Tag Archives: holiday

Christmas in America: Lāhainā

Lāhainā, Maui

Don’t hold out hope for a white Christmas in a town whose name means ‘cruel sun’. But drop in on the town of Lahaina and you’ll experience a holiday tradition that says as much about community as about adaptation.

Lahaina oceanfront

Lahaina oceanfront

In the 1820s, the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii was a hot, dusty village called Lāhainā. Whaling boats frequented the waters, sheltered by other islands from harsh weather. The village soon became a port of call for thousands of sailors. Buildings went up on the model of New England towns, bars did well, and related businesses flourished. Herman Melville, author of the whaling saga Moby Dick, was one such sailor. At one point Lāhainā was the center of the global whaling industry. Continue reading

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Christmas in America: Austin and San Antonio

Today I’ve chosen two Texan cities that both have great holiday traditions.

San Antonio, TX

On the west edge of downtown San Antonio is El Mercado, or the market square: the heart of shopping and the location of vibrant festivals and cultural activities. It’s a little bit of Mexico in Texas. (Just as, not all that long ago, Texas was a little bit of Mexico, prior to being its own republic in 1836. Then it joined the U.S. in 1845, sixteen years before seceeding.) Continue reading

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Christmas in America: San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

nutcrackerOn December 24th, 1944, the San Francisco Ballet staged a full-length performance of a fifty-year-old Russian ballet scored by the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky with new choreography by the company’s founder, William Christensen. It was called Nutcracker. Continue reading

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Christmas in America: New York

New York, NY

Rockefeller Center Plaza, New York

The Norway spruce aglow at Rockefeller Center Plaza, New York. The tallest tree on record was from Killingworth, Connecticut, and stood for the 1999 season a hundred feet high.

The huge Norway spruce at Rockefeller Center Plaza, of course. Up to 100 feet tall, now with thirty thousands of lights, the tree is the place for gleeful children, romantic couples, or you and a camera. Continue reading

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