One World (Summer 2005)

Magic Carpet Ride 

It was a magic carpet ride at “Common Threads – A Celebration of Textiles.” This first-ever event, held on Saturday, April 16, 2005, at the Country Meadows Antique Mall in Independence, focused on how people create textiles and use them for personal protection, decoration, and identification of self and family. As with all Cultural Crossroads programs, the purpose of “Common Threads” was to reflect the commonality of all people, no matter where or when they live. We particularly extend thanks to the participants, sponsors and artists who made this event possible: Blue & Grey Book Shoppe Country Meadows Antique Mall Carol Duncan/St. Andrew’s Society IDIMO Dancers The Independence Examiner Greg McCoy (ancient loom) Missouri Town Weavers Tonya Moore (knitting) Narbeli’s Imports Jennie Nichols (soloist) Project Linus Scandinavian Dancers of Kansas City Ten Thousand Villages …and a big Thank You to our volunteers! We saw the similarities between a traditional wooden knitter and today’s knitting machine, learned the history of the development of specialized textiles from Scottish tartans to Pakistani carpets, saw hand-knotted silk clothing made and modeled, sang a weaving song together, and so much more!

In keeping with the multicultural scope of the subject, this was a multi-faceted event with: Booths offering clothing, rugs, and other pieces imported from Third World countries Local crafters demonstrating their crafts and offering wares for sale Spinning, weaving, knitting and quilting techniques using ancient, traditional and modern forms A display of costumes from around the world, including pieces from Europe, Central Asia, and the Western Hemisphere Hands-on activities Presentations and demonstrations Performances telling the story of textiles through traditional music and dance A special Children’s Area where children learned weaving techniques in a variety of applications. A selection of photos appears inside this issue.

Weaving it all together at “Common Threads,” Photographs by Steve Stalker. A young Scandanavian dancer is engrossed in a book from the Scottish booth. A wide variety of “fair trade” goods was offered from around the world. A colorful display and demonstration of quilts for children in crisis circumstances. A young boy weaves a Mother’s Day basket. A handmade loom in the ancient style was one of many displays. A young girl concentrates on her project in the Children’s Activities Area. One of the many ways to wear a hand-knotted silk shawl.

Rosh Hashanah

The Jewish New Year Festival, called Rosh Hashanah is a solemn religious festival in which Jews pray for God’s forgiveness, for a good year, and for long life. Rosh Hashanah begins on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishri and lasts two days. Families go to synagogue, where the services include the blowing of the shofar, a hollowed-out ram’s horn. After the evening service, families, workers, or members of a synagogue eat together. Part of this meal includes a sweet bread called challah, which is dipped in honey to remind people of the good things the New Year may bring. A time of repentance happens after Rosh Hashanah and then Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is celebrated on the tenth and last day of the festival. Since biblical times, the months and the years of the Jewish calendar have been established by the cycles of the moon and the sun. Torah law prescribes that the months closely follow the course of the moon, from New Moon to the next New Moon. In addition, the lunar months must always align themselves with the seasons of the year, which are determined by the sun. This luni-solar calendar uses months to approximate the tropical year, but since 365 days (12 months) are about 11 days shorter than the tropical year, a leap month is inserted about every third year. This keeps the calendar in tune with the seasons. In the fourth century, Hillel II established a fixed calendar based on mathematical and astronomical calculations. This is the Jewish calendar we still use today.

When is New Year’s Day? There are four different days to choose from: 1 Tishri – Rosh HaShanah – The celebration of the creation of the world. It marks the beginning of a new calendar year. 15 Shevat – Tu B’shevat – The New Year for trees. 1 Nisan – New Year for Kings – Nisan is considered the first month. This is the month when Passover occurs. 1 Elul – New Year for Animal Tithes (taxes)

When does a day begin? A Jewish calendar day does not begin at midnight, but either sunset, or when three medium-sized stars are visible. Sunset marks the 12 night hours and sunrise marks the 12-day hours. Depending on the season, the day or night may be different lengths.

How is it celebrated? While it does have its festive side, Rosh Hashanah is not one big party, as the New Year’s celebrations on December 31 tend to be. Rosh Hashanah is a time for personal introspection and prayer. Jews may also visit graves. It is thought that the prayers or good wishes of the dead can help the living. By wishing each other well and sending cards, people let friends know what happened in the past year and what plans lie ahead. Christmas cards and get-togethers fill a similar role for Christians. Traditional Jewish foods accompany Rosh Hashanah. Typically, a blessing will be said over two loaves of bread, known as challah. The round shape symbolizes a crown, a reminder of the kingship of God. Challah also stands for the circle of life, and the hope that our lives endure without end. Apples dipped in honey are another Rosh Hashanah tradition. It symbolizes the hope for a “sweet year” ahead. Honey is spread on challah.

There are no boundaries

The first thing every astronaut realizes, when looking back at Earth, is that a full view of our world reveals no borders, no boundaries – that we are one people on one Earth with one destiny. At Cultural Crossroads, we truly believe that “There are no boundaries” – there are no boundaries between people, no boundaries on what a people, a community or an individual can achieve, no boundaries on our dreams.

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