By: Riya Singh
The vast majority of people in the United States partake in Christmas holiday celebrations, including the decoration of a Christmas tree. For a significant time in history, the Christmas tree has been one of the major symbols of the holiday worldwide. Despite this, many people do not know the true origins of this beloved holiday staple. In reality, the Christmas tree actually originates from a tradition in pagan culture, where it began with people decorating parts of their homes with the branches of evergreen fir trees. However, this rendition of the Christmas tree is still far too different from the one we know today, so how did we arrive there?
As the 16th century began, Christians in western Germany began to bring trees indoors for decor, and the age of decorating began in the 17th century. According to an ABC News piece by Penny Travers entitled, “The Christmas tree: From Pagan origins and Christian symbolism to secular status,” it became increasingly common among nobility to have festivals and parties with large trees decorated with gold leaf and candle. As Germans emigrated, the traditions spread across Europe and other parts of the world. However, it did not quite reach the U.S. until the mid-19th century.
Instead, the fully decorated Christmas tree was popularized more globally during the 1840s and 1850s. Queen Victoria’s mother, having grown up in Germany, insisted on a fully decorated tree for a portrait of her daughter and Prince Albert. The portrait featuring the tree in Windsor Castle was published by the Illustrated London News in 1848. This influence reached as far as the U.S., and people all over the world began to decorate the entire tree, bringing it to the tradition we know today.
Despite this widespread tradition, some people throughout the world still have varying traditions when it comes to Christmas trees and decor in general. When asked about her Christmas tree traditions, Christian student at Pueblo County High School, Morghan Autobee, stated, “We typically use ornaments and ribbons going around the entire tree. We also use a star topper,” because, “I was always told it was symbolism that related to the north star that appeared to and guided the shepherds.” In contrast, Pueblo County citizen and Indian immigrant, Shelly Gill, stated, “We celebrated it in India, but the major decorations were mainly in shops and churches, so growing up I never decorated any Christmas trees. Now that we live here, I don’t want my kids to feel left out from the others, so we decorate our trees with ornaments and an angel topper.”
Despite the religious and cultural divide, it is clearly evident that everyone who partakes in Christmas decorations all interpret some beauty and enjoyment from the Christmas tree that we know and love today.
Remote Finals Schedule – 1st Semester
7:30 – 8:15
8:21 – 9:06
9:12 – 9:57
10:03 – 10:48
10:54 – 11:39
11:40 – 12:15
6TH Hour (Final Test)
12:20 – 1:50
7th Hour (Final Test)
2:00 – 3:30
1st Hour (Final Test)
7:30 – 9:00
2nd Hour (Final Test)
9:10 – 10:40
3rd Hour (Final Test)
10:50 – 12:20
4th Hour (Final Test)
7:30 – 9:00
5th Hour (Final Test)
9:10 – 10:40
MAKE-UP DAY: Any student who was absent on a previous day can take a final on this day. Arrangements should be made with individual teachers.
Photos taken by Amairani Chacon
By: Kayleigh Larkins
For my virtual field trip at the Smithsonian Museum, I decided to explore the Butterfly Pavilion.
As soon as I open the site and started reading just the names of the exhibits, I was curious to know more about them. Ones such as the Butterfly Pavilion. Seeing them do so many different categories was incredible. I thought it was very interesting though because the Butterfly Pavilion and the Hall of Fossil Deep Time, which is the dinosaur exhibit, are two completely different thing but can make one person curious about both.
I started going through the Butterfly Display and I was amazed! I found out that the Giant Hawk Moth, could have an eight-inch-long tongue, and the Madagascar Star Orchid has an eight-inch-long throat! And honestly that pretty terrifying if you think about it. I also found out how freakishly similar a hummingbird and a butterfly are. A hummingbird and a butterfly both have evolved long mouth parts, making it easier for them to get plant nectar. Both the hummingbird and the butterfly pollinate the plants on which that feed. Not only is the hummingbird have related characteristics and abilities but also bats, bees, and a variety of unrelated animals. The process that all these animals have experienced is called Convergent Evolution.
