Volume XI, Issue 51 ~ December 18-24, 2003

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Not Just for Kids

Holiday Folktales from Far and Wide
by Martha Blume

Folktales are passed down from one generation to the next to send the stories of a culture from the past into the future. Go to the library and you’ll find many folktales related to our winter celebrations. Here are a few to amuse and enlighten.

The Legend of the Poinsettia
Retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola (Scholastic Inc., 1994)
Lucida is a little girl living in a village in Mexico who needs a Christmas miracle and finds one in the presence of the Christ child. This story is similar to other Christmas folktales, like Amahl and the Night Visitors and The Little Drummer Boy, where a humble child, needing a miracle in her own life, finds the gift she needs by giving all that she has.

The Runaway Latkes
By Leslie Kimmelman (Albert Whitman & Co., 2000)
This tale is based on a very familiar story about another confection that ran away from its baker. See if you can guess which one. In The Runaway Latkes, Rebecca is frying latkes for a Hanukkah party when they escape from the pan and begin a hilarious chase across town.

How the Reindeer Got Their Antlers
By Geraldine McCaughrean (Holiday House, 2000)
This tale is modeled after the African legends like “How the Leopard Got Its Spots.” Embarrassed by the ‘crown’ bestowed on them by the Maker, the reindeer flee to the “farthest, coldest regions of the earth.” But one Christmas Eve, the reindeer find that their antlers are just what is needed to make some Christmas magic.

Seven Spools of Thread
By Angela Shelf Medearis (Albert Whitman & Co., 2000)
In a small African village lived an old man and his seven quarrelsome sons. When their father died, he left them with a challenge that must unite them. As they strove to meet their father’s challenge, they learned the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

About the Celebrations
Hanukkah is the oldest of the three winter festivals. Over 2000 years ago in ancient Judea, now Israel, a small group of Jews rebelled against the King of Syria. He required them to bow down and worship his statue in their temple, but that was against the law of God. The Jews won the rebellion. To rededicate their temple to God, they went to light the menorah, a candelabrum symbolizing the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people. But there was only enough oil to fuel the menorah for one night. Miraculously, one day’s lamp oil burned for eight days and nights. The eight days of Hanukkah correspond to the miracle of the oil in the Temple. Today, foods cooked in oil like latkes — potato pancakes — celebrate that miracle.

Christmas is the feast of the birth of Jesus Christ. It has been celebrated by Christians since the fourth century. The word Christmas comes from Old English words Cristes Maess or Christ’s Mass. A mass is a religious service. Over the years, pagan traditions celebrating the winter solstice have intermingled with Christian traditions celebrating the birth of Christ.

Kwanzaa is a very new celebration compared to Christmas and Hanukkah. It is a cultural, rather than a religious, holiday begun in America in 1966 and celebrated by people of African descent all over the world. Dr. Maulana Karenga, created Kwanzaa, which means ‘first fruits’ in Swahili. The celebration, based on ancient African harvest traditions, emphasizes community spirit and cooperation. It centers on seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work, co-operative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Kids’ Stuff

Friday, December 19
Charlotte’s Holiday Adventure
Kids ages 3 and up learn what Charlotte and her grandmother are up to this holiday season in The Lost Caravan’s children’s theatre production Charlotte’s Holiday Adventure. Hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly, chips, drink and dessert for lunch. 11:30am doors open; noon lunch; 12:30pm show @ Chesapeake Music Hall, Busch’s Frontage Rd., Annapolis. $12 includes lunch and show; rsvp: 410/626-7515 • www.chesapeakemusichall.com.

Saturday, December 20
Picture Books Explained
Kids ages 4-7 learn how picture books are made from local illustrator Rose Houghton. Kids make their own picture books to take home. 10-11am @ Chesapeake Children’s Museum, Silopanna Rd., Annapolis. free w/museum admission: 410/990-1993 • www.theccm.org.

Nature’s Flyers
Kids ages 3-5 learn about how birds fly and what they eat while viewing some close up. 10-11am @ Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, Gray’s Rd. off Sixes Rd., Prince Frederick. $3 w/discounts; rsvp: 410/535-5327.

Worth the Trip
Barney Comes to Baltimore
Dec. 19-21–The big purple dinosaur, Barney, and friends sing and dance in a live stage show for youngsters. 7pm Dec. 19; 11am and 2:30pm Dec. 20; 1:30pm and 5pm Dec. Dec. 21 @ 1st Mariner Arena, 201 West Baltimore St., Baltimore. $30-$10: 410/481-7328 • www.1stmarinerarena.com.

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Calling Chesapeake Country’s 2003 Babies

We’re collecting pictures of Bay Weekly’s newest readers to spotlight on our last “Not Just For Kids” page of the year.

Send your favorite baby picture (with baby’s and parents’ name and address; baby’s birthdate; your name and address) to: Bay Weekly P.O. Box 358 Deale, MD 20751 (original photos will be returned) or e-mail: [email protected].

Send digital photos in .TIF or .JPEG format at 150 dpi, no smaller than three inches wide.

Photos must be received by Thursday, December 18. We’ll send family and baby a souvenir copy!



© COPYRIGHT 2003 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
Last updated December 18, 2003 @ 2:59am.