Saturday, December 26, 2009

Twas the Day After Christmas

and all through the shop there were visitors visiting and browsing around.  It was hustling and bustling throughout the downtown, as overstuffed people walked off each extra Christmas pound.  They shopped for themselves, and wanted some glass, artistically crafted and artfully made.   We welcomed them pleasantly, eyes all aglow, hoping to finish the year with nothing more displayed.
The shelves would be empty and ready for the New Year, when all the new art would suddenly appear!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holidays in this season...Part Two Christmas

 Cape Fear Community College Musicians performing at the Cotton Exchange
Six days away...people scurrying through shops...visiting friends...wrapping gifts...baking cookies...finding family recipes...shipping last minute...fighting traffic...singing carols...writing cards...packing suitcases...throwing parties...watching football...stressing out 
take time to understand...

reprinted from wikipedia

Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday, celebrated on December 25, and commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Christmas is central to the Christmas and holiday season, and in Christianity marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days.  The remembrance and re-enactment of the Nativity in the Christian celebration of Christmas signifies the belief that Jesus is the "Christ" or Messiah promised by the Old Testament. The main religious celebration among members of the Catholic Church and other Christian groups is the Church service at midnight on Christmas Eve or on the morning of Christmas Day. During the forty days leading up to Christmas, the Eastern Orthodox Church practices the nativity Fast, while the majority of Christian congregations (including the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, many Mainline churches, and Baptists) begin observing the liturgical season of Advent four Sundays before Christmas—both are seen as times of spiritual cleansing, recollection and renewal to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Christmastide is one of the seasons of the liturgical year of most Christian churches. It tends to be defined (with slight variations) as the period from Christmas Eve to the evening of January 5th, the day before Epiphany. This period is also commonly known as the Twelve Days of Christmas, as referred to in the Christmas carol of the same name, or Yuletide, as in "Deck the Halls".
In the Church of England, however, Christmastide includes Epiphany and ends at Candlemas in early February, which celebrates the Presentation of Jesus Christ at the Temple. This is in keeping with the traditional liturgical significance of Forty Days. In the Roman Catholic Church, since Vatican II in the early 1960s, the Christmas season runs a shorter period, from Christmas Eve evening to the Sunday after Epiphany, the commemoration of the Baptism of the Lord, after which Ordinary Time begins.
During the season, various festivities are traditionally enjoyed and buildings decorated. In some countries, by superstition it has become bad luck to leave the decorations up after Twelfth Night.
Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, music, an exchange of greeting cards, church, celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various decorations; including Christmas trees, lights, and garlands, mistletoe, nativity scenes, and holly. In addition, Father Christmas (known as Santa Claus in some areas, including North America, Australia and Ireland) is a popular mythological figure in many countries, associated with the bringing of gifts for children.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holidays in this season...Part One Hanukkah

Hanukkah starts at sundown next Friday, December 11th and continues for eight days.  As the first celebration in what we all consider a "holiday season" I thought I would provide a little insight and background into the origin and rituals of each one.  At Crescent Moon we make it a point to familiarize ourselves with the items used in the celebrations because it pretty much means one of our artists or maybe several have created unique works of art glass from them.  Our Hanukkah menorahs are a part of our complete Judaica line in the shop.  Artists such as Andrew Jackson Pollack, Tamara Baskin and Sara Beames have become favorites here.  Read on...

reprinted from About.Com:Judaism
The festival of Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) was established to commemorate the Jewish Maccabees' military victory over the Greek-Syrians and the re-dedication of the Second Temple, which had been desecrated by the Greek-Syrians, to the worship of God. Thus, Hanukkah is a celebration of Jewish national survival and religious freedom.

Celebrating Hanukkah
In commemoration of these miracles, a Hanukkah Menorah (also called a Hanukkiah) is lit during each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah is the central observance of the festival. One candle is lit the first night, and an additional candle is lit each successive night. Thus, on the last night of Hanukkah, all eight candles of the Hanukkiah are lit. The candles should be lit by a window or door in order to fulfill the commandment to "publicize the miracle." While lighting the candles, blessings are recited and the ancient chant Hanerot Hallalu is traditionally sung. After lighting the candles, it is a tradition to sing Maoz Tzur.

Hanukkah is a fun festival, especially for children. After lighting the Hanukkah candles together, families (and often invited guests) will eat and play games. Traditional Hanukkah food is oil-rich in commemoration of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. Potato pancakes (Latkas in Yiddish, Livivot in Hebrew) are a Hanukkah favorite. Israelis eat Hanukkah doughnuts called soofganiot. Dreidel (sivovon in Hebrew) is a traditional Hanukkah game, with game rules so simple that the whole family, from toddlers to grandparents can play together. The custom of giving Hanukkah gelt (money) to children has evolved into a gift-giving tradition in many Jewish families today.

Here are some of the Hanukkah items currently on display here at Crescent Moon.