December 28, 2008


I'm delighted to share because it was such an important part of my growing up years in New England of Canadian ancestry.

One of the most endearing memories of my early childhood is of the New Years Eve blessing. We were a small family but everyone – uncles, aunts, cousins -- gathered on New Years Eve to receive my grandmother’s blessing as she was the senior GIROUX of the family.

When she died in 1938 my mother became the one to bestow the blessing and none of her siblings or their children ever missed the occasion … even if they had to do it by telephone. (My favorite uncle died Jan. 1, 1978 … but he had called my mother for her blessing the day before.)

As a teenager, I was often one of the “telephoners” … but no matter what joyous revelry was going on … if I was not at home, I called Mother just before midnight. (Imagine the reaction when I said, “I HAVE to call my mother!”)

In later years, I always had my own private blessing on New Years Eve as Mother and I went outdoors (weather permitting) to contemplate the stars as she laid her hands on me before we welcomed the New Year.

Now that role has fallen to me as the senior descendant. On behalf of all of the wonderful ancestors who preceded me, may I wish you and yours all GOD’S BLESSINGS FOR THE NEW YEAR.


In old Quebec the paternal blessing was one of the most moving times of the New Year. It reaffirmed the father’s authority and preceded the mass which the entire family attended before going to share a meal with the grand-parents. It was a significant gathering at which the following prayer was generally recited:
May God bless you and grant you
health and happiness throughout the coming year,
in the name of the Father, the Son
and the Holy Spirit.
Jackie Hostage