Lady Day, & Other Lost Holidays

Blog_barbaraBy Susan/Miranda

Holidays have taken it hard in the last decade or so.  Used to be, a glimpse at the windows of any elementary school could tell you the season: construction paper ghosts and witches meant Halloween, angels and Santas heralded Christmas, red hearts promised Valentine’s Day, and the eggs and bunnies appeared for Easter.

But political correction has taken its toll.  Witches and ghosts are banned as promoting satanic sympathies, Christmas angels and Easter bunnies are too Christian to be tolerated, and Valentine’s Day is banned for raising the ugly possibility that some people really are loved more than others.  Nativity scenes are banned from public places, and in the spirit of equal (negative) time, so are the giant menorahs. According to my friends with children in New York City schools, the students are so culturally diverse these days that the school system’s given up trying to sort out Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanza, and the only mandated celebration now is Winter Solstice.

Secular holidays haven’t fared much better.  We used to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln; now they’re jumbled today in a single three-day weekend marked by ski trips and lots of sales at the mall.  In many offices, Martin Luther King Day falls under the “day of personal observation”, an employee’s choice.  Even the Fourth of July is under attack, with many lobbying for making it a permanent long weekend regardless of whether it’s the second, third, or fifth of July.

Writing books set in the past means that your characters celebrate holidays often now long forgotten.  As we’ve mentioned here before, Twelfth Night was a more festive celebration in 17th and 18th century England than Christmas.  Most holidays still remained close to their religious beginnings as holy days. 

In my July book, Royal Harlot, King Charles II and his Court enjoy a grand masque celebrating the February holiday of Candlemas in 1665. Ostensibly a Christian holy day, Candlemas marks the purification of the Virgin Mary and the first presentation of the infant Jesus Christ to the elders in the Temple.  But in the way that those in power today can never resist turning almost anything into a good photo op, so Charles had decreed that the allegorical theme of the Candlemas Day masque would show how the various enemies of England should be righteously vanquished –– thinly disguised propaganda to build support for Charles to wage war on the Dutch.

Just as the king used the Candlemas masque for propaganda, his mistress (and my heroine) Barbara, Countes of Castlemaine, saw it as an opportunity to flaunt her own position. Seventeenth century court masques were a mixture of lavish display, music, and amateur theatrics that permitted the courtier to show off their “talents” and wear nifty costumes.  Playing the part of Venus urging Mars to war, Lady Castlemaine’s costume included scandalously short men’s breeches (the Restoration version of Daisy Dukes) to display her long legs, and nearly every jewel the king had given her.  The king was enchanted, the queen was put out, war was declared on the Dutch soon after, and what any of this had to do with the infant Jesus and the elders in the Temple is pretty hard to fathom.
Royal Harlot

Which brings me, finally, to Lady Day.  Lady Day is another Christian holiday turned secular.  Originally the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, Lady Day was intended to honor the Virgin Mary –– the Lady.  In Britain, it also became one of the Quarter Days (the other four are Midsummer Day, Michaelmas Day, and, of course, Christmas Day) when new servants were hired and rents and rates were paid. 

Until 1752, when England shifted from the Julian Calendar to the Georgian, Lady Day also marked the start of the “official” year, rather like the modern American business year begins on July 1.  According to the folks at Wikipedia, a vestige of the traditional rent-paying on Lady Day still lingers in the United Kingdom, where tax day is April 6 –– Lady Day adjusted for the days lost in the calendar change in 1752.
More on Lady Day

So what forgotten holidays do you wish were still remembered?  And what modern holiday celebration do you find so oddly out of character with the holiday’s original intention that you’d like to share it?

68 thoughts on “Lady Day, & Other Lost Holidays”

  1. I must tell you, it’s not always out of political correctness that holidays are hefted over the side. A few years ago I worked in an elementary school, where the principal requested that the teachers construct a rubric if they wanted to host a Valentine party. The kids were supposed to be “taught” something by the event and graded on it…table manners, politeness, etc. Please pass the punch. I’ll take it spiked.
    Classroom teachers don’t have time to have “fun” with their kids. Every single thing has to be justified as working towards some standard.You can tell I’m a bit grumpy about it.
    I’m very fond of May Day, May baskets, pole dancing. Oops. That doesn’t sound quite right. But the USSR ruined that for me too when they paraded all their weaponry.

