Tag Archives: celebration

(Cambridge) Revels Christmas 2016: “Acadian – Cajun Celebration” — Tickets Now On Sale.

by Anura Guruge


r16_webbanner_interior

Click image to access the official “revels.org” Website.


r16_webbanner_interiortickets

Click to ENLARGE to get an idea of pricing and the seating layout at the very historic, and beautiful Harvard University Sanders Theatre.


Yes, I got my tickets last night — thank you. Will be our third time in Cambridge.

We are NOT going to ‘Revels North‘ in Dartmouth (Lebanon/Hanover) this year!


Related posts:
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels: Fantabulous.
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Pictures.

++++ Search on “Revels” for many, many related posts >>>>


by Anura Guruge


Revels (Cambridge) Christmas 2016 Revels Will Be “Acadian/Cajun Celebration of the Winter Solstice”

by Anura Guruge


Click images to ENLARGE and read here.

Use this link to access the Revels (Cambridge) Website for event.

revels2016cajan


OK, I will confess to a slight sense of trepidation. Revels (North) “Early Appalachian Christmas” in 2013 proved to be somewhat subdued. OK, Revels (Cambridge) — the maestros — are not doing ‘Appalachian’ per se and they have, sensibly, grafted on Cajun which will, of course, be lively and uplifting. I am sure they will pull it off. In 2016 the plan is to JUST go to Revels Cambridge — rather than to BOTH Cambridge and Dartmouth, and pay the ‘big bucks’ for REAL good seats though the seats we had last Christmas were not bad at all. Actually they were quite good.


Related posts:
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels: Fantabulous.
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Pictures.

++++ Search on “Revels” for many, many related posts >>>>


by Anura Guruge


Britain’s Once Mighty Coal Industry — King Coal — Is Sputtering To An End.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
.
.
.
.

.
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>>
 British Pride.
>>
 British English quiz.

>> English grammar from Britain
>> Britain on ‘Poppy Watch’
>> Trevor Noah pokes fun at the British

++++ Search ‘British’ for MORE posts >>>>


coalmines

Click image to access British Sky News original.


I get British Sky News on our Roku and I try to watch as much of their news as possible since unlike the extremely parochial U.S. cable news the British news agencies make a point of covering the world.

Friday evening, with their being no new cricket of worth to watch, I spent even more timing browsing through the Sky News clips. Then I saw the above.

I was shocked. Wow.

Coal mining, for so long, has been such an integral part of our heritage. Funnily enough, just last week, the Cambridge Revels in their outstanding “Welsh Celebration“, highlighted the importance of coal mining in Welsh culture. One of the major stage props was a huge slag pile — the slag the byproduct of mining.

I still distinctly remember the coal miner strikes in the early 1970s and Margaret Thatcher’s mighty attempts to tame the unions. Those transformatives events for me.

There was the saying among cricket circles how clubs in the Midlands and Yorkshire could just go to the nearest coal mine and whistle down the shaft to recruit a fast bowler. All of that is going.

Cheap coal and natural gas from the U.S.! And they are now talking about Fracking in Britain!

Shame. Yes, mining was a hard, cruel profession and so many, for so long suffered from all the diseases associated with the coal dust. But it was a proud and well-paid profession. It is all coming to an end.

End of an Era.

Though I have no connection with miners I feel the loss. This is so much a part of our heritage.

I wish all the current miners and the ex-miners, and their families, a Merry Christmas and a hopeful 2016.


Christmas Revels North (Dartmouth) 2015 Goes Scottish — The Details.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
.

.

.
.
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>>
Christmas Revels 2015: Cambridge.
>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.

>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>

++++ Refer to ‘Highland Games’ page (↑) for other Scottish music posts ↑↑↑↑


See this introductory post about the
“Christmas Revels Scottish Highland Celebrations”


Pictures from prior Scottish Revels
— supplied by the Dartmouth HOP.

Click to ENLARGE.





Write up for the Revels North Scottish Revels
provided by Rebecca A. Bailey, Publicity Coordinator/Writer,
Dartmouth College, Hopkins Center for the Arts.

