Today, the Karen celebrate the first day of their New Year — 2752.
The local Karen community prepared a buffet-style breakfast, which lasted for hours before the formal program began in the Center for Contemporary Culture at the Hartford Public Library.
The Asylum Hill neighborhood is where many of the Karen now live. This population, primarily originating from Burma¹ and Thailand, has come to the United States as refugees.
That is only one piece of this ethnic group’s history. During the celebration, there was a “culture show” to provide a glimpse of what life had been like in Burma. The dramatic reenactments showed life in a society of farmers, hunters, and gatherers. Courtship rituals and the typical marriage ceremony, along with a wrist-tying ceremony, were demonstrated. This show gave insight into a cooperative model of education in which children are expected to learn from their peers. Similarly, the values of kindness, helpfulness, and cooperation are seen in how household chores are shared between the sexes.
This monthly calendar is meant to be an alternative to those automated ones you can find online that are loaded up with outdated information. You know, ones that claim events are happening at venues that closed six months ago. There is no attempt to be all-inclusive. Events that are free or inexpensive are favored, but exceptions will be made for performances, lectures, and other activities if they seem unique or high quality.
If events seem pandering (most things aimed at children) or too commercial, they will not be included.
Here are just a few things you might consider filling your calendar with this December:
- From 9-5, there is free admission to the museum galleries at the Connecticut Historical Society on Elizabeth Street. Visitors can make holiday poppers/crackers at various times. The free entrance does not include the Research Center.
- World AIDS Day will be marked by the Getting to Zero program in the Center for Contemporary Culture at the Hartford Public Library. This runs from 9:30a.m. until 1p.m.
- Today is the first half of the Hartford Prints! Holiday Printshop, a workshop during which participants will learn letterpress printing, make their own personalized holiday cards, and close out the class with a cocktail reception. This is one of those rare not-remotely-cheap ($250) events that makes it onto the calendar because the experience is unique. If all you are interested in is making cards, then this is expensive. If you want to come away with a skill you can use again and again, then the price tag may feel worthwhile to you. The session runs from 10am-5pm today, and resumes from 6pm-9pm on December 6th at 56 Arbor Street, Suite 220. For information about registration, contact Hartford Prints!
- At the Charter Oak Cultural Center, Bonita Weisman and guests will be performing improvisational dances as part of the free Havdalah service. The Havdalah service is a ritual that marks the end of Shabbat, but one need not be Jewish to participate in this event beginning at 7:30 p.m.
- Free jazz at the Hartford Public Library! For an hour, beginning at 3pm, music will be performing in the atrium.
- Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols: The Trinity College Chapel Singers, Trinity College Concert Choir, and Trinity College Guild of Carillonneurs will be giving two performances today, with Mayor Segarra giving a reading at the 4pm one. You are challenged to go and not be moved by the music, regardless of whichever religion (if any) you are affiliated with. The second performance begins at 7pm. It is suggested that guests arrive at the chapel early, as seating is limited. Continue reading 'December Events'»
By now, it should be obvious: supporting big box stores and national chains does not benefit our local economy. Besides pushing out the smaller stores, it leads to homogenization. Think about what makes special the places we enjoy vacationing: unique shops, landscapes, and cultural experiences. Think about the vast difference in service between the majors where employees are underpaid, mistreated, and told they have to work during major weather events, versus the service at smaller shops where owners at least attempt to pay above minimum wage and understand workers to be fellow humans. Coincidence? Please.
Shopping locally, especially in Hartford, is sometimes viewed as inconvenient, yet how convenient is sitting in the gridlock around malls and then circling the lot seeking a parking space? Is being pushed by harried, cranky shoppers convenience? What’s to be done? Vote for change by determining where you will spend your money.
An experience is more memorable than an object. It requires no storage and no wrapping paper.
These basically break down into memberships and tickets, but can include class registration too.
The Kitchen at Billings Forge offers low commitment classes for those who can only peel themselves away for a few hours. Learn about pickling, canning, or baking pies.
What to get a gardener who has everything except a pot to plant in? Community garden spaces are cheap — around $25 per season. For those who are not satisfied by windowsill herb gardens, this is money well-spent. As a bonus, some of these gardens actually have potluck events and attempt to foster community. Folks who don’t garden might not see the value of securing space when the ground is frozen, but this is a great time to get this type of gift– when you can dream, plan ahead, and start looking through seed catalogs. Continue reading 'Local Holiday Shopping Guide 2012'»
With schools closed today for the holiday, many families lined Park Street to watch the small parade. The “three kings” riding camels were the highlight.
The parade began near SAMA (Spanish American Merchants Association) at 95 Park Street. Here, people could pose for photos beside the camels while waiting for festivities to get moving. Continue reading 'Feliz Día de Reyes'»
It always seems that people overbook events at certain times of year, like December, and then go for weeks without planning any events, but this January shows little slow down of things to do in Hartford. Here are a few of the offerings:
“Brahms and Beatboxing” at the Bushnell. Just what it sounds like. Way old school meets new.
Three Kings Day is celebrated locally with a parade that typically begins at 10 a.m. around 95 Park Street and makes its way down Park Street, ending in Pope Park by the recreation center. The parade is not sprawling, but it features three camels, which is the reason to come out for it.
The annual Boar’s Head Festival at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church is theatrical, featuring tumblers, dancers, and lots of live animals (geese, camel, etc.). Reserving a seat in advance is advised.
A cheaply-made plastic toy that fails after a few months, or knowledge?
Regardless of your income, you can give the latter to some 550 Hartford schoolchildren.
That’s the number of youth who are served by Everybody Wins! CT, a literacy organization based on Arbor Street. Statewide, they provide reading assistance to approximately 800 students between the ages of 5-18, annually.
The organization explains that “50 percent of the chronically unemployed are not functionally literate– in Hartford 68 percent of adults are illiterate.”
A literate population is a more employable population.
One goal of the organization is to give three new (or like new) books per year to each child who is in the Everybody Wins! Power Lunch program.
While monetary donations are always welcome, Allison Holst-Grubbe — Program Manager at Everybody Wins! CT — says the need for Reading Mentors is great. Continue reading 'The Must-Have Gift this Season'»
December tends to be a whirlwind of activity, between festive events, office parties, and the gatherings for family and friends. Here are just a few of December’s open-to-the-public highlights:
December 1, 2011
December 1st is World AIDS Day, which means it is also The Day With(out) Art. Real Art Ways will be participating by screening Untitled all day. This is free. While there, check out the “Making ‘Of Lamb’” exhibit.