    Reply
  2. I must tell you, it’s not always out of political correctness that holidays are hefted over the side. A few years ago I worked in an elementary school, where the principal requested that the teachers construct a rubric if they wanted to host a Valentine party. The kids were supposed to be “taught” something by the event and graded on it…table manners, politeness, etc. Please pass the punch. I’ll take it spiked.
    Classroom teachers don’t have time to have “fun” with their kids. Every single thing has to be justified as working towards some standard.You can tell I’m a bit grumpy about it.
    I’m very fond of May Day, May baskets, pole dancing. Oops. That doesn’t sound quite right. But the USSR ruined that for me too when they paraded all their weaponry.

    Reply
  3. I must tell you, it’s not always out of political correctness that holidays are hefted over the side. A few years ago I worked in an elementary school, where the principal requested that the teachers construct a rubric if they wanted to host a Valentine party. The kids were supposed to be “taught” something by the event and graded on it…table manners, politeness, etc. Please pass the punch. I’ll take it spiked.
    Classroom teachers don’t have time to have “fun” with their kids. Every single thing has to be justified as working towards some standard.You can tell I’m a bit grumpy about it.
    I’m very fond of May Day, May baskets, pole dancing. Oops. That doesn’t sound quite right. But the USSR ruined that for me too when they paraded all their weaponry.

    Reply
  4. I must tell you, it’s not always out of political correctness that holidays are hefted over the side. A few years ago I worked in an elementary school, where the principal requested that the teachers construct a rubric if they wanted to host a Valentine party. The kids were supposed to be “taught” something by the event and graded on it…table manners, politeness, etc. Please pass the punch. I’ll take it spiked.
    Classroom teachers don’t have time to have “fun” with their kids. Every single thing has to be justified as working towards some standard.You can tell I’m a bit grumpy about it.
    I’m very fond of May Day, May baskets, pole dancing. Oops. That doesn’t sound quite right. But the USSR ruined that for me too when they paraded all their weaponry.

    Reply
  5. Maggie, I’m a fan of traditional May Day, too. For years I worked at Bryn Mawr Collge, which hosts a massive annual May Day, complete with Morris Dancers, white oxen, strawberries and champagne, and a May Pole for each class. Bryn Mawr being Bryn Mawr, it also features an alternative post-feminist May Hole Dance. I’m saving those details for a May blog…*g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  6. Maggie, I’m a fan of traditional May Day, too. For years I worked at Bryn Mawr Collge, which hosts a massive annual May Day, complete with Morris Dancers, white oxen, strawberries and champagne, and a May Pole for each class. Bryn Mawr being Bryn Mawr, it also features an alternative post-feminist May Hole Dance. I’m saving those details for a May blog…*g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  7. Maggie, I’m a fan of traditional May Day, too. For years I worked at Bryn Mawr Collge, which hosts a massive annual May Day, complete with Morris Dancers, white oxen, strawberries and champagne, and a May Pole for each class. Bryn Mawr being Bryn Mawr, it also features an alternative post-feminist May Hole Dance. I’m saving those details for a May blog…*g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  8. Maggie, I’m a fan of traditional May Day, too. For years I worked at Bryn Mawr Collge, which hosts a massive annual May Day, complete with Morris Dancers, white oxen, strawberries and champagne, and a May Pole for each class. Bryn Mawr being Bryn Mawr, it also features an alternative post-feminist May Hole Dance. I’m saving those details for a May blog…*g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  9. We had a big deal May Day at Adelphi, too. A formal dance, original musical skits, twenty sophmore girls holding daisy chains for the senior May Queen and her court to walk through. If the queen and the first-runner-up had been “unable to perform their duties,” I would have been queen!That was a long, long time ago.

    Reply
  10. We had a big deal May Day at Adelphi, too. A formal dance, original musical skits, twenty sophmore girls holding daisy chains for the senior May Queen and her court to walk through. If the queen and the first-runner-up had been “unable to perform their duties,” I would have been queen!That was a long, long time ago.

