees, Santa and Rudolf, presents and cookies, bells and candles have probably found their way to you.
So instead of being about the
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19    Dec 20081 comment

Happy Festival of Sacrifice and Merry Christmas

It's again the time of the year for the Festival of Sacrifice or Eid al-Adha. Today, all Muslims thank to God for whatever he gives to men. So, as a member of the MyHeritage family, I would like to wish happiness to all people celebrating the day and wish them that all their prayers come true.

The historical origin of this day is thought to commemorate Abraham sacrificing his son which is a common belief in all three of the big religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam. There are other commonalities in the books of these religions, but what I am going to mention is about the timing of celebrating these special days. For the last three years, the Muslims' Festival of Sacrifice has been in December around the same time as Christmas and Hanukkah. This is a great opportunity for every one of us to feel a climate of closer relationship between the religions. These days people from all three religions come together with their families and celebrate, become thankful for what they got, have peace with everyone and love each other even more, no matter if they are Muslims, Christians or Jews.

Next year, Eid al-Adha will be in November again, as it's date is determined by the Islamic Lunar Calendar. So, the Festival of Sacrifice and Christmas will again be at different times. However, I wish this increased climate of understanding will continue and people from these three religions will grow their mutual understanding.

Stay with love... Stay with your family... Stay with us...

Image from happy jumper.

This holiday series consists of three posts, one about Christian "Christmas", one on Jewish "Chanukah" and one on the Muslim "Eid al-Adha".

19    Dec 20085 comments

Festival of Lights begins Sunday

Jews around the world will celebrate the first night of Chanukah on Sunday evening, December 21. This eight-day holiday - also known as the Festival of Lights - with its bright candles reminds us of events that took place more than 2,300 years ago in the ancient land of Judea, now Israel.

It isn't considered as much a religious holiday as a family holiday that celebrates history, freedom and independence.

Chanukah is celebrated by all Jews, from secular to very religious, around the world, from North America to India to Israel, from Russia to Italy to Australia, South and Central America. Eastern European or Sephardic - every group celebrates it.

And, like all Jewish holidays, it encourages the gathering of generations, providing an opportunity to share family history, and re-tell the stories of our ancestors to the younger generations, to preserve this precious history for the future.

Click to view photo in full size

The Jewish calendar is lunar, and the holiday may begin anytime from late November- Late December, but it always begins on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev.

While holiday activities are home-and-family focused, there are also
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