Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Aug. 14 is Navajo Code Talkers Day. Who were they?

Do you remember the movie Windtalkers starring Nicholas Cage? It was about a group of Native Americans who used their language to communicate in World War II's Pacific battles. There were Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche, Meskwaki, and Navajos.

Page, Arizona is located northwest of the Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona and we celebrate on August, 14, the bravery, heroism and courage of the Navajo Code Talkers.

Page is at the Northwestern Corner

At the start of WWII, Philip Johnston, a WWI veteran proposed to the U.S. Marine Corps the use of Navajo. He was the son of missionaries and because he was raised in the Navajo Reservation, he was one of a few non-Navajo people who spoke their language fluently.

Navajo has complex grammar and at that time it was an unwritten language. The military was in need of an undecipherable code to outsmart the Japanese.

2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the initial recruitment of the Navajo Code Talkers. 

It is estimated that at the beginning of World War II, less than 30 non-Navajos could understand the language.

Navajo Code Talkers, Saipan, June 1944
In simulated combat tests, Navajos could take a 3-line English message, encode, transmit and decode it in 20 seconds which by far beat the 30 minutes that a machine at that time would take.  With those results, 200 Navajos were recruited, the first 29 entering boot camp in May 1942.
Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima. ~Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer. 
The recruitment and use of the Navajo Code Talkers continued through the Korean War until it was ended early during the Vietnam war.

The Navajo Code Talkers Association founded in 2009 by a group of surviving Navajo Code Talkers, based in Window Rock, AZ, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the eduction of future generations about the history, ideals and heroic accomplishments in World War II by the Navajo Code Talkers.

A Treasured Occasion Gift Shop

629 Elm Street, Page, AZ 86040

Friday, July 20, 2012

Floral Ideas for Your Wedding (besides the bouquet)

Flowers add life, color and freshness to any occasion especially weddings. But here are some ideas that you may not have thought of...

Rose petals sewn in the hem of the flower girl's dress

Floral hair piece for a country wedding

Rustic tub with gorgeous bouquet - great container for wedding gifts!

Decorate a post with lace bow and flowers

Decorate the motorcycle get-away vehicle with flowers!

Decorate your wedding cake with fresh flowers

Add bright fresh flowers to a plain cake for a burst of color!

Decorate any arches, or other decorative fixtures with fresh flowers

Flowers can be added to just about anything!

Whimsical candle and flowers on a post for outdoor wedding

How about an Arizona Destination Wedding? Check out our other site!

A Treasured Occasion Wedding Planner

629 Elm Street, Page, AZ 86040

Friday, July 13, 2012

What is a Kachina?

Kachina Dolls at A Treasured Occasion Gift Shop in
Page, AZ
If you've traveled at all in southwest, you've undoubted heard the word "kachina." (Also katchina or katcina pronounced in Hopi, like the latter spelling katsina.)

A kachina is a spirit being representing anything from the natural realm or cosmos. Kachina cults spread from the Hopi in Northern Arizona to also include the Zuni, Acoma, Isleta and Laguna Pueblo Native American tribes in New Mexico.

It can be the spirit of a respected ancestor, a deity, an element, an animal or bird like a buffalo or eagle, a location, a quality, a natural phenomenon or even a concept. The Hopi and Pueblo cultures have over 400 different kachinas.

Kachina was the most widespread religion by the Hopi and Pueblo practiced about 200 years before the Spaniards arrived in the West.
"The central theme of the kachina cult is the presence of life in all objects that fill the universe. Everything has an essence or a life force, and humans must interact with these or fail to survive." ~ Frank Anderson, Anthropolgist
The Hopi believe that the kachinas live on the Humphrey's Peak, the tallest mountain in Arizona. Every year, between the winter solstice and mid-July, the kachinas come down to the villages to dance and sing, bring rain for the harvest and to give gifts to the children.

Kachina Dolls

Hopi Kachina Dolls are made of cottonwood and are made by the men of the village then given to uninitiated girls during various ceremonies. After the ceremony, the dolls are hung on walls and are meant to be treasured and studied not to be idols of worship or children's toys.

Kachina Dancers

As part of ceremonial dances, the dancers dress as the kachinas of the various spirits. This video is of a Hopi Buffalo Dance. Notice the masked dancers dressed as the kachinas of the buffalo.

Click here for more information on the Hopi Kachina Dolls

Stop by our store in Page, AZ and check out our collection of authentic kachina dolls. 

