My husband and I are friends with a couple that we met through our church. We enjoy their company and through the years we have done many things together. We will get together at each others homes to play cards. We also go out to eat and to plays and other events. Each year between Christmas and New Years we take a day off of work and spend time together. Last year we went to a center that had several homes that had been replicated. Each home was from a different country and was decorated for the holidays in the traditions of that country. The houses were spaced several yards apart.
There were also old world shops set up to create a small village atmosphere. The homes were life sized and had actors dressed for the time period and country that they were suppose to be representing. You had your choice of walking through the village and having a sleigh ride back to your car, or you could take the sleigh ride to the far end and work your way back. It was a very cold day so we decided to begin walking to the closest house.
The first house was from German decent. The first thing I noticed as we walked in was the beautiful braided rug. I am from German ancestry so I knew that the area rug was an authentic handmade piece. My grandmother always had a colorful braided rug in front of her kitchen sink. She would make them during the winter months. The woman that was dressed in period costume was sitting in front of the fireplace and was sewing the strips of fabric together that would be used to make the area rugs.
All kinds of scrap fabrics are cut into strips and are sewn together to form ropes. The ropes are then braided together. Once the ropes are long enough they are wrapped around each other until the desired size is reached. The braided rug is then stitched together so that it will not uncoil. My husband and I have talked about learning these braiding techniques to make our own rugs. The women told us that after the holidays are over the different houses stay opened and they have classes to teach the various old world crafts. She was going to be teaching rug braiding in January.
We continued on our tour of the different houses. Each ethnic group has added a different way of celebrating the holidays. It was very interesting to discover where some traditions have originated. We thoroughly enjoyed our day and my husband and I have promised each other that we will learn how to make a braided rug.