Christmas and Holiday Traditions around the World Exhibition 11/24/15 to 1/3/16
Christmas and Holiday Traditions around the World Exhibition at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park features more than 40 international trees and displays including Ursula Astras straw Christmas ornaments on the Lithuanian tree. This year, the tree was decorated by Loretta and Dave Beukema, Don and Kathy Astras, and Grace Kamantas. It was the 19th year that Ursula’s ornaments have adorned the tree.
Don arrived early to repair some of the ornaments. Repair is much more time-consuming than creating an ornament from scratch. According to Don, these ornaments have withstood the test of time. He was there with Ursula when Fred and Lena Meijer selected her hand-made straw ornaments back in 1996. The Astras family was somewhat surprised and pleased with the Meijers’ close involvement in starting this holiday tradition at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Ursula’s ornaments include snowflakes, stars (tree toppers), mobiles (sodai) and braided balls.
Lithuanian Community and Owen-Ames-Kimball support tree
The Astras and Kamantas families along with the Grand Rapids Lithuanian-American Community have been supportive to preserve this centuries-old tradition of decorating with straw ornaments. They appreciate that Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park focuses on the authenticity of holiday traditions and honors holiday cultures around the world, especially those of Lithuania. This year, Owen-Ames-Kimball Company sponsored the tree.
Find out more about Christmas and Holiday Traditions around the World at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park from November 24, 2015 to January 3, 2016.
To learn how to make your own Lithuanian Christmas tree ornaments from straw, see our Folk Art Workshops page. We wish you a Merry Blessed Christmas or Linksmų Šventų Kalėdų!
Although we had scheduled it for next month’s news, we reviewed it now to coincide with its release at the museum: Ursula’s family history posted by Stanley Currier at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture.