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Learn about winter festivals at the library

By John Tucker
Rowan Public Library
The aromas of Thanksgiving still permeate the house, leftovers are vanishing and family members return from travels. The time to prepare our homes and families for winter’s myriad of festivals has arrived. Perhaps a trip to the library can assist in your preparations, recipes and gifts.
Tonight marks the beginning of the Christian season of Advent. Advent is a time of preparing one’s heart and home for Christmas. Your decorations might include an Advent wreath or an Advent calendar. Our collection of “Christmas Around the World From World Book” offers ideas on making such items. Particularly the book titled “Christmas in Germany” features step-by-step directions for Advent items and gingerbread houses that will ward off the winter blues.
Next in line of celebrations will be St. Lucia Day on Dec. 13, commemorating a young saint who in 304 A.D. brought hope, charity and light to brighten the darkest days of winter. Lucia’s story is recorded in the same series from World Book, titled, “Christmas in Finland.” Try making an ice lantern to brighten the darkness of winter’s holiday preparations.
In Mexico, the celebration of Posadas lasts for nine evenings beginning on Dec. 15 and ending on Christmas Eve. The book “Christmas In Mexico,” from the series titled “Christmas Around the World From World Book,” provides great details on how this celebration began in 1580 when St. Ignatius Loyola began the nine-day celebration that originally featured a Christmas novena or special prayers. Once focused in church, the events are now held in the homes of community members. The town of Cooleemee hosts a Posada walk for one evening in early December. Check with the Zachary House offerings in Cooleemee for the Los Posados event.
If Christmas in Appalachia is more to your liking, then the book “A Foxfire Christmas” could help put you in the holiday spirit. The book is a collection of remembrances from citizens of Appalachia as compiled by a high school English class. Their school assignment was to interview older adults about their memories of Christmas celebrations. It was a time when people focused more on people than on money and store-bought presents. It was a time when families made time for one another and celebrating together. Gifts were homemade, oranges and apples were treasures to behold and … well, check this book out to hear the rest of the story.
Every winter celebration, from the smallest gathering to festive banquet tables, deserves a new twist with perhaps a few new recipes. When was the last time your winter celebrations embraced a new dish or variation on a staple item? Might we suggest a recipe or two from a cookbook? The book “150 Best American Recipes” by Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens has a wonderful dessert suggestion to supplement the standard pumpkin pie. Try the Santa Rosa Plum Galette complete with French vanilla ice cream. How about a carrot souffle from the book “True Grits — Tall Tales and Recipes from the New South” by the Junior League of Atlanta? Your guests will think it is sweet potatoes until the first bite confirms that something new is taking place.
For your Los Posadas entertaining, try the book “Fiestas for Four Seasons — Southwest Entertaining with Jane Butel.” Should you want to experiment but more traditionally, try “Paula Deen’s Kitchen Classics” for true Southern dining ideas. Winter gatherings deserve a taste of something new and recipe books abound at the public library.
Kwanzaa is celebrated from Dec. 26-Jan. 1 and highlights seven principles of life. They are unity, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. There are several resources that highlight the celebrations of Kwanzaa geared to both young and old. “Kwanzaa,” by Rod Terry, is just one suggested book to help shape your celebration. “Kwanzaa — An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking,” by Eric V. Copage, will suggest dishes to enhance your family gatherings.
Yes, the time for winter festivals is upon us and here is wishing your preparations get off to an early start with a few suggestions from the Rowan Public Library. Happy winter tide.
Computer classes: Classes are free. Sessions are approximately 90 minutes long. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Dates and times at all locations are subject to change without notice.
Headquarters — Dec. 15, 9:30 a.m., Intermediate Word.
South — Dec. 12, 7 p.m., Intermediate Word.
East (registration required, call Paul at 704-216-7841) — Dec. 13, 1 p.m., Intermediate Word.
RoBoJo Holiday Theatre — Headquarters, Dec. 3, 2 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. RPL is proud to bring back RoBoJo Theatre. Whether you have seen the show before or are enjoying it for the first time, this is a fun family program not to be missed. For questions or more information, please call 704-216-8234.
Holiday Pajama Express at South Branch — South, Dec. 6, 6 p.m. Dress in your pajamas and come enjoy stories, crafts and hot chocolate. Please call 704-216-7728 for more information.
Stories by the Fireplace at East Branch — Dec. 10, 10:30 a.m. There will be stories and crafts and a special guest, ho, ho, ho! Please call 704-216-7842 for more information.
Nutcracker story — Headquarters, Dec. 13, 6 p.m. Stanback Auditorium. RPL and Salisbury Symphony Orchestra presents the Nutcracker Story. Hear and see part of the Nutcracker ballet. Meet and greet some of the ballerinas who will be appearing in the Nutcracker at the Symphony. For more information call 704-216-8234.
Holiday “Tea Party” Storytime — Headquarters, Dec. 14, 11 a.m. Get dressed up and come see us for a special Storytime and Tea Party. We’ll hear holiday stories, make a tree ornament and enjoy some delicious refreshments. For more information please call 704-216-8234.
December library hours — Dec. 24-27, all locations closed for Christmas holiday.
Displays: Headquarters, Kwanzaa by Elenor Qadirah, Sacred Heart; South, Christmas theme by Lizbeth Murph; East, holiday by Mary Earnhardt.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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