March 17th St. Gertrude of Nivelles Day
St. Gertrude is the Patron Saint of the township of Nivelles in the UK and also better known as the Patron Saint of Cats. She never really was made a Saint but we’ll pretend she was one. She protects the traveler, recent dead and the mentally ill. She represents hospitality, primarily for the traveler, but I guess for the dead and mentally ill as well. She is often depicted in drawings and statues as being surrounded by rats.
How to celebrate – Visit Nivelles. Pray to St. Gertrude. Greet everyone visiting you today as though you are St. Gertrude. Adopt a cat.
February 2nd Candlemas Day
Today is the day a large number of Christian based faith groups take their candles to church to be blessed. Since Jesus was the “Light of the World” this symbolism is blessing those things that light our way daily through life (perhaps as we modernize we should take light bulbs). There was a time when candles were the main source of light in the home and blessing them made sense, to protect us from burning down our homes! This is also traditionally the day we are to finally take down our Christmas Decorations.
How to celebrate – Take your candles to get blessed. Make sure your Christmas decorations are down by the end of the day. Look for blessing in all your life.
There are times when we all play God. I don’t think most of us really mean to do it but we do. Like when we drive and look at our cell phones, it is an act of playing God. We are judging that we can be distracted without penalty. It does, however, eventually catch up to us. So often playing like we are God has bad results for others, more than for ourselves, but we will eventually pay for it. And it really doesn’t matter which God you pray to, it’s the same. We feel we answer to someone more knowing than ourselves, at least we hope there is someone more knowing than ourselves. And if you believe you have to trust. Trust that whatever you are playing God with will be better off in God’s hands than our own.
How to celebrate – Thank whatever God you believe in. Do not pass judgement on others. Know that you are not perfect and therefore, able to make mistakes and have bad judgement.
For Christians today is the day Jesus arose from the dead showing that God could even defeat death. It is a great day of celebration as it should be. The cross and Empty Tomb is the symbol of Easter for Christians. While Easter Service is a tradition for most.
Other symbols and traditions have crept in. The day is filled with colorful eggs that are hidden so they smell really bad when you do actually find them, chocolate, jelly beans, and Peeps. Did you know that over 1.5 billion Peeps are sold yearly, most at Easter since it is also tied to the Goddess Eastre, who is symbolized as a bunny (funny how that worked out).
How to celebrate – Go to church. Hide Easter eggs. Celebrate the Resurrection with a family party.
Today is one of the most important days in Christianity, Good Friday. It is the day that Jesus was put on the cross, passing away at 3 PM. I have never actually understood what made this Good Friday, it seems like a pretty rotten one to me. However I guess what followed was pretty darn special. We could not have had Easter Sunday without Good Friday. It is also known as “Dark Friday”, maybe a little more fitting. The day turned dark at 3PM also. The day varies with the year sometimes coming early, sometimes later. It really doesn’t matter when it comes, it’s still a day to remember. That someone would suffer all so that we could have everything is amazing. Jesus did that for us ALL!
How to celebrate – Go to church. Read the Bible. Believe.
Today is Mardi Gras, in some places better known as Fat Tuesday and Shrove Day. The idea of it is simple, because the following day is Ash Wednesday where you have to give up something you really like for Lent. Fat Tuesday becomes your day to splurge and over do the things you will be giving up the next day. It is famous in New Orleans, along Bourbon Street, where the idea of throwing beads into the crowd from parade floats is the highlight for many.
How to celebrate – List the things you like to do most and figure out which you will be giving up. Throw a party. Wear a mask so no one knows who you are.
Keeping with the theme of Halloween and All Saint’s Day we now move to All Soul’s Day. This is the day we pay homage to those who have passed on. It is also known as the “Day of the Dead”. It is hoped that they have passed on to Heaven but also serves as a day to ask for forgiveness of the sins of the dead so that they may pass on to Heaven.
Created in 998 it is another Christian holiday. It is a remembrance of those loved ones that have passed before us though there are many who also pray for unknown people’s souls. I am sure we all know the sinners of others that we can pray for forgiveness. I think sometimes it is easier to pray for their sins than our own so hopefully, once we have passed someone will pray for us as well.
This is not restricted to Christianity, but today was created for Christians. It really is a day about remembering. So long as a person is remembered, they really haven’t totally moved on. It’s therapeutic for the living and hopefully helpful for the dead.
In an odd sort of way it is also a celebration for those who have passed because they are in a better place than they were before. A whole lot of us hope that is the case. If you believe that death is nothing but a hole in the ground, then you don’t have much to look forward too.
If you believe in God then you believe you have a soul. If you have a soul, then you hopefully will go to Heaven and All Soul’s Day makes a lot of sense!
How to celebrate – Remember those who have gone before you. Pray that those who have passed have reached Heaven. Believe!