March 20 or 21. Falls precisely on spring equinox.
Spring is here, friends. Let’s stay in the garden, and be guests to the strangers of the green…
Norooz is known by dozens of names across the many countries where it’s celebrated. Nowruz, Norouz, Noruz, Noroz, Nowroz, Nauryz, Navruz, Novroze, and more.
Now comes from the same root as “new”, and ruz means both “day” and “time”.
But however you spell it, the Persian …Read more
We tend to think of the environmental movement as something recent, that came along when the city passed out those big purple or blue recycling bins. But Tree-Planting Day is an ancient ritual in many cultures.
Arbor Day in China was originally a seasonal holiday observed during the Qingming Festival. Qingming means “Clear and Bright” (and no, it is not Scrabble eligible). Qingming falls 104 days after the winter solstice, on April 4th or 5th. During this time …Read more
When midnight comes and drops silence for sleep, and dogs and dappled birds are hushed, The man who remembers the ancient rite and fears the gods, rises up (barefoot) And makes a thumb sign between his closed fingers to avoid some ghostly wraith in the quiet. When he has washed his hands clean with fountain water, he turns around after taking black beans, Glances away and throws, saying: ‘These I release; I redeem me …Read more
The Day of Hıdırellez (Ruz-ı Hızır) tip-toes across national borders, stretches its limbs across feuding religions, and dances from one culture to another borrowing steps from each it passes.
The ancient spring festival is celebrated from Turkey to the Balkans. The word Hıdırellez itself is a mixed-up amalgamation of the names of the two well-traveled yet elusive prophets it recalls: Hızır and Ilyas (Elijah).
Hızır (Al-Khidr) means, literally, “the green one.” No, he’s not …Read more
A small cloud has fallen The white mist hits the ground My lungs comfort me with joy.
— Green Day, by Green Day
Ok, the above’s not a Japanese haiku, nor is about today’s holiday. (It bears more in common with one that takes place on 4/20) But today is “Midori no Hi”—literally Green Day, or Greenery Day. Midori means Green—hence the green, melon-based liqueur—and Hi means Day.
Greenery …Read more
I was taught in elementary school that we didn’t celebrate May Day anymore because it was a Communist holiday.
Not only was this a lame excuse not to celebrate a holiday, it also wasn’t true.
In ancient and medieval Europe, seasons were determined not by equinoxes and solstices, but by the days that fell directly in between, known as “cross-quarter days.” The first cross-quarter day of the year is Groundhog Day or Candlemas, between winter solstice …Read more
April 4, 2010 April 24, 2011 April 8, 2012 Despite the overwhelming secular popularity of Christmas in the Western world, the big daddy of all Christian holidays is actually Easter. It’s the oldest Christian holiday and the most important.
No one knows for sure how the term Easter came to be. It probably derived from Oestre, the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring, Fertility and New Life. Which helps to explain why we still celebrate the resurrection with bunny rabbits and …Read more
It’s time to celebrate the 13th!
April 2 is Sizdah Bedar, the last day of the Norooz celebrations.
Sizdah means 13, and Sizdah Bedar is celebrated on the 13th day of the Persian new year, which begins on the spring equinox, March 20 or 21.
The first twelve days of the New Year are spent visiting the homes of family and friends. Grandparents and older relatives come first. Then other family members. Then families visit …Read more