Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

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!

Advertisements

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 10, 2017

December 10, 2017

According to Wikipedia, the earliest theatrical Christmas film was 1930’s The Unholy Three.  In what would be Lon Chaney’s final film, three robbers attempt a jewelry heist on Christmas Eve.

Through the years, many different original or adapted films would be created for the holiday season. Leave a comment sharing your favourite holiday movie.

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 5, 2017

December 5, 2017

In 1865 the Murdoch Bros. Exhorted people to “Prepare for 1866” with their choice stock of groceries which included “a splendid lot of layer, Bunch, Valencia and Sultana Raisins – also currants, figs, preserved ginger, preserved peaches, candied lemons and oranges.”

Murdoch Brothers

December 4, 2017

December 4, 2017

Whereas most iconic Christmas characters are jolly and helpful – such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman – there is one that is well known for being not so nice: the Grinch.  Back in 1957, Dr. Seuss published his first book starring the Grinch, being How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Although this was the Grinch’s first full book, his first appearance was actually in a 1955 poem called The Hoobub and the Grinch.  Yet the popularity of the Grinch’s Christmas book quickly overshadowed the poem.  The story became a worldwide phenomenon, being adapted into various media.  In 1966, the book was adapted into the well-known animated featurette under the same name.  It was in this featurette that the popular song “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” was created.  The song, featurette, and original book have served to solidify Dr. Seuss’s the Grinch as a beloved Christmas character.

grinch

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

November 1, 2017

November 1, 2017

We’re one month away from the start of our annual Victorian Holiday Blog. Through the month of December, we will be sharing a new post a day, highlighting holiday happenings!

Stay tuned!

img_3727

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”).