    Reply
  11. We had a big deal May Day at Adelphi, too. A formal dance, original musical skits, twenty sophmore girls holding daisy chains for the senior May Queen and her court to walk through. If the queen and the first-runner-up had been “unable to perform their duties,” I would have been queen!That was a long, long time ago.

    Reply
  12. We had a big deal May Day at Adelphi, too. A formal dance, original musical skits, twenty sophmore girls holding daisy chains for the senior May Queen and her court to walk through. If the queen and the first-runner-up had been “unable to perform their duties,” I would have been queen!That was a long, long time ago.

    Reply
  13. May day is big here, perhaps because it’s a fruit growing area so the blossom is very important. We have a great Hop Festival too (again, it’s all about the harvest). Any holiday with morris dancing, beer and a dancing tree processing down the street gets my vote!

    Reply
  14. May day is big here, perhaps because it’s a fruit growing area so the blossom is very important. We have a great Hop Festival too (again, it’s all about the harvest). Any holiday with morris dancing, beer and a dancing tree processing down the street gets my vote!

    Reply
  15. May day is big here, perhaps because it’s a fruit growing area so the blossom is very important. We have a great Hop Festival too (again, it’s all about the harvest). Any holiday with morris dancing, beer and a dancing tree processing down the street gets my vote!

    Reply
  16. May day is big here, perhaps because it’s a fruit growing area so the blossom is very important. We have a great Hop Festival too (again, it’s all about the harvest). Any holiday with morris dancing, beer and a dancing tree processing down the street gets my vote!

    Reply
  17. Ahhhhh, May Day! When we were kids, it was traditional in my neighborhood to make a cone-shaped container out of paper, attach a paper handle, and fill the cone holder with flowers, and then leave them hanging on neighbors’ door handles. Then you knocked on their door and ran and hid so you could watch them come to the door and find their flowers. One year, we ran out of flowers, so we picked flowers from the neighbor’s garden … and gave them to her in the cone holder. *g*

    Reply
  18. Ahhhhh, May Day! When we were kids, it was traditional in my neighborhood to make a cone-shaped container out of paper, attach a paper handle, and fill the cone holder with flowers, and then leave them hanging on neighbors’ door handles. Then you knocked on their door and ran and hid so you could watch them come to the door and find their flowers. One year, we ran out of flowers, so we picked flowers from the neighbor’s garden … and gave them to her in the cone holder. *g*

    Reply
  19. Ahhhhh, May Day! When we were kids, it was traditional in my neighborhood to make a cone-shaped container out of paper, attach a paper handle, and fill the cone holder with flowers, and then leave them hanging on neighbors’ door handles. Then you knocked on their door and ran and hid so you could watch them come to the door and find their flowers. One year, we ran out of flowers, so we picked flowers from the neighbor’s garden … and gave them to her in the cone holder. *g*

    Reply
  20. Ahhhhh, May Day! When we were kids, it was traditional in my neighborhood to make a cone-shaped container out of paper, attach a paper handle, and fill the cone holder with flowers, and then leave them hanging on neighbors’ door handles. Then you knocked on their door and ran and hid so you could watch them come to the door and find their flowers. One year, we ran out of flowers, so we picked flowers from the neighbor’s garden … and gave them to her in the cone holder. *g*

    Reply
  21. “… I’m a fan of traditional May Day, too.”
    No me! I went to a ghastly elementary school for two terms. We had to dress in long skirts and learn to dance around the maypole in the local park on May Day for the borough president and assorted local guests.
    It was about a hundred degrees and it was on the lawn where was no shade. Not a sylvan glade in sight.
    We danced and danced and passed out and fainted.
    May Day has always appealed to me in books. But in reality? I fear nevermore.

    Reply
  22. “… I’m a fan of traditional May Day, too.”
    No me! I went to a ghastly elementary school for two terms. We had to dress in long skirts and learn to dance around the maypole in the local park on May Day for the borough president and assorted local guests.
    It was about a hundred degrees and it was on the lawn where was no shade. Not a sylvan glade in sight.
    We danced and danced and passed out and fainted.
    May Day has always appealed to me in books. But in reality? I fear nevermore.

