Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

December 31, 2016

December 31, 2016

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!

December 28, 2016

December 28, 2016

In 2016, Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated from sunset on December 24 to nightfall on January 1, 2017.  Because the Jewish calendar is based on the lunar rather than the solar year, the date of Hanukkah moves about on the calendar and can land anywhere between November 25th and December 26th.

Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish people’s successful rebellion against the Greeks in the Maccabean War in 162 BCE.  After the victory, a ritual re-dedication was to take place in temple.  Oil that was only expected to last one night instead lasted eight nights.  This was seen as miraculous, and to celebrate this miracle, Hanukkah began and has been celebrated for over 1500 years.

Iconic of Hanukkah is the menorah, a nine branched candelabrum; on the first evening of Hanukkah one candle is lit and special prayers are said. On the second evening two candles are lit, and so on. The rest of the evening is spent singing songs, playing games, telling Hanukkah stories, and enjoying special holiday foods.

Children may also celebrate Hanukkah by spinning the dreidel, Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (He), ש (Shin), which together form the acronym for “נס גדול היה שם” (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – “a great miracle happened there”).

December 27, 2016

December 27, 2016

Have you seen any of the holiday blockbusters this year? If you were a movie-goer in 1927, you might have viewed Clara Bow’s latest film, Get Your Man, which played at the Regent Theatre on December 26, 27, and 28 that year.

the-oshawa-daily-times-1927-12-24-010-newspapers-html

What was this movie about? As IMDB describes, “A young American girl in Paris falls in love with a handsome nobleman, but he is about to wed in an arranged marriage. She hatches a plan to overcome that obstacle and get her man.”

Clara Bow was a star of the silent film era, and her appearance in the movie ‘It’ helped solidify her position as, and coin the term, an ‘It Girl’ (I don’t know what It is, but she’s got It!).

December 26, 2016

December 26, 2016

Did you know that December 26th is National Candy Cane Day? It took a Church Choirmaster to create candy canes from straight sugar cane candies in order shut the mouths of talkative church going children. The cane shape is said to represent a Sheppard’s staff.  The first candy canes weren’t as colourful as we know them to be, rather they were plain white; the red and white striped candy canes were introduced in 1900.

December 26 is also Boxing Day in Canada, the UK, and other Commonwealth nations.  It isn’t a day reserved for the sport of Boxing (as I naively thought as a child!), but rather Boxing Day originated in England, where the word “boxing” refers to the distribution of small gifts of money.

December 25, 2016

December 25, 2016

From all of us at the Oshawa Museum and Oshawa Historical Society, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

img_3727

December 24, 2016

December 24, 2016

This is the sixth year we have shared stories on our Victorian Advent Blog.  As we have done since the beginning, on Christmas Eve, we share the classic poem, A Visit From St. Nicholas, by Clement C. Moore, originally published in 1823.

We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday.

 

‘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 19, 2016

December 19, 2016

St. Nicholas was a historic 4th-century saint and Greek Bishop of Myra in Lycia. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him.

Santa became popular in Christmas tradition when Sinter Klaus, Dutch for “Saint Nicholas,” was brought over by Dutch immigrants and they honored his death.  New York newspapers reported on this and his popularity grew!

St. Nicholas is the patron Saint of the Netherlands, and his feast day is observed every December 6, or December 19 in Eastern Christian countries.

December 18, 2016

December 18, 2016

Christmas is one week away? Have you decorated your tree yet?

a012788

From the archival collection of the Oshawa Museum, December 1956

December 17, 2016

December 17, 2016

Going Home for Christmas

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist
This article originally appeared in the Oshawa Express, Dec 2012

For so many, the arrival of the holiday season often means travelling both near and far, as families come together to celebrate.  Travelling long distances for the holidays may seem like a more recent trend, what with the availability of cars, trains and airplanes, it turns out that this was not the case.  While it may be easier to travel now, the pull to be with family was just as strong  90 years ago when a rather large portion of Oshawa’s residents left the Town to travel home to family.

In the December 23, 1922 edition, the Oshawa Reformer wrote about just how many people were expected to travel from Oshawa during the holiday season.

“Enjoying as it does the reputation of being a great industrial center Oshawa has attracted many people from other towns and cities who are busily engaged here in helping to keep the wheels of industry turning.  With the approach of the holiday season hundreds of citizens are letting their thoughts turn homeward.  And judging by the statements made by local railway officials this morning approximately two thousand people employed in local factories and offices will leave Oshawa for all parts of the Dominion to spend Christmas at their homes.”

At this time, Oshawa had a population of about 13 000.  That means that just over 15% of Oshawa’s population travelled out of town to visit family.  Of that 2000 the odd person might have owned a car but, as the article suggests, most would have been travelling by rail.

If you are travelling this holiday season, remember that you are a part of a time honoured tradition of Oshawa residents taking time to celebrate with family and friends.

December 13, 2016

December 13, 2016

If you visit the National Capital Region in Ottawa/Gatineau during the holiday season, you will be able to enjoy Christmas Lights Across Canada.  First launched in 1985, this program was created to highlight landmarks and sites along Confederation Boulevard, including Parliament Hill, national museums, monuments, embassies and other prominent institutions.  Christmas Lights Across Canada also helps to add vibrancy to the Capital during the winter months and it kicks off the holiday season in Canada’s Capital Region. This year, the program started on December 7 and will continue through the month of December.


Information from http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1445434981160