December 31, 2018

December 31, 2018

Happy Hogmanay!

Hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year, or New Year’s Eve.  Customs vary throughout Scotland, however, they traditionally include giving of gifts and visiting the homes of friends and neighbours.  Special attention is given to the first-foot, a Scottish and Northern English custom, established in folklore. The first-foot is the first person to cross the threshold of a home on New Year’s Day, regarded as a bringer of good fortune for the coming year. The first-foot usually brings several gifts, perhaps a coin, bread, salt, coal, or a drink (usually whisky), which respectively represent financial prosperity, food, flavour, warmth, and good cheer.

Another custom which is prevalent in Scottish celebrations and others is the singing of Auld Lang Syne, a poem by Scottish poet Robbie Burns, written in 1788.  The tune to which it is traditionally sung is an old Scottish folk tune.

From all of us at the Oshawa Museum, Happy Hogmanay and Happy New Year!

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December 30, 2018

December 30, 2018

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St George’s Never Had Better Music Than on Christmas and Will Repeat

Christmas at St. George’s Church was the mecca of large congregations both morning and evening. There was a full choral service on both occasions and the choir never did better, rendering the grand Christmas music in thorough keeping with the occasion. The solo parts of the anthems by Miss Blanche Carswell and Messrs. Plummer and Kilburn were especially good and deserve special mention…

The public, and especially those members of the congregation who were away over Christmas, will be glad to know that the special Christmas music will be repeated on New Year’s Sunday.

St. Georges

St. George’s Church around the turn of the century. The congregation outgrew this building, and the current St. George’s officially opened in 1924.

December 29, 2018

December 29, 2018

In 2015, we created a mini exhibit, dubbed our Winter Selfie Station, where visitors could try on different hats, bonnets, and scarves and take a selfie against this ‘cool’ backdrop:

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A number of wintery artefacts were featured in the space.  Can you see the toboggan to the right of the picture? That was donated to the Museum in 2014 by a family who lived in Lakeview Park many decades ago, and it was used by the children for sledding thoughout the park.  When it was donated, we also received a few pictures of the sled being enjoyed.

Mackie Sleigh2

Mackie Sleigh

December 28, 2018

December 28, 2018

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Hockey Rink at Albert Street School, date unknown.  From the archival collection of the Oshawa Museum A997.63.9.

December 27, 2018

December 27, 2018

Another Christmas Gone was a song written in 1875 by L. Sillery Wilson. It is a lovely song about celebrating the holidays and remembering those not with us.

The lyrics are as follows:

The frost white hill still glistens, beneath the moonlit skies.
As on the night of Christmas, untrod it sleeping lies.
A new born year is waiting, to meet the earthly dawn,
And whisper this to all the world, another Christmas gone.

The holly berry changes, its coat of emblem red;
And wreaths we twined by lately, hang all their verdure dead.
And round our winter dwelling, a loneliness is cast,
Our holiday is over now, and Christmas day is past.

But still our hearts look forward, to many happy years;
Unconscious of our future, its passing joys and tears.
Our friends around may sooner, be laid within the clay,
Some present never live to see, another Christmas day.

The sheet music is digitized and available for viewing through the Library of Congress.

Staff of the OM read this poem in Henry House a number of years ago, and it is available to view on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35j9zbEBUCw&t=1s

December 26, 2018

December 26, 2018

Originally appeared in an Oshawa newspaper, December 26, 1929

Postal Employees Work As Others Enjoy Holiday

Mail Delivery Made Christmas Morning for Benefit of Oshawans

Yesterday, while others were enjoying the quiet seclusion of their fireside, partaking of Christmas dinner, and opening gifts, a certain group of local men were out doing their work, the postal employees.  They delivered many messages of cheer and goodwill yesterday morning, soon after the mail came in, which meant that they were working at eight o’clock in the morning and some of the postmen were working until the middle of the afternoon, in order that the people of Oshawa might receive as much of their mail as it was possible to receive by Christmas Day,

Many hearts were gladdened by messages from loved ones who had not forgotten.  These messages would never have reached their destination in time, only for the efforts of these servants of the people.  Many do not fully appreciate the excellent work that these men do for the community and it is only at such times as this that the average person realizes the good work which is being done by the members of the Civil Service.