    Reply
  23. “… I’m a fan of traditional May Day, too.”
    No me! I went to a ghastly elementary school for two terms. We had to dress in long skirts and learn to dance around the maypole in the local park on May Day for the borough president and assorted local guests.
    It was about a hundred degrees and it was on the lawn where was no shade. Not a sylvan glade in sight.
    We danced and danced and passed out and fainted.
    May Day has always appealed to me in books. But in reality? I fear nevermore.

    Reply
  24. “… I’m a fan of traditional May Day, too.”
    No me! I went to a ghastly elementary school for two terms. We had to dress in long skirts and learn to dance around the maypole in the local park on May Day for the borough president and assorted local guests.
    It was about a hundred degrees and it was on the lawn where was no shade. Not a sylvan glade in sight.
    We danced and danced and passed out and fainted.
    May Day has always appealed to me in books. But in reality? I fear nevermore.

    Reply
  25. Hi y’all,
    I will be in Toulouse, France on May Day this year. Do any of you world travelers know what I can expect? It’s a holiday, so I know things will be closed, but will there be any street celebrations (or rioting???), do you think?
    Melinda

    Reply
  26. Hi y’all,
    I will be in Toulouse, France on May Day this year. Do any of you world travelers know what I can expect? It’s a holiday, so I know things will be closed, but will there be any street celebrations (or rioting???), do you think?
    Melinda

    Reply
  27. Hi y’all,
    I will be in Toulouse, France on May Day this year. Do any of you world travelers know what I can expect? It’s a holiday, so I know things will be closed, but will there be any street celebrations (or rioting???), do you think?
    Melinda

    Reply
  28. Hi y’all,
    I will be in Toulouse, France on May Day this year. Do any of you world travelers know what I can expect? It’s a holiday, so I know things will be closed, but will there be any street celebrations (or rioting???), do you think?
    Melinda

    Reply
  29. I rather think the Ides of March would be a really fun holiday to celebrate. . . or the day before, a national holiday for Albert Einstein’s birthday. 🙂
    Ah, that aside. . . as for the odd stuff in the question, I’ll take the last one, St. Patrick’s. When I was watching the History Channel on it, it hit me that it’s incredible how political the parade (at least in NYC, and I’m sure elsewhere) has gotten. .. and that has nothing to do with the actual holiday. You know, along with the drinking and green bagels and such. 🙂
    And every December Jewish people on the news will mention how Hanukkah is not a major holiday in the religion, that goes to Passover, but commercialization and the like for Christmas made it bigger than it is. Which lead me to realize the same is true in Christianity; I went to a catholic high school and when we were talking about the holy days, and the major day in the religion is actually Easter, for obvious reasons. But if you look at the attention, you’d think it was Christmas.
    Anyway, in short, every single holiday out there is no where near what it originally was, which is normal I would think, since over time everything does. . . but while some changes are really annoying, others are fun. Halloween and Valentine’s Day are definitely a lot more fun that their original days. LOL
    Oh, wait. . . one hasn’t changed per se, but have added on too. . . Thanksgiving. It was always about family and turkey. But now it’s also football. 😉
    Lois

    Reply
  30. I rather think the Ides of March would be a really fun holiday to celebrate. . . or the day before, a national holiday for Albert Einstein’s birthday. 🙂
    Ah, that aside. . . as for the odd stuff in the question, I’ll take the last one, St. Patrick’s. When I was watching the History Channel on it, it hit me that it’s incredible how political the parade (at least in NYC, and I’m sure elsewhere) has gotten. .. and that has nothing to do with the actual holiday. You know, along with the drinking and green bagels and such. 🙂
    And every December Jewish people on the news will mention how Hanukkah is not a major holiday in the religion, that goes to Passover, but commercialization and the like for Christmas made it bigger than it is. Which lead me to realize the same is true in Christianity; I went to a catholic high school and when we were talking about the holy days, and the major day in the religion is actually Easter, for obvious reasons. But if you look at the attention, you’d think it was Christmas.
    Anyway, in short, every single holiday out there is no where near what it originally was, which is normal I would think, since over time everything does. . . but while some changes are really annoying, others are fun. Halloween and Valentine’s Day are definitely a lot more fun that their original days. LOL
    Oh, wait. . . one hasn’t changed per se, but have added on too. . . Thanksgiving. It was always about family and turkey. But now it’s also football. 😉
    Lois

