Category Archives: holidays

burns night.

It’s a Scottish thing. For being a connoisseur of obscure and other people’s holidays, I’m ashamed to say that before this past week, I knew hardly anything about Burns night. But I’ve done my research since and also attended a Burns night celebration.

It’s a night to celebrate the Scottish poet Robert Burns (no relation to me). Among other things, he wrote “Auld Lang Syne”. These appear to be the main components:

– haggis (if you don’t know what it is wikipedia it)

– an address to the haggis. this is sweet. here is the traditional address.

– eating tatties and neeps alongside the haggis. tatters= mashed potatoes and neeps= swede or rutabaga

– ceilidh dancing (scottish dancing)

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british christmas

Last Saturday night, we went to Trafalgar Square in Covent Garden and sang Christmas carols to passerbys and bystanders (words chosen because they both have “by” in them). A few hundred stopped and joined in. It was a really cold night but a really neat experience.

I have now also partaken in the British Christmas traditions of mince pies and mulled wine. I can see the merit in both.

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Filed under Contingency, holidays, Uncategorized

spring equinox

Today is:
–  March 20.
–  First day of spring.
–  The spring equinox.

I feel like I’ve talked about this before, but I’m just fascinated by this stuff, so I’m writing it for my own pleasure, and it can’t hurt you to know this either.

If you lived on the equator, today would be equal night and equal day. From this point on, there is more day than night.

Part 1

Spring equinox
At the equators, it’s even day and even night. The days are getting longer (sun is up longer) and from this point on, there’s more sun than dark.

*Summer solstice (Midsummer’s Day),
Longest day of the year. The days start getting shorter.

Fall equinox
Similar to the spring equinox, the night and day are even. After this day, there is increasingly  more night than day.

*Winter solstice 
Shortest day of the year. After this day, the days start getting longer.

This is exciting stuff. Please go find a way to celebrate.

* It’s interesting to note that some cultures celebrate these. Particularly, I know of people celebrating Midsummer’s Day and also the winter solstice.

In some Scandinavian countries, I think they observe both solstices. In a place where the seasonal changes of the sun are so dramatic, I can understand why (in the summer, the sun never really sets, and it barely rises in the winter). I believe that Midsummer’s is a big deal, and then I think St. Lucia’s day is used to mark the winter solstice.

Somehow, I think this is why we celebrate Christmas on the 25 of December. Pagans used to have the Celebration of the Sun on the winter solstice. Christians decided to place the Celebration of the Son -which we call Christmas now- over that holiday (I guess as an alternative/way to try to redeem the holiday), and now modern calendars place that day on December 25.

Part 2

I have this aspiration to one day host a sweet Midsummer’s Day celebration.

This is my plan:
– Host it in Minnesota (which seems like the Scandinavian part of the US)
– Have a May pole, unless I discover there’s some pagan tradition tied to it .
– Eat out of doors (obviously).
– Have a white and navy blue color theme, consistent with that area
– There has to be a lake. With a dock. With boats.
– Get some of those sweet old lanterns to use when the sun finally goes down

Since there is little hope of this realistically ever happening, I am going to write down a detailed description of what I want, commit it to memory, hope that we will have all of our memories in heaven, and have my party up there.

Let me know if you want an invite, and I’ll commit that to memory also.

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Filed under Contingency, Explaining things, holidays

st. patrick

I’ll post this now so you may be adequately prepared to observe tomorrow.

St. Patrick was not Irish. I know, bummer. Fold up the four-leaved clovers wall decorations and save the money you’d have spent on beer. Just kidding. About the beer.

I’ll put some links below, so you can get the scintillating details. But here’s the skinny:

He grew up in Britain and was kinapped from his village by Irishmen when he was in his teens (this was all towards the end of the fourth century). He had grown up with a strong Christian family, but by his admissions, was a rather wild kid. It was while he was in Ireland working as a slave that he grew to know God.

