The legend of the Christmas tree spider

By From page A4 | November 30, 2012

By Lisa Justice

Spiders are amazing spinners, but can they decorate a Christmas tree? According to an old European legend, they certainly can.

As part of its current Community Science Project Spiders in Your World, Explorit Science Center is exploring cultural traditions about spiders, just in time for the holidays.

Join us on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. for a special workshop at our site at 3141 Fifth St. in Davis to learn all about the legend of the Christmas tree spider, enjoy some hot cocoa and make a beautiful glass-beaded spider ornament. The cost for the workshop is $9 per person and includes materials for one ornament and guided instruction; children age 8 and older are welcome to attend with a parent.

Many versions of this legend are prevalent in Germany, Ukraine and other parts of Europe. By spinning its gossamer webs, a spider adorns the tree of a poor family on Christmas Eve, a tradition we commemorate by adding tinsel to our modern trees.

In some versions of the tale, the spider has help from Santa Claus, or sometimes even the Christ child. We’ll explore different versions of the legend as we make our ornaments so our Christmas trees can have spiders of their own.

Space is limited for this workshop; reserve a spot online at christmastreespider.brownpapertickets.com to reserve your spot today.

This will be Explorit’s last Spiders in Your World event for 2012, but don’t worry, we’ll be back in 2013 with plenty more spider science fun. More public lectures and family events about the science and lore of spiders are planned. And you can participate in our ongoing spider observation project: Where Is My Spider? Visit iNaturalist.org/project/where-is-my-spider to help us document the spiders of Yolo County and beyond!

There are almost as many ways to participate in Explorit’s Community Science Project as there are different types of spiders to study and enjoy. Make your own unique spider ornament to celebrate the holidays and the spiders in your world.

Explorit’s coming events:

* Astronomy Club meeting: On Saturday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m., the Astronomy Club will have a variety of telescopes and binoculars set up at Explorit for display for anyone interested in examining telescopes with thoughts of purchasing one for the holidays. Beginning at 7 p.m. the Astronomy Club will meet to discuss the different types of telescopes and accessories. We also will look at the stars in the night sky following the main program, weather permitting.

* Winter Break: Explorit’s current exhibit, “Beyond the Table: A Look at Agriculture and You,” will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 22-23, 26-31 and Jan. 2-6. We hope you will join us for some science fun and discovery over the holiday break.

— Explorit is at 3141 Fifth St. in Mace Ranch. For more information, call 530-756-0191 or visit www.explorit.org

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • Special Publications »

    Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
    Copyright (c) 2016 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.