A Treasured Occasion

629 Elm Street, Page, AZ 86040

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Color of Roses (part 2)

June is National Rose Month

We continue with the meaning of the colors of roses. In the past blog post we covered red, pink, yellow, white & blue. 

Orange: the color of desire and enthusiasm with an underlying message of passion and excitement. Send orange roses if someone's caught your eye and wait for the passion to ignite. 

It's a warm color that says, "I'm proud of you" or "proud to be with you."

The hues will vary from citrus to peach. The light the color, the more it represents a budding romance where the darker shade, a deep, passionate desire. 

When you're fascinated with someone or completely "bewitched," send them orange roses. 

Purple: Love at first site, enchantment. Perfect for the anniversary of your first meeting. It says, "I fall in love with you each time I see you!"

Purple is also the color of royalty, majesty and opulence. 

Lavender roses are rare and eye-catching. Send these if you're looking to get noticed. 

Though purple roses symbolize enchantment, they do not suggest permanence. 

The darker purple - almost black - is now a favorite of the "goth or gothic" look. 

Black: Just like blue roses, black roses are not found in nature. Dark purple or dark red roses are sometimes considered black and roses can be dyed any color. (Like the natural, yet rare one pictured)

Black roses may not be understood as a gift, but associated with anarchy, black magic and witchcraft. Either mix black roses with other rose colors or make sure you're conveying the right message.

Green: green roses are not abundant in nature - even though they'd be cool for St. Patrick's Day! 

Green roses symbolize fertility, richness, abundance and bounty (the color of money?) It also signifies life, abundant growth, constant rejuvenation of spirit, cheerfulness, self-respect and well-being. 

The color green is believed to impart a sense of balance, stability and peace to the mind. When you simply want to surprise or please someone, give them a green rose. 

Brown: You're probably thinking, brown? Yes, there are brown roses and they come in a variety of shades from russet, to coffee/latte to smokey to iced tea. 

Ladies, brown roses are great to show a man that you love him. Intimate and romantic, yet with a masculine appeal. They also convey a feeling of warmth and stability and can be used to thank someone for a job well done. 

So there you have them - all the colors of roses and shades in between! No matter what the "Treasured Occasion," we can help you send the right message to that right someone!

A Treasured Occasion

629 Elm Street, Page, AZ 86040

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Color of Roses

June is National Rose Month

Have you ever wondered what each of the rose colors mean? Are you sending the right message?
What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet... ~William Shakespeare in Romeo & Juliet
Red: In general, the red rose portrays beauty, passion, courage and respect. A symbol of romantic love and desire. It could say "congratulations" or "I love you."

If married, they expresses domestic paradise that is both passionate and abiding.

The amount of roses received also have meaning. A single rose stands for simplicity. A rose in full bloom means "I love you" or "I love you still."
  • 6: "I miss you"
  • 7: infatuation
  • 12: "I love you" and "appreciation for companionship"
  • 18: "I'm sorry and I beg your forgiveness"
  • 25: congratulations
  • 50: unconditional love
A red rosebud conveys youthful love, innocent and fresh. 

Make sure your rose is fresh! A withered rose signifies that the passion you once felt has dwindled and your love is dying. 

White: Purity, innocence, silence, secrecy, truth, reverence, humility, youthfulness. It says, "I am worthy of you." Heavenly, loyalty, platonic love or everlasting, pure love.

In a wedding bouquet, it signifies that the bride is a virgin and that she is pure and untarnished.

As with the reds, a white rose that's dying means "fleeting beauty" or "you made no impression."

A sample of the beautiful bridal bouquets
we can make!
Pink: Appreciation, "thank you," grace, perfect happiness, admiration, affection, "please believe me" femininity, a gentle beginning of a wonderful relationship. 

In a bridal bouquet, it symbolizes joy, pride, and deep affection, happiness and enthusiasm. 

Great for celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, or significant achievements. 

Yellow: joy, gladness, friendship, delight, promise of anew beginning, "welcome back," "remember me," "I care," jealousy (in Victorian times), "best friend forever!" Also, freedom, contentment, happiness, gratitude, freedom. 

Definitely the sign of friendship alone. 

It can also be a sign of sorrow, bidding farewell.

If married, the yellow rose signifies familiar love, contentment, everlasting joy and a sense of snugness - steadfast affection. Perfect for weddings & anniversaries!  

