Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I want you to meet Dennis. He’s a huge lover of comics, (as you can tell from his awesome PJs!) And I recently found his story through Facebook.
He’s a 55 year old man, and he has a mental and physical disability, with terminal cancer. The doctors say he has about 6 months to live, so his close friends really want to make Christmas special for him this year, and the idea is to send him a Christmas card, with a picture of a superhero character that you cosplay, signed as that character.
If you want to contribute to this, or ask any questions related to this, then you can contact James Fipps on Facebook.
Now I don’t know these people, but I really wish I did. They seem to be wonderful people, and Dennis is such a strong person, I hope he has the best Christmas of his life this year!
Thank you for reading this, please do try and share this with all the Marvel & DC friends you have. Have a Super Christmas guys!
'the idea is to send him a Christmas card, with a picture of a superhero character that you cosplay, signed as that character'
That is amazing. I’m no cosplayer, but I know a bunch of you are! Dress up in your best for an awesome cause. *_*
this is wonderful. should I join?
I don’t know who to dress up as.. hmm..
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Edmund Dulac - La princesse au petit pois
I can relate - lol
Christmas History -
As we gather together to donate to the retail gods and celebrate the tradition of celebrating the birth of the one man we do not talk about anymore.. I thought it would be nice to visit the history of the holiday - :)
First, some of the greatest minds on the planet agree the Birth Date of Jesus Christ was somewhere between late March and early April - so if you are a soul of faith Easter should be your big celebration of His birthday, not Christmas as the retail nation pushes you to forget.
As long as history tracks, the pagans (anyone who is Non-Christian) have celebrated the winter solstice, as they do every other season, and a hand-full of days in-between.. It would seem as Christianity became the dominate religion in different regions, they would embrace the celebratory days of the present religion and convert them to something that fits the Christian lifestyle..
Hence celebrating Jesus’ birthday 3 or 4 months early -
As time passed, different cultures embraced this concept differently, I though it would be nice to tale a look at how other countries embrace Christmas as a retail season, and a story from their personal history.
Along with Sinterklaas, Father Christmas stands as the biggest influence in the creation of the more modern American Santa, and he is still the primary Christmas gift-giver in the holiday legends of several different countries. In his modern incarnation, Father Christmas is often indistinguishable from Santa Claus, but their origin stories are actually quite a bit different. Early versions of the character from the 1600s depict him as a merry old man clad in a green robe. At the time, he wasn’t seen as a gift-giver, but rather as the spirit of good tidings and the joy of the Christmas season. This incarnation was made famous by Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol, who used the popular conception of Father Christmas as the model for his “Ghost of Christmas Present” character. With time, though, Father Christmas merged with Santa Claus and Sinterklaas into his more modern role as a bringer of gifts to children.
The modern version of Father Christmas differs very little from Santa Claus in his gift-giving methods. Like Santa, he rides a sleigh pulled by a team of reindeer, and climbs down the chimney to leave behind gifts for nice children. Families often leave behind snacks for him and his reindeer, though these differ according to the country. His location and appearance differ as well. Some versions of the legend state that he wears a green suit instead of the more prevalent red, and he doesn’t always live in the North Pole. Some countries cite Greenland as the traditional home of Father Christmas, while others use the Lapland Province of Finland.
Krampus is the dark companion of St. Nicholas, the traditional European winter gift-bringer who rewards good children each year on December 6. The kindly old Saint leaves the task of punishing bad children to a hell-bound counterpart known by many names across the continent — Knecht Ruprecht, Certa, Perchten, Black Peter, Schmutzli, Pelznickel, Klaubauf, and Krampus. Usually seen as a classic devil with horns, cloven hooves and monstrous tongue, but can also be spotted as a sinister gentleman dressed in black or a hairy man-beast. Krampus punishes the naughty children, swatting them with switches and rusty chains before dragging them in baskets to a fiery place below.
Krampusnacht (Night of Krampus)
Krampus is celebrated on Krampusnacht, which takes place on the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day. In Austria, Northern Italy and other parts of Europe, party-goers masquerade as devils, wild-men, and witches to participate in Krampuslauf (Krampus Run). Intoxicated and bearing torches, costumed devils caper and carouse through the streets terrifying child and adult alike. Krampusnacht is increasingly being celebrated in other parts of Europe such as Finland and France, as well as in many American cities.