Click to image ENLARGE and
read the first few paragraphs here.

Click here to access the complete write up as a small and safe PDF.

revelsn2015intro



Alton Central School (ACS), N.H. 2015: 8th Grade Celebration, June 23rd — THE Cutest Little Baby.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
.
.
.
.
.
.
by Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> Devanee 8th Grade Celebration 2015.

++++ Search ‘ACS‘ for many, many other posts on varied topics >>>>


Click to ENLARGE.


This was at the ACS 8th Grade Celebration on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. This baby, with a bunch of family members, was right behind me. Did not make a squeak. As good as can be and as sweet as button. I do NOT know who she is who her parents are. She was just the right distance away for my Canon EFS 55 – 250 mm zoom. So I could not resist. I showed the pictures, of course, on the LCD, to her family. They, of course, liked them. As I said I don’t know who they are. BUT if they want these pictures they are ALL THEIRS. If they contact me I will even gladly givem them the full size (4MB) images that can be printed at over 10″ and will still have very good resolution.


Alton Central School (ACS), N.H. 2015: Devanee’s 8th Grade Celebration, June 23rd.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
.
.
.
.
.
.
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>>
2015 3rd grade “Wax Museum”.
>> 2015 “Winni Walk“.

>> 2015 ACS “Take A Loved For Lunch”.
>> PHMS “The Wizard Of Oz” March 27, 2015.
>> ACS West African drumming assembly.

++++ Search ‘ACS‘ for many, many other posts on varied topics >>>>


Click to ENLARGE or play the VIDEO.






ACS Middle School Chrous, with Devanee (to the far right, mainly hidden), performing at the Celebration.

Click to play 1:30 minute video.




A really CUTE baby at the Celebrations.

babyceleasasa

Click to access BIGGER pictures.


Boxing Day In New Hampshire, Or Even The U.S.; Nostalgia For A Cherished Holiday.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….

..by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Poppy Day, November 11 (Every Year), British Remembrance Day:
>>A Beautiful Tradition — Nov. 10, 2012.


Horse racing, the British sport of Kings (and Queens), on Boxing Day in England, a beloved British tradition (with lost of money getting punted that day) though snow on the ground is not a common occurrence around that time of the year (thanks to the Gulf Stream that).

Going to watch ‘Bristol City’ (whether they were in Division two, three or one), at home or sometimes away was part of my Boxing Day tradition.

It is also a BIG cricket day, albeit from the Southern Hemisphere. Typically a Test Match from Australia — as parodied by this comic. Cartoon by Nicholson from “The Australian” newspaper: http://www.nicholsoncartoons.com.au. [[Many thanks mate. Cheers.]]


I came to the States this time around in 1986 (having spent one year previously 1967 – 1968). I was living in rural Maryland, in a brand new middle-class development, 4 bedroom colonials on 4 acres each. On the 4th of July I was invited to a big cookout at a neighbor’s house; he was a Maryland State Trooper. Another neighbor, a very presentable young lady in her mid-30s approaches me and asks: “So, tell me, how do they celebrate the 4th in England?“.

To this day I am proud and relieved that I had the presence of mind to immediately respond, without batting an eyelid: “Very quietly. Very quietly.

Well, when it comes to ‘Boxing Day‘, the day after Christmas, i.e., December 26, a mandatory, cherished holiday in the U.K., that dates back centuries, things are the other way around. It is not celebrated in anyway in this country, though the Canadians (thanks to their antecedents) do indeed have it as an official holiday — as do most other Commonwealth Countries, e.g., Australia, South Africa (where they now call it ‘Goodwill Day‘) and New Zealand, though no longer in India or my Sri Lanka (both countries do having a surfeit of holidays). Some other European countries also celebrate December 26 as a holiday, but not as ‘Boxing Day’. To them it is just the second day of Christmas. As it now happens, by coincidence or otherwise, December 26 is the first day of the week long Kwanzaa. Maybe it should be made a holiday in the U.S. just on those grounds.

