Posts Tagged ‘Holiday’

December 31, 2017

December 31, 2017

In Canada, December 31 is commemorated as the Levee.  It’s a social gathering held by the Governor General, Lieutenant General and the military in Canada. Levee had been celebrated for years, but it was first tied to New Year’s Eve, in Canada, in 1646. The Governor of New France held the levee in the Chateau St. Louis, and during the levee he informed the guests of what to look forward to in the new year and that they were expected to renew their allegiance to the Crown. The tradition of the levee continued after the Governor Charles Huault de Montmagny was no longer in charge.

Happy New Years Eve Everybody!

File854

Advertisements

December 26, 2017

December 26, 2017

From the Oshawa Museum, in Ontario, Canada, we wish all of our readers a Happy Boxing Day!  We’ve prefaced this greeting with our location, knowing that some of our readers may not be located in Canada or may not be familiar with Boxing Day, a statutory holiday in our country.

The origins of this holiday are based in England, where ‘boxing’ referred to the distribution of small gifts of money.  Some historians trace this back to the Middle Ages when parish priests would open up alms-boxes on December 26, the feast of St. Stephen, and distribute the money collected within to the needy.  By the 17th century, this tradition of giving boxes of money to adopt the practice of saving tips they had been given in clay boxes and opening them on December 26.  Because of the popularity of this tradition, people had taken to calling the day Boxing Day, and it was declared a holiday in England in 1871.  By the late 19th century, the custom of ‘boxing’ had faced a decline and slowly disappeared from the English holiday customs.

The day itself has survived as a holiday, and for many it may signify the day to ‘throw away boxes that presents came in,’ for others, it is a day for major savings in stores (the Canadian equivalent to America’s Black Friday), or perhaps it is a day many will spend with family, relaxing after a busy Christmas Day.

December 25, 2017

December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas from the Oshawa Museum.

File643

From the Oshawa Museum’s archival collection

Did you know, even though Christmas is celebrated as the birth of Jesus by Christians, many historians believe he was actually born in the spring.

Other people who celebrate December 25 as their birthday include:

  • Sir Isaac Newton, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian
  • Humphrey Bogart, actor
  • Jimmy Buffet, singer
  • Sissy Spacek, actress
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his brother Alexandre, a journalist. They are sons of former PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau and, interestingly, they are not twins, but rather siblings who share a birthday
  • Annie Lennox, singer
  • Cab Calloway,  jazz singer and bandleader

December 21, 2017

December 21, 2017

The ever-popular Elf on the Shelf had returned to stores this holiday season promoting good behaviour in young children. The Elf arrives every December 1st and makes an appearance every morning until Christmas, playing with the children’s toys, and sometimes, making a mess. But where did the Elf on the Shelf tradition begin?

In 2005 a children’s picture book titled “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” was released by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell. The main concept of the Elf is simple, he is sent from the North Pole to watch over children for Santa. Every night the Elf would return to Santa and tell him about the children’s behaviour and before morning return back to take up a new position in the home for the children to find.

Throughout the years, the tradition of the Elf toy has transformed allowing parents to create new themes and concepts for the Elf to promote good behaviour for children all over. In the last decade, the Elf on the Shelf has been awarded the Learning Express’ Best Toy in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

December 20, 2017

December 20, 2017

Festive Coffee: A Modern Christmas Tradition
By Karen A., Visitor Host

I don’t know about you, but for me the excitement of Christmas begins when Starbucks releases their annual holiday drinks in their traditional red cups. It has become a custom for me and my friends to go out grab a festive drink and shop around the Oshawa Centre during the month of December. Starbucks, of course, has their line-up of festive drinks which come out early November lasting until the holiday season ends. My all time favourite is the Caramel Brulee Latte but they also offer a Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, an Eggnog Latte, a Gingerbread Latte and many more.  McDonalds, in competition with Starbucks, has also created their own line of Christmas beverages, which include the Crème Brulee Coffee and the Peppermint Mocha, both drinks are also available as Iced Frappe options. Tim Hortons does not have specialty Christmas beverages but they do sell Christmas mugs, ornaments and holiday donuts, which are just as tasty! Somehow, over the last decade or so, our favourite coffee shops have promoted Christmas to sell us more drinks and merchandise and, in my opinion, it is definitely working. This is my modern Christmas tradition: grabbing a nice hot cup of Christmas joy!

001

December 12, 2017

December 12, 2017

Today at sunset, the Festival of Lights or Hanukkah begins.  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”).

Happy Hanukkah!

December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017

Santa Claus as we know him today is a jolly man adorned in his iconic red suit.  Our depiction of Santa comes from a few sources.  In 1837 Clement C Moore wrote his poem A Visit from St. Nicholas (commonly referred to as Twas the Night Before Christmas), and in it, he describes Father Christmas as such:

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 pedler 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 of 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 bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

Here, we see Santa dressed in fur with his round belly and bright cheeks.  It was in the 20th century when red became solidified as his signature colour.  While he was dressed in red before the 1930s, it was Coca-Cola’s advertising, created by Haddon Sundblom which truly popularized the depiction of Santa that we know today.  

December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017

December 8 is commemorated by Buddhists as Bodhi Day, marking the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Gautama) experienced enlightenment.  According to the Huffington Post, “Bodhi Day is an opportunity to acknowledge our dedication to the principles of wisdom, compassion and kindness — the distinguishing features of the Buddhist worldview.”

December 2, 2017

December 2, 2017

A treasured holiday event, Oshawa Museum staff always look forward to our Annual Lamplight Tour.  Held on the first Saturday of December, our historic houses are decorated for the season, and there are activities for all ages.  Lamplight 2017 is today, December 2, from 6-8pm.

Here is a sampling of photographs from last year’s Lamplight.

December 1, 2017

December 1, 2017

Photograph of the McLaughlin Carriage Company’s (General Motors of Canada) Christmas Party, 1918. The photograph is of “2nd floor, Mary Street” and the image shows an empty hall with Christmas decorations. From the archival collection of the Oshawa Museum (A985.41.46)

a9854146