Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday Banners at the Conservatory

 is a warming, 
sweet and exotic spice
with an aroma often 
associated with
 the cold wintry nights
and traditional holiday foods.
Cinnamon, one of the oldest spices, 
first appeared in Chinese writings
nearly 3,000 yrs ago. 
At points in history, 
it became so prized that
it was used as
 a form of currency 
and wars were fought over it

 is prized for its beautiful scarlet berries
and colorful variegated leaves,
 adoring wreaths and mantles
 in homes for the holidays. 
The origin of the holly
as a winter decoration is thought
 to have come from a Celtic myth 
that refers to a
"Holly King" 
who ruled from 
the summer to the winter solstice

A simple white sugar flavored
 with oil of peppermint is considered 
an early version of the candy cane.  
As people decorated their yule trees
with food and sugary treats,
 the bent candy cane could have been
a functional solution 
with colored stripes added to enhance
 their decorative value

Evergreen Trees
As a way to express 
hope in the forthcoming season, 
16th century Germans 
hung evergreen trees top
down from the ceiling and decorated
 them with so many edible ornaments 
they were often called "sugar trees".
 Lightening trees 
with candles became customary
 in the 18th century France

The plant "allspice" 
was named in the early 1600's
 by the English, who thought 
it a favorable combination 
of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Allspice is used in wassail,
 a favorite holiday hot beverage
that originated in the mid 17th century. 
The hearty mull was used as a way of
bringing friends and families 
together to celebrate the last of the harvest

are named for the
 first US Ambassador to Mexico
Dr Joel Roberts Poinsett 
who introduced the plant 
to America in 1828
The bracts, or upper leaves of the plants
turn a variety of hues 
when the plant blooms in December, 
making them an ideal
holiday flower

The first gingerbread 
was thought to have been made by Catholic monks
 in Europe who pressed ginger cakes
 into molds,for special holiday celebrations
 and festivals The Brothers Grimm fairy tale,
 Hansel and Gretel, first published in 1812, 
refers to the gingerbread house,
 which has become an American holiday tradition

Immigrants brought the cherished Europe
 traditions of St Nicholas 
to the united States 
including filling the toe of the stocking
 with an orange a relished mid-winter treat

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say hello from NFF! What a festive blog you have!