[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Branches in Your House | 11-17-2016
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
57°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
February 19
1936 - Ida Evans, widow of Newhall First Presbyterian Rev. Wolcott Evans, dies at 71 [story]


| Thursday, Nov 17, 2016

evelynevandersande_mugThe Holiday Craft Fair is coming to Placerita Canyon Nature Center on Saturday, December 3 and 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day.

At this time of year, there are many Holiday Boutiques throughout this valley but do not let your eyes glide past this news, because this one is totally different. This is the only place in this area where you can create and decorate your own holiday wreaths, centerpieces and ornaments using a large assortment of fresh-cut greenery, pine cones and other natural treasures.

For weeks before the Fair, the docents gather all kinds of berries, pods, nuts and many kinds of different greenery from bushes and trees so that you have a great variety of colors and textures to use. I could go on about the wonderful smell that develops in the room; you feel like you are in a forest. Everybody works at making their own decorations.

Suggestions, help, and compliments fly around the room. There’s great spirit and camaraderie, and the results always look professional. While the parents are working with branches, the children are being entertained doing all kind of neat kid-friendly projects, involving glue, sparkles, and cotton wool to their great pleasure and feeling of accomplishment. It has become a special family tradition for many and it is so wonderful to see parents coming back with their children, sharing fun memories that they had of coming to Placerita as children themselves.

It is the only fundraiser of the year for Placerita, and I hope you will be able to come check it out because it is a hidden treasure, not only for the beautiful decorations that you can make with natural elements, but because of the special friendly atmosphere at Placerita. It is a unique and delightful way to start the Holiday season.

I was born in France and I have lived in different countries, so some of the Holiday decorations are somewhat of a puzzle for me. Holiday wreaths would never be seen in France, because wreaths of flowers are only used on graves and people would shudder to have a reminder of a funeral inside the home. How are those traditions started? Why those differences? I decided to do some research to figure out how those traditions began, and it took me on a trip through ancient times, dating back to the prophet Jeremiah who was not very pleased with the pagan custom of decorating houses with branches in the middle of the winter. That was a tradition to celebrate the winter solstice. In Egypt, not having evergreen branches, houses were decorated with palm branches because this is what was readily available and it was a symbol of resurrection. A little while later on, Romans decorate their houses with crowns of foliage. During the Roman celebration of the Saturnal, people decorated their house with evergreen branches. They also decorated living trees with little bits of metal (what is the start of tinsel?) and replicas of Bacchus.

I must say this is the first indication I found in my research of what might in the future become the idea of the Christmas tree!

During the rest of the year, Romans hung wreaths on their doors as sign of victory and their status. Rich women would wear crowns of greenery and flowers for special occasions, and Roman emperors would wear laurel wreaths on their heads. Wreaths were also given to the winners of the original Olympic Games. The word “wreath” comes from the old English word “writhen” with means to writhe or twist, something you need to do with branches when you make a wreath. Were they the ones to bring the wreath traditions to Anglo Saxon countries? As with so many ancient traditions, it is almost impossible to pin-point exactly where it started, as the wreath was also a symbol used by the druids and the Celts in many pagan celebrations.

The centuries after birth of Christ, the Romans were celebrating Saturnalia and the Christians chose the same date for Christmas. They decorated their houses with holly to avoid persecution.

Those pageants in ancient cultures had one common purpose; In the Northern hemisphere, they were recognizing the winter solstice which is the time of the year that has the shortest daylight hours and the longest night which happens sometime between December 20 and 21st. It was a time filled with anxiety, as many feared the sun would disappear forever. Bringing branches into the house or into the temple was one way to cling to life, to greenery, to the hope that spring would come again. Those festivals would celebrate the return of the Sun God when light would come back again.

Pagan symbols of keeping evergreens to ward away evil spirits merged with Christian celebrations over the years.