    Reply
  31. I rather think the Ides of March would be a really fun holiday to celebrate. . . or the day before, a national holiday for Albert Einstein’s birthday. 🙂
    Ah, that aside. . . as for the odd stuff in the question, I’ll take the last one, St. Patrick’s. When I was watching the History Channel on it, it hit me that it’s incredible how political the parade (at least in NYC, and I’m sure elsewhere) has gotten. .. and that has nothing to do with the actual holiday. You know, along with the drinking and green bagels and such. 🙂
    And every December Jewish people on the news will mention how Hanukkah is not a major holiday in the religion, that goes to Passover, but commercialization and the like for Christmas made it bigger than it is. Which lead me to realize the same is true in Christianity; I went to a catholic high school and when we were talking about the holy days, and the major day in the religion is actually Easter, for obvious reasons. But if you look at the attention, you’d think it was Christmas.
    Anyway, in short, every single holiday out there is no where near what it originally was, which is normal I would think, since over time everything does. . . but while some changes are really annoying, others are fun. Halloween and Valentine’s Day are definitely a lot more fun that their original days. LOL
    Oh, wait. . . one hasn’t changed per se, but have added on too. . . Thanksgiving. It was always about family and turkey. But now it’s also football. 😉
    Lois

    Reply
  32. I rather think the Ides of March would be a really fun holiday to celebrate. . . or the day before, a national holiday for Albert Einstein’s birthday. 🙂
    Ah, that aside. . . as for the odd stuff in the question, I’ll take the last one, St. Patrick’s. When I was watching the History Channel on it, it hit me that it’s incredible how political the parade (at least in NYC, and I’m sure elsewhere) has gotten. .. and that has nothing to do with the actual holiday. You know, along with the drinking and green bagels and such. 🙂
    And every December Jewish people on the news will mention how Hanukkah is not a major holiday in the religion, that goes to Passover, but commercialization and the like for Christmas made it bigger than it is. Which lead me to realize the same is true in Christianity; I went to a catholic high school and when we were talking about the holy days, and the major day in the religion is actually Easter, for obvious reasons. But if you look at the attention, you’d think it was Christmas.
    Anyway, in short, every single holiday out there is no where near what it originally was, which is normal I would think, since over time everything does. . . but while some changes are really annoying, others are fun. Halloween and Valentine’s Day are definitely a lot more fun that their original days. LOL
    Oh, wait. . . one hasn’t changed per se, but have added on too. . . Thanksgiving. It was always about family and turkey. But now it’s also football. 😉
    Lois

    Reply
  33. Melinda, I am not an expert on French holidays, but I wouldn’t expect anything too interesting! However, there might be parades as May 1st is also “Labour Day” in Europe. Occasionally these parades are accompanied by riots, but it’s not the norm I think….

    Reply
  34. Melinda, I am not an expert on French holidays, but I wouldn’t expect anything too interesting! However, there might be parades as May 1st is also “Labour Day” in Europe. Occasionally these parades are accompanied by riots, but it’s not the norm I think….

    Reply
  35. Melinda, I am not an expert on French holidays, but I wouldn’t expect anything too interesting! However, there might be parades as May 1st is also “Labour Day” in Europe. Occasionally these parades are accompanied by riots, but it’s not the norm I think….

    Reply
  36. Melinda, I am not an expert on French holidays, but I wouldn’t expect anything too interesting! However, there might be parades as May 1st is also “Labour Day” in Europe. Occasionally these parades are accompanied by riots, but it’s not the norm I think….

    Reply
  37. Lois, at our house we do celebrate the Ides of March because it’s my daughter’s birthday (smile)(BTW, I was a Latin major, how weird is that?).
    LizA, I so hope you are right and that I can just sit peacefully at a corner cafe!

    Reply
  38. Lois, at our house we do celebrate the Ides of March because it’s my daughter’s birthday (smile)(BTW, I was a Latin major, how weird is that?).
    LizA, I so hope you are right and that I can just sit peacefully at a corner cafe!

