Q: One of the Sundays in Advent is called Gaudete Sunday. Which one? What does Gaudete mean?
— J.K.M., Eugene, Ore.
A: Gaudete Sunday is the third Sunday in Advent and, in some churches, it is observed by lighting a pink candle on the Advent wreath. Gaudete means to “rejoice.” There is also a hauntingly beautiful carol from medieval times called “Gaudete.”
Q: Christmas pudding is a British tradition. I have long read about this holiday treat, but I have absolutely no idea what it is. Can you explain?
— V.G.H., San Jose, Calif.
A: There is no one recipe for Christmas pudding (also known as plum pudding). Many families have their own special recipe that dates back generations. I can tell you that it’s a steamed pudding with an abundance of dried fruit and nuts and most often made with suet. Most recipes call for brown sugar or molasses or both, which give the pudding a near-black appearance. The mixture could be moistened with citrus juice, brandy or even dark beer.
Q: Christopher Columbus visited Puerto Rico on his second voyage to the New World. What name did he give the island?
— M.W.R., Tampa Bay, Fla.
A: Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist), but he showed little interest in the place and sailed on to Hispaniola. In 1508, Juan Ponce de Leon landed at San Juan harbor and renamed the island Puerto Rico, Spanish for “rich port.”
Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at gclothier@ readingeagle.com or c/o United Feature Syndicate, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016.