Tag Archives: holidays

April Fool’s Day

The origins of this day of pranks are largely unknown. Some theorize that this ersatz holiday evolved from the change to the Gregorian Calendar. Some postulate that the day sprang forth from a collective case of Spring Fever.

It doesn’t matter how it came to be, I’ve never been a fan.

Unfortunately, it seems, this house quite enjoys April Fool’s Day. It has been perpetrating pranks all morning. First, the hallway floor kept tilting ever-so-slightly so that walking from my bedroom to my study was quite a feat of balance. The fire keeps spontaneously sparking and then snuffing itself, and whilst my bacon was cooking on the stove, the cook range decided to turn itself into an enormous metal turnip.

The only person enjoying these escapades is, naturally, my brother Mordecai, who turned up late last night in the midst of rain and wind. Mordecai is quite the merry prankster and each year manages to plot elaborate pranks. I fear that a combined pranking team of Mordecai and this house will extract the limits of my patience.

Bubo, of course, has even less patience for pranks than I do. She left quite early this morning and can only assume she’s halfway up the mountain, napping quietly and undisturbed in a tree. I’m jealous, naturally.

Happy First Day of April, my friends.

Posted by The Odd Luminary Comments Off on April Fool’s Day Post Tags: , , ,

Lupercalia, Tranquility, and another Mouse

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day of kissy-faced fealty, bitter compatriotism of the solitary, and rampant emotional eating.

I took a lovely morning stroll along the Huntington River with Bubo and marveled at Mount Mansfield. I do believe Great Great Uncle O. Underhill knew a thing or two about serenity; this land does quiet the storms of the mind.

It also makes Bubo a good deal less cantankerous, which is miraculous and delightful. She’s still a curmudgeonly thing, but with a twinkle in her eyes.

Scholars have long bandied about the origins of the modern Valentine’s Day; clearly man has not been handing out chocolates and greeting cards since the beginnings of time. There is a good deal of debate about whether or not Valentine’s Day has anything to do with the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia; some scholars assert it is a natural explanation, and some argue that the only thing these two celebrations have in common is the date. Never-the-less, I find Lupercalia fascinating.

Celebrated during the Ides of February (the 13th through the 15th), Lupercalia was a pastoral festival to avert evil spirits, purify the city (Rome), and celebrate fertility and health. The Luperci (an order of Roman priests) would start the festival off by gathering at the Lupercal¬† cave, where Romulus and Remus (the founders of Rome) were suckled by the She-Wolf. (Some claim the She-Wolf’s name was Lupa.) The Luperci would sacrifice goats and dogs, for fertility. Then, after rituals and a meal, the priests would make crude whips (thongs) out of the sacrificial animals’ hides and then run through the streets, striking anyone they met, especially women. And the women would line up to be touched or hit with these thongs, believing this act would increase their fertility and would make childbirth easier.

The goat-skin was called februum and the month during which this Lupercalia festival took place? Februarius. Have you connected the dots, m’dears?

This purification and fertility festival was important to a land full of shepherds, dependent on their flocks and their own fertility, as they were.

I’m sure things got rather raucous. I can’t imagine a gaggle of mostly naked men running pell-mell through the streets whipping people (mostly women) with februum being anything but raucous.

I am content to spend today quietly. I have just uncovered Uncle Underhill’s stash of field journals and I intend to spend the evening reading in front of the fire with a glass of port and my best owl.

Below is a photo of another field mouse. This one Bubo claims was too sweet and so she did not snatch it. There was some discussion of my wrapping the little thing in bacon. Bubo, wouldn’t you know, is on the hunt for umami.

Quite the model

Quite the model

Posted by The Odd Luminary Comments Off on Lupercalia, Tranquility, and another Mouse Post Tags: , , , ,

Minikin

Imagine my surprise this morning when I discovered that, once again, Mordecai has left mysteriously in the night.

That is sarcasm, oddlings. Mordecai is nothing if not consistent in his disappearances.

He and Charles have flown the coop and I can’t help but wonder what dastardly deed he perpetrated this time. He never leaves in the dead of night without good reason. There was the time he angered the minotaur my Uncle kept in the garden. There was the time he caused my Cousin Cate’s house to collapse into a sinkhole. So, naturally, I have not exhaled with relief, I am tiptoeing about the house wondering if it’s been lined with arcane explosives or if a poisonous strain of beetles is loose in the walls.

He did leave, perplexingly enough, a minikin mewling at the foot of the stairs. I’ve checked it’s teeth, and while they are sharp and numerous, they are also small. It is curled at my feet right now, in fact, snoring quietly as it naps in a boot.

A minikin is a small and dainty (and delicate) creature. Used as an adjective, minikin means diminutive or dainty. Some people will tell you that minikin also can mean a fine, mincing lass. Those people wouldn’t be entirely wrong.

The word comes from the Dutch minneken for darling, in turn from the Middle Dutch diminutive of minne for love. It is akin to the Old English word gemynd for mind, memory. Minneken is obsolete, and, some might argue, so is minikin.

The creature at my feet might be obsolete, but it is very real indeed. The day will be spent getting to know one another, I suppose, while Silas prepares pies for the Thanksgiving dinner we shall host tomorrow in the garden. I’m assuming this minikin will eat the food. I’m assuming it won’t become manic in the face of guests, a dinner table, or the garden. I’m assuming a lot today. I might break into that nice new bottle of Ruby Port sooner than Silas had hoped.

Posted by The Odd Luminary Comments Off on Minikin Post Tags: , , , , ,

Diwali

Today is Day 2 of Diwali, a five day festival for Hindus that is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.

Diwali actually means rows of lighted lamps and the celebration is known as a festival of lights. During the five days of Diwali, homes are thoroughly cleaned, windows are opened, and candles and lamps are lit to welcome Laksmi, goddess of wealth.  Gifts are exchanged and festive meals are prepared during Diwali (typically very rich foods and plenty of sweets are eaten). Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu and Gujarati New Year and is often celebrated with lots of fireworks.

Diwali is a time of cheerfulness and togetherness. Wish your Hindu friends good tidings, won’t you? Exchange some sweets, light some fireworks, and enjoy each other.

Happy Diwali, oddlings.

 

Posted by The Odd Luminary Comments Off on Diwali Post Tags: , ,
© 2019 Odd Luminary. All rights reserved