    Reply
  39. Lois, at our house we do celebrate the Ides of March because it’s my daughter’s birthday (smile)(BTW, I was a Latin major, how weird is that?).
    LizA, I so hope you are right and that I can just sit peacefully at a corner cafe!

    Reply
  40. Lois, at our house we do celebrate the Ides of March because it’s my daughter’s birthday (smile)(BTW, I was a Latin major, how weird is that?).
    LizA, I so hope you are right and that I can just sit peacefully at a corner cafe!

    Reply
  41. Melinda,
    Another comment about May Day being “Labour Day” in Europe – you should check things like public transit schedules. When I lived in Europe (admittedly YEARS ago), May Day brought transit to a near standstill. I remember a lot of other things being shut down too. I hope you can find that quaint little cafe and celebrate with a good beverage and food of choice!

    Reply
  42. Melinda,
    Another comment about May Day being “Labour Day” in Europe – you should check things like public transit schedules. When I lived in Europe (admittedly YEARS ago), May Day brought transit to a near standstill. I remember a lot of other things being shut down too. I hope you can find that quaint little cafe and celebrate with a good beverage and food of choice!

    Reply
  43. Melinda,
    Another comment about May Day being “Labour Day” in Europe – you should check things like public transit schedules. When I lived in Europe (admittedly YEARS ago), May Day brought transit to a near standstill. I remember a lot of other things being shut down too. I hope you can find that quaint little cafe and celebrate with a good beverage and food of choice!

    Reply
  44. Melinda,
    Another comment about May Day being “Labour Day” in Europe – you should check things like public transit schedules. When I lived in Europe (admittedly YEARS ago), May Day brought transit to a near standstill. I remember a lot of other things being shut down too. I hope you can find that quaint little cafe and celebrate with a good beverage and food of choice!

    Reply
  45. I’ve always wondered why St. Patrick’s Day has managed to become such a Big Deal holiday, too — he’s the only saint who’s managed that. An Irish friend of mine says it’s only because it comes in the middle of Lent, a convenient time for an excused break from fasts, and that if St. Patrick’s Day were in the middle of summer, no one would notice.
    Thinking about how so many “old” holidays revolve around harvests, it’s kind of depressing to realize how many “new” ones (or at least major national celebrations) seem to have sprung from TV events. SuperBowl Sunday is practically printed on calendars now, Oscar Sunday’s become another party-ritual for people, and March Madness seems to be blamed for a nation-wide slump in worker productivity. You get the idea — though I imagine all those various harvest festivals didn’t do too much for worker productivity, either.
    RevMelinda, I hope you find a corner cafe with internet access so you can keep us posted “from the road” while we’ll all be back here, insanely jealous. *G* What a great time for a trip!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  46. I’ve always wondered why St. Patrick’s Day has managed to become such a Big Deal holiday, too — he’s the only saint who’s managed that. An Irish friend of mine says it’s only because it comes in the middle of Lent, a convenient time for an excused break from fasts, and that if St. Patrick’s Day were in the middle of summer, no one would notice.
    Thinking about how so many “old” holidays revolve around harvests, it’s kind of depressing to realize how many “new” ones (or at least major national celebrations) seem to have sprung from TV events. SuperBowl Sunday is practically printed on calendars now, Oscar Sunday’s become another party-ritual for people, and March Madness seems to be blamed for a nation-wide slump in worker productivity. You get the idea — though I imagine all those various harvest festivals didn’t do too much for worker productivity, either.
    RevMelinda, I hope you find a corner cafe with internet access so you can keep us posted “from the road” while we’ll all be back here, insanely jealous. *G* What a great time for a trip!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  47. I’ve always wondered why St. Patrick’s Day has managed to become such a Big Deal holiday, too — he’s the only saint who’s managed that. An Irish friend of mine says it’s only because it comes in the middle of Lent, a convenient time for an excused break from fasts, and that if St. Patrick’s Day were in the middle of summer, no one would notice.
    Thinking about how so many “old” holidays revolve around harvests, it’s kind of depressing to realize how many “new” ones (or at least major national celebrations) seem to have sprung from TV events. SuperBowl Sunday is practically printed on calendars now, Oscar Sunday’s become another party-ritual for people, and March Madness seems to be blamed for a nation-wide slump in worker productivity. You get the idea — though I imagine all those various harvest festivals didn’t do too much for worker productivity, either.
    RevMelinda, I hope you find a corner cafe with internet access so you can keep us posted “from the road” while we’ll all be back here, insanely jealous. *G* What a great time for a trip!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  48. I’ve always wondered why St. Patrick’s Day has managed to become such a Big Deal holiday, too — he’s the only saint who’s managed that. An Irish friend of mine says it’s only because it comes in the middle of Lent, a convenient time for an excused break from fasts, and that if St. Patrick’s Day were in the middle of summer, no one would notice.
    Thinking about how so many “old” holidays revolve around harvests, it’s kind of depressing to realize how many “new” ones (or at least major national celebrations) seem to have sprung from TV events. SuperBowl Sunday is practically printed on calendars now, Oscar Sunday’s become another party-ritual for people, and March Madness seems to be blamed for a nation-wide slump in worker productivity. You get the idea — though I imagine all those various harvest festivals didn’t do too much for worker productivity, either.
    RevMelinda, I hope you find a corner cafe with internet access so you can keep us posted “from the road” while we’ll all be back here, insanely jealous. *G* What a great time for a trip!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  49. As for saints, we have St. Martin’s Day on Nov. 11th, where children walk around with lanterns, but we do not celebrate St. Patrick’s day at all, even though Austria is a mostly catholic country! In Villages, the name day of the patron saint of the village church is usually a huge, albeit local, holiday.
    And Mary is a saint too and there are plenty of celebrations for her!