The number of butterflies over the years have increased by about 20,000. 170 million years butterflies didn’t even exist, today there is 135,000 moth and 20,000 butterfly species. And some of the ones that were alive 20 million years ago, have disappeared and new ones have come into existence. The Smithsonian has the quote, “Butterflies and plants interact with each other – sometimes as friends, sometimes as foes.” demonstrating that it just depends but butterflies and plants co-exists.
I think the Smithsonian Museum was a great place to pick for a virtual field trip. I think that it was a great experience just to look around and using our online resources. Most of us probably won’t get the chance to visit the Smithsonian in person so I think the fact that we got to online was amazing. And I really enjoyed this experience learning about things we talk about in everyday life but know very minable about.
By: Amairani Chacon
For my virtual field trip at the Smithsonian Museum, I decided to explore the Bone Hall in the museum’s Current Exhibits.
As soon as the first part of the tour appeared, it was already fascinating. In front of me were multiple skeletal figures of marsupials and their history as well as why they are featured in the exhibit.
As I continued to venture around, the skeletons never ceased to amaze. There were skeletons of so many animals. From monkeys to deer, to giraffes, and even a gray whale! Along with the skeletons, was a small description of each animals’ origin and ancestors, as well as what makes their skeletal structure so unique and how it helps them survive in their habitats.
Different parts of the hall showed different jaws, skulls, and teeth in different animals and how they benefit the animal. A diagram also showed how the skeleton is motion works, and how different functions of bone perform certain actions.
A whole area of the hall was dedicated to different types of birds and their skeletal figures. The exhibits included Running Birds, Underwater Swimmers, Terrestrial Birds, and many more fascinating displays. Each display showed different types of birds according to that category and what job they served in nature.
The next exhibit displayed several types of animals such as turtles, snakes, and crocodiles. One display that caught my attention was the Leatherback Turtle. This skeletal figure is not only eight feet in length, but its shell is broken up into small plates set into its leathery skin. The other displays of turtles show them according to category and how they function and if they are aquatic or land animals. The next display was an alligator and crocodiles. These skeletons took up almost a whole wall to show how massive these creatures truly are. The last display was of snakes that were labeled as venomous or non-venomous. The body structure of the snakes only was fascinating and being able to see how each snake had its own small uniqueness to them.
The last section of the Bone Hall contained aquatic animals being mostly fish. The largest display was a Sword Fish. This animal was featured in the Perciform Fishes display. This display contained many fish that were considered to be an advanced type of fish. This section also included skeletal figures of Flatfish and seeing the outer part of their skeleton can be viewed similarly to that of a snakes' skeleton. A smaller display was about sharks and their jaw structure. Lastly in the exhibit, we have Rays. Seeing the skeletal structure of a way was very odd and it is not what was expected. Yes, looking at it, it can be inferred that it is a ray, but it is overall the most unexpected skeleton.
I believe that the Bone Hall was an amazing choice for a virtual tour and being able to see the different types of animals and their body structure was stunning. My favorite display was the Blue Whale mostly because of its size. The size and structure of the animal was mesmerizing and unbelievable.
Overall, this virtual tour was a spectacular thing to experience and I believe it was something that would be breathtaking in person.
By: Erica Moore
The Smithsonian Museum put up an online virtual tour for students to get the opportunity to tour the museum at home. I think this is important because it gives people a fun and interactive activity while they are staying safe in their homes. Students have the ability to choose between hundreds of exhibits to tour. I chose to tour the Ice Age Extinction exhibit. I chose this exhibit, because I’m very interested in the subject. First, I went to the Ice Age Extinction 1. Here I got to see the extinction wall that had all the animals that have been extinct for several years. On the screen, students can hit different arrows to view up, down, left, and right. After leaving the ice age extinction I went to the next room and got to see a mammoth duplicate. It’s was really amazing to be able to see these images.