In Scandinavia, the tradition was to bring in a Yule log, light it, and drink mead beside it whilst watching the flames disappearing before the winter. This tradition spread to Great Britain and was actively respected in homes until the 1950’s. Nowadays, the Yule log burning is done in great country hotels and pub fireplaces where a round of drinks can easily be shared. This tradition has a special twist in France and Italy, where the Christmas dinner’s traditional dessert is shaped and decorated as a log, made of chocolate or coffee-flavored cake.

Pagans in the past did not cut a whole tree to bring inside their home, which would have been too destructive of nature that they respected. However, branches would be brought in.
In Northern Europe, the Germanic people would tie fruits and attach candles to those branches to honor their god Woden. I am certain it is hard to connect to those times, however it might be interesting to know you use the memory of this god weekly because the word Wednesday comes from Wodensday, the day of the god Woden!

The first documented use of a tree at a Christmas celebration comes from Estonia and Latvia in 1441, and this celebration was set up by the Brotherhood of Blackhead which was an association of local unmarried merchants. Opposition to Christmas trees by many churches was intense and the tradition did not catch on before the middle of the 19th century.
The tradition to hang stockings was started for Saint Nicholas who, according to the legend, left gifts of gold coins to pay for the dowries of 3 poor girls.

In some countries, people leave their shoes out on Christmas night to find gifts left by Santa on Christmas morning. Some of those gifts can also be left by Baby Jesus according to the tradition.

It seems that the first drawing of Santa Claus was made by Thomas Nast, a German immigrant who made an illustration for the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” in 1862. He also came up with the idea of Santa on his sleigh, the North Pole workshop, and Santa opening his mail. He certainly had a profound influence on children’s expectations of Christmas!

In the US, Christmas cards were expensive until 1874 because they were imported from Europe. Louis Pang, a lithographer in Boston, saw a business opportunity and printed cards with a painting reproduction on one side, and a little holiday message on the other. Ten years later, the idea had taken off and he was producing 5 million cards each year.
There are so many fun traditions at this time of the year, finding the origin can be interesting. But really, what is most important is that you find the time to enjoy them and that it makes your life full of happy and lasting memories.

I wish you all the best of holidays. I hope you can share those special times with family and friends and that it brings you peace, love and wonderful moments of joy. Come visit the craft fair at the Nature Center and I sincerely hope you will find some of the true happiness that working with nature’s bounty can bring you. Mark your calendars for December 3rd and 4th! Have a merry Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa or even a great winter solstice.

placeritaholidaycraftfair_6 placeritaholidaycraftfair_5 placeritaholidaycraftfair_4 placeritaholidaycraftfair_3 placeritaholidaycraftfair_2 placeritaholidaycraftfair_1

