Learn to Fly

You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.

(Rumi, 1207-1273)

Joyous Kwanzaa

Founded by Dr Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa runs from December 26 to January 1. It is inspired by the First Fruits Festivals celebrated by the Nguni peoples of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and Swaziland; as well as Juneteenth (June 19, Freedom Day) celebrating the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865.

Kwanzaa (Swahili for first fruits) celebrates the 7 principles of African heritage (Nguzo Saba) : Umoja Unity, Kujichagulia Self-determination, Ujima Collective Work and Responsibility, Ujamaa Cooperative Economics, Nia Purpose, Kuumba Creativity, Imani Faith.

During the week-long celebration of Kwanzaa, seven candles are placed in the kinara (Swahili for candle holder) – 3 red on the left, 3 green on the right, and a single black candle in the center. The black candle is lit first, then each day it alternates between red and green, each candle representing the principle of the day.

Special symbols and decorations are used, certain clothing is worn, there is drumming, music is played, readings related to the day’s principle are discussed, and Kwanzaa foods and drinks are shared. After 53 years, Kwanzaa is now celebrated not only in the United States, but also in Canada, parts of Europe, Jamaica and Brazil.

To those who celebrate, I wish you a Joyous Kwanzaa!

To learn more please visit: https://www.deviantart.com/falsedelic/art/Kinara-model-575065635, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa, http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml

12 Days of Christmas

The 12 days of Christmas runs from December 25 to January 5. January 6 is Epiphany, celebrating the coming of Magi (3 Kings Day). Epiphany Eve, January 5 is also known as Twelfth Night.

The 12 days of Christmas was originally a chant, with French origins. In 1780, it was published for the first time in England, in Mirth without Mischief. As part of game played on Twelfth Night, the poem was to be recited and if you made a mistake you had to pay a forfeit – give a treat, trinket or kiss.

On the first day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
a partridge in a pear tree

On the second day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree

On the third day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
3 French hens......

On the fourth day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
4 calling birds...

On the fifth day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
5 gold rings...

On the sixth day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
6 geese a-laying ...

On the seventh day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
7 swans a-swimming

On the eighth day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
8 maids a-milking ...

On the ninth day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
9 ladies dancing ...

On the tenth day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
10 lords a-leaping ...

On the eleventh day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
11 pipers piping ...

On the twelfth day of Christmas my dear love gave to me
12 drummers drumming ...

(Frederic Austin, 1909. arranged to traditional folk melody)

Learn more about the tune at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_Days_of_Christmas_(song)

Learn more about the 12 days of Christmas celebration : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Days_of_Christmas

Christmas Waltz

Originally released as the B-side to the famous White Christmas, this fabulous Christmas tune was written on a hot, dry California summer day, at the request of Frank Sinatra.

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
May your New Year dreams come true

Frosted window panes
Candles gleaming inside
Painted candy canes on the tree
Santa’s on his way
He’s filled his sleigh with things
Things for you and for me

It’s that time of year
When the world falls in love
Every song you hear seems to say
Merry Christmas
May your New Year dreams come true
And this song of mine
In three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours
The same thing too

(Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne, 1954)
Frank Sinatra : https://youtu.be/OfmcEok4mkE



	

Happy Hanukkah

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, will be celebrated in 2019 from sundown December 22 to sundown December 30.

It commemorates the victory of the Maccabees, after a 3 year battle, to liberate the Land of Israel from the Syrian Greeks, who occupied it. Under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Syrian Greeks had imposed their culture, defiled the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, and banned Jewish practices.

A miracle is said to have occurred during the re-dedication of the Holy Temple and the restoration of its menorah, or lamp. Only one vial of oil was found for the Temple lamp with just enough oil to illuminate it for just one day, and yet it lasted for eight full days.

To honour this miraculous event, families will light one new candle in their menorah for 8 days, eat special foods, sing Hanukkah songs, play Hanukkah games with family and friends.

To all who celebrate, I wish you a happy and joyous Hanukkah.

Learn more at: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/hanukkah-2019/ and https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/hanukkah-history/

Solstice Evergreen

December 21 – the longest night of this year, also known by some as Midwinter. A time to celebrate the returning of the sun and the lengthening of days.

