January 6th, 2013

father christmas

Today is Epiphany -- Also Known as Little Christmas...

Today is Epiphany, or what is also called Little Christmas. This was my maternal grandmother's birthday -- and, ironically enough, also the day my Mom died. (It's been 13 years since her death in 2000.) I just realized that while I know Dad died in June, I don't know the actual date. In fact, I don't think I know the date for many of the other meaningful deaths in my life. Leave it to Mom to die on a day that stands out! (smile) Well, maybe the fact that it's my mom would mean I'd know anyway -- who knows? And it's additionally interesting for her to have died on Grandma Elsie's bday.

As for family traditions, Little Christmas was the day we normally waited took down Christmas. (Or, sometimes it would be the first day -- when we started -- taking down Christmas. Or it could be the FINAL day we took down Christmas. I guess that all would depend on the year... And I don't really understand WHERE that tradition came from, by the way! Yes, I get that Christmastide runs from Christmas Day for 12 days (the twelve days of Christmas) -- which ends annually on January 5 (Twelfth Night). But I'm unclear on why my grandmother always wanted Christmas put away on (what for her was ALWAYS called 'Little Christmas')... As far as I know, this was important to Grandma Elsie, so it became equally important to Mom. And Mom tried to make it important for her kids (Marilyn, sister Sue and me).

QUICK ASIDE: I did take down the Christmas tree today and pack it away (and store it in the garage, where it belongs). So, happily, I got the Christmas decorations down before the end of the day on Little Christmas! (Happy, Mom???)

I tried researching this several years back, but I couldn't find much at that time. But this year I discovered that in Sweden, January 6 is a public holiday -- and many people will even take time off between January 1 and January 6. Mom was also brought up Lutheran, and Lutheran (and United Methodist) congregations (along with those of other denominations) do celebrate Epiphany on January 6. (Or they celebrate it on the following Sunday within the Epiphany week/octave -- or at another time [Epiphany Eve January 5, the nearest Sunday, etc.] -- as local custom dictates. In these denominations -- and others marking the festival's importance -- all of the Sundays following are marked as the first, second, third and so on, "Sunday after Epiphany," up until the beginning of Lent in February or March, with the intervening weeks commonly being called the Epiphany season.)

But I ran amok (grin) during this research -- and discovered a lot of other interesting information. I'll put this behind a cut for the curious...

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I didn't include all the worldwide information -- and there's a TON of it! My friend Donna pondhopper (who lives in Spain) has kindly shared interesting traditions from that country, but her blog is 'Friends Only' filtered... You can discover loads of fun stuff just by googling, by the way. I'm fascinated by the customs that surround today and the entire Christmas season. (Or perhaps I should say the Advent and Christmastide periods...) In fact, I'm interested in the HOLIDAY SEASON -- and not just the parts that are Christian-based. So much of this pre-dates Christianity! Well, enough about Epiphany (at least for now).

I haven't felt well today -- still fighting some bug. No treadmill for me today...

Marilyn and I watched "The Biggest Loser" tonight (the new season started). And "Revenge," too! I'm so very glad "Revenge" is back on! I missed it in recent weeks...

Earlier we went to Starbucks for coffee with Rosanna. We took her some Christmas treats -- and some cookies for her dad. I helped her drop them off, and you should have seen his eyes light up when he heard about those cookies! We talked for a couple of hours before finally taking her home (they were closing Starbucks down around us, literally).

Dinner was chili -- where I combined a couple of varieties with some refried beans to make one pot (including diced peppers and seasoning). It actually turned out really good. I was starving by dinnertime, as I hadn't felt hungry most of the day. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow...

I've found it cold on and off all day. (brr) But mostly we're dealing with a ton of RAIN here. (sigh) And more expected tomorrow!

I guess that's it for today...