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Friday, Feb 17, 2017
A number of women have recently commented to me, wondering what the women’s marches are all about, especially here in America, the most privileged place on Earth. We’re told it’s about women’s rights and apparently not having enough of them, whatever that means in this day in age.
Thursday, Feb 16, 2017
About an hour north of Baker along Highway 127 lies the town of Shoshone. There are several interesting things to see and visit in this tiny town with a population of 31.
Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017
The goal of Medicare's Five-Star Quality Rating System is to help people distinguish between higher- and lower-performing nursing homes. We also want to help nursing homes identify problem areas and improve their quality.
Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017
In contrast to the dams, the landfill is a real and present danger, with documented violations of rules set up to protect our neighborhoods.
Monday, Feb 6, 2017
To justify requests for specific patient care, physicians are forced to have “peer-to-peer” phone discussions with doctors employed by insurance companies, workers’ comp and HMOs. These doctors make decisions based on controlling costs, which is in the financial interest of the for-profit agencies they serve but not necessarily in the best interest of the patient.
Sunday, Feb 5, 2017
I have a cat, Titus, who is half Asian Leopard Cat, and half African Savannah. Needless to say, he is a handful. Recently, he discovered that raccoons come into our yard at night and party. They swipe my vegetables right off the plants, the fruit from the trees and munch out all night long.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1936 - Ida Evans, widow of Newhall First Presbyterian Rev. Wolcott Evans, dies at 71 [story]
1955 - Actor and nightclub owner Ace Cain incorporates the Rocky Springs Country Club in Sand Canyon [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, one of the season's biggest storms hits SCV. Plus, see how SkyBlue Mesa students are making friends. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, February 17, 2017
Representative Steve Knight, CA-25, reintroduced a bill on Thursday that would help veterans recover from post-traumatic stress (PTS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), military sexual trauma (MST), chronic pain, and opiate addiction.
Knight Reintroduces No Hero Left Untreated Act
Rep. Steve Knight, CA-25, cosponsored a bill introduced this week that would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals based on a pre-existing medical condition in the event that portions of the Affordable Care Act are repealed.
Knight Cosponsors Bill to Protect People with Pre-existing Medical Conditions
Friday's storm is pushing strong winds through the valley at gusts estimated between 50 and 80 MPH. There are multiple power lines down in Newhall and Canyon Country near Newhall Avenue, Walnut Street, Deeptree Avenue, Apple Street and Canerwell Street. If you see downed power lines stay away and call 9-1-1.
Downed Power Lines Reported in Newhall, Canyon Country
Over the next few hours, the rainfall intensity is expected to increase. Stay away from washes and rivers and avoid driving through canyons, where there is a high possibility of rock and debris flows.
Flash Flood Advisory, High Wind Warnings Still in Effect
Friday, Senator Scott Wilk, R- Antelope Valley, issued a statement on the introduction of Senate Bill 634, a measure which will establish a new water district in the Santa Clarita area.
Wilk Introduces Valley-Wide Water Sustainability Plan
The Master's University had visiting Vanguard right where it wanted Thursday afternoon with the GSAC's best pitching staff protecting a two-run lead after six innings.
Vanguard Nine Rallies Past Mustangs
The Master’s University women’s basketball team beat William Jessup University 70-47 Thursday evening on Bross Court.
Lady Mustangs Basketball Trample Warriors
The Master’s University men’s basketball team’s outstanding 2016-17 campaign continued Thursday night with the 18th-ranked Mustangs beating the William Jessup University Warriors 103-93 on Bross Court.
Mustangs Men’s Basketball Outlast Warriors
Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the Eastern District of New York in Darweesh v. Trump, a case involving two visa holders who were detained by officers and denied entry at John F. Kennedy International Airport due to the Trump Administration’s travel ban despite having demonstrated considerable loyalty to the United States.
A.G. Becerra Joins in on Amicus Brief in Darweesh v. Trump Case
America’s Job Center of California invites resident to connect with new employers, find a new career path or get back into the workforce by attending the Hiring Fest on Friday, February 24, 2017, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the College of the Canyons University Center, located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road.
Hiring Fest Held by America’s Job Center to Help Residents Find Jobs
The city of Santa Clarita’s Thursdays@Newhall series, presented by Galpin Subaru, will kick off its 2017 March through October season on Thursday, March 2, 2017 with a fresh lineup of events on Main Street in Old Town Newhall.
Thursdays@Newhall is Back for 2017 Season
