Thursday, August 26, 2010

History, Heritage and Community

This is a rare opportunity to learn from professional folklorist and author Dale Jarvis of Newfoundland. Dale will be the featured storyteller at the
September 18, 2010 Story Cafe and will offer his Storytelling and Historical Interpretation Workshop on Saturday morning September 18, 2010. (details below)

Make a day of it! Come to the workshop and afterwards you can take a tour of historical New Bedford. The Whaling Museum and National Park building is right around the corner, have dinner then return to the Story Cafe, which begins at 7:00 p.m. Click on the Story Cafe link above and scroll down to the "Things To Do in New Bedford" section for some fun ideas.

Storytelling and Historical Interpretation Workshop

Calling all museum and historic site staff, teachers, librarians, archivists, docents, tour guides, and history-loving storytellers! How do you search out stories in your community, tell these stories and make history come alive? Where are our community stories? What is heritage value? What can artifacts tell us?

Join heritage conservationist and storyteller Dale Jarvis for a half-day workshop on storytelling for museum and historic site workers. Through this workshop you will learn to utilize story telling for more engaging historical interpretation. Learn the basic principles of cultural interpretation, and what it means for a storyteller. Hear how fact and fiction blended together to become the chilling and entertaining tales of the St. John’s Haunted Hike ghost tour. Dale will talk about how he uses archives and oral history to find his stories, and bring them to life.

DATE: Saturday, September 18, 2010
TIME: 11:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M. 
LOCATION: ArtWorks 384 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford, MA
COST: $55.00
This includes a light lunch or if you prefer you can bring something of your own as we cannot accommodate and special dietary requests. Registration and a $15.00 deposit are required. To register contact Alicia Moretti at ArtWorks at (508) 984-1588.*
PARKING:  There are two parking areas within easy walking distance to ArtWorks: Elm Street Parking Garage and Custom House Parking. It is recommended that you don't park on the street as there is a two hour limit on metered parking.

* A minimum of six participants are needed for the workshop to take place. Registrants will be notified by Thursday, September 16 if the workshop has been canceled.

About the Instructor 

Dale Jarvis is a heritage conservationist and professional folklorist and author living and working in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. He holds a B.Sc. (Honours) in Anthropology from Trent University and an MA in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

He has been working as a heritage officer with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador since 1995, and currently serves as Newfoundland and Labrador’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer. He is Past President of the Newfoundland Historic Trust, and the author of three popular books on Newfoundland folklore, published by Flanker Press.

As a storyteller, Dale is the founder of the St. John's Storytelling Circle, and a coordinator of the St. John's Storytelling Festival. He has performed and taught at storytelling festivals and conferences across Canada, the USA, England and Norway. Since 1997, Dale has been the host of the St. John's Haunted Hike, a walking ghost tour through the historic streets of St. John's.

He regularly gives courses on storytelling for historical interpretation for community and regional museums and historic sites, and has provided workshops for Parks Canada, the Federation of Nova Scotian Heritage, Northlands Storytelling Network, and Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada.

This will be an exciting day and evening. Please join us! Questions? Email me at

Sunday, August 22, 2010

By the Light of the Silvery Moon...

 Prelude to Water Melody
~ Su Shi, Poet

by Su Tung Po

When will the moon be clear and bright?
With a cup of wine in my hand, I ask the blue sky.
I don't know what season it would be in the heavens on this night.

I'd like to ride the wind to fly home.
Yet I fear the crystal and jade mansions are much too high and cold for me.

Dancing with my moon-lit shadow,
It does not seem like the human world.
The moon rounds the red mansion stoops to silk-pad doors, Shines upon the sleepless bearing no grudge,

Why does the moon tend to be full when people are apart?
People may have sorrow or joy, be near or far apart,
The moon may be dim or bright, wax or wane,
This has been going on since the beginning of time.
May we all be blessed with longevity.
Though far apart, we are still able to share the beauty of the moon together

September 22 begins the celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival. Its history dates back 2000 years. It is traditionally celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunisolar month. The festival is the second most important festival after the Spring Festival to the Chinese people. The full moon is a symbol of peace and prosperity for the whole family, symbolizing wholeness and togetherness.

"This is a day to worship the moon god. According to folk legend, this day is also the birthday of the earth god (T'u-ti Kung) and a day to worship the moon god.  People express their gratitude to heaven (represented by the moon) and earth (symbolized by the earth god) for the blessings they have enjoyed over the past year.

The Chinese believe in praying to the moon god for protection, family unity, and good fortune. On this day, the moon is at its roundest and brightest. This is also a time for lovers to tryst and pray for togetherness, symbolized by the roundness of the moon. Unlike most other Chinese festivals, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a low-key holiday, characterized by peace and elegance." Learn more about this beautiful festival at


You won’t have to search the stars for folktales celebrating the beautiful moon!

Legend of the Lady in the Moon - China 

The Lady of the Moon
- China

A Coat for the Moon – Jewish

How the Great Chief Made the Moon and the Sun – Native American

How the Moon Became Beautiful – China
Found in The Gold Path Reader, published in 1912; now available through Google books.

