Monday, 20 December 2010

Welcome to One Stop Poetry - A Christmas Tour Around the World

Welcome to One Stop Poetry. As we begin the week of Christmas, we want to recognize the importance of families and friends. Because of that One Shot Wednesday will open earlier on Tuesday in order for last submissions (that can be considered for the anthology). Thursday will be a time to write poetry in honor of those we love (i.e. parent or grandparents) who we miss during this time of the year. You may have a poem written to honor that person or a Christmas memory that you would like to share.

Christmas Eve will be a story (based on a true story); one that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Christmas Day and Boxing Day (UK) will be observed as holidays for you to enjoy (off-line). Though we will probably post a poetry prompt for you die-hard bloggers.

We wanted to start the week by learning about different cultures and how the Christmas holiday is celebrated. Celebrations may include many things: food, songs, things the family or community does. There are things your family does that is it's own unique celebration. We would love for you to share how you celebrate. You could write a poem about your celebration or a funny story. Please feel free to link in and/or share in the comment box.

The One Stop Poetry Team (Adam, Brian, Chris, Claudia, Gay, Leslie, Pete) would like to wish you and yours a wonderful holiday.

We asked Claudia to share her traditions from Germany to kick us off.



Oh sing me silent Holy Night

When I was asked to write about how we Germans celebrate Christmas and what kind of traditions we have, my ambivalent relationship with traditions was the first thing that jumped to my mind and with it this story...

As I thought, a Christmas tree had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, I refused to have one for years...and how our children suffered as everyone else had one of course! As I didn't change my mind, one Christmas Eve, my eldest daughter (she must have been six or seven then) told me, this year we will have a tree as she had crafted one herself - and there it stood in our living room - made of a broomstick and colored paper...so we were celebrating Christmas around this broomstick tree and from then on  - we started to have real christmas trees...

So the Christmas tree is one tradition we have - in 95% of the German households it's a genuine tree, cut in a forest. Usually we put it up in the living room the day before Christmas Eve and leave it there until the 6th of January.

The Advent wreath is my personal favorite Christmas tradition, dating back to 1839.
Pastor Wichern was at this time the leader of an asylum for homeless boys in Hamburg (The Rough House) and in the dining room, he hang up a huge cartwheel for "his" boys with 19 small and 4 big candles and every evening, the boys would light another candle to show them, there's hope in their
hopelessness.

Something you might know is the "Star of Herrnhut" which was the Christmas challenge for the boys of the Missionaries home Niesky in Herrnhut/Germany by their math teacher in 1821 - and since then re-built a million times and well known in most countries of the world.



And it was Martin Luther who re-arranged the date when the children would get their Christmas presents from the 6th of December to the 24th of December.

The reason for changing the date was that he said: Nicolaus was a good man, but can't help us any more - but on Christmas, God gave us his only son and every year this gives us a reason to celebrate. His wife and all the people in this small church in Wittenberg didn't like this at first - until
he introduced the song he has written for this Christmas celebration in 1535 - > "Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her" - > "From heaven above I come"

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs and we used to sing it a lot with the children. And one year, we went skiing and Tim, my son (he was quite small then) was sitting in the chair lift and singing full sound "From heaven above I come...." and all the people around were smiling...

So we will decorate our Christmas tree on the 22nd or 23rd of December - will go to church on the 24th at around 5pm - then have Christmas Dinner with the family (Fondue most years) , sing the first stanza (we only know the first stanza by heart..) from all the christmas songs that jump to our mind with me playing the guitar and then unpack presents under the Christmas tree.

Last but not least, let me share a Christmas poem and then extend my German Christmas experience to a tour round the world...

~ Claudia


Oh Sing me silent Holy Night

oh sing me silent holy night
when angels held their breath in awe
and wonders tender, true and raw

were born just when the time was right
I can’t hold on to what is wrong
my soul entwined in brightest light

with him who's stronger than the law
oh sing me silent holy night

(Claudia Schönfeld)


this is an Octain -
a new poem structure, created  by One Stop's featured friend Luke Prater.
We will have an opportunity to learn more about this style in the New Year.




Please Join Us in a Christmas Tour Around the World..


The Wise Men photograph courtesy of Creative Commons and Visual Panichttp://www.flickr.com/photos/visualpanic/314708685/


20 comments:

One Stop - The Place For Poets, Writers and Artists said...

As you put the last preparations on your celebration, we would love to peek in on those preparations for a wee bit.

Thanks to each of you for the weekly support you give to each other; a community is just that.

Again warmest greetings to each of you from One Stop Poetry!

Brian Miller said...

merry christmas everybody! our traditions run much the same...dinner with fam on shristmas eve (my mom always makes brussel sprouts...nasty things) we open presents on christmas (not early) and dinner with fam again christmas afternoon. nice octain claudia...

Wysteria said...