December 25, 2018

December 25, 2018

From the Oshawa Museum, we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful Holiday Season!

Ever wondered how other countries around the world say Merry Christmas?

How do you say “Merry Christmas” around the World? (from http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/christmas-trivia3.htm)

  •  Glædelig Jul — Danish
  • Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan — Chinese, Mandarin
  • Joyeux Noel — French
  • Nadolig Llawen — Welsh
  • Mitho Makosi Kesikansi — Cree
  • Buon Natale — Italian
  • Kala Christouyenna! — Greek
  • Nollaig Shona Dhuit — Gaelic (Irish)
  • Shub Naya Baras — Hindi
  • God Jul — Swedish
  • Boldog Karacsonyt — Hungarian
  • Feliz Navidad — Spanish
  • Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva i s Novim Godom — Russian
  • Sung Tan Chuk Ha — Korean
  • Frohliche Weihnachten — German
  • Gesëende Kersfees — Afrikaans
  • Hyvaa Joulua — Finnish
  • Kurisumasu omedeto — Japanese
  • Mele Kalikimaka — Hawaiian
  • Suksun Wan Christmas — Thai
  • Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia — Polish
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From the Oshawa Museum’s Archival Collection

December 24, 2018

December 24, 2018

A Visit From St. Nicholas, by Clement C. Moore, originally published in 1823.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house.
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,

With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

December 23, 2018

December 23, 2018

Thanks to NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), you can track Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, something they have been doing since 1955.  In December of that year, Harry Shoup of then CONAD saw a Public Relations opportunity and released a statement to the press which said CONAD was tracking Santa Claus’s sleigh, which went on further to say: “CONAD, Army, Navy and Marine Air Forces will continue to track and guard Santa and his sleigh on his trip to and from the U.S. against possible attack from those who do not believe in Christmas.”  This resonated with the public, and in 1956, the Associated Press were waiting for a similar statement to be released.  By 1981, NORAD published a hotline number that the general public could call to get updates on Santa Claus’s progress, and this phone line is still active to this day, relying on over 1000 volunteers every year.

Since the late 1990s, the program has had an active presence on the internet, including their website, mobile apps and a Twitter handle (@NORADSanta) so to keep the public informed on where Santa is and that he’s safely travelling around the world.

December 22, 2018

December 22, 2018

Thomas Henry, who lived in Henry House of the Oshawa Museum, was a travelling minister with the Christian Church and was often away from his family for weeks at a time. There were several occasions where Thomas would have left his wife Lurenda to tend to the children and preparations herself. In 1853, Thomas’ memoirs state that he was gone for three weeks over Christmas.

Thomas was also an avid letter writer, and the Oshawa Museum has a large collection of his writings. J.C. Horsley designed the first Christmas card for his friend Sir Henry Cole in 1843. Mr. Cole wanted a specially designed greeting for his friends and family that would save him the burden of having to write letters to everyone. This may have helped Thomas during the holiday season!

When the Henrys lived in the home at the lake, the post office was located in Oshawa’s downtown. Patrons would send their mail from the post office or travel there to pick up their mail. The Post Office was even open for one hour (9am – 10 am) on Christmas Day for people to pick up any last minute cards or mail!

Sprigs of evergreens, boxwood, holly and whatever greenery they could find outdoors, as was typical of most Victorian homes. Evergreen wreaths on the windows symbolized new growth and hope in the cold dreary winter. Irish families, like the Henrys may have kept with the tradition of a holly wreath, a plant flourished in Ireland.

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