Despite its being so beloved in Britain, nobody actually 100% sure as to how this holiday came about and to what ‘Box’ it refers to! The theory that makes most sense is that this was the day that the workers, i.e., the serfs, got to celebrate Christmas — their services being required by their Lords and Masters on Christmas day. It is also believed to be the day that the workers got their ‘presents’ or bonuses from their master, the ‘box’ probably a reference to this. In my mind, within this context, I have images of women and children standing outside the manor house holding empty hat boxes waiting for them to be filled. As it happens, Boxing Day, December 26 is when the ‘Western Church’ celebrates “St. Stephen’s Day”, St. Stephen the Christian protomartyr, i.e., the first Christian to be martyred. So another theory is that ‘Boxing Day’ refers to the boxes left in churches, or outside churches, for collections for this Feast Day, and that the holiday per se is tied to the Feast.

In Britain Boxing Day is (or was when I lived there) a day devoted to recovering from Christmas and pursuing sports: football, cricket from down under on the telly, horse racing, possibly some rugby, and in those days (when it was legit) hunting. You could place bets on the horses and watch the races on telly. Many, including I in my 20s, would go to a football game — football violence at its height in those days. And yes, of course, we would watch cricket on the telly.

When I came to the States in 1986 as an adult (as opposed to the 14 year old) I was surprised that Boxing Day was not a holiday here, but not as surprised as I was to discover that people worked on Good Friday and Easter. I had never lived in a country where this had been the case, and I have lived in: Ceylon/Sri Lanka, France, England and Wales. Not that it really made a difference to me. I was lucky enough to be able to take off whatever days I didn’t want to work. Plus, I have been self-employed since 1992 (though to be honest I have always done some amount of work, i.e., writing, on all holidays, whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day or New Year).

Until yesterday I had never bothered to compare the U.S. holiday structure with that of the U.K. (bearing in mind that there are variations depending on whether you are talking about England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales). Then I made the following chart. The first thing that surprised me was that the U.S. had more holidays — at least at the Federal level (e.g., Columbus Day and President’s Day). The other thing is how so many of the U.S. holidays are not on fixed dates. The U.K. I realized had no real memorial days — and Poppy Day is not a holiday! Many in the U.S. may not appreciate this, but for the last 30 years or so, most professionals and office workers in the U.K. take a 10 to 11 days break over Christmas using the 5 weeks (minimum) of vacation (per year) they get. So most stop work on December 23 and don’t go back until January 2 or 3 (depending on how the weekends factor in).

So this was my little bit of nostalgia for Boxing Day. Yes, in my heart I will celebrate Boxing Day this Wednesday. More than likely, because I watch it most days, I will watch some cricket.

HolidaysUSUK

Click to ENLARGE. Comparison of the holidays in the U.S. compared to those in the U.K. Fixed day holidays that fall on weekends are invariably carried over to the next week.

Rejoice! Jump For Joy. The Winter Solstice Is Upon Us. 6:12 AM On December 21, 2012 In New Hampshire.

Winter Solstice animation.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….

..

by Anura Guruge


Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the Winter Solstice, also referred to as the ‘Southern Solstice’ (because the South Pole faces the Sun) and for obvious reasons ‘December Solstice’.

On the day of the Winter Solstice the Sun, at noon, will be at its lowest point above the horizon for the year — it will also rise at the furthest point Southeast it ever reaches during the year. The sunset that day will also be at the most Southerly point.

The Winter Solstice was a very important day in olden times. On this day the Sun God (Sol) had to be beseeched not to abandon the world, but to come back to start another year … It was one of the most important holidays of the year. ‘Christmas Revels‘ is a celebration of how various cultures dealt with this pivotal day of the year. In the 4th Century Christian leaders morphed the Solstice holiday into becoming Christmas.

Where the Sun rises in the Northern Hemisphere during the year. The Winter Solstice is to the right. Click to ENLARGE.

