Here we are. Sunday! And a lovely Sunday it is. Birds are chirping! The sun is…well, it’s not really shining, but it’s trying to, if the damn clouds would get out of the way. A person barely needs a coat!
I’m going to say it, even though I’m probably risking the wrath of the weather gods in doing so. SPRING HAS SPRUNG, my little chickadees!
I’m so excited about this I can barely sit down for the time it takes in order to write this post. Eh, who am I kidding, I love sitting down.
Spring is my favorite season of them all. I like summer, except I hate heat because who likes to be sweaty unless you’re doing something a little naughty that makes you sweaty? I mean, walking to the car should not make you sweaty. There’s nothing naughty about that. I like fall, except it leads to winter. And I HATE WINTER. I hate snow and I hate cold and I hate wind and I hate ice and I hate heavy coats and boots and hats and all things related to winter. Except hot cocoa. I’m down with hot cocoa.
But spring! Spring is just the best thing. It’s like a gift to us all from nature. The air smells like a promise. Beautiful things start to grow. Trees start to shyly peek green at us. You can open the windows and your place can smell a little less like you’ve been cooped up in it for months and months and a little more like humans ought to live in it. There are mud puddles and sometimes crazy wind and rain storms and it’s all very exciting and very new. I never get tired of spring. I’d live in a year-round spring climate, if there was such a thing somewhere.
I know this year we didn’t really have a winter, so you’d think I wouldn’t be as excited about spring springing, but I totally still am. SO EXCITED! I have got the worst spring fever. Yesterday at work I did NOT want to stay inside. Obviously, that isn’t an option, as we work in a call center. I mean, it’s not like you can move a whole computer and phone setup to the picnic table. But OH how I wanted to try. It was BEAUTIFUL outside. I want a dog all the time, but more so in the spring, so we can go adventuring and smell all the smells and see all the sights. I want to feed the ducks to thank them for coming back for another year. I want to hug strangers. OK, that’s one step too far. I’m not hugging any damn strangers. But I can’t say the thought doesn’t cross my mind. I AM FILLED WITH SPRING FEVER.
I used to love a boy who loved Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. I think I kind of fell in love with him starting with that factoid, honestly. He was writing an epic poem based on the music. Tell me you wouldn’t have fallen in love with a deep, dark, twisty blue-eyed poet writing beautiful words based on an almost century-old musical work. You can’t tell me that, because it would be LIES.
So today I was poking around online, you know, as one does when one lives in the internet, and found a list of things that cultures and religions do to usher in spring. Well! THAT is exciting. Since the spring equinox is Tuesday, we should probably celebrate. Here are some things we can do. Ready? SHUT UP, YES YOU ARE.
In Japan, March 20 is Vernal Equinox Day. It is a NATIONAL HOLIDAY. Are you LISTENING, Merka? Japan gives the FIRST DAY OF SPRING as a NATIONAL DAMN HOLIDAY. I approve, Japan. I highly approve. Let’s see what Japan does on their amazing, springy, day off from work.
Um. They spend the day visiting family graves and holding family reunions.
I take it BACK. Japan! Way to ruin a beautiful spring day. No one wants to fight with Aunt Matilda over how salty her baked beans are while visiting a cemetery on their day off. Day off FAIL. Sigh.
(Apparently, they also take some time to look at the cherry blossoms. OK, I’m a little less down on Vernal Equinox Day now. Because, look!)
Nowruz is the Iranian New Year, celebrated around March 21. The first thing that is done to celebrate Nowruz is a huge spring cleaning. Well, I’m down with spring cleaning. This place has more cat fur in it than you can even imagine. Dumbcat is SHEDDY, you guys. OK, cool, so we’re spring-cleaned. Then what, Nowruz? Then we buy new clothes and a whole bunch of spring flowers. LISTEN. This is awesome! I want to clean my whole house, then dress up all fancy and get some blooms. This is going great so far.
Then people go to visit their friends and neighbors while wearing their fanciest clothing and give each other gifts. WHAT KIND OF AWESOME HOLIDAY IS THIS. Because I totally want in. The best part is? People visit each other “in the form of short house visits.” SHORT house visits. Like, you don’t even have time to get SICK of your visitors! I like this so much, Nowruz. Wikipedia says the visits are half an hour. Awesome, I could totally visit with anyone for half an hour without getting stabby. Also, GIFTS! And “pastry, cookies, fresh and dried fruits and special nuts, tea or sherbet”! I am SO DOWN WITH NOWRUZ.
In Egypt, the beginning of spring, Sham el-Nessim, ALSO A NATIONAL HOLIDAY, AHEM, MERKA, is celebrated with picnicking in gardens, along the Nile, or in a zoo (OK! Yes, please, Egypt, I want to picnic in a zoo), and a delicious meal of fish, lettuce, onions, beans, and colored eggs is consumed on your delicious zoo-picnic. I like that colored eggs are like a universal sign of spring, don’t you? So cheerful.