    Reply
  50. As for saints, we have St. Martin’s Day on Nov. 11th, where children walk around with lanterns, but we do not celebrate St. Patrick’s day at all, even though Austria is a mostly catholic country! In Villages, the name day of the patron saint of the village church is usually a huge, albeit local, holiday.
    And Mary is a saint too and there are plenty of celebrations for her!

    Reply
  51. As for saints, we have St. Martin’s Day on Nov. 11th, where children walk around with lanterns, but we do not celebrate St. Patrick’s day at all, even though Austria is a mostly catholic country! In Villages, the name day of the patron saint of the village church is usually a huge, albeit local, holiday.
    And Mary is a saint too and there are plenty of celebrations for her!

    Reply
  52. As for saints, we have St. Martin’s Day on Nov. 11th, where children walk around with lanterns, but we do not celebrate St. Patrick’s day at all, even though Austria is a mostly catholic country! In Villages, the name day of the patron saint of the village church is usually a huge, albeit local, holiday.
    And Mary is a saint too and there are plenty of celebrations for her!

    Reply
  53. As a practicing pagan I celebrate what’s called the Wheel of the Year, basically the merging of the old Anglo-Saxon calendar with the Celtic calendar of fire festivals that fall at the quarter points in-between. The solstices/equinoxes are the lesser sabbats: Ostara (named after Eostre, whose symbol was the hare), Lithia, Mabon, and Yule.) The quarter points are the greater sabbats: Imbolg(Candlemas or St. Brighid’s Feast Day), Beltane (May Day), Lammas or Lughnassad, and Samhain.
    Modern celebrations are much different now, but I really enjoy looking up the history and traditions of each. And we do have a May Pole, which although always a blast, is a good deal of work!

    Reply
  54. As a practicing pagan I celebrate what’s called the Wheel of the Year, basically the merging of the old Anglo-Saxon calendar with the Celtic calendar of fire festivals that fall at the quarter points in-between. The solstices/equinoxes are the lesser sabbats: Ostara (named after Eostre, whose symbol was the hare), Lithia, Mabon, and Yule.) The quarter points are the greater sabbats: Imbolg(Candlemas or St. Brighid’s Feast Day), Beltane (May Day), Lammas or Lughnassad, and Samhain.
    Modern celebrations are much different now, but I really enjoy looking up the history and traditions of each. And we do have a May Pole, which although always a blast, is a good deal of work!

