Everyone is fair game. Friend or stranger, rich or poor. Man or woman, young and old.
Spring has arrived and winter has gone.
Evil is destroyed in the consuming fire. Kama returns and Rhada’s face is coloured. We make amends and let go of debts. A day to end conflict and mend our broken past. A day to learn the wisdom of forgiving and forgetting. Of turning to laughter and play to repair our relationships, welcome the new and celebrate together.
Eggs, milk, butter, lard, and flour, it’s time now winter to say goodbye.
Martedi grasso, masopust, fastnacht – we toast the carne vale. With wooden clubs and hedgehog skins and beads, dubloons and throws. Then in fancy dress and masquerade into the street we go. Prepenitent and full of food to ring the pancake bell. Malasadas and fastlagsbulles, laskiaispulla for Bonhomme. We eat and dance and drink and sing, for the season that’s to come.
A belated Mahashivaratri to all. On this full dark night of prayer and contemplation may we come to understand and welcome the dance of life evident in every cell. The source of creation, preservation and dissolution joined to fertility, love and devotion so that we may be gentle and nurturing and free of ignorance and evil.
The planting of trees and eating of their fruit connects and restores us to our ancestral home. And now that the winter rains have passed and the new fruit has begun to form, we distinguish between last years fruits and the fruits of the coming year.
A festival that could easily have faded away with no system of offerings nor priests to receive them when the Temple was destroyed. Yet like a tree, it continues to produce sustenance if we attend properly to its growth.
Whether you are off to fly a kite, begin to write your first words or a month of letters, this festival heralds the beginning of spring.
Nature at it’s best, shedding itself of lethargy and ignorance to chart a new course for the year. Bursting yellow fields and happiness light as air. We wish you friends as solid as diamonds and success as bright as gold as we welcome the spring season and Saraswati’s light of hope and peace.
Whether you are rejoining family to feast the arrival of the fire rooster, the laughing face of Bùdài, Taishang Laojun or the start of the Jade Emperors annual tour; may these two weeks be surrounded with family and close relatives, sweets and oranges. It’s the spark of celebration and joy that ignites the flame of the new year for us all.
“For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been in planted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.” St. John Chrysostom
“I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.” Taylor Caldwell
With the sun at it’s lowest point, the great wheel begins to turn towards spring and another year. A time to remember those in the dark and the cold and to celebrate the return of light and warmth. A time to lay down our tools and join together with those we call our family and nourish each other through the coming season.