Our building may be closed, but our hearts are open to the people of Middlesex. We want to spread good cheer, joy and hope during this holiday season and we hope that this time of year finds you healthy and safe.
At Middlesex Public Library we are focused on staying safe while extending the warmth and good tidings of the holiday season to the community. In addition to our event: All Aboard the Library Express: A Drive Thru Polar Express Event, we have Virtual Bookshelves for holiday books and movies, as well as window displays reflecting a variety of December holidays.
We hope you have had a chance to drive by and see our Book and Reading Themed Holiday Window Display. We have set up a book tree in our main vestibule, as well as a menorah and a kinara. The large window overlooking our parking lot reflects a more traditional holiday tree as well as a Solstice yule log and someone who has “just settled down for a long winter’s nap.” We have another book tree in our Walkup/Pickup area, as well as a Festivus pole.
What is a Kinara?
A kinara is a candle holder for 7 candles, used in celebrating Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture that is celebrated from December 26 through January 1 each year. It began in 1966 during the Watts riots in Los Angeles, as a way to give Black culture an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their culture; it is also often seen as anti-materialism, and gifts given for Kwanzaa are often handmade. The name is derived from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, which means “first fruits of the harvest”.
We have a kinara displayed in our holiday window display to celebrate the Black community.
Hanukah is a Jewish Festival of Lights that lasts for 8 days.
In 168 B.C., the Syrian King Antiochus IV Epiphanes forbade Jewish people from practicing their faith and demanded they all worship Greek gods. King Antiochus IV’s men desecrated a Jewish Temple, massacreing thousands of Jews. Two years later, a small band of Jewish people banded together to take back their temple, rebuild their altar and light their menorah. When rededicating their Second Temple, they only had enough untainted olive oil to last one day, but instead it lasted for 8 days, which was seen as a miracle. The Jewish community celebrates Hanukah each year in December by lighting one candle a night on their menorah for eight nights, they say prayers, exchange gifts and fried foods, such as donuts and potato latkes are traditionally enjoyed to celebrate the miracle of a small amount of oil that lasted 8 days. You can see our menorah in the front window of the library, next to the Book Tree.
The celebration of the Winter Solstice on December 21, is a pagan tradition dating back to the 4th century. Yule is celebrated when the Earth is farthest from the sun and is a celebration that from that point forward, there will be a few more minutes of daylight each day. Many Christian decorations for Christmas actually stem from traditional Yule decorations, such as evergreens, holly, mistletoe, yule logs, yule trees, candles and wreaths. Candles are used to celebrate light on the longest night, you can see our yule log with candles in the Parking Lot window.
Where are our Seinfeld fans at? Festivus was made popular by the fictional regular Seinfeld character, George Costanza’s father, Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) in Season 9, episode 10 of Seinfeld, which aired in 1997. The holiday was created by writer, Dan O’Keefe’s father in 1966. It is known as the “Holiday for the Rest of Us”. Customary decorations are a decorated aluminum pole. Traditions are Feats of Strength and Airing of Grievances. The general public has embraced this holiday over the last 23 years with books, t-shirts and various celebrations. You can see our Festivus Pole at Walkup/Pickup.
Virtual Holiday Bookshelves Display
We have scanned many of the holiday books in our collection and created Virtual Bookshelves, which can be accessed on our website. We have included separate shelves for Adult Fiction, Adult Non-fiction, Juvenile Fiction and Juvenile Non-fiction. Our Holiday Bookshelves can be accessed here: Middlesex Public Library Holiday Shelves.
Virtual Holiday Movies Display
We have scanned many of the holiday movies in our collection and created Virtual Bookshelves, which can be accessed on our website. Our Holiday Bookshelves can be accessed here: Middlesex Public Library Holiday Shelves.
All Aboard the Library Express: A Drive Thru Polar Express Event
This year, the library will be hosting a drive-thru Polar Express spectacular light event on December 17. Come one, come all. You are encouraged to drive-thru in your pajamas in this contactless library holiday event!