Greeting card from our Diwali series. Click image for more info.
Winter is the time for festivals of light and the first one to appear on the calendar this year is Diwali, which is celebrated on the new moon (often called the dark moon) of the Hindu month of Kartika. Diwali is the name for the third day of a five-day holiday and falls on October 19, 2017.
The name Diwali means “line of lights.” People set out lit oil-filled clay lamps (diya) on windowsills and in front of houses. Fireworks, bonfires, and electric and neon lights add to the illumination.
There is a sense of newness and renewal. Before the holiday, houses are cleaned and whitewashed. Women and children create rangoli—circular decorative designs, like small mandalas, made of colored rice flour or even flower petals on thresholds—in front of houses and in hallways to honor Lakshmi the goddess of wealth (although Kali is honored in some parts of India and Krishna in others). Continue reading
Image from our Day of the Dead 2018 wall calendar. Skull Art Queen with Butterflies © Xrista Stavrou. Click for more info.
Halloween, falling as it does on the start of the darkest time of the year, focuses on those who have departed. In the United States, on October 31, the emphasis may be on ghosts, monsters, and scary pumpkin faces, but in earlier times, and in other cultures, this is the time to honor the dead.
In Mexico, indigenous customs mingled with the Spanish Catholic celebration of All Souls’ Day on November 1 (“Halloween” is an abbreviated version of All Hallows’ Eve), during which people pray for those who have died. The resulting holiday, Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), is a joyful celebration of those who have died. Continue reading
As a calendar publisher, we immerse ourselves in information about all kinds of holidays and their related traditions. Changes of the season are especially ripe with many celebrations around the world. Today is the Autumnal Equinox also known to some as Mabon. Here’s a bit more about Mabon:
Image from our Celtic Mandala 2018 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth. Click for more info.
Archaeological findings of prehistoric cultures in the British Isles reveal that important festivals observed the year’s equinoxes and solstices. In ancient history, Celtic peoples observed these days as the four Quarter Days: Ostara (Vernal Equinox), Litha (Summer Solstice), Yule (Winter Solstice), and Mabon (Autumnal Equinox). Today, Wiccans and Neo-pagans, who draw many traditions from Celtic culture, retain the Mabon tradition. Some communities refer to the day simply as “autumn harvest” or “autumn sabbat. ” Continue reading
Image from our Wanderlust 2017 wall calendar featuring adventure photographs by Chris Burkard. Click image for more info.
I grew up in the southern hemisphere, in Australia, but I’ve lived in the northern hemisphere for the better part of the past 20 years. You’d think that would be enough time to have gotten used to the seasons being opposite, but the truth is it still strikes me as a curious novelty.
Firstly, there’s the fact that I grew up with a summer birthday (February), which was always celebrated with some sort of outdoor activity. Now that my birthday is in the dead of winter, well, it’s just not the same. Continue reading
Image from our Messages from Your Angels 2016 wall calendar featuring words of wisdom from Doreen Virtue. Click image for more info.
In England, the last Sunday before Advent is called Stir-Up Sunday, a name derived from the first words of the Collect that is read in church on that day: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.”
These words were creatively applied as an injunction to start making the Christmas puddings and pies, which folklore says should be stirred clockwise with a wooden spoon, with all family members taking a turn in this order: mother, father, children, and visitors. Continue reading
Image from our Gardens of the Spirit 2016 wall calendar featuring photography by John Lander. Click image for more.
In the Chinese lunar calendar, the ninth day of the ninth lunar month (October 21 this year) is called Climbing the Heights. People celebrate by picnicking outside on hillsides, drinking chrysanthemum wine, and eating crab. In some places, people construct huge kites in the shape of dragons, birds, butterflies, and centipedes, and use them to fight and bring down other kites.
This day is also called the Double Ninth festival, and the number 9 is a special number associated with yang energy and the sun. As with cherry blossom festivals, people hold chrysanthemum viewing parties and compose poems to honor the flower. Continue reading
Image from our Simply Raw 2016 wall calendar featuring vegetable portraits by Lynn Karlin and raw food recipes by Matthew Kenney. Click image to see more.
There are two great feasts that mirror each other across the calendar at the times of the equinoxes. Around spring equinox (with its corresponding holidays of Easter, Passover, and Naw-Ruz), we enjoy the first fruits of the season: fresh greens, eggs, cheese, lamb. At the time of the autumn equinox (with its adjacent festivals of Sukkot and Michaelmas), we enjoy the fruits of the harvest.
This year’s autumn equinox will occur on September 23. Depending on where we live, we might be harvesting the last tomatoes or the first pumpkins, sweet corn or succulent apples, ripe grapes or ripe grain. This is also a time to celebrate the transformation mysteries as fruit, grain, and grapes are transformed into cider, bread, wine, and beer. Continue reading
Image from our Herb Gardens 2016 wall calendar. Fresh herbs hung up to dry © Giovanna – Joana Kruse / Corbis. Click image to see more.
Recently I learned of a holiday known in France as La Rentrée. It’s an acknowledgement of the re-entry back into routine or ordinary life after the looser, more improvised time of summer. Teachers and students recognize this moment when school begins again, but I believe all of us feel this as the autumn makes its presence known. The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) usually occurs in September, as does the new year in the French Revolutionary Calendar (on Autumn Equinox). Continue reading