Thursday, December 6, 2012

Decorating with Gitche Manitou

Terry loves the Christmas tree,
not setting it up or decorating it,
not taking it down and putting everything away;
he loves it sparking in the living room
between the day after Thanksgiving
and Old Christmas.

He has been repeatedly asking me
to post pictures of our Christmas tree -
he who only looks at the pictures on my blog!

So, Terry, this post is for you!

               The Decorators Get Started!
Barb, Terry, and Me

Out Come All the Treasured Ornaments

Up Go the Poinsettias

Deirdre's Reindeer
The Most Special of All!

We're Done!

As the tree goes up, out comes the Christmas music.
My favorite Christmas carol is The Huron Carol
also called Twas in the Moon of Wintertime.

It was written by Jean de Brébeuf in 1643.
Jean de Brébeuf was a Jesuit missionary among the Hurons in Canada.
The original title is Jesous Ahatonhia,
but I first knew it as Gitche Manitou,
a traditional Algonquin name for God.
Gitche Manitou is Canada's oldest Christmas song.

This song means a great deal to me 
because of the time I spent in Northern Ontario 
among the Ojibawa and Cree Indians when I was a young girl.
I have uploaded a You Tube version of the carol
sung by the Canadian Tenors.
The images of the northern lights
take me back to walking on the winter ice under the shifting light
and listening to the wolves and the Indian dogs howling in the darkness.

My Favorite Christmas Carol

I have also uploaded another You Tube video of the carol 
sung in the Mi'kmaq language,
which is the language of the tribe of Nova Scotian aboriginals 
in the area my mother's family comes from.
I find the Mi'kmaq version haunting and beautiful.

The song is sung by Keith Cormier of Corner Brook, Newfoundland.
Some years ago Cormier founded a Christmas concert
to help the Corner Brook Fire Department with its annual toy drive, 
and he would sing Huron Carol at the concert.
Recently, Cormier began singing the carol in the Mi'kmaq language 
when he discovered that his grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Prosper, 
was a Mi'kmaq
born in Muddy Hole Brook, 
Bonne Bay, Newfoundland, in 1887.
(My information comes from the script overlaying the You Tube video.)

In the Mi'kmaq Language


  1. I was scouring my Xmas CD's trying to find the rendition we listen to every you think I could find it on my 30 + CD's...I'll let you know as soon as I do. This version by the Cdn Tenors is lovely but the Mi'kmaq version, being the 1st time I have ever heard it really is amazing to view. The language is so clipping..the k sounds music in itself. Thank you.

    Terry, you and Barb certainly can put up an amazingly beautiful tree with all that liquid in your hands. The decorations must bring back plenty of warm memories for you. It truly is a special time(as I sit here listening to Chris Botti..Xmas CD) smooth, cool and fresh jazz! It's so unassuming and calm....mmm hmm it!

    Salut Cheers and Have 1 or 2 for us!


  2. That liquid is part of the tradition: Evan Williams Egg Nog. It's traditional southern eggnog blended with with seven-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon. I buy a few bottles every year strictly for putting the tree up and taking it down. I'm glad that you enjoyed the videos. I thought they were both good, and they've really put me in the Christmas spirit! Salut right back at you! Have a good one!

  3. That is a beautiful tree. I imagine that when you turn off the lights the tree is magical to look at. We just finished putting up ours. It has always been my favourite thing to do, and this is my favourite holiday of the year.

    That is a wonderful Xmas carol. And I love the Canadian Tenors!

  4. Thanks! It is magical when the lights are off. I don't own a tripod for my camera, so I need more light when I take pictures. I'm going to join a digital photography club in January, and up my game a little! Maybe get a better camera. I love Christmas too! Enjoy your evening!

  5. The tree s beautiful!
    That's a lovely carol, and I enjoyed the imagery on the video.

  6. Thanks Terry! Good luck to Boomer and your family with the Parker Christmas Parade tomorrow.

  7. Hi Louise. Lovely post, you are becoming a pro at this!
    I remember this carol. I was in the children's choir at St.Joseph's Parish back in the late 50's (OMG I am old) and we sang this carol in Latin at midnight mass. Thanks for the history behind it.
    I really liked the Mi'kmaq version. Many of us here in the Maritimes have Mi'kmaq heritage. I learned a couple of years ago doing research into my mother's family that her father, a MacIsaac from PEI, had a great grandmother who was Mi'kmaq. The sad thing was that her name was not given, just an identity of being Mi'kmaq.

    Your tree is beautiful and you remember decorating it?!! lol (eggnog)!
    And I think you and Barb look like for sure!

  8. We did have a lot of fun decorating the tree and enjoying eggnog! That eggnog is only in stock a few weeks. I find out when it's coming in, in September, and plan accordingly. One year I missed the Evan Williams, bought another brand that was wretched, and had to pour it down the sink! That won't happen again!

    I realized that Barb and I have almost the same hair shade when I was looking at the decorating photos! Truth be known, we're both quite gray; but we are absolutely not giving in - We've got "Time in a Bottle!" (youthful hair that is!). Do you like Jim Croce? I definitely do!

    Remember when Mi'kmaqs were Mic Macs? How wonderful that you have some in your background. Mother's father's great grandmother! When I have more time I'm going to have to figure out how many greats that is. How sad that you can't recover her name. My great Aunt Nan did a lot of work with the Mi'kmaq in the Bear River area. I need to go to the Smith's Cove Historical Museum to brush up on my own history. I have a gorgeous basket made by the former chief of the Bear River tribe - Greg McEwan. Now I have multiple future blog posts tumbling through my mind. I'm definitely going to write about the NFLD Beothuks!

    Well, I've got to scat! I am so behind in everything! Have a good day.

  9. I used to teach the carol to chours at school. I love it too.
    Please can you email a reply.


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.