Watch the Atlanta Ballet Perform The Nutcracker at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, Take In Special Performances At The Children’s Museum Of Atlanta & More!
Christmas and Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Las Posadas – there are many winter holidays, and the diverse residents of the upscale apartment community Belmont at Park Bridge in Alpharetta, Georgia, celebrate them all!
Whether you’re planning to take your babies – human or pet – to get their picture made with Santa on the Alpharetta Town Green or tucked in by him and Mrs. Claus at The Hotel at Avalon, or mark the 2021 Winter Solstice (on Tuesday, December 21, fittingly enough) at Lift Yoga on Main Street’s celebration of new beginnings, sweetness and light are always a part of the season. And not just in the form of love of our families and friends. Candles and confections have historically played leading roles in almost all holiday decorations, rituals, and gatherings.
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta is offering special performances, storytimes, and crafts to help families learn more about these traditions, beginning with a Hanukkah program Sunday, December 5, 2021, at 11 a.m., featuring Michael Levine, the music producer of New York Times bestselling Pete the Cat picture books by Eric Litwin and James Dean.
Hanukkah is celebrated to commemorate and publicize the miracle of a one-day supply of oil lasting eight days and eight nights after the Jewish people reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the Greeks and marked their victory with the burning of the Hanukkah menorah (candelabrum). This year, the traditional period began early, on the night of Sunday, November 28, 2021. In Alpharetta, the menorah lighting at Avalon took place with the help of Chabad of North Fulton, complete with a chocolate gelt dropping!
Other holiday-related museum events include:
- Celebrate Las Posadas, Saturday, December 11, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
- Celebrate Christmas Saturday, December 18, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
- Celebrate Kwanzaa Sunday, December 26, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
According to the Franciscan Media publication St. Anthony Messenger, “The roots of Las Posadas stretch deeply into Latin culture. It originated in Spain, but it’s been a yearly celebration throughout Mexico for over 400 years. The tradition commemorates Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a warm place to stay the night. (Posadas is Spanish for “lodgings” or “accommodations.”) Beginning on December 16 and ending nine days later, on December 24, Las Posadas commemorates the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. Each night, one family agrees to house the pilgrims. And so it begins: At dusk, a procession of the faithful takes to the streets with children often dressed as angels and shepherds. Religious figures, images, and lighted candles are a part of the festivities. The group representing the Holy Family stands outside a series of houses, singing songs, asking for lodging. They are refused time and again until the group reaches the designated house. Finally, the travelers are permitted to enter. Prayer and song continue in the home, and festive foods are shared. The evening ends with a piñata in the shape of star.” The piñata of course includes candy!
Here are some ideas from MamaLatinaTips.com on how to celebrate the holiday in your comfortable Belmont at Park Bridge home, including recipes for Mexican hot chocolate and traditional Mexican Christmas punch.
During the week of Kwanzaa, families and communities come together in feasting, honoring the ancestors, affirming the bonds between them, and in celebration of African and African American culture. Each day they light a candle in the Kinara, a seven-branched holder, to highlight the principle of that day and to breathe meaning into the principles with various activities, such as reciting the sayings or writings of great black thinkers and writers, reciting original poetry, African drumming, and sharing a meal of African diaspora-inspired foods. The seven principles of Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba (in both English and Kiswahili) are unity/umoja, self-determination/ kujichagulia, collective work and responsibility/ujima, cooperative economics/ujamaa, purpose/nia, creativity/kuumba, and faith/Imani. The colors of the candles are black, red, and green, representing the people, the noble blood that unites all people of African ancestry, and green for the rich land of Africa. Liveology Yoga Studios in Atlanta will celebrate Kwanzaa 2021 over the course of seven evenings, from Sunday, December 26, to Saturday, January 1.
The Christian tradition of celebrating Advent also is already underway; it began the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which in 2021 was Sunday, November 28. It will end Friday, December 24. During these four weeks, an Advent wreath adorned with five candles is traditionally used to symbolize different spiritual aspects of getting ready for the Christmas Day birth of Jesus Christ. The three Advent candle colors—purple, pink, and white—symbolically represent the spiritual preparation that believers undergo to prepare their hearts for the birth (or coming) of the Lord, Jesus Christ, according to Learn Religions. Many people delight in Advent calendars, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has highlighted some of this year’s best, from Jingle & Mingle to Christmas in Gotham City (The Official Batman Advent Calendar).
For many people, attending a performance of The Nutcracker is a beloved holiday occasion for families and friends. This year, Atlanta Ballet will make its long-anticipated return to the theatre stage to present Yuri Possokhov’s Nutcracker, with performances throughout the month of December.
According to the Company’s website, “The production was described as ‘one of the most entertaining [Nutcrackers] out there’ by The Washington Post following the Company’s 2019 Washington D.C. debut at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.” The innovative production features larger-than-life sets and bold costumes enhanced by striking video projections. As one of the top major performing arts facilities in the Atlanta Metro, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is the perfect fit for this ultra-high-tech production. Other opportunities abound in the Atlanta Metro to enjoy Clara’s classic story, danced to the accompaniment of Tchaikovsky’s inimitable music, including The Hip Hop Nutcracker at The Fox Theatre (Tuesday, December 14, 2021, at 7:30 p.m.).
What’s a blog about the winter holidays without a few gift-giving ideas? In keeping with our theme, let’s wrap up with a couple of candle suggestions. If you want to gift someone an experience, the Belmont at Park Bridge Idea Specialists suggest booking a candle-making experience at Bear and Honey Candle in Atlanta.