In countries around the world, these seasonal traditions vary. You and your family may have originated in Europe...maybe Asia, Africa or Australia; perhaps your heritage is of the Caribbean Islands or South America. Residing here in North America, quite likely you've retained your family tradition(s) and/or combined them with ours here. Culture is inspiring...and instrumental in maintaining family unity.
Big Tree: The medieval town of Gubbio, Italy, lies at the foot of Mount Ingino. Each Christmas, the townsfolk light up what is known as 'the world's largest Christmas tree.' It is actually an illumination shaped like a Christmas tree. It is over 2,000 feet high and is made up of more than 900 bulbs connected by hundreds of feet of electric cables. This light sculpture, which can be seen 30 miles away, covers the mountainside above the town. Initiated and organized by volunteers, this annual tradition started in 1981. Today, solar panels help to provide the power to light it.
Santa's Chimney: In the Cotswold Hills in the south of England, a young boy is very happy that a local builder took his concern seriously. Leo Park wrote to builder, Jeremy Paxton, because he was worried that the house that was being built for his family wouldn't have a chimney large enough to accommodate Santa Claus. Paxton, owner of Lower Mill Estate, assigned his architect, Andy Ramus, to the case...and the design was adjusted to enlarge the chimney. When it was ready, the company even had Father Christmas test it while Leo watched. The little boy was thrilled when Santa went straight down the chimney without getting stuck.
Special Tree: Cities around the world might like to try what the people in Pueblo, Mexico did to save power when lighting their community Christmas tree. The tree was part of a Sustainable Christmas event and was decked out with 8,000 lights that could only be powered from the kinetic energy of 15 bicycles. The bicycles had to be peddaled for about eight hours to charge batteries that would keep the lights on overnight, according to spokesperson Rudy Laddaga. The intent was to show people, that by working together, they can generate energy savings and benefit the environment.
Traditional Music: Christmas and music have always been intertwined...whether it's Handel, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby or even, thanks to the group's new album Blue Rodeo. As we approach Malls and other shopping centres, we often hear ~ O Come All Ye Faithful, Joy to the World, Little Drummer Boy, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, et cetera. Gordon Lightfoot has a classic..Song for a Winter Night and Joni Mitchell presents River. Carol Fests are featured by several church choirs.
Popular Canadian opera singer, Measha Brueggergosman treads a more tradition-path with her CD including It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Do You Hear What I Hear and Sleigh Ride. Traditionalists may prefer Holiday Wishes, a new album by Broadway singer Idina Menzel.
Movies: The past two Decembers, I watched the television presentation...Horses of McBride. It has become for me a 'tradition' since twice I've watched this true story unfold in our Canadian Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. Check the TV Listings...you'll be teary-eyed with stirred emotions. A “Must See!”; or try to locate a video of it.
Wednesday, this week, I viewed on Showcase an excellent movie...Guess Who's Coming to Christmas. In December, a few days ago, Christmas Shepherd…both these I highly recommend. For music lovers, view Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir…a superb epic television performance!
Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled November 28, 2014
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