Sinterklaas is the Dutch version of Santa Claus. With his traditional red costume, flowing white beard, and all-around jolly demeanor, he closely resembles the more famous North American Santa, and many have claimed that he is the biggest influence in the creation of the modern day Saint Nick. Unlike Santa, Sinterklaas comes to the Netherlands ever year in late November. He is said to arrive by steamboat from Spain, and after landing he is paraded through the city streets so that he can greet all the Dutch children. Sinterklaas doesn’t use elves, but is instead assisted by Black Peter, a little boy who helps him hand out presents. There are many versions of how Black Peter came to work with Sinterklaas, some of them quite controversial. In the earliest telling, he was Sinterklaas’s black servant boy or even his slave, but other versions state that he is a type of demon. Because of the racist overtones of the old Black Peter stories, in recent years his background has been rewritten, and he is now often described as being a chimney sweep.
Unlike Santa, Sinterklaas brings children gifts on the fifth of December, a holiday designed to celebrate the historical figure of St. Nicholas. Children place their shoes by their fireplace, along with some carrots for Sinterklaas’s horse, and if they’ve been good, there will be candy and presents in the shoes come morning. Sinterklaas doesn’t leave the gifts himself; instead, Black Peter climbs down the chimney with presents for the good kids and coal or bags of salt for those who were naughty. In older versions of the legend, Black Peter would kidnap the worst of the children and take them away to Spain as punishment
The Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated January 6 with a national holiday in Italy, and the tradition of La Befana are a big part of Italian Christmas celebrations. Epiphany commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts for Baby Jesus. The traditional Christmas holiday season in Italy lasts through Epiphany.
Italy’s traditional celebration includes the tale of a witch known as La Befana who arrives on her broomstick during the night of January 5 and fills the stockings with toys and sweets for the good children and lumps of coal for the bad ones.
According to the legend, the night before the Wise Men arrived at the manger they stopped at the shack of an old woman to ask directions. They invited her to come along but she replied that she was too busy. Then a shepherd asked her to join him but again she refused. Later that night, she saw a great light in the sky and decided to join the Wise Men and the shepherd bearing gifts that had belonged to her child who had died. She got lost and never found the manger.
Now La Befana flies around on her broomstick each year on the 11th night, bringing gifts to children in hopes that she might find the Baby Jesus. Children hang their stockings on the evening of January 5 awaiting the visit of La Befana
In France he is Pere Noel
French children receive gifts from Père Noël. Père Noël travels with a companion called Père Fouettard who reminds Pere Noel of just how each child has behaved during the past year. Well behaved children receive presents. Children who have behaved badly could be spanked by Père Fouettard.
French children receive gifts from Père Noël. In some parts of France Père Noël brings small gifts on St. Nicholas Eve (December 6) and visits again on Christmas.
French children don’t leave out socks, they leave their shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts from Pere Noel. They often leave out a glass of wine for Pere Noel and a carrot for the reindeer. In the morning they also find that sweets, fruit, nuts and small toys have been hung on the tree. In some places it is Le Petit Jésus who brings the gifts. Unlike Australia, adults often wait until New Year’s Day to exchange gifts.
In some parts of France Père Noël brings small gifts on St. Nicholas Eve (December 6) and visits again on Christmas.
French children don’t lave out socks, they leave their shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts from Pere Noel. In the morning they also find that sweets, fruit, nuts and small toys have been hung on the tree. In other places it is Le Petit Jésus who brings the gifts. Unlike Australia, adults wait until New Year’s Day to exchange gifts
In Scandinavia he is known as Tomte -
A nisse (usually Norwegian) and a tomte (usually Swedish) are similar characters. They are both solitary, mischievous domestic sprites responsible for the protection and welfare of the farmstead and its buildings. Tomte literally means “homestead man” and is derived from the word tomt which means homestead or building lot. Nisse is derived from the name Nils which is the Scandinavian form of Nicholas.
…Click for the beloved Tomte books by Astrid Lindgren
A tomte is described as an older, little man about the size of a young child. He wears old often ragged clothes, usually gray or navy, and sports a bright red cap on his head. He resides in the pantry or barn and watches over the household and farm. He is responsible for the care of the farm animals, especially the horses. The tomte or nisse has an enormous capacity for work but will not tolerate anyone’s interference. It is believed that a clean and orderly home or farm is an indication that this domestic sprite resides there.
Tomtar and nisser require very little of the humans they work for. They demand only the respect and trust of the farmer and a bowl of julegrøt (Christmas porridge) with butter on Christmas Eve. These spirits will not remain in a home where respect is lacking and thus the farm will not thrive and the farmer will be reduced to poverty.
A nisse considers porridge his due and is greedy for butter.
The legend When the Nisse Got No Butter on His Christmas Porridge illustrates
the consequences of tampering with his porridge.
