December 2011 - Page 2 of 14 - Trails of Hats'n Hospitalitea

Archive for December, 2011

The A-Z of Christmas ~ Z

letter z

~Zwarte Piet

On the evening of December 5th, a folklore and legend of Netherlands repeats. Sinterklass resembles the holiday figure of Santa Claus and Zwarte Piet is his helper who became black from the soot of the chimneys he went up and down. 


strooigoed candiesThe characters of Zwarte Pieten appears only in the weeks before Saint Nicholas’s feast, first when the saint is welcomed with a parade as he arrives in the country usually by boat.  The Zwarte Pieten job were mainly to amuse children, and to scatter strooigoedies (special sinterklaas candies) to those children who were being good.

This is the way Wikipedia would want you to understand it in the world of today.  However I have a further belief of Zwarte Piet and just today I have made a discovery that I never knew.  Perhaps Zwarte Piet was a helper of Sinterklass, but he was also a figure that was used to threaten children into behaving.  gollywogI can remember being told by mom if I didn’t behave then black piet would come and get me.  She also bought me a doll one year for Christmas that was black and looked to me like it had been just the opposite of a Raggedy Anne doll.  I never was allowed to take it out of the house and it disappeared as fast as it appeared.  I never knew what it was and didn’t bother to find out.  While searching for Zwarte Piet this morning I came across many articles on the golliwog.  The golliwog is this rag doll I got one year and disappeared. I was always told that I would be sold to the Gypsies or the golliwogs would come for me.  I found out this morning that golliwogs were bad thieves.  If you read the story of the golliwogs, it was a character that was made for a children’s book.  I am able to put another horrible childhood memory to rest and not to late as it is Christmas morning and a great day awaits me. 

 This has been my Z of Christmas. It also concludes my A – Z of Christmas.  It is Christmas morning, the sun is starting to come up and I see that Santa has been in the night and filled our stockings that we laid under the tree.  Remember to put baby Jesus in the manger this morning, love one another, give thanks and praise for this is the day.  

Merry Chirstmas Happy Birthday Jesus

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The A-Z of Christmas ~ Y

letter y~ Yule

~ York, PEI



yuleYule, was an ancestral tradition that was a celebration of the dark half of the year ending with the light half.  In many religions this is a holy day and is known as the winter solstice.  On the Winter Solstice Night our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King and the Giver of Life which was the Sun that warmed the frozen earth. Each day after would become longer and the Winter days would grow into Spring. 

In celebration, bonfires were lit in the fields, and toasts of spiced cider were had. Children made gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges on top of  evergreen boughs and long stalks of wheat laid in baskets and given as gifts. yule log candleThe ceremonial Yule log was usually harvested from the land owner’s land or given as a gift.  It was dragged into the house and decorated with seasonal greenery, drenched in cider and dusted with flour then lit on fire with a piece of the log from last years log (intentionally kept for this purpose.

Today we continue the Yule log tradition with a common practice of a smaller branch cut in half with three drilled holes on the top to hold candles with the sides decorated in greenery, gold bows, rosebuds and cloves.



~ York, PEI

York is north east of Charlottetown where the Confederation Trail crosses route 25.  It is also home to Vessey’s Seeds a well known lawn and garden shop that I used to order seeds from when I lived in Ottawa and now I can drive 10 minutes up the road and stroll the gardens and gift shop.

~Y’all have to excuse me, this is a message for my daughter.

Jennifer mommy loves you and misses you with all my heart.  I have memories of Christmas morning when you three would wake early and I could hear you whisper to the two others to stay quiet, “mom’s tired”, you would tell them. You are  kind and giving and always thinking of others. Like the time you read the news paper and a lady was moving away to Saskatchewan and couldn’t take her dog with her. You phoned her and told her you would look after her dog Tippy. A little old overweight Beagle that was  never house trained and would run down the hall and when she came to a stop she tipped over. I know how much you miss the snow and today as the sun is coming up we have a lot to share.  window lightsNotice how the light reflects in the window. A candle of light is a symbol and used to be a tradition practiced throughout the year. It symbolizes the warmth and security of the family hearth and signals loyalty to family members and loved ones who are not present in the home. I will spend Christmas without my little girl this year and you are doing the same. Life isn’t far and it comes with many disappointments and sometimes I think the disappointments are tests, tests to build strength within ourselves to overcome the next life crisis.  Abuse is what it is, you were able to get out where many have not. An abuser doesn’t stop; as you know… for today that same abuser was able to abuse the court system to take your little girls away just before Christmas day.  Light candles in your windows today and go to Church tomorrow with tears in your eyes, love in your heart knowing the girls are thinking of their mom every minute of the day.

This has been my Y of Christmas. Tomorrow join me while I have a Z of Christmas, challenging as this may be, so be life.

…The Island is in disbelief as people gather to say good bye to Mitch MacLean and Tanner Craswell. Shayna Conway remains in hospital. Family members and friends say goodbye to Tabitha Stepple. The shooter Derek Jensen.  May the families of the 4 dead find peace,  and Shayna Conway wishes of recovery both mind and body.  A sad Christmas for many.


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