Sunday, December 07, 2003

Snow Queen

7 Dec 03 Snow Queen

Sur la Lune- Snow Queen


Across Europe in the last weeks of November, the elves are outside busy building the Christmas markets that stand in the city squares and central market places. Filled with cheer, they are decorated like miniature villages where throngs of people congregate to search for that special Christmas present among the outdoor shops containing traditional crafts from black-smithery to glass-blowing to fine silver-smiths for handwrought jewelry.

On December 5th, children dress up as angels and devils to accompany Saint Nicholas as he goes from house to house bringing the season's cheer and drinking schnapps. Firecrackers explode in the noisy streets as fireworks burst above in the night sky, welcoming the Christams Season.

In Vienna, the ice-rink by the Stadtpark is filled with whirling skaters, and the duck-pond with the Moore sculpture in front of the Karlskirche is glazed with ice for children to skate on. On the ring by the Rathaus, a miniature village is created among the towering trees with an outdoor rink where annually Freilicht Exhibitions of ice-skating and ice-dancing are performed by the new brood of competitive skaters.

In Prague, the Christmas Market assembles in the Old Town Square with a miniature ice-rink and pony rides to entertain the children. A miniature train whooshes in circles and the tourists congregate to watch the parade of saints on the great Astronomical Clock near the Tyn Church where Catholics and Protestants battled to dominate the religious front. Tourists throng the crowded narrow streets, arriving to enjoy the busy shopping season. It's Christmas. The Ice Castle surrounding the ice-rink is slowly melting, although scarcely a week old.

The story of the Snow Queen is a traditional favorite for the winter season, with the Snow Festivals that are celebrated across Europe. The larges Ice Castle is in Kemi, Finland—in Lapland where Gerda is abducted by the Robber Girl, and finally continues on the last leg of her journey with the reindeer to the icy, frozen north.

Snow Castle in Lapland, Finland

Kemi, Finland with the largest Snow Castle in the world
The largest annual Snow Castle, built in Kemi, Finland. 17 metres high with walls 1100 metres long. Area 13 500 m2. The castle includes restaurants and a chapel attracts over 270 000 visitors. Weddings and parties are conducted in it.

Ulrike Elanor's Snow Church
Helsinki Finland, est 1997

Around the world, the winter festivities begin with winter sports championships. Among the most unforgettable ice-skaters are Toller Cranston and Roselyn Sumners.

Toller Cranston and Witt
film of ice-skating

Ice Princess
Toller Cranston, Katarina Witt and Roselyn Sumners
60 minutes 2000

Andersen draws us into his world, through his remarkable gift of descriptive narration. In Mermaid, we are invited into the unseen world through the comparison of the invisible to the commonplace that we experience in our daily lives:

"far out to sea the water is as blue as the petals on the loveliest cornflower and as clear as purest glass..."

Similarly, he begins the narration of Snow Queen with an incident which we all can relate to through the imagery of a immense mirror being flown into the heavens. The association of words relating a splinter of glass to an eyelash or hair caught in an eye, creates the credibility fo the story. We believe, because we know the ordeal of trying to remove the foreign object from the eye and the hours of swollen eyes, the blurred, painful vision that resulted. We know intimately the sharp pain of dust particles grating against the tender surface of the eye. We suffer with Kay in his blindness and we sympathize with gerda in her long search through the world to recover the precious companionship of her childhood. We know the tingle of numb hands and the screaming pain of swollen frozen fingers. And like children, we are bewitched and entranced by the annual winter sports and festivals, dreaming of racing away in the Snow Queen's sleigh.

Meghans Fairytales
moved 4 December introduction to the pages
The Snow Queen" translated by Naomi Lewis,
Illustrated by Angela Barrett illustration copyright 1988

Part 1 The Mirror

Part 2 Kay and Gerda

Part 3 The Flower Garden and the Woman Who Could Conjure

Part 4 The Prince and The Princess

Part 5 The Little Robber-Girl

Part 6 The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman

Part 7 The Palace of the Snow Queen and What Happened There at Last

Snow Queen Adrienne Segur illus

Art Passions: Segur
illustrations by Segur
please do not download site
you may link by html page but not by images
You may also send the images as postcards

Suggested Fairytale Classics\
a page with suggested classic fairytale books listed for beautiful gifts


4 Febr 04 Snow Queen: Old Woman's Flower Garden

2 Oct 04 Flower Stories


21 Dec 03 Little Match Girl

14th Dec 03 Fir Tree by HCA

23 Nov 03 Humperdink's Children Hansel u Gretel Making Gingerbread B

23 Nov 03 Humperdinck's Children making Gingerbread A

16 Nov 03 Nutcracker

5 Dec 2004 Kidnapped Santa

1 December 2004 Winter Festival Event


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