Category Archives: Holiday Lore

GivingTuesday — Every Act of Generosity Counts

GivingTuesday logo

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world on December 3, 2019, and every day. Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, GivingTuesday is an annual opportunity for everyone to commit to supporting a charity that speaks to the heart. Support can come in many forms — a little bit of your time, a donation, or the power of your voice to share all the good work they’re doing.

One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. GivingTuesday has created a directory to help you find organizations, events, and ways to give back in your own community. Visit their website to explore all their resources.

Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give.


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Celebrate Chrysanthemum Day and the Double Ninth Festival

The ninth day in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar (October 7, 2019) is “Chong Yang Jie” (chong means “double” or “repeat” and yang means “bright, vital, active energy”) and is celebrated as Chrysanthemum Day and the Double Ninth Festival.

Celebrating Chrysanthemum Day

Revered for its simple, perfect beauty and medicinal properties, the gorgeous yellow or golden chrysanthemum (“chu” in ancient Chinese) is highly regarded both for its color and for its symbolism of long life, enduring luck, love, and success. It’s also believed to ease the burdens of a difficult life when you wear an image of a chrysanthemum or keep the flowers displayed in your home.

Because it blooms from autumn into winter, it also symbolizes the mediation between Life and Death, Heaven and Earth.

To celebrate the day:

  • Give chrysanthemums as auspicious gifts.
  • Offer chrysanthemums as noble altar offerings.
  • Drink chrysanthemum tea (known to clear toxins) or medicinal wine.
  • Eat the traditional flower gao (cake).
  • Place yellow golden chrysanthemums in your home or office to immediately attract good luck.
  • If you wish to receive rewards, success, fame, recognition, honor, or bonuses, place nine chrysanthemums in the fame gua (back middle area of your space) on the first floor of your home, office, and/or business.

Celebrating the Double Ninth Festival

With the presence of two number nines—the most yang number of all—today’s energies embody action, long-lasting change, transformation, and completion. This is a very auspicious day for harnessing active and positive energies as the yang qi is doubled!

This also makes it a fabulous day to perform a Feng Shui practice to manifest the wish of your heart using the power of nine:

  • Beginning today on this auspicious festival, write (in red ink) a prayer or wish for your happiness, health, or prosperity nine times and place it in an Asian-style red envelope. Write the same wish every day for nine consecutive days. Read your wish nine times throughout each day, especially upon waking and before going to sleep. With clear intent and deep faith, visualize and feel your wish or prayer coming true. Imagine the nine steps that would transpire to see your wish actualized.
  • You can also activate the yang energies by wearing purple, yellow, gold, and/or orange colors today.

In modern day China, this is also a day to honor and respect senior citizens. The word for “nine” is “jiu,” which shares the same sound as the word for longevity, so show love to your own elders as well as strangers.

For great fun, you could also watch the over-the-top film Curse of the Golden Flower, directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li, which has literally thousands upon thousands of chrysanthemum flowers in the settings and costumes.

Finally, traditionally this is a wonderful day to hike in the mountains, as it’s believed to represent climbing to a higher position as you symbolically increase your happiness, health, and prosperity!


Gwynne WarnerGwynne Allyn Warner is the founder of 10,000 Blessings Feng Shui and practices Black Sect Tantric Buddhist Feng Shui as a disciple of Grandmaster Professor Lin Yun. She was certified as an Advanced Feng Shui Consultant by Helen and James Jay of Feng Shui Designs. Gwynne began her studies in Buddhism in her early twenties while living in London where she became enamored with Kuan Yin and thereafter received her Bodhisattva Vows with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Her expertise has been treasured by creative small businesses, service professionals, performing artists, Chinese medicine practitioners, healers, and interior designers among others. For more information and to sign up for her newsletter, please visit her website.


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Thinking of You Week 2019: Make Someone Smile

Thinking of You Week (September 23 – 29, 2019) is just around the corner. First launched in the U.K., this weeklong celebration seeks to create awareness for the positive impact a greeting card with a handwritten note can have on the recipient—especially when it’s unexpected—and to encourage more meaningful connections and caring interactions throughout the year.

While greeting cards are often sent to friends and family, this fun week encourages us to reach out to other special people in our lives—a favorite teacher, important public servant, emergency room doctor, nursing home resident, mail carrier, and the barista who always remembers how we like our coffee. Embrace the challenge to create a wave of happiness and make someone smile with just three little words: “Thinking of You.”

Once again, the US Postal Service (USPS) is supporting the event with a Thinking of You postmark. Last year over 500 million residences across the US saw the commemorative postmark on first class mail during the month of September.


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Lughnasa — Celebrating the Harvest

Image from our Celtic Blessings 2020 wall calendar featuring artwork by Michael J. Green. Click for more info.

Lughnasa or Lughnasadh is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. In Modern Irish it is called Lúnasa, in Scottish Gaelic: Lùnastal, and in Manx: Luanistyn. Traditionally it is celebrated on August 1, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. Lughnasa is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Samhain, Imbolc, and Beltane. It corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Gŵyl Awst and the English Lammas.

Lughnasadh is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and has pagan origins. The festival itself is named after the god Lugh. It involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests, feasting, matchmaking, and trading. One of the most prominent gods in Irish mythology, Lugh is portrayed as a warrior, a king, a master craftsman and a savior. He is associated with skill and mastery in multiple disciplines, including the arts. He is also associated with oaths, truth, and the law.


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July is National Ice Cream Month

Super Foods 2020 wall calendar

Photo by Lynn Karlin featured in our Super Foods 2020 wall calendar. Click for more info.

Mmmm. Ice cream. There are endless ways to enjoy this frozen treat — in a bowl with berries, on a cone with sprinkles, with exotic ingredients like blue cheese and olive oil, or simply with a spoon straight from the tub  — just let your imagination roam. Ice cream has a magical appeal during the summer months, so on July 9, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed into law two resolutions — one declaring July as National Ice Cream Month and the other declaring the 3rd Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. Continue reading

Dog Days of Summer

Adventure Dogs 2020 wall calendar

Images from our Adventure Dogs 2020 wall calendar: Hiking, Camping, and Traveling with Courageous Canines. Click for more info.

The long, hot days of summer are rising before us and bring many opportunities for adventures with our courageous canine companions. But why do some call this period the dog days of summer? Well, as with many things, we have the Greeks to thank. But let’s look at the timing of the days first.

Various computations of the dog days in the northern hemisphere have placed their start anywhere from July 3 to August 15 and lasting for anywhere from 30 to 61 days depending upon latitude.

To understand more about the origins of the name, here’s an excerpt from a wonderful post by Becky Little from National Geographic:

The “dog days,” I always thought, were those summer days so devastatingly hot that even dogs would lie around panting.

Many people today use the phrase to mean something like that—but originally, the phrase actually had nothing to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer. Instead, it turns out, the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens.

To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year.

So, did the Greeks get it right? Are the dog days, around when Sirius rises, really the hottest days of the year? Continue reading

World Environment Day 2019

TREES planting

World Environment Day (June 5) is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. Since it began in 1974, the event has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that draws attention to a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2019 is “Air pollution”. You can read more on their website. Continue reading

Happy Holi — Spring Festival of Colors

Holi celebration image

Holi is a colorful and boisterous Hindu spring festival in India, also known as the Festival of Colors. This is a time of shedding inhibitions: People smear each other with red and yellow powder and shower each other with colored water shot from bamboo blowpipes or water pistols. Restrictions of caste, sex, age, and personal differences are ignored. Continue reading