Where the Sun rises in the Northern Hemisphere during the year. The Winter Solstice is to the right. Click to ENLARGE.

sunsetsunriseDec2012
If you want to be pedantic, ‘solstice’ per se refers to the exact moment when the Earth ‘turns the corner’ in its orbit around the Sun. It is the exact moment when the South Pole is at its closest to the Sun for that orbit. That exact moment is fleeting. Less than a minute. It will occur tomorrow, December 21, 2012, at 11:12 AM G.M.T. For us in New Hampshire, 5 hours behind G.M.T., it will thus occur at 6:12 AM. But, we tend to call the whole day, which could fall on the 20th or 22nd of December, though the 21st is the most common, ‘Winter Solstice’.

Note that the increase in the length of the (or the decrease leading up to the Solstice) is a bit jerky varying between 4 and 5 seconds a day in the above chart. This amount changes over the year. But, the inconsistency remains. It is also worth noting that the increase in the length of the day is not evenly split between sunrise and sunset. There is always some level of asymmetry. January 4, 2013 to January 5, 2015, we gain a whole minute, but the sun rise time is the same for both days. That whole minute has to do with the sun set shifting from 4:24 pm to 4:25 pm (in Concord, NH).


The Solstices and the Equinoxes (when all of Earth get an exact 12 hours of day light) have all to do with the 4 seasons of the Earth, which in turn comes about because of the Earth’s crucial 23.5° axial tilt. That is what causes the two different hemispheres to jut out at the Sun at different angles as the Earth completes its yearly orbit around the Sun. At the Winter Solstice the Northern Hemisphere is further from the Sun, so it takes longer for sunlight to reach it. The following pictures should remind you of what the seasons and the Solstices are all about.

The Earth’s tilt towards the Sun at the Winter Solstice. See how the Northern Hemisphere is tilted back while the Southern is pushed forward (giving them Summer).

Earth’s 4 season per the Northern Hemisphere. The Winter Solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is furthest from the Sun is at the far right.


So, join me in rejoicing. The shortest day is here. Summer is on the way.

P.S., That the stupid Mayan doomsday fell on the Solstice is not a coincidence.


Click for a YouTube video of 'Susan Cooper' reciting her famous celebratory poem, always sun at 'Revels' performances just prior to the end.

Click for a YouTube video of ‘Susan Cooper’ reciting her famous celebratory poem, always sun at ‘Revels’ performances just prior to the end.


Let us conclude, as does all 'Revels' with the haunting "Sussex Mummer's Carol" and savor this day. Just for the record, I was born an grew up in Ceylon where we have NO seasons! Click for this most beautiful carol from YouTube.

Let us conclude, as does all ‘Revels’ with the haunting “Sussex Mummer’s Carol” and savor this day. Just for the record, I was born an grew up in Ceylon where we have NO seasons! Click for this most beautiful carol from YouTube.

Christmas Revels 2012 (An Irish Celebration), Dartmouth, NH: A Stupendous Success. Bravo! Thank YOU.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….

..by Anura Guruge


Related post:
[Do a blog ‘Search‘ for ‘Revels‘ for the many others >>>>]:

§  Christmas Revels At Dartmouth, NH: Tickets …Aug. 15, 2012.


Revels postcard 2012


The minimalistic, but functional, inside the R.M.S. Carpathia, set used for the entire Revels.

The minimalistic, but functional, inside the R.M.S. Carpathia, set used for the entire Revels.


Click to ENLARGE to Full Size.

Click to ENLARGE to Full Size.

To say that yesterday’s ‘An Irish Celebration‘ Christmas Revels at Dartmouth, NH, ‘warmed the cockles of my heart‘ (as the expression goes) would be a lie. It did much, much more. They ‘toasted my cockles‘! It truly was heart warming, as befits its premise of helping people overcome the shortest day of the year, i.e., the Winter Solstice, and thereby herald in the new Yule. This was an inspired multidisciplinary performance that encompassed song, dance, storytelling and narration. It made your spirits soar; made you appreciate the genius of life. I always feel privileged to attend ‘Revels’. I wish more people could attend. I am sure that the world, given what transpired in Connecticut on Friday, would be a better place if more people experienced the joy of Revels.