Oh, hey, this one’s for Andreas! Look, Andreas, these are your ancestors! According to Wikipedia, there was a Scandinavian “sacrificial holiday” on the Vernal Equinox called Dísablót. I like how they don’t come right out and SAY what that means but if you read between the lines I’m pretty sure it means they were sacrificing people so that they could have better crops. Andreas! What’s going on with this? Apparently, Valkyries and kings with harmonious names like Alfr were involved. And now, instead of sacrificing people, there’s an annual market in Uppsala. Samesies! Hey, I remember Uppsala! They mentioned it in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I think. THIS IS ALL VERY EXCITING. I want to go to a Scandinavian market with roots in a bloody sacrificial holiday! What could I buy there, I wonder? Man, Andreas’s ancestors have ALL the fun. I don’t even know who mine WERE. Grump. Grump.
Oh, shit, and, AND, apparently, there’s a World Storytelling Day around the Vernal Equinox and it started in Sweden. But obviously now it’s WORLD Storytelling Day. Well, THAT’S exciting. I like stories. And telling of stories. This year’s topic? “Trees.” I think I could tell a very exciting story about trees. I don’t think it would be along the lines of what they were looking for, though. It would have more chicanery. And nefariousness. Probably more spies, too. And douchecanoes. Let’s be frank, I’d be kicked out of the conference.
Apparently in Maryland, where I am TOTALLY GOING THIS SUMMER, they have a “burning of the socks” ceremony at the Vernal Equinox every year. The fancy boat people have to wear socks all winter. They don’t like that. So when the spring hits, they burn their socks. Now, listen, Maryland, I am torn about this. A., I hate socks and would walk around sockless for the rest of forever if given the opportunity. Also shoeless. I’m like a damn hippie about not wearing shoes, if given the opportunity. HOWEVER. I love socks. I know, isn’t it ironic, Alanis Morrissette? I have a whole DRAWER of wacky socks. I LOVE wacky socks. I have cat socks and Wallace and Gromit socks and Goonies socks and penguin socks and frog socks and turtle socks. ALL THE SOCKS.
So I’m kind of six of one, half a dozen of the other on the sock-burning issue. (SIDE NOTE – I can NOT, for the life of me, get that saying right. I always say, “I’m five percent of one, a dozen of the other on that.” Or something like that. It’s different every time. And my coworkers are all, “You’re WHAT?” and look at me like I’m nuts. I AM NOT GOOD AT THINGS THAT INVOLVE NUMBERS AND METAPHORS AT THE SAME TIME OR SOMETHING. Leave me BE.)
And of course we have the Wiccan celebration of Ostara. Sound like anything you’ve heard of? Anyone? Anyone? YES YOU IN THE BACK. Oh, Easter? Yes, you win a bag of Cadbury Mini-Eggs (what, they’re only the perfect candy.)
The pagan celebration of Ostara, celebrated on the Vernal Equinox, was co-opted into Easter by the Christians, because they had to quick quick like a bunny make all the pagans be Christian, but the pagans didn’t want to give up ALL their holidays! So they just said, here, we’ll pop Christ on the cross around the same date as your Ostara, who knows what time of year that all really happened, it was so long ago, we’ll call it Easter, those sound similar, and hell, we’ll even let you keep your pagan bunnies and eggs and chicks and shit. Are we cool? ARE WE COOL, PAGANS? Because if we’re not, we’ll totally kill you.
And the pagans were all, um, yeah, we’re cool. Guess we’re cool. Guess so.
Ostara is the celebration of the Vernal Equinox. It’s totally joyous. It’s when the Goddess and God reunite. It’s totally a sexy holiday, you guys. It’s a holiday of fertility and reunion and all good things. You know why bunnies and eggs are the symbol of Easter, right? Not because of Jesus. What does Jesus have to do with bunnies and eggs? Nothing. Because SEX, that’s why. Because pagans and sex. Who doesn’t want a sexy holiday filled with sex? Also, Eostre (sounds like Easter, right? Because it IS) is the goddess of fertility. You want to hear about a sexy goddess. She’s one hot mama. Eostre is this voluptuous sensual goddess of fertility and sex. Wherever she steps, she leaves green GRASS and FLOWERS, she’s so damn fertile. Whoo.
I like Ostara. I like Ostara very much.
Did we learn anything today? No, not much. Other than listen, GO OUTSIDE. The air smells like magic. There’s squelchy mud. Flowers are coming up. You can’t be sad, because you can sense something’s coming, something bright and beautiful and shiny and new.
Also, if all else fails, go get some Mini-Eggs. Nothing’s wrong with a little candy-covered chocolate in your mouthhole. NOTHING.