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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in spring traditions

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hunting for Spring

Our evenday (equinox) eve always begins with a hunt.

In the late winter darkness, we light our candles and go through the house with our baskets, looking for spring. We gather eggs—chocolate ones, mostly—but in the end we still have to descend into the underworld to find Spring, and bring her back ourselves. Here in the north, it's what you have to do.

As a ritual planner, I kicked against this part of the ritual for years. I feared it would trivialize what came after. But in fact gathering our baskets of candy is a delight, and the resonances of the act are ancient, deep, and meaningful.

Since the ritual takes place at my house, in after-days I keep finding spring. It happened this morning. Well into summer, I keep finding spring. This is why we use chocolate eggs for the egg-hunt and keep the real ones for the ritual.

Last year I found the last egg during the Yule cleaning. By then, the chocolate was a little dry and oxidized, but it still tasted sweet. Spring is always sweet, whenever you find it.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Spring - a renewal

Spring!  A relief from the winter cold, snow, and the introspective time of assessing where I am and what I need to do next.  It’s about new beginnings and a fresh start.  I’m sitting here laughing about this because here in Wisconsin we have four inches (more in some places) of snow on the ground.  It is still snowing and they said it was supposed to stop by 8 this morning.  We’re two hours past that. 

Spring equinox is all about renewal, rebirth, coming alive again after the winter.  The Persephone / Demeter story is one of the myths which is prominent for this time of year.  Persephone returns to her mother and Demeter comes back to life with the return of her daughter. 

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Which Came First, the Marshmallow or the Peep?

I can remember my first theological debate. I was 7.

It was spring. My friend Mary Chris contended that Lent is called Lent because that's when you eat lentils. The Stepanoviches were Serbian Orthodox, and ate lots of lentils during Lent.

Clearly, there was a larger principle at stake here. To me, it seemed ridiculous that the larger thing should be named for the smaller. My automatic contrarian position was that lentils are named for Lent because that's when you eat them. (Not that anyone in my family ate lentils during—or even observed—Lent, mind you. But growing up in Pittsburgh, everyone knows what Lent is.)

Lent derives from the Old English word for “spring,” when the days lengthen. Had Harold won at Hastings, our four seasons today might be Winter, Lent, Summer, and Harvest.

Lentil is the diminutive of Latin lens, which meant “lentil.” (A lens, of course, is named for its lentil-like shape.) As we've been eating lentils for the last 12,000 years or so—since the end of the last Ice Age—it's not surprising that they should have their own name.

The words are unrelated. As in so many theological debates, it turns out that we were both wrong.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    My parents were Great Depression survivors as well, and they never let us forget it. My dad was a farmer, specializing in tomatoe
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My parents were both children of the Great Depression, so I never discovered the Joy of Legumes until I became vegetarian at 18. N
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Growing up in a Xtian household, albeit both Roman Catholic and Methodist, we did observe Lent for my Catholic dad, and I never ev

This poetic essay originally appeared in Eternal Haunted Summer Magazine 2011

I.

 The restaurant — hole-in-the-wall with age-darkened brick wallpaper, old-lady peony-pink damask table cloths, the color my Chicago adopted grandmother used to like in homemade church blouses, eyelet white lace curtains festooned with paper ribbons in the ceiling, entwined with silk flower vines, glitter easter-eggs, feather butterflies in “old-lady chic” the guidebook calls it, ribbons hanging from the trophy animals, dusty green-red pheasant I can’t see his tail, two deer heads with gold mardi gras beads wrapped ’round dead necks and antlers, soft orange carrot salad a feast of hunter’s stew between potato pancakes plump meat chunks tucked in a surprise the old man with Andy Warhol hair arguing cheerfully with the middle-aged waiter reading a conservative fantasy novel, this food is better than your mother’s he says with a straight face, expecting the rejoinder as my husband checks out, tart herbaceous currant juice, the color of crushed berries — it tastes like secrets –

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thanks, Courtney! Unfortunately I don't live in the Metro area anymore-- I miss the Polish food, Central Park and the Met-- but I
  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber says #
    I love this! I've had those same thoughts about the 168th subway tunnel--glad I'm not the only one who noticed. I live in the ci

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Hope Springs Anew

    

 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    In my first ritual group we embraced the pagan themes of Christian culture. And we enjoyed becoming like children again, coloring

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Imbolc, though most often observed on the first of February, approximately half-way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, is more than a a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Brighid.jpgcelebration of a day. Historically it marks the season of lambing and lactation in the ewes – the old Irish Imbolg meaning in the belly, and the medieval Oimelc, meaning ewes milk. In this respect, Imbolc is a season and the heralding celebration was often observed as much as two weeks before or after the beginning of February.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Deep Winter here, and as one does, I dream of Spring.

According to Classicist M. L. West, “Swinging is a recurrent feature of Indo-European springtime and midsummer festivities.”

Sure enough: in Hindu India, in ancient (and modern) Greece and Rome, in Russia, in the Balkans, in the Baltics: springtime (often Easter) is when you hang a swing from the leafing-out branch of a tree and jump on for a ride (and better it be if it's with a buddy). Half the Latvian Easter dainas that I've seen focus on swinging. There's said to be a sympathetic correlation between how high one swings and how high the crops will stand in the coming growing season.

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