Every year I try to create and research a new christmas decoration and tradition. This year, I came across the himmeli.
This beautifully organic, geometric sculpture caught my attention straight away and I quickly became obsessed.
They originated from Scandinavia, where it’s name was derived from the Swedish word himmel which means “sky” or “heaven”. Traditionally they are hung above dining tables to ensure a good crop for the coming year. It is believed that the larger, and more intricate, the himmeli, the larger the crop.
I created one to hang above my dinning table at home and another larger one with my art class in EVE Estuary. This we also hung above our feasting table, at our end of year party.
A himmeli is made up of geometrical shapes that hang from, and within each other. Traditionally a Himmeli is created out of rye straw that has been gathered from the previous harvest. For our Himmeli we decide to use drinking straws of various colours. They are easy to cut and are pretty durable.
Through my research into the Himmeli, I came across the Pajaki. These are like a himmeli’s crazy half sister. They have a good bit more embellishment and are not as polished and modern as a himmeli.
The literal translation of Pajaki is “spiders of straw” and were part of the Christmas celebration of Polish peasants. There is a polish saying that goes: “Błogosławiony dom w którym pająki są” = God blesses the home with a spider in it. Sort of like, if the spider chooses your house it’s mean your home is full of happiness and hospitality. It is explained a good bit better on this blogpost by Aunt Peaches.
I will definitely be giving one of these a whirl next year.
Check out my Pinterest board for more Himmeli and Pajaki examples and ‘how to?’ demonstrations.
Some more decorations that we had around the house.
Inspired by SPAR’s Christmas advert, where Christmas trees are found in unusual locations all over Ireland, I decided to bring a small Christmas tree on holidays with me and my family. Here are some of the pictures that we took.
This too, could well become a Christmas tradition for me and my family…we had so much fun!
This is the advert –
© All photos shown have been taken by Rachel Kiernan and are not to be used without permission.