One Christmas Eve a servant girl decided she would play a trick on the nisse. She hid the butter for his grøt at the bottom of the bowl. When the nisse saw there was no butter on his Christmas porridge, he went to the shed and killed the best cow. He wanted to show them he did not appreciate them begrudging him a little bit of butter. He returned to the barn to eat the porridge anyway. When he discovered the butter at the bottom of the bowl, he felt so bad that he walked to the neighbor’s farm, took their best cow, and led her back to the stall of the cow he had killed.
According to legend, domestic spirits often steal from a neighbor to increase the prosperity
of the farm where they make their home. This is demonstrated in the legend The Nisse Who Stole Fodder.
There once was a farmer who had no hay left for his farm animals. He sat one day and complained about it when he heard a voice say, “I will help you”. The farmer looked around but couldn’t’t find where the voice came from. After a few days he noticed his animals were thriving although they had no food. One day the farmer decided he would take his chances and cross the ice to a neighboring village to buy some hay. When he was in the middle of the ice a small man appeared and asked where he was going. The farmer replied that he was going to buy hay. The little man said not to worry because he would help him so the farmer returned home. One night the farmer noticed by moonlight a little man leading one of his cows across the ice to a neighbor’s farm. When they returned the cow was loaded down with hay. Then the farmer realized the little man was a nisse and he had been fetching hay for the animals.
The present day version of the julenisse is very different form the legends of the domestic tomte or nisse. The julenisse is portrayed as an older, good natured, adult-sized man (not surprisingly the size of an uncle or father) with a long white beard and a red hat and suit. He carries a sack of toys on his back, visits children in their homes on Christmas Eve and always asks, “Are there any good children here?” (“Er det noen snille barn her?”). Many Scandinavian children also believe he lives at the North Pole where he has a workshop.
The Norwegian julenisse is very much like the American Santa Claus and is based upon the German legend of St. Nicholas (nisse is a derivative of Nicholas), who was the patron saint of children and seamen. He was known for his many kind acts toward children.
In Sweden the jultomte is accompanied by the Christmas goat who pulls his sleigh as he delivers gifts to the children’s homes. In pagan times, the god Thor was believed to ride across the sky in a chariot pulled by two goats. Christians adopted the goat as a Christmas symbol. The chained figure of a buck is a representation of Lucifer who was conquered by the good Saint Nicholas and is destined to accompany his master on his journey to distribute gifts to the children. Today the goat is a benign straw figure but still a very well-known Christmas symbol.
Legends of the domestic nisse and tomte meet the modern day version of the julenisse or jultomte in the tradition of leaving a bowl of julegrøt with butter out in the barn or in the house for them on Christmas Eve.
This tradition is still practiced in Scandinavian homes.
Visit the Tomtar & Nisser that wait to guard your home…
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Duncan Royale Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden
A Russian tale tells of a woodcutter and his wife who were childless. They were a good and kind couple but they were lonely. One winter day, to ease their loneliness, they began to roll large snowballs. together, and in short while they made a “snequrochka“, a Snow Maiden. She looked so beautiful that they called her their ‘daughter’.
At that same moment, hiding and crackling among the fir trees, was Grandfather Frost. He was an old winter god with a long, white beard and he carried a great staff that was filled with wonderful magic. He had overheard the couple and felt sorry for them. For people who were kind and good always touched his heart. And so he raised his great staff and suddenly the Snow Maiden came to life.
Some said the Snow Maiden was the daughter of Grandfather Frost and Mother Snow, sent to comfort the couple for a time. Others said she was really a spirit-princess come to earth. Whatever her nature, she remained with the couple as a true and dutiful daughter would be.
Now as spring approached and people began to leave their houses, the Snow Maiden fell in love with a young man from the village. But the price of surrendering her heart in love would be to lose her human mortality. Grandfather Frost continued to watch her from a distance for he knew what would soon happen to her.
One day she was walking with her beloved through a birch wood. The youth played his flute; the Snow Maiden walked beside him turning her face to the sun. Suddenly she gave the faintest sigh and began to melt. She was still a creature of ice and snow and could not stand the springtime sun. Soon there was nothing left but an icy mist, drifting upward into the blue sky. The frail creature could not survive the breath of spring.
But her spirit had leapt into the waiting arms of Grandfather Frost and Mother Snow and they carried her away over the stars to the far north where she plays all through the summer on the frozen seas.
But each year in winter, on the first day of the New Year, Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden return to Russia. And they continue to work their magic for those who are kind and good. And they visit, in particular, the children, bringing them gifts and helping them to make their dreams come true, as they did long ago for the woodcutter and his wife.
It’s nice to be home :)
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
December 8, 1980 - John Lennon was shot by Mark David Chapman at the entrance of the building where he lived, The Dakota, in New York City. He had just returned from Record Plant Studio with his wife, Yoko Ono.
R.I.P John Lennon
We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.