‘Altared Christmas’ rolls around again


It’s fast becoming a Santa Cruz holiday celebration, and it captures a kind of brilliant eccentricity that is likely to give those of us who often bored with traditional observances of Christmas a bit of a jolt.

It’s called ‘An Altared Christmas,’ and it’s the brainchild of Santa Cruz musician Rhan Wilson, who gathers together a number of his favorite musicians, dress in shades of black and blue (no red allowed) and plays well-known Christmas carols in a minor key. Check it out Dec. 12 at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz.

Other newly booked shows in the area includes ‘Ringing Up,’ a different sort of holiday celebration, featuring holiday music played on hand bells (The Rio, Nov. 29); comedian Zane Lamprey (The Catalyst, Dec. 3); the incomparable bluesman Elvin Bishop (Moe’s Alley, Dec. 6); and the smart new-jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood (The Rio, Feb. 20).

Check out the Futures Index for a full list of upcoming opportunities of enlightenment and entertainment in Santa Cruz County.

2 thoughts on “‘Altared Christmas’ rolls around again

  1. No matter how “progressive” the place is, Santa Cruz will hold a place in my heart as long as it’s “Christmas” rather than “the holidays.”

  2. Is Christmas just for Christians ?

    What we need is a National Holiday that includes all of us at this time of the year.

    Consider this – After Rome took over Christianity it was natural that one of the most important Roman feast days would evolve into the most important Christian holiday – December 25th.

    Just four day before is the Winter Solstice, Dec 21st. – In this hemisphere the shortest day and longest night of the year – This is an occasion that has been celebrated since prehistoric times. It is a marker on the Celestial Calendar that is shared by all of us on this Earth.

    Why not shake out this holiday into two days – Separate the religious from the Secular – The 25th will be the religious day of observance, Christians would celebrate it as they like, free from the diluting influences of infidels – and, of course, it would continue to be called Christmas.

    December 21st would be the day of celebration for everyone. This day needs a name – Yule or Yuletide is the most ancient traditional name for the season after all.

    This would be the day for the celebration of the season – everything traditionally Christmas but non-religious would shift to this day – Santa Claus, the tree, the gifts, the parties, that kind of thing, would now revolve around the Solstice.

    Traditionally this mid-Winter celebration resembled Mardi Gras more than the Disney like thing that it has become – much more adult – However, like the ancient Juvenalia, with a focus on children.

    This should satisfy Christians that their sacred holiday is not being bastardized, while everyone else can enjoy the season free of suspicion that they are in someway supporting a foreign creed.

    There is no need for a national referendum to set the date or name of the new day – it is within the current holiday season, just four days before Christmas, and need only habit and custom to eventually become the tradition.

    On the subject – Easter is in the exact same situation – a confusion between religious and secular celebrations. Easter happens right around the Vernal Equinox, equal day and night, spring and re-birth. Also a time of popular ancient observances. Here we should simply start celebrating the Vernal Equinox itself, with a wild, earthy Earth loving party. Easter could then be exclusively a Christian observance.

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