I’ve often heard the phrase, “tis the season.” It got me thinking about the seasons and the colors that seem to represent them. Right now my family is focused on a season, but maybe not the same one as your family. Our color is orange. Well orange with shades of brown and green. Tis the season for hunting and gathering food for our family. My brother Noah lives to hunt and I’d say he wears orange well. It’s not a flattering color for everyone you know. So why orange? I’ve often wondered, even though the answer seems obvious. Orange helps humans see each other. But why orange and camo? It has always seemed like an oxymoron to me. Don’t the deer notice that? Well, let me break it down. Deer don’t see colors and things the way you do. Deer do see shapes, so when a person is wearing a single color, like say blue, their shape will seem unnatural to a deer, however, in camouflage, even the orange kind, and a human outline is broken up to a deer’s vision. So while at this time of year a deer might not see and know who the person in the orange camo is, the other humans do. If you’re wearing orange or camo right now, anyone who sees you knows your season.
Now many of you aren’t celebrating the season with the color orange. Perhaps your colors are red, green, white, blue or black. Colors represent lots of things to different cultures and religions at this time of year. I love the color blue. It’s the color of the sky and when the sky is blue, it’s generally a good day for me to be out running in the vineyard. Blue is also a special color at this time of year. Blue and White have become the colors that represent Hanukkah. I got to wondering why blue and white so I went looking for the answer. The colors are rooted deeply in Jewish tradition. They are the colors of the Israeli flag and also the colors of the tkhelet (Hebrew prayer shawl). It’s believed that blue is the color of heaven or divine revelation and white symbolizes purity and cleanliness, which are important parts of the Sabbath. Ironically, decorating for Hanukkah with blue and white is really only a 20th Century phenomenon. Traditionally, Jewish families decorated with beautiful silver or gold menorahs.
Black is an interesting color and not often associated with celebrations. Kwanzaa is a holiday that began in 1966 as a celebration of the African-American heritage. The emphasis of Kwanzaa is values. The people who celebrate focus on togetherness, self-determination, creativity and their faith. The colors of Kwanzaa are Red, Green and Black. The Black represents the skin color of the African people, the red is the blood of their ancestors that was shed in violence during the liberation movements, and the green represents hope for the future. Similar to Hanukkah, during Kwanzaa seven candles are lit representing the different values.
Red and Green are most often used when decorating for Christmas. Often we follow traditions and don’t even know why. It’s just what our parents and their parents did, so I got to thinking, how did red and green become the colors of Christmas? Like orange, some of it was obvious…the only thing green this time of year in this area are conifers (like evergreen trees) and then there’s holly that’s green with red berries. Not many other plants are alive and colorful. But that didn’t seem to be a complete answer to me, so I went looking for more. Some of what I imagined was true. The few plants that thrive and survive in the winter were natural decorations. Also it was believed that holly with green leaves and red berries could drive away evil spirits and that’s why people placed them over their doorways. Similar to how religion plays a part in the colors of Hanukkah it does also for Christians and Christmas. Red is meant to symbolize the color of Christ’s blood and green is the color of all things living and the hope of eternal life. In medieval European times there were these things called “mystery plays” or the “paradise play.” They taught about important religious events. In the part covering Adam and Eve, a green fir tree was used and decorated with apples. This play prop became a popular seasonal decoration in Germany and to this day we still decorate a tree. If you stop by the tasting room, you’ll see our beautiful Frazier Fir covered in fruits like apples, grapes, oranges and lemons. The Poinsettia that also represents Christmas is red. It’s been part of the Mexican Christmas celebration since the 17th century and was brought to the US by Joel Poinsett, the Ambassador to Mexico in 1826. Now I know if you’ve been shopping lately, this beautiful plant is also available in colors like white, cream, pink and now even purple, but traditionalists still choose the red.
One final red thing about Christmas is Santa’s red suit. Whether you call him Sinterklass, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle or Santa Claus, I do know this, he’s the guy in the red suit. Funny thing is the suit wasn’t always red. It’s been tan and even green. We American’s have become accustomed to the red suit and it’s all because of advertising. In 1862 a cartoonist named Thomas Nast first drew Santa in the tan suit but over a 30 year period changed it to red. Other artists began also painting Santa this way. In the 1930’s Coca-Cola decided to use Santa in advertising and hired an artist named Haddon Sundblom, he drew Santa in red and the rest as they say is history.
Speaking of making history, there are opportunities to do that this weekend in our tasting room. Ok, it might not be history, maybe just creating a tradition or memory. This weekend is our holiday open house. We do this every year to say thank you to our loyal customers for letting my family and our winery family be part of your family’s traditions. On Saturday and Sunday we will have a food and wine pairing of Gary’s Norwegian Shrimp Chowder with one of our award-winning Rieslings. Stop by and warm your belly and soul. Also on Saturday from Noon to 5pm, Santa will be here. Yes, as Will Ferrell said in the movie Elf, “I know him.” We know Santa and he’s helping us again this year to gather donations for the US Marine Corp’s Toys-for-Tots drive. Our collection box is here, even when Santa is not and don’t worry, he knows everything, so bringing a toy is sure to get you on the “nice” list. My family welcomes you to bring the family and your camera and one of our friendly staff members will be happy to capture your holiday memory on film for you.
So no matter what color inspires you this season us them to be an inspiration to others too.
Until next week…
PS: I’d like to blog about holiday songs. Please shoot me an email, twitter or facebook message with your favorite song. Maybe I’ll include it in my blog. Please include your name and why it’s your favorite song too.
posted on December 4th, 2013 by Kathy SpeakingforClem
tucked under: Clem's thoughts | Comments Off