I hope I didn't get too much off the traditional highway here. But it was fun to bring those memories up again for a laugh!

Thanks

Wysteria

lukepraterswordsalad said...

great Octain Claudia! Also very interesting to learn about Christmas in Germany, particularly Luther changing the date of the present-giving.

Warmest regards to One Stop and all....

Luke @ WordSalad

dustus said...

Way to kick off this week's special festivities! While growing up, Christmas was always my favorite holiday. Our traditional routine remains similar to what is described in the post, sans brussel sprouts lucikly. lol (w/you on that one, Bri) Very nice use of "The Prater" form, Claudia. Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Beachanny said...

Happy Holidays this wondrous season to everyone around the world especially our many multi-cultural and multi-ethnic artists. We are sending you our wishes for peace and good will now and throughout 2011!
Claudia, thank you for the story of your Christmas traditions and for hosting another wonderful day @onestoppoetry.

moondustwriter said...

I think it's funny that my compadres assume everyone knows what we do in America to celebrate Christmas. There are many aspects of Christmas that reflect the cultures that our ancestors brought with them to America. We live in a farming community that is Dutch. The Dutch have a rich heritage of foods and decorations they bring to our Christmas celebration. Unlike many cultures, we decorate as early as a month before Christmas. The Christmas tree is a central part of our celebration. Many people celebrate their Christmas day with an early morning because the children have discovered the presents put under the Christmas tree by Santa the night before. The day progresses with family and friends spending time together.
On my blogsite are some Christmas traditions shared by my friends in Ukraine.

Maureen said...

I have a poem about Christmas but I'm posting it tomorrow.

Pete Marshall said...

merry christmas evrybody and thankyou for your continued support of One Stop Poetry...firstly bah humbug to all you brussel sprout haters...they make the Christmas dinner..along with chestnuts and pig in blankets...

christmas in the uk is very much an occasion of drinking...then drinking more..then drinking a lot more and then sleeping with the boss's wife..well it is Christmas!!!!

seriously...however..1st December up goes the tree and the decorations...Christmas Eve is spent with the inlaws...gifts are exchanged but never opened...for some evening or midnight mass is observed...Christmas morning the children wake up as early as they possibly can and follow the gliter trail from the bedroom fireplaces through the hallway..done the stairs and into the lounge to find a tree awash with gifts...christmas moring is a tradional english breakfast..followed a couple of hours later by a full christmas dinner....the complete works...if i can still move after eating then i havent eaten enough..

we dont have family around Christmas day as this is a day for the kids to play and enjoy themselves with their new gifts...the next day however is Boxing day and this is when we travel to my sisters, where my mum, dad brother and his family and my sister and hers can all get together and enjoy each others company...

there are plenty of traditions in the Uk for Christmas, some very bizarre...a ginger haired person should never be the first to cross your threshold on Christmas morning as this will bring bad luck for the coming year....

Merry Christmas...Pete

moondustwriter said...

Thanks pete - would love to know what a traditional English Breakfast is and pigs in a blanket here are hotdogs rolled in biscuits and cooked. What are they there???

I'm getting hungry with all this talk of food. Bah humbug -don't pass the brussel sprouts. My girls and I are making our special array of christmas cookies to give to neighbors and friends today - wish I could send you each a plate.

Claudia said...

wow moonie - this sounds fantastic - maybe we can download a plate...haven't baked one single christmas cookie this year - hubby and daughter were baking some while i was reading OSW poems...

Rallentanda said...

My first time here. Mine is called " December ". A lovely summer month here in the southern hemisphere.

Hope said...

oh, Claudia, thank you so much for sharing this. Very interesting indeed!

Beautiful poem!

Mama Zen said...

I love the octain, Claudia!

One Stop - The Place For Poets, Writers and Artists said...

Thanks to Nancy for sharing her new book details with us. Her publishing house is also looking for poets. If you are interested please contact us.

Chris G. said...

Thanks for sharing a bit of the holiday experience with us today, Claudia, and for starting off the week with that lovely octain of yours. Would've never guessed Luther changed the date...interesting bit of history for us all!

Hope everyone's holiday week is off to a splendid start.

Melissa Campbell said...

I love your beautiful poem Claudia!

My mom went through the same thing with the Christmas tree, as did I. But we have found a way to honor Christmas with their beauty. Thank you so much for sharing.

I posted the wrong link here (#7)--this is my One Shot this week. I will re-post. Sorry everyone!

Blessings of joy, peace and abundance at Christmas and in the new year!

Michelle Cox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle Cox said...

Just realized I left my link on the wrong post...it is meant for Wednesday's post ( I was a bit in a hurry this morning)...and I am new here!

Hopefully I will be able to repost it later :)

Jack Thompson said...

Just Me, Your Christmas poem is a wonderful, heartfelt poem! Happy holidays!