Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Plant a Groundhog Day!

Alert Unitarian Universalists who like to try to observe every major holiday might want to know that Feb. 3rd is Tu B'Shevat, or "Jewish Arbor Day."

It might be tough to incorporate it into the same weekend you've already got your pagan group doing Imbolc and your Christian group doing Candlemas (which I'm not sure is official, and I must admit that I don't know what it is), and then there's Groundhog Day to fit in, too.

What's a good small-u universalist to do?

Build a fire to St. Brigid outside, then plant a groundhog!

You can read about Tu B'Shevat here:

It just occurred to me. When my Dad died and we didn't have anywhere to put his ashes for a year, that seemed kind of grim to me. Hell, it was grim. My mom hid his cremated remains in his sock drawer, for Pete's sake (hey Mom, I looked when you were out in California visiting that guy. Sorry.).
When we finally interred his ashes in front of the police station where he had been volunteer police commissioner for 8 years, it made it all right when we planted a pear tree over him. And now that pear tree is a big, gorgeous creature. It was a very Jewish thing to do.


Blogger Elizabeth said...

Candlemas is just another name for the Feast of the Presentation. The candles come from the "to be a light to lighten the Gentiles" part of the song of Simeon.

Blogger Charlotte said...

Well, you asked: candlemas is the celebration of the purification of Mary, post-nativity. Leviticus prescribes 40 days of "rest" for the mother of a male child - 7 days of uncleanliness and then 33 more (double that for girls). Then the new mom goes to the temple and makes a sacrifice.
In Episcopal churches, we celebrate it as the Presentation and we read the Song of Simeon:
Lord you now have set your servant free, to go in peace as you have promised, for these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see. A Light to enlighten the nations and the glory of your people Israel.

**thank you for giving me a reason to read Compline tonight!

Blogger juniper68 said...

wow, charlotte, that is cool! thanks for that.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found my father's ashes in my sister's liquor cabinet a couple of years after he died. He was still in the dark silver gift wrap that the funeral home had sent him along in. Honestly, I thought it was a gift bottle of better booze, so I eagerly asked my sister "what's this?", hoping for a Scotch of an advanced age. No, just a 70 year old German.
Well, at least, he is among friends, I thought, as I nestled him in between Jim Beam and Old Granddad.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Oh man. And you wonder why I love you so much.

Blogger fausto said...

Our Puritan predecessors hated Candlemas even more than Christmas because they deemed it even more non-Scriptural. Just go to Plimoth Plantation and ask anybody; they'll tell you. In fact, the English Reformers' contempt for Candlemas is why most English-speaking Protestants, other than Anglicans and Lutherans, don't know what it is.

So while UU Pagans may be celebrating Imbolc this week, there are probably very few traditional (as ooposed to what you might call "reconstructionist") UU Christians celebrating Candlemas anywhere except perhaps the previously Anglican Kings Chapel (or its daughter parish, First Parish in Chetnut Hill).


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