The Holiday season is a time when cheer and goodwill abound. All things seem possible, perhaps because it brings out the child in all of us. We once again feel capable of the creativity, the imagination, and the joyful, courageous abandon of our youth. We want to indulge ourselves with the sights, sounds and traditions of all the seasonal celebrations. What better place to find out how, than at your Abilene Public Library?
There are many books at the library to guide you through gift and decoration preparations, decorating your home and preparing most any type of food for any holiday celebration. And, there are books and other resources on the history and many traditions of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice or Yule...and even Festivus (for the rest of us)!
If you'd like to learn the history and tradition behind your holiday celebrations, the library's Reference section has some good sources. You might want to look at The Folklore of American Holidays, or Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary. Finding out what kind of parties and celebrations others hold worldwide could give you some new ideas for your own holiday fun.
While most people know lots about Christmas, perhaps you’d like to learn more about other holiday traditions. Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is already underway this year. The eight day celebration began last night, and goes through December 30th. Children’s books can be a great way to learn quickly about subjects, and we have many of them on Hanukkah. However, also take a look at cookbooks, because through traditional recipes, one can learn a lot. The Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook: Traditional Recipes from Contemporary Kosher Kitchens edited by Joan Schwartz Michel, will certainly give you a better understanding of Hanukkah.
Kwanzaa is a holiday tradition that is based on the “first harvest” celebrations in Africa. It lasts for an entire week, and this year begins on December 26th. Kwanzaa includes people gathering together to celebrate, acknowledging the creator and thanking him for his blessings, a commemoration of the past, a re-commitment to African cultural thought and a time to celebrate community. Again, your library has many children’s books explaining this cultural celebration which will also benefit adults.
You can also find out more about some of the lesser known holidays at this time of year, such as Winter Solstice or Yule, which actually occurred on Saturday, December 21st. Yule: a Celebration of Light & Warmth by Dorothy Morrison presents a wonderful potpourri of holiday lore from around the world and throughout history on this yearly milestone marking the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun. In Yule: Rituals, Recipes, and Lore for the Winter Solstice by Susan Pesznecker, the Wiccan view of this celebration of the shortest day of the year is presented with an eye towards the rebirth, promise and growing light of the coming spring.
Perhaps as a fan of the television show “Seinfeld” you have embraced the Festivus celebration. Seinology: the Sociology of Seinfeld by Tim Delaney, will give you the background on this holiday “for the rest of us” that is celebrated today. This show’s view of religious holidays and their commercialization is a fun take.
Whatever form your holiday celebrations take, a visit to either Abilene Public Library location can only make them more festive. Please come by and find some "Season's Readings" with us!
Article Contributed by Janis C. Test, Information Services Manager