Yes, as a confirmed lover of the Winter Solstice I am a captive audience for the Christmas Revels. The whole theme of driving away the shortest day and looking forward to progressively longer days is one dear to me. ‘December 21‘ (or thereabouts), the Winter Solstice, the shortest day, is my favorite day of the year. To me it signifies that we have turned the corner and that Summer is on the way. I sulk on the Summer Solstice and try to explain to others that ‘June 21’ is a day of sadness. The Summer Solstice is about the coming of Winter! Starting on that day, though it is only perceived by the cognoscenti, days start getting shorter — even though at first it will only be a few seconds a day. But, nonetheless, it is the beginning of the slippery slope that takes us into the dark days of Winter. But, as the Revels testify, each year, come the Winter Solstice we reach the other side. Rejoice. Days are getting longer. Summer is on the way.

As always the cast was gifted, motivated and interactive. They really want us to have a good time, to savor the moment, contemplate life, and get the best from the holidays. That said, it is hard to ignore that among all these talented folks there are some who are exceptional, beyond exceptional. Their prowess excels. They have me, a person devoid of talent, in awe. Yes, I have done standup presentations in front of 900 people, but all I was doing was talking. These people sing, they dance, they act. They are so gifted. Bravo. Among those that really stood out, you have Danielle Cohen, Jennifer Culley Curtin, Will Thomas Rowan, Josiah Proietti and the Irish bag pipe player. [I was so glad that they got it right.] The Irish dancing was good, though much of it was done by lovely ladies who were no longer teenagers. So, though I have seen ‘River Dance‘ (in Boston) and ‘Lord of the Dance‘ (in Vegas and Portland, ME), I would rate these ladies as entertaining as any I have seen. Also kudos to the two Morris Dancers. They were outstanding. Bravo. Bravo. The Irish dancers were sporting an interesting innovation that Deanna spotted. They wore wireless microphones on their shoes (the transmitters strapped to their thighs). I have been told that this was a suggestion by Kieran Jordan, one of the dancers, and was implemented by the ever resourceful and gifted Revels creative team. Very clever. Very smart. Always a joy.

As always they had lots of kids. This year, with the tragedy in CT so close, there was special, magical meaning to seeing these kids. In one scene they all appeared, dressed in white, standing at the top railing of the ship. Wow. I didn’t count, but I guess there were between 20 and 30. Roughly the number of kids we lost in CT. Seeing these kids made you appreciate life. Why we have a duty to protect these kids.

I bought the ‘accompanying’ CD — though it was not exactly the soundtrack from this show and was done by the folks in Cambridge rather than Dartmouth.

Three songs from yesterday’s Revels really made a mark, though I was familiar with one of them — not counting ‘All Around My Hat‘. So what I did is get YouTube versions of these songs. So, these were not exactly as performed at Revels, but variants by others.


Song 12 at Revels, 'Colcannon' by Mary Black. The Revels program does mention Mary Black. Click to hear Mary Black at YouTube.

Song 12 at Revels, ‘Colcannon’ by Mary Black. The Revels program does mention Mary Black. Click to hear Mary Black at YouTube.

'An Poc Ar Buile' (The Crazy Goat) song by the Chieftains. This was song 9 and was done very well. I was very familiar with the Chieftains version. I had even heard them play it at the Albert Hall in London. Click for YouTube.

‘An Poc Ar Buile’ (The Crazy Goat) song by the Chieftains. This was song 9 and was done very well. I was very familiar with the Chieftains version. I had even heard them play it at the Albert Hall in London. Click for YouTube.

'Deck the Halls' in Gaelic, song #5 yesterday. Josiah Proietti did better than this! This is just a sampler. I have a different version on the CD I bought yesterday. Click for YouTube.

‘Deck the Halls’ in Gaelic, song #5 yesterday. Josiah Proietti did better than this! This is just a sampler. I have a different version on the CD I bought yesterday. Click for YouTube.