Our readers have been sending in a wide array of holiday traditions to share. What are your traditions?
Christmas tree spider – As the volunteers at the Oak Bay Archives put up their Christmas display in the lobby of municipal hall, Fern Davidson shared a story about the Christmas spider she was putting on display. A tradition stemming from Germany and the Ukraine had people putting spiders in their Christmas trees. The folktale explained that a poor widow once brought a tree into her hut for her children (some variations of the tale have the tree growing from an acorn out of the hut floor) but they couldn’t afford to decorate it. The children were sad when they went to bed, but they awoke to find the tree covered in cobwebs. They opened the windows and the first rays of sunlight touched the webs and turned them into gold and silver. Other versions replace sunlight with a miracle from Father Christmas, Santa Claus, or Jesus. It was therefore believed that a spider in your tree was lucky, so the tradition of putting decorative spiders in Christmas trees began. Today, putting tinsel on your tree harkens back to this tale.
Carolling – Carolling is a favorite tradition that is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. Oak Bay Coun. Tom Croft shared with us his tradition of carolling every year with a dozen people door-to-door on St.Patrick’s Street with a mandolin and Croft on guitar.
Lights bike ride – For over 25 years a group of Oak Bay cyclists called the Spokesmen gather on a Saturday night in December for an especially illuminated tradition. They start at one cyclist’s house and then cycle through the community looking at all the Christmas lights. Each year, someone is chosen to plan a route in advance. They end at another cyclist’s house where they do dinner and sing Christmas carols. They are out there in their custom shirts riding their decorated bikes whether it is snowing and raining.
Twelfth night – Roberta Allen shared her tradition: “Our holiday decorations enjoy pride of place through Twelfth Night when all those drummers were supposed to be drumming. The day after de-trim is celebrated. Family and friends are invited to help take down and store our trimmings until next December. Featured refreshments include some neglected nibbles and our best ever egg nog’s last call.”
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