Monday, November 20, 2017

Thinking Back and Giving Thanks

Lost a month here somewhere. Feels like December already. I was looking through my college trunk yesterday and found some letters I received in 1973. Made me stop to think how much the world has changed in those past 44 years. Back then, there was no email, no Internet even, no Facebook, just good old snail mail. I have these actual written documents. But what will my children have from me? 
Hmm. Sort of reminds me of the theme of my first book, "The Peaks at the Edge of the World"  which talked about a world where everything is on computer terminals, to the point that books and writing are actually outlawed. I'll blog more on that later.
For now, stop and give thanks for the real people in your life, not just the "virtual" ones. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Holidays and Holy Days - More Than Just a Vacation

Well, I'm a week late with this, but October 31 was more than the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation started by Martin Luther in Germany.

October 31 is also the halfway point between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice.  In ancient Celtic lore it was called Samhain (pronounced "SAW-EEN").  The early Christian church had a policy of turning ancient pagan festivals into Holy Days, hence the word we use now "Holi-days".  And so Samhain became All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day.  Hence we got the name "Halloween" from "Hallowed E'en" ( Holy Evening).  This is the one Quarter Feast that's kept more of its pagan residue, like the idea of spirits of the dead walking the earth on the eve of All Saints Day, and the popularity of The Day of the Dead in countries like Mexico.

Other Christianized festivals include Christmas, which is close to the Winter Solstice and a Roman festival called Saturnalia.  (Look for more in a later blog about Saturn.  It's more than just a planet with rings!)

Then there's the next Quarter Feast, Feb. 2, which the Church calls Candlemas, when candles for use in the next year were blessed.  Before that it was a pagan feast marking the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring (Vernal) Equinox.  Now we call it Groundhog Day.  More on that later, too.

Meanwhile, here in Montana, winter arrived early with All Saints Day, so when we get to the so-called first day of winter, it will be closer to what the Northern Europeans call it-- "Midwinter."

Happy Whatever Holiday you feel like celebrating!