Holiday Botany

First, summarize any notable fact that you learned from the readings on “Holiday Botany.” Second, what are any plants that we saw associated with Stonehenge and the celebrations there? Third, what is any plant that is part of your holiday tradition, either at the time of the winter solstice, or at any other time of the year? (information;) What’s the connection between plants and celebrations? It’s all around us! For example, from the SA Current: “Green with Envy: Two ways to wow the plant lovers in your life this holiday season” (Nov. 20, 2020) On this page, we’ll consider a few different examples cultures across the world, from the familiar to the (perhaps) unexpected. Mistletoe Read or skim this essay: “Parasites are welcome for Christmas” (csbsju.edu) For our purposes, we’re not so interested in the scientific information at the beginning of the essay. Instead, pay particular attention to the end of the essay, with the focus on the usage of mistletoe in various European cultures. By the way, “parasites” were also mentioned in the interview with Jean Michel Basquiat! Mistletoe at Hampton Court Palace Mistletoe on a tree at Hampton Court Palace in England Other holiday plants Read or skim this essay: “The Legends and Traditions of Holiday Plants” (iastate.edu) And another to read or skim: History and legends of poinsettias (illinois.edu). It’s not necessary to read every word — just browse and look for things that interest you Beverages at Stonehenge Here’s another connection between plans and holidays. Plants can also be used to make beverages, including alcoholic ones! Continuing with the Stonehenge theme this week, read or skim this short article: “What did neolithic people drink at feasts?” (English-Heritage.org.uk; Sept. 6, 2018) “A Very Mushroom Christmas” Finally, something a little, um, different. This is our second consideration of mushrooms this week — the first was in the vegan mushroom tamales at Topic: Slow food. This video interviews and refers to the work of Carl Ruck, a professor of Classics at Boston University, presenting ideas about shamanic rituals in Lapland (northern Finland, often cited as Santa’s homeland, including in a recent PBS special) as the possible origin of the mythology of Santa Claus and the flying reindeer. Vocabulary: shaman: “A member of certain traditional societies … who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events.” you’re interested in this sort of thing, you might also investigate the work of another 20th-century scholar, Terence McKenna.

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