Christmas time is right around that corner, so why not a graphic to celebrate the origins of the Christmas tree? This graphic, created by All in One Garden & Leisure, gives a rather unique look at the tree’s beginnings and its, for lack of better words, a journey through time.
One of the interesting stats presented by the graphic is the number of households who choose to put an artificial tree up versus a real tree taken right out of the forest (or jungle if you’re celebrating Christmas in South Africa). The pie charts in the graphic demonstrate that more people in the U.S. opt to go with a natural tree then their fellow tree buyers in the U.K. My gut reaction when I saw that stat was, “I wonder how many trees are actually grown the U.K.? Doesn’t seem like there is nearly as much land.” And sure enough, my question was answered right below that. As I suspected, there are more trees (many, many more trees actually) grown in the U.S. then there are grown in Great Britain. There are 20.8 million trees grown the U.S. and 4.4 million grown in the United Kingdom. With these kind of numbers, it does make sense that there would be a higher percentage of real Christmas trees bought in the U.S. The U.S. is more intent on destroying its forests than the U.K it would seem. The graphic notes that each acre of land dedicated to growing Christmas trees would provide the daily oxygen required for 18 people to live. Basically, the graphic does a good job of making you feel guilty about celebrating Christmas with a real tree.
The most popular real tree brand by the way is a humdinger of a tree dubbed the Fraser Fir. The graphic showcases a little tree time line, noting that the first Christmas tree was used in Latvia in 1515 and that the explosion of Christmas trees in America began in 1901 with the under-hyped birth of the first Christmas tree farm in New Jersey. Today 98% of Christmas trees purchased around the world are grown on tree farms. Only 2% are cut in the wild. Of those that are cut in the wild, a tree farmer either uses a saw or a trained animal with sharp teeth, such as an alligator, to slowly chomp away at the tree until it falls down. We do have a bit of a worldwide tree waste problem, with 976,000 real Christmas trees thrown away each year–in London alone.
Some other neat facts in the graphic: using electric lights on Christmas trees was first suggested by Thomas Edison’s upstart assistant, Edward Johnson, in 1882. Alright, let’s go to the grading portion now.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
San Miguel de Allende was founded in 1542 by Fray Juan de San Miguel when he built a mission to serve the many Indian groups in the area. It became known as San Miguel el Grande. The main church in town is the Parroquia de San Miguel ArcÃ¡ngel. Naturally the town takes great pride in celebrating the Feast Day of San Miguel, the patron saint. San Miguel de Allende can put on some great Fiestas and for this one they go all out. The feast day of San Miguel is September 29 but the actual celebration can last a week or more. The modern custom is to have the major part of the Fiesta on the weekend following Sept. 29 but the actual day is also celebrated.
San Miguel, or Saint Michael the Archangel as he is known to the English speaking world, is noted for his warrior role. When Lucifer revolted against the rule of God it was San Miguel Archangel who was sent to do battle with Lucifer and banish him to Hades. San Miguel is often invoked as a protector for troops going into battle. He is always represented with his sword and armor signifying his role in combating evil forces. San Miguel's combat with evil is acted out in the Explanada in front of the Parroquia in a grand fireworks battle that takes place just before dawn. This dawn battle gives the name to the town's celebration of its patron saint, Alborada means "dawn" in Spanish.
While the dawn fireworks battle is the most spectacular event there is so much more to this Fiesta. The weekend is pretty much non-stop Fiesta what with the all night celebration followed the next day by all-day parades, dance performances, and processions honoring San Miguel. The evenings are full also with cultural presentations, music, and even more fireworks. The Feast of San Miguel really goes on for more than a week. Almost every day there are one or two processions carrying the image of San Miguel to various churches and shrines around the city so that san Miguel can confer his blessings on these locations. Often they are accompanied by music and dances. In the afternoons and evenings there are often dance or music shows providing first class entertainment. If you plan on taking in the Alborada Fiesta consider staying for the whole week beginning around Sept. 26. The main part of the Fiesta is on the weekend starting Friday afternoon until 6 AM Saturday, then parades and dance
performances all day Saturday until midnight. Sunday morning it starts back up then late into Sunday evening. There is really only one 8 hour rest period all weekend.
The celebration of the Feast Day of San Miguel Arc?ngel is on 29 September but the celebration can last a week or more with the major part of the Fiesta on the weekend following September 29. The actual calendar of events can vary from year to year but it follows a general pattern. In 2008 the events of the Fiesta lasted from 26 Sept. to 5
October, a period of 10 days. The weekend is pretty much non-stop Fiesta. Friday evening it is music and dancing in the Jard?n which last until the traditional Alborada around 4 AM Saturday morning. Saturday it is a parade in the morning and various processions all day culminating in the offering of the flowers (x?chiles) in the afternoon. That evening there is a pyrotechnics show with burning Castillos and aerial fireworks.
Sunday morning has another parade, then all day and into the evening Indian dance groups perform in the courtyard of the Parroquia and in the streets surrounding the Jard?n. That evening another pyrotechnic show caps the Fiesta.
While the weekend is the most intense time of the Fiesta of San Miguel Arc Angel other events happen all week long. Mostly they are processions carrying the statue of San Miguel to various churches and shrines around town. There are also various presentations of dance and music. To see the entire Fiesta plan on spending a week in San Miguel de Allende - never a dull moment!