Library News for the week of Dec. 21, 2022

Courtesy photo

Tamara Lehner, Converse County Libraries

“After the longest night, tomorrow we sing up the dawn. There is a rejoicing that, even in the darkest time, the sun is not vanquished. As of tomorrow, the days begin to get longer as the light of day grows. While the gentle winter sun slowly opens its eyes, let us all bring more light and compassion into the world. ” ― Dacha Avelin


There are many occasions for celebration this time of year! We started with a quote this week, rather than end with one. Today, Dec. 21, has traditionally been known as the day of the Winter Solstice. It has always been a time of sacred celebration, quiet reflection and joy that the light is returning and the days are beginning to lengthen. 

There are so many different festivals and traditions around the world to celebrate solstice and here are just a few:  From Reader’s Digest online ( St. Lucia’s Day in Scandanavia, held on Dec. 13 (the solstice date on the old calendar), includes young women in red-sashed white robes, with crowns of candles on their heads, processing through the streets to symbolize light in the darkness in a ceremony that includes bonfires, and offers treats of gingersnaps, saffron-flavored buns and Glogg.

The Chinese rejoice with family gatherings and a big meal, the faithful crowds gather at Stonehenge in England on the morning after the longest night to rejoice as the sun rises dramatically over the stones. 

In Iran (formerly Persia), they celebrate Shab-e-Yalda.

From Reader’s Digest: “This ancient Persian festival, like many winter solstice holidays, celebrates the end of shorter days and the victory of light over darkness. Meaning “birth,” Yalda is marked by family gatherings, candles (originally fires lit all night), poetry readings and a feast to get through the longest night of the year. Nuts and fruits, including watermelon and pomegranates, are traditionally eaten — legend has it that eating the fruits of summer will protect you from illness in winter.”

The eight days of celebration of the Jewish faith, Hanukkah began at sundown Dec. 18 and ends on the evening of Dec. 26. Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) is known by various names such as the Feast of Dedication, Festival of Light or Festival of the Maccabees.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac online describes the festival: “Hanukkah means dedication and is a holiday that honors and celebrates one of the first recorded fights for religious freedom and the success of this fight. It commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 BCE.

“Once the Jewish people regained their temple, they wanted to purify it by burning ritual oil for eight days, but they only had enough oil for one night. The miracle of this holiday was that the oil lasted for the full eight days, thus burning candles and celebrating for eight days is part of this holiday.” Thus, the Menorah, the traditional symbol of Hanukkah with nine candles, is lit every night of the festival.

Many Americans of African heritage also celebrate Kwanzaa, which is not religious in nature. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac  it is a: “week-long holiday held annually from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. It celebrates family, culture, community and the harvest. The word Kwanzaa itself comes from the Kiswahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning first fruits of the harvest.

Kwanzaa focuses on seven essential principles known as the Nguzo Saba, which are each represented by one day of the seven-day celebration. These principles are unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba) and faith (imani).”

The tradition most widely celebrated today is the Christian Christmas, celebrating the birth of the Christ child, which is approaching quickly!

At your Converse County Library Glenrock we have offered lots of ways to prepare for the holiday, including crafts and baking, mixology classes, Artisan Alley events, and our ever-popular Polar Express City Lights Bus Tour, which we pulled off in spite of the winter storm!

We will extend the fun right up until the very day before Christmas with our Festival of Trees (we extended the deadline to vote for your favorite tree to Dec, 23), our free gift wrapping station which will be open through Dec. 24 at 3 p.m., and a beautiful, reflective art display featuring the work of several nationally recognized Native American artists, Altars of Reconciliation, presented by Christians in the Visual Arts.

We want to say a big thank-you to everyone who helped with our Polar Express event last week, including Geoff and Converse County School District #2 (also John at CCSD #1 even though the Douglas run couldn’t go because of weather), the Glenrock Police Department and GPD Chief Colter Felton. We love our community and appreciate all of the support we receive.

Meanwhile, online, you can enjoy our own elusive Shelf Elf Dewdrop, who presents 12 Days of Christmas Tales on our Facebook Page at Glenrock

Check them out, as we are featuring not only our beloved Ms. Rita, but also several glamorous guest Storytime readers, including the mysterious and beautiful mermaid and friend of the library, Ember! There will be some fun things happening during Christmas break for kids and teens, so keep an eye out on our Facebook page for details on those events. 

Your Converse County Library will be closed Monday, Dec. 26 for the holiday. We wish all of our patrons and friends a joyous and safe Christmastide!


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

Office hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday - 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Subscriber Login