Years later, he escaped from Ireland. One night, he had a dream wherein the Irish were calling out to him to come and work among them again. Some of what happened in the time between his escape from Ireland and his return to it seem disputed by scholars. But he did return.

Patrick and his monks are largely attributed the credit for lessening the influence of the pagan worshippers and also for spreading Christianity over the island.

These give you some more of the meat: Good, better, best. Seriously, Patrick was one cool dude.

I posted on of his prayers here last May. It’s really good.

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Filed under Explaining things, holidays

excess but exciting

This weekend, I spent an unnormal amount of time near my computer. Last week, I did a fair amount of work blogging, especially since I’ve developing a second blog. I’ll let you know when I’m finished getting it ready. It will probably be a girlier blog, so for all my male readers, stick with this one, because you’ll probably still like this one better.

Blogging is worth it, though. I’ve converted another person. Mr. Tim Miller is now blogging and I’m pretty excited about the stuff I imagine he’ll turn out.

However, I recently was confronted with the fact that I must thinking about blogging a fair bit.

I had a dream about blogging. It actually was a short snippet of a larger dream, but it happened none the less.Because of trying to start this new blog, I have been looking at a lot of other people’s blog to get ideas of what I want mine to be like. In my dream, I got a phone call from a girl whose blog I had been looking at (what’s funny is, in my dream, it was a very specific girl and blog, one that I remember looking at in real life). She is one of those serious blogger-types with a blog with a lot of traffic, who actually has blog sponsors and everything. In my dream, apparently, I had left a comment on her wall, which is why she called. She phoned me and asked (how she got my phone number I’ll never know) and asked when the last time I had bought something from her sponsors. I replied that I hadn’t bought anything from them, and she gently explained that because of that, she needed to delete my comment.   !!!!!

It must have been something I ate.

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Filed under 'bout me, Everyday, holidays

All kinds

I went to a Christmas party last Friday night. It was a very nice Christmas party, though that is not the point of this post.

When I arrived, the party was still warming up. I met two girls right off, and we began talking. Just then, a few people re-entered the house from the backyard. “Do you hear the bongos,” they asked. Of course, we could hear them. I heard music as I had approached the house. “The vegan restaurant around the corner is having a bongo-circle, gathering-thing. It’s kind of cool.”

The three of us decided that we should go check it out. The guy lives in a neighborhood that sidles right up to some commercial lots. So we shimmied through his back fence and walked up the street to the vegan restaurant.

Near the street, they had a table with a bit of information and a little donation basket. One of the girls contributed a few dollars and we entered the event. In the courtyard near the restaurant, fifty or so people were gathered. In the center, there was a little blazing fire pit. Around the fire, people were dancing, and jumping and swaying, and forming a perimeter around them, were muscians.

There was a guy beating on an upside-down trash can, several guys on those little side-drums, some bongos, a tamobourine or two, and a few other small instruments made the beat. Very stereotypical  nineteen-sixties, if you can imagine. One of the dancers was the fittest fifty-ish year old woman I have ever seen. A few little boys jumped and leaped around the circle. One or two of the women were belly-dancers.

This isn’t where I usually spend my Friday nights. The three of us just stood and watched for quite a while. It was fun, exciting, and fascinating. We started clapped along. One of the girls said, “You really do just kind of feel the music.” I felt like a total outsider to some other culture, and it was a bit intimidating.

Suddenly, one girl grabs my wrist and the other girl’s and dragged us into the circle of dancers. Oh boy. Here am I in my little pea coat and flats, one girl is still in her business attire, and the other is well-dressed as well. We obviously aren’t part of this crowd. I was a bit afraid that we were intruding, or at the very least, we would be judged as intruders. But nobody minded. They kept clapping and cheering and playing.

“This is so not modest, conservative, homeschool-ish,” I couldn’t help thinking.

Thank God it wasn’t!

R.

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Filed under holidays, Interpersonal Interactions