With the series of winter storms forecast throughout Los Angeles County and the storm currently hitting the Santa Clarita Valley, Los Angeles County residents are encouraged to continue being vigilant of in watching out for flooding, mudslides, and to be aware of any issues that may occur because of the storm. L.A. County officials are offering more tips to ensure the safety of L.A. County residents.
General Safety, Motorist Safety in Light of Heavy Storms
The County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, in collaboration with The Friends of Hart Park, presents its “Sixth Annual Artisan Row Home Arts and Crafts Show,” with both handmade and commercial art and crafts.
May 20-21: Sixth Annual Artisan Row Home Arts and Crafts Show
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) Dean C. Logan reminds eligible Los Angeles County voters that the deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, February 21. Consolidated Municipal and Special Elections take place on March 7, 2017.
L.A. County Voters Need to Register to Vote by February 21
Various city of Santa Clarita facilities will be closed in observance of President's Day on February 20.
City of Santa Clarita President’s Day Hours
Princess Cruises, the number 1 cruise line in Alaska, announced today that Island Princess will be the fourth cruise ship to feature the Ocean Medallion™, debuting May 16, 2018 for the Alaska season.
Princess Cruises Announces Fourth Ship to Debut Medallion Class Ocean Vacations
Learn about SCVi Charter school during a public informational evening that will give an overview of SCVi's Upper Charter School program.
Feb. 22: Public Informational Evening on SCVi’s Upper Charter School Program
A number of women have recently commented to me, wondering what the women’s marches are all about, especially here in America, the most privileged place on Earth. We’re told it’s about women’s rights and apparently not having enough of them, whatever that means in this day in age.
Women Who Can’t March | Commentary by Betty Arenson
1949 - Short-lived oil drilling operation on Newhall's Arcadia Street ends [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a major storm is coming -- what you need to know. Plus, Hart District students get a lesson in dining. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, February 16, 2017
The Castaic Union School District board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. for closed session and 6:30 p.m. for open session in the Board Room at the CUSD District Office. Agenda topics includes school awards, the retirement of Dr. Victor Torres and public hearings.
Feb. 16: CUSD Board Meeting
A major storm is headed to the Santa Clarita Valley and the Southland, bringing concerns of flooding, mudslides, and putting residents in the Sand Fire on high alert.
Rainstorm On its Way to SCV, Projected to Begin Thursday Night
Jack’s Angels Foundation, a local charitable organization devoted to advocacy and research for DIPG, is celebrating the National DIPG Awareness Resolution introduced by Congressman Steve Knight, R-CA-25, in January in the US House of Representatives, H.Res.69.
Jack’s Angels Foundation Celebrates Knight’s National DIPG Awareness Resolution
A workshop to help participants establish a career strategy, network, create a resume, and finesse an interview is scheduled for the February LifeForward workshop hosted by Zonta Club of SCV.
Feb. 18: Zonta Club of SCV Hosts February LifeForward Workshop
College of the Canyons extended its winning streak to five games with a 6-3 road win vs. Allan Hancock College on Wednesday.
Canyons Wins Fifth Straight 6-3 vs. Allan Hancock
No. 13 College of the Canyons posted a pair of dominant shutout wins on Wednesday, blanking San Diego Mesa College 8-0 in both contests of a doubleheader to improve to 5-0 on the season.
No. 13 Canyons Sweeps Doubleheader from San Diego Mesa
On February 16, Weingart Gallery at Occidental College hosts an opening reception for Waabanishimo: Miigaadan (She Dances Till Daylight: Fight It), the first solo show by visual artist and CalArts alumna Eve-Lauryn LaFountain (Art-Film/Video MFA 14).
Eve-Lauryn LaFountain’s First Solo Exhibit at Occidental College
Several Santa Clarita agencies are coming together for It Only Takes a Moment™, an eye-opening event centered around the free showing of Listen, a feature film that confronts the mental health crisis thousands of youth are facing today.
Feature Film ‘Listen’ to be Shown at Free Community Event
Evacuation notices have been issued to 180 homes in the Fish Fire community of Duarte for 7:00 a.m. tomorrow, and residents within the Sand Fire Burn Area of the Santa Clarita Valley are at a heightened state of alert.
Sand Canyon Residents on High Alert for Rain, Mudflow
The Castaic Lake Water Agency Planning and Engineering Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in the Training Room at the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant. Agenda topics include construction contracts, project budgets, improvement projects reports.
Feb. 23: CLWA Planning, Engineering Meeting
A Flash Flood Watch is in effect Friday morning through Saturday morning for Santa Clarita Valley. Strong winds are expected to hit between 50 to 80 mph during the storm.
Residential Advisory: Flash Flood Warning
Realtors helped close escrow on 123 single-family home sales throughout the Santa Clarita Valley during January.
Realtors Close Escrow on 123 Homes in January
Bouquet Canyon Road will be closed at 9 p.m. Thursday through at least Sunday afternoon due to rain in the area.
Feb. 16: Bouquet Canyon Road Closing at 9 p.m. Due to Storm