The Moon and the Great Snake – Native American

Moonflower - Japan

Sun, Moon and Talia – Italy

Why the Sun and the Stars Receive Their Light from the Sun - Africa


In the evenings, children carry lanterns of all shapes and sizes. The bearing of lanterns and the origin of mooncakes date back to a 14th century revolt by the Chinese against the Mongols.

Make your own Chinese Lantern


"During the Yuan Dynasty (1280 A.D - 1368 A.D), China was ruled by the Mongols. The Mongols did not eat mooncakes and the Chinese were quick to take advantage of that. They found an innovative way of coordinating the revolt. Leaders of the revolt distributed the mooncakes among the common people under the pretext of celebrating the Emperor's long life. Each mooncake had an outline of the attack baked within its skin. The secret message informed the people to revolt on the 15th of the 8th moon (also the Autumn Moon festival). On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. Since then the mooncakes became a national tradition of China."

  • Mooncakes are also known as "reunion cakes" as family members gather to partake of the sweet confectionery.
  • Traditional mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters for “longevity” or “harmony” as well as the name of the bakery and filling in the moon cake. Imprints of a moon, a woman on the moon, flowers, vines, or a rabbit may surround the characters for additional decoration.
  • They are eaten throughout the month before the actual festival day.
  • During the Qing dynasty, mooncakes were renamed "moonflowers".
  • The Empress Dowager Ci Xi staged rituals for an elaborate moon festival lasting from the 13th through the 17th day of the eighth lunar month.
  • Some Chinese families today still stay up late to observe the occasion eating mooncakes, sipping tea and gazing at the beautiful moon. It is regarded the perfect moment if someone catches the moon's reflection in the centre of his or her teacup.
  • During the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD), moon cakes were also called “small cakes” and “moon balls.”

Easy to Make Chinese Moon Cakes

1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup strawberry (or your favorite) jam (traditionally red bean paste is used so if you want a more authentic version, you can use a can of red bean paste instead of the jam).

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine the butter, sugar and 1 egg yolk and stir.
  • Mix in the flour.
  • Form the dough into one large ball and wrap it in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate dough for half an hour.
  • Unwrap the chilled dough and form small balls in the palms of your hand. 
  • Make a hole with your thumb in the center of each mooncake and fill with about half a teaspoon of jam.
  • Brush each cake with the other beaten egg yolk and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or just until the outside edges are slightly brown.
  • Eat and enjoy!

Karen Chace 2010 ©

Please note, websites change at a rapid pace and weblinks may change or break without notice. I cannot be responsible for redirected or broken links.  At the time of this posting all links were in working order. Thank you for understanding.

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.

Say Goodbye to Summer in Style at the September Story Cafe!

Not in my time, and not in your time:
The folktales of Newfoundland

Featuring Storyteller and Author Dale Jarvis
 of Newfoundland
Saturday, September 18, 2010

Let storyteller and folklorist Dale Jarvis whisk you away to a fog-shrouded island of flying boats, giants, missing fingers, fairies, phantoms, and a well-travelled fellow by the name of Jack!

Dale Jarvis is a professional performer and folklorist living in Newfoundland, Canada. The proprietor of the St. John's Haunted Hike ghost tour, Dale tells ghost stories, faerie stories, legends and traditional tales from Newfoundland, Labrador, Ireland, United Kingdom and beyond. Columnist and author of several books, he is a tireless promoter of the oral tradition.

"Dale's telling style was masterful-- confident on stage, with a strong, clear voice, thoughtfully placed gestures, rhetorical flourishes that harkened back to an earlier era, a playful attitude toward the audience, and a deferential one toward the story." ~ Tim Ereneta, Storyteller, Performance Artist

"A teller of spine tingling tales that are so convincing that even if you don't believe in ghosts, you soon will!"  ~ Wayne Rostad, On the Road Again (Award Winning Canadian Broadcasting Television Program)

ADULT OPEN MIC: Sign up for your eight minute (maximum) turn at the mic beginning at 7:00 p.m. Share your own story, song, music, essay or poem.
TIME: 7:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. (Feature begins at 8:00 P.M.)
LOCATION: Artworks, 384 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford, MA
ADMISSION: FREE (pass the hat for the featured performers)
AUDIENCE: 14 and older For more information email Karen Chace at  or call Artworks at
(508) 984-1588
Sponsored by Artworks! Partners for the Arts & Community
ArtWorks! is supported in part by the MCC as well as business and individual members


Come early and take a stroll along the fishing docks or bring your bike, enjoy the ocean breeze and ride around beautiful Fort Taber . Prefer something easier? There is the interesting and historical Whaling Museum.

Later you can enjoy a "flight of wine" and fresh hot or cold tapas at Corks or award-winning chowder (chowda) at Freestones before the show or a night cap afterwards.

New Bedford has National Park status and there are many things to enjoy. Say goodbye to summer and spend a day exploring and then relax in the beauty of ArtWorks listening to stories and song. I can't think of a better way to spend a summer Saturday!