How did favorite holiday traditions, such as kissing
under the mistletoe and gift giving, originate throughout the world? Find out
this December at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Allen F. Blocher
Two programs, “Winter Wonders” and “Season of Light,”
will be shown on the Sundays of Dec. 8, 15 and 22, at 2 and 3:15 p.m.
respectively. Both are open to the public free of charge.
“Winter Wonders” looks at Christian and Jewish religious
events during the winter season as well as rituals of cultures that originate
from solstice observances. The program also explores the customs of Native
Americans, Inuit, Incans and the people of central Africa and China. It closes
with a look at monuments built by prehistoric people to celebrate the winter
“Season of Light” traces the development of many
well-known holiday customs including burning of yule logs, hanging Christmas
lights and lighting the Menorah and luminaries. The program also explores
holiday customs from other cultures and parts of the world. The show features
appearances by St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas and
Santa Claus while illuminating the lighter side of holiday gift giving,
mistletoe and decorations. Finally, “Season of Light” will present possible
astronomical explanations for the appearance of the Christmas Star.
On Monday evenings, the “Night Sky” program is offered
free of charge at 8 p.m. in the planetarium. Visitors can look in detail at
objects in the current night sky. However, actual sky viewings will not be held
as the Arthur J. Pejsa Observatory is being upgraded.
Planetarium seating is first come, first served for up to
60 people. Groups of 15 or more may schedule a special showing of any
planetarium program by calling 715-346-2208. These presentations cost $15 per group.
The planetarium is located on the second floor of the
UW-Stevens Point Science Building at the corner of Reserve Street and Fourth
Avenue. Parking is available in Lot X near the building entrance and is free in
all university lots after 7 p.m. and on weekends. For more information, go to www.uwsp.edu/physastr.