Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas to all...

This is the first year I'm participating in the Virtual Advent Tour and I'm so excited! Click the picture link to take you to the tour's blog and check out all the other Christmas awesome-ness!

There is a lot of tradition that goes into Christmas in my family, so today I wanted to talk about two of my favorites.

My family has always been extremely musical, and we all enjoy musical theater. So several years ago we decided to check out the Puget Sound Revels, which are an affiliate of the Revels which began in Cambridge in the 70s. What is the Revels? It's a little hard to explain, but I'll try because it is just so awesome. Basically, the Revels is a musical celebration of Christmas (though some of the groups in different areas put on other seasonal shows). Each year there is a different influence (like Italian Renaissance, Medieval England, or French Canadian) and the Revelers put on a show of traditional Christmas song, dance, and pantomime. I say Christmas, but actually a lot of it is even pre-Christian and so is really a celebration of Yule and the changing seasons rather than Christmas. So when I say traditional music, I mean REALLY traditional. It's a lot of fun. The music is great, the performers are great, and there's even lots of audience participation. Every year I hope they pull my dad up onstage. It hasn't happened yet, but there's always next year. There are carols that are printed in the program so that the audience can sing along when the time comes, and every year at the end of Act One, they do a Morris dance to the song "Lord of the Dance" which ends with everyone in the audience grabbing hands and dancing through the aisles and eventually up on stage with the Revelers. I've only managed to get onstage once, but like I said I can always try again next year. Watch the video below to see "The Lord of the Dance" complete with audience dancing by the end, and to get an idea of the show.



This year (this past Sunday) was my fifth time seeing the Christmas Revels. Past themes were Medieval England, Elizabethan England, French Canadian, and Eastern Europe. This year was Moorish and Sephardic songs from the Ottoman Empire, taking place when the Jews were expelled from those lands and fled to places like England. Going to see the Revels is one of the highlights of my Christmas season, and I would HIGHLY recommend the show to anyone. If you click the link here you can find out more and see if there is a Christmas Revels near you (there aren't too many off the coasts unfortunately).

My other Christmas tradition I wanted to mention is much more bookish. Seeing as this is my book blog I felt there should be something bookish in my post. We have had this one Christmas book in my family since I can remember, The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury. And since I've been little we've done just that. Every Christmas Eve, my family sits around the tree and we pass this book around and read aloud the stories and poems and songs. I think originally we read different things each year, but over time we became attached to certain stories so now we always repeat the same ones. My dad always reads the story of Babushka, and I always read the story of the little blue dishes and read the thank you note poem. My sisters and I are all in our 20s now, but still, Christmas can't start until we've read our stories. Well, these are my Christmas traditions and I hope you enjoyed them!

9 comments:

sprite said...

I'm singing along with the chorus of "Lord of the Dance" as I type. My college used to have (still does, for that matter) a version of Revels, called Make We Joy, which was always packed. Everyone danced up and down the aisles of the chapel. It was great.

I keep meaning to get to the one that G.W. puts on, but never seem to make it in time. As you say, though, there's always next year...

Veronica said...

Sprite, there is always next year and I say GO FOR IT! I just can't imagine Christmas without going to the Revels anymore.

Julia Smith said...

Thank you so much for posting the clip. I got chills and even a little teary. How wonderful.

Veronica said...

Julia, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

kaye said...

I love the Revels, that would be so much fun to see and the book tradition of everyone passing the book and taking a turn to read is wonderful. I have a pile of books under the tree that I read to the children through the month, but I really like your idea.

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing both of your traditions! We have the National Ballet showing the Nutcracker here, that is traditional, but nothing like the mix of music you get in your revels. That sounds wonderful! I also like the reading of the Christmas stories - what are some of your favourites? Mine is the Grinch Who Stole Christmas! I know, not in your book! lol Happy holidays to you!

Aarti said...

The Revels sounds SO COOL! I want to go see a show like that :-)

Veronica said...

Susan, I am also a big fan of the Nutcracker and don't understand Christmas without it. Probably this stems from having danced in the show five times myself! As for my favorite stories...my favorite is probably Babushka, a Russian folktale. It's a little sad, but very beautiful

Kaye and Aarti, the Revels is a GREAT show. But if there's not one anywhere near you, they do have tons of CDs of their performances so you could at least hear them if nothing else. :)

cj said...

The Lord of The Dance is now stuck in my head for the rest of the night.

Not a bad thing. It looks like a lot of fun.

Merry Christmas!

cjh