Palm Sunday


“The Holy Land is everywhere.” — Leon Picardy
Image by Art Wolfe from the Earth Is My Witness 2015 wall calendar.

­Palm Sunday takes its name from the Gospel account of Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem—a week before his arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection—when adoring crowds laid palm fronds in his path. It became customary to reenact this procession prior to Mass on the Sunday before Easter.

The palm fronds used are often blessed and carried home to be hung above doorways or tucked behind holy pictures until the following year. On Ash Wednesday, the old palms are burned and the ashes used to mark foreheads as an emblem of mortality and humility, a fitting symbol of the turning of the annual cycle from triumph and glory to death and decay.

In the Philippines, palms are woven into decorative designs called palaspas. Since palms are not available everywhere, different plants are featured in different parts of the world. In England, willow, hazel, box, or yew branches are more typical greens. In Latvia and Russia, pussy willows are used, while in Lithuania, willow and juniper twigs are twined together and decorated with flower blossoms. In Bulgaria and Romania, Palm Sunday is known as Flowering Sunday and flowers are scattered in the church. In India, marigolds are sprinkled around the sanctuary.

Although palms are woven as an element into the Passion story, it is also evident in the fanciful way they are used as decoration that this custom celebrates the glorious greenery and flowers of spring.

Waverly FitzgeraldWaverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”




Trio of Holidays: Red Wednesday, Naw-Ruz, and The 13th Outside


Hafiz: Divine Offerings 2015 wall calendar featuring artwork by Silas Toball of Duirwaigh Studios and Hafiz renditions by Daniel Ladinsky

When I first became interested in holiday folklore, as a student at Reed College, I discovered a trio of cool holidays that originated in Persia: Red Wednesday (when you say good-bye to all the things that trouble you), Persian New Year or Naw-Ruz, (which is celebrated like Easter or Passover with a big feast), and The 13th Outside (when you spend the day outside picnicking). I’ve been celebrating some version of those holidays for decades now. Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day


“Cross of Life” image by Jen Delyth from the Celtic Mandala 2015 wall calendar

When I was in elementary school, we celebrated St. Patrick’s day by wearing green and racing around trying to pinch those not wearing green. Or cleverly avoiding being pinched if we forgot to wear green to school that day. Some people say that mischievous Leprechauns like to pinch people but they can’t see you if you’re wearing green. So the pinching is to remind you to wear green in order not to be pinched by the Leprechauns. Funny how these little traditions develop. Continue reading

White Day — A Celebration of Love


On Sacred Ground 2015 wall calendar. Zen Buddhist temple ©Dariush M/Shutterstock.

I like to celebrate holidays that have been around for centuries—holidays that have roots in deep traditions or that are related to the seasonal shifts in the natural world. But every once in a while, I’m enchanted by a fairly new holiday. Like White Day, a Japanese holiday which falls on March 14. Continue reading

The Healthy Dog Wins for Best Graphics

Artist Spotlight — Jamie Pflughoeft and Caroline Coile

We’re thrilled to announce that The Healthy Dog 2015 wall calendar has been awarded the Maxwell Medallion from the Dog Writers Association of America for best Graphics in the Calendar & Poster category! Congratulations to Jamie Pflughoeft for her delightful and engaging photos!

jamie-pflughoeftProfessional pet photographer Jamie Pflughoeft is the owner of nationally recognized Cowbelly Pet Photography, now based in San Francisco, California. When not photographing dogs in Washington and California, Jamie can be found with Fergie, her beloved lab-mix pooch, by her side. The duo enjoys all the City by the Bay has to offer. Like the dogs she photographs, Jamie believes life is best when it’s filled with play, sleep, food, love, daydreams, adventures, and joy.

Jamie shares more about her inspiration:

I started photographing cats and dogs back in 2000 when I was majoring in Animal Behavior Psychology at the University of Washington and working part time as a dog walker and pet sitter. I couldn’t resist the Kodak moments that were happening all around me, so one afternoon I went home, grabbed my old Pentax film camera, and started bringing it to pet setting jobs. For several years I captured furry friends’ mugs in backyards, living rooms, sidewalks, and bedrooms all around town. When the demand for my photos grew to the point that I could no longer afford to give prints away for free, I launched Cowbelly Pet Photography. That was in July of 2003, and I have been a full-time pet photographer since early 2005. I truly adore my career and am one of these rare people who makes a living doing what I genuinely love. I can’t imagine doing anything else. The people and the animals I work with are simply the best.

For more information about Jamie and to see her outstanding portfolio, please visit her website.

Continuing with more exciting news… Caroline Coile has been named a 2014 Hall of Fame Winner by the Dog Writers Association of America. Caroline is our author contributor for The Healthy Dog wall calendar, where she shares natural homemade remedies, holistic techniques, and a bit of animal psychology to assist canine fans in caring for their companions and helping them to flourish.

caroline-coileD. Caroline Coile, PhD, is an award-winning writer of hundreds of articles and 34 books, including Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds and Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop? Her research interests include domestic animal behavior and physiology, and she has been interviewed on NPR’s Talk of the Nation and quoted in Newsweek and USA Today. Caroline has always had animals in her life. She lives in Florida with her salukis and a Jack Russell-ish mix, all of whom conspire to ensure that she doesn’t know as much about training dogs as she thinks she does. For more information, please visit her website.

Congratulations to Caroline for being recognized by both peers and the public as an expert in the field of canine writing!

9781631360213_MAIN-blogJamie and Caroline are teaming up again for our 2016 wall calendar. The Healthy Dog 2015 wall calendar sold out and we expect the same for 2016 due to the wonderful images and in-depth content. Here’s a sneak peek of the cover. How cute is that?!