It came as a scene from an old picture postcard
of Victorian ladies with skates on their feet
of ponds frozen over and boughs hung with ice tips
and through frosty panes watched the snow and the sleet
and the smoke ventured out from the soot blackened chimneys
and shimmered beneath an icy cold moon
but inside an evergreen stands in the corner
and a bright blazing fire to keep out the gloom

There’s holly and ivy and white mistleberry
the sun is in hiding his face he can’t show
so fill up your glasses so we can be merry
while rosy red cheeks by the fire light glow

Under the street lights they’ll gather together
their shivering voices will ring out with song
to sing in the Yule regardless of weather
and brighten the darkness all the night long
and the mummers perform their plays from the ages
in comes King George a man of courage bold
while out in the orchard we’ll go wassailing
and sup on spiced cider to keep out the cold

There’s holly and ivy and white mistleberry
the sun is in hiding his face he can’t show
so fill up your glasses so we can be merry
while rosy red cheeks by the fire light glow

The holly and oak king are now changing places
And Jack Frost is wearing his new winter vest
While out in the wood pile old Jack Green is sleeping
To awaken in spring from his long dreamy rest
So on this Yule tide we’ll gather together
Beneath the sign of the ancient god’s horns
As the new year beckons through cold misty weather
We’ll raise a toast as the sun is reborn

There’s holly and ivy and white mistleberry
the sun is in hiding his face he can’t show
so fill up your glasses so we can be merry
while rosy red cheeks by the fire light glow

(Spiral Dance, 2006: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wENAJLy68nI)





Those Winter Sundays

 Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

(Robert Hayden, 1966: https://youtu.be/ECgRLTfu6gc)

I've Got Everything I Need, Almost

In 2019, Downchild has been celebrating 50 years of making sweet Canadian blues. The cherry on the cake has been having their song I’ve Got Everything I Need, Almost inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Congrats gents, long may you play!

I got everything I need, almost
I got everything I need, almost
But I don't have you
And you're the thing I need the most

I got a car that I bought
Won't get me far
I gotta wish on a star
That you'll be mine

I got everything I need, almost
I got everything I need, almost
But I don't got you
And you're the thing I need the most

I got friends who like me
Cause I got lots of dough
The people recognize me
Wherever I go
I don't got trouble gettin' high
But if I don't get you I believe I will die

I got everything I need, almost
I got everything I need, almost
But I don't got you
And you're the one I need the most

(Don Walsh, 1973: https://youtu.be/JAWjSkbPC2o)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

 Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

(Robert Frost, 1923)

Snow Day

Growing up in the countryside of south-western Ontario, we definitely knew what winter was all about. We were bussed to school and the drivers were fearless. Some could navigate the unplowed roads and through near blow outs as they had driven the roads every day for years.

I can recall one day having a neighbour stop the bus and haul me and his kids off for he had just found out that the school was closed for a snow day! Another day, the bus came along just to tell everyone on the route that the schools were closed, and then I had to crawl over the ice-covered road to get home as it was too windy to walk.

 Struck brightly by the winter
When the snow falls thick and silent
I can only hear you breathing

I will follow a set of deep tracks
Other people all stay hidden
As the cars rest under snow drifts

So clearly the dark sky
Appears framed by cables
So clearly your breath's white
As you struggle to tell

That the people we have become
Still lay awake hoping to hear airwaves
Say snow day, snow day
Snow day, snow day

Snow day, snow day
Snow day, snow day
Snow day, snow day

As the day goes gray to grayer
We don't think of all the struggle
In our footsteps, it's behind us

So clearly your eyes framed in the light decaying
So quiet your words stood out when you were saying
The people we have become
All know there's more than the setting sun
Snow day, snow day
Snow day, snow day

We can want more
We'll find out in the new morning
We can want more
We'll wait up to hear closings

We can want more
We'll find out in the new morning
We can want more
We'll wait up to hear closings

(Matt Pond PA, 2005:https://youtu.be/NiP6JhZ_Lis)
%d bloggers like this: