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Articles Categorized Holidays

Saints & Snakes

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. A day to drink green beer, catch a leprechaun, and cheer the Emerald Isle and it’s legends. So, of course, this blog has something to do with St. Patrick, but it has more to do with snakes. In the Christian tradition, it’s fair to say snakes have a bad rap.

Romantic Love in the Digital Age

GOOD NIGHT, GOOD NIGHT. PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW, THAT I SHALL SAY GOOD NIGHT TILL IT BE TOMORROW. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, written in 1594,  encapsulates romantic love at its most appealing. Juliet speaks these words as Romeo departs from her balcony, her longing and complete surrender a match for Romeo’s intense commitment. Unfortunately,

How Do Groundhogs Predict Weather? Not very well.

Sunday is Groundhog Day, the day when a large rodent leaves his burrow, looks around, and decides whether or not winter will continue another six weeks. Some folks say the groundhog is correct about 37 percent of the time, though that could be pure luck. Groundhogs are actually squirrels, commonly known as marmots. Groundhogs are

Welcome the Year of the Rat

The official date for Chinese New Year is this Saturday, January 25, though preparations began last Thursday. Each year corresponds to an animal in the Chinese zodiac created by the celestial Jade Emperor who invited twelve animals to serve as his guards. The earlier an animal passed through the heavenly gate, the higher rank it

Mistletoe Kisses, Roasted Chestnuts & The Christmas Song

A series on Christmas greenery isn’t complete without mistletoe, an Anglo-Saxon word that translates as “dung on a stick.” In many ways, mistletoe is a curious symbol of Christmas. On the one hand, mistletoe is a rootless parasite drawing nutrients from its host tree. On the other, its bright green color contrasts with the leafless

Holly, Ivy & Christmas

Holly, with its dramatic red berries, and ivy are two more evergreen symbols of Christmas that predate the Christian celebration. Romans decorated their homes with holly and ivy during Saturnalia, a year end festival honoring Saturn. Celts used the plants during the winter solstice. Both plants stand out during bleak winter days, with or without

Christmas Trees — Symbols of Hope

It’s December, and almost everywhere you look there are Christmas trees, evergreen boughs, and other symbols of this end-of-the-year “Season.” Long before Santa ever came on the scene, people in the Northern Hemisphere worried about the winter darkness. Some thought winter came because the Sun God was ill, and celebrated the Solstice because at long

Turkey, Football, & Shopping

At its most basic level, the holiday of Thanksgiving is about being grateful and eating a special meal. The menu generally includes a roast turkey, or tofu turkey. Pumpkin pie is a staple dessert choice, but far from the only one. The rest of the menu includes family favorites. Once the meal is over, thoughts

POINSETTIA: AMERICA’S CHRISTMAS FLOWER

Last week I was at our local garden center and couldn’t resist the Poinsettia display. Poinsettias weren’t part of my childhood holiday season, but now I can’t imagine the fall and winter festivities without them. Poinsettias didn’t always have a Christmas association. They were a lowly, yet useful, Mexican shrub the Aztecs called Cuitlaxochitl. The

Whitby, Where Dracula Came Ashore

Thursday is Halloween, which makes today the perfect time to explain Dracula’s ongoing association with Whitby.  In 1890 Whitby was a popular summer holiday destination. Bram Stoker, business manager for the Lycium Theater and writer of sensational novels, booked a room at Mrs. Veazey’s Guesthouse on the Royal Crescent. He had time to spend any