Blue rose from Brazil
Blue: Blue roses do not exist in nature because they lack the pigment to produce the blue color. White roses can be dyed blue and genetic modification have created blue pigmented roses with blue-to-violet hues. Because of their absence in nature, blue roses have come to symbolize mystery & longing to attain the impossible. 

Someone who receives a blue rose is considered extraordinary. It may also represent "true love" as in "true blue." 

In some cultures, blue roses are traditionally associated with royal blood, thus the blue rose can denote regal majesty and splendor. In Chinese folklore, the blue rose signifies hope against unattainable love.

Next time: Orange, Purple, Green, Brown & Black!

A Treasured Occasion

629 Elm Street, Page, AZ 86040

Friday, June 8, 2012

The History of Father's Day

It's almost here! Father's Day! The day we honor dads. So when and how did Father's Day start?

It started with Mother's Day, founded by Anna Jarvis in 1909 as a commemoration of the moms who had sons who died in the Civil War. 

Sonora Smart Dodd, daughter of Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart (a single parent who raised 6 children in Spokane, WA), heard a sermon about Jarvis' Mother's Day in 1909. She encouraged her pastor that there should be a similar holiday to honor fathers and she suggested June 5th, her father's birthday. However, the pastor didn't have a enough time to prepare a sermon so the celebration was postponed to the 3rd Sunday of June in 1910 and that's when it's celebrated today.

Men like flowers, too!
At first, it didn't have much success. Ms. Dodd stopped promoting the event in the 1920s because she was in college and even in Spokane, it lost popularity. When she returned to Spokane in the 30s, she started promoting it again and it grew to a national awareness catching the eye of certain trade groups.

Commercialism Got It Going

Makers of ties, pipes and other traditional gifts for men, jumped on the bandwagon. The New York Associated Men's Wear Retailers set up the "Father's Day Council" which aided Ms. Dodd efforts. This commercialism may have hindered the holiday from getting official Federal Government recognition.

Congress Ignores Dads

Since 1913 supporters of having Father's Day recognized as a national holiday have tried to get Congress to declare it so. Presidents Wilson & Coolidge tried but were unsuccessful. Congress feared it would become too commercialized!

Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith in 1957 accused Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, "[singling] out just one of our two parents."

It wasn't until 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation which honored fathers and designated the 3rd Sunday in June as Father's Day. Still, it was President Richard Nixon who in 1972 finally signed it into law.

Now, over 20 countries around the world celebrate Father's Day in one form or another.

So what are you going to get Dad for Father's Day? How about flowers? Men like flowers too! If you're near Page or Lake Powell, AZ, give us a call and we'll put together a special arrangement just for him! We also have great "guy gifts" like  hunting gifts, fishing gifts, golf gifts, chess sets, aftershave sets, mugs, etc. We ship anywhere!

A Treasured Occasion

629 Elm Street, Page, AZ 86040

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The History of Memorial Day

The American holiday, Memorial Day, started as "Decoration Day" after the Civil War in commemoration of the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. It now is a day that honors all Americans who have died in all wars serving the in the United States Armed Forces.

It also marks the start of the summer season (which Labor Day marks its end).

Remembering the Fallen

Because of the high number of dead soldiers, both Union and Confederate, memorial and burial services became important following the war. The federal government began creating national cemeteries in 1865 for the Union dead.

The First Celebration

May 1, 1865, in Charleston, S.C. at the Charleston Race Course, the first known observance of Memorial Day was held. 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves.

Freed slaves knew of the Union dead and wanted to honor them. Along with teachers and missionaries, the African Americans organized a May Day ceremony. Close to 10,000 people, mostly freedmen commemorated the dead. They built an enclosure and arch labeled "Martyrs of the Race Course." Today the site is Hampton Park.

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization for Northern Civil War veterans, issued a proclamation that "Decoration Day" should be observed nationwide.

May 30, 1868 was the first national observation. May 30 was chosen because that was not the anniversary of any battle.

Name & Date Change

It wasn't until after World War I that "Decoration Day" became "Memorial Day" officially.

June 28, 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill making Memorial Day (& 3 other holidays: Washington's Birthday, Columbus Day & Veterans Day) a "Monday Holiday" to create the  yearned-for 3-day weekend.

So on the last Monday in May, remember those who died for our freedom.

A Treasured Occasion

629 Elm Street, Page, AZ 86040