    Reply
  55. As a practicing pagan I celebrate what’s called the Wheel of the Year, basically the merging of the old Anglo-Saxon calendar with the Celtic calendar of fire festivals that fall at the quarter points in-between. The solstices/equinoxes are the lesser sabbats: Ostara (named after Eostre, whose symbol was the hare), Lithia, Mabon, and Yule.) The quarter points are the greater sabbats: Imbolg(Candlemas or St. Brighid’s Feast Day), Beltane (May Day), Lammas or Lughnassad, and Samhain.
    Modern celebrations are much different now, but I really enjoy looking up the history and traditions of each. And we do have a May Pole, which although always a blast, is a good deal of work!

    Reply
  56. As a practicing pagan I celebrate what’s called the Wheel of the Year, basically the merging of the old Anglo-Saxon calendar with the Celtic calendar of fire festivals that fall at the quarter points in-between. The solstices/equinoxes are the lesser sabbats: Ostara (named after Eostre, whose symbol was the hare), Lithia, Mabon, and Yule.) The quarter points are the greater sabbats: Imbolg(Candlemas or St. Brighid’s Feast Day), Beltane (May Day), Lammas or Lughnassad, and Samhain.
    Modern celebrations are much different now, but I really enjoy looking up the history and traditions of each. And we do have a May Pole, which although always a blast, is a good deal of work!

    Reply
  57. Susan/Miranda, I join the throng who want to hear more about the May Hole dance!
    On the topic of Holidays I have to mention the paradoxical holiday, formerly celebrated in the state of Virginia (1984-2000), which collectively honored Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Martin Luther King, Jr–“Lee-Jackson-King Day”!!! Here’s a short Wikipedia article.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee-Jackson-King_Day

    Reply
  58. Susan/Miranda, I join the throng who want to hear more about the May Hole dance!
    On the topic of Holidays I have to mention the paradoxical holiday, formerly celebrated in the state of Virginia (1984-2000), which collectively honored Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Martin Luther King, Jr–“Lee-Jackson-King Day”!!! Here’s a short Wikipedia article.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee-Jackson-King_Day

    Reply
  59. Susan/Miranda, I join the throng who want to hear more about the May Hole dance!
    On the topic of Holidays I have to mention the paradoxical holiday, formerly celebrated in the state of Virginia (1984-2000), which collectively honored Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Martin Luther King, Jr–“Lee-Jackson-King Day”!!! Here’s a short Wikipedia article.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee-Jackson-King_Day

    Reply
  60. Susan/Miranda, I join the throng who want to hear more about the May Hole dance!
    On the topic of Holidays I have to mention the paradoxical holiday, formerly celebrated in the state of Virginia (1984-2000), which collectively honored Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Martin Luther King, Jr–“Lee-Jackson-King Day”!!! Here’s a short Wikipedia article.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee-Jackson-King_Day

    Reply
  61. Interesting post.
    I loved dancing around the May pole when I was a kid. I remember satin ribbons, and I think there was a cake walk.
    I work with the public and make a point of saying “Merry Christmas”, Happy Easter” etc. No politically correctness for me. Never. In fact, I used to attend a major event here every first weekend in December, called Christmas on the Prado. The name was changed to December Nights, and I haven’t attended since. Bah!

    Reply
  62. Interesting post.
    I loved dancing around the May pole when I was a kid. I remember satin ribbons, and I think there was a cake walk.
    I work with the public and make a point of saying “Merry Christmas”, Happy Easter” etc. No politically correctness for me. Never. In fact, I used to attend a major event here every first weekend in December, called Christmas on the Prado. The name was changed to December Nights, and I haven’t attended since. Bah!

    Reply
  63. Interesting post.
    I loved dancing around the May pole when I was a kid. I remember satin ribbons, and I think there was a cake walk.
    I work with the public and make a point of saying “Merry Christmas”, Happy Easter” etc. No politically correctness for me. Never. In fact, I used to attend a major event here every first weekend in December, called Christmas on the Prado. The name was changed to December Nights, and I haven’t attended since. Bah!

    Reply
  64. Interesting post.
    I loved dancing around the May pole when I was a kid. I remember satin ribbons, and I think there was a cake walk.
    I work with the public and make a point of saying “Merry Christmas”, Happy Easter” etc. No politically correctness for me. Never. In fact, I used to attend a major event here every first weekend in December, called Christmas on the Prado. The name was changed to December Nights, and I haven’t attended since. Bah!

    Reply

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