On the Ninth Day of Christmas: I’m Looking Forward to the Feasts

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that 75% of people had their Christmas lights down by New Year’s Day. I’m also going to guess those who didn’t had some reason they didn’t get them down. Very, very few people leave them up past New Year’s. (Although I do know someone who does. Hey there, Bob.)
I’m about to tell you a secret that most of you have never heard. Christmas isn’t over on December 26. It isn’t even over on January 6. Christmas ends on February 2.
In Mexico this is known as El Dia de la Candelaria. You may have heard of it as Candlemas. This is the end of the holidays. South of the Border children will enjoy firecrackers. Whoever found the doll in the La Rosca de Reyes will throw a party. Then the nativity scene will be packed away for another year.(1)
Technically, Candlemas is a celebration of when the Christ child was presented in the Temple. Cultures around the globe celebrate it with even more food. The Spanish make a three layer cake with pink frosting and chicken feathers. In Guatemala they bake sweet loaves with sesame seeds.(2)
Strangely enough, you and I already celebrate Candlemas. You know it as Groundhog Day. In Greece and other countries the weather on February 2 predicts the weather for the next month. Here in the United States we rely on a little furry guy named Punxatawny Phil.(2)
But the holidays don’t end there. Shrove Monday comes along the week before Mardi Gras. Then you have Mardi Gras, then comes Lent, then comes Easter.(2)
To me these feasts are a reminder of a time when our ancestors didn’t have Netflix, YouTube, or even television. They got up before the sun and worked until after it went down. These holidays combined the two elements that kept them sane: socialization and spirituality. They didn’t go all out for every holiday, but they scheduled these feasts.
Today many things have changed but we all face stressors of one kind or another. Perhaps the solution is the same as our ancestors found. We have to look beyond ourselves to find a purpose and we have to schedule joy.
1.    Christmas in Mexico, 1996 World Book, Chicago.
2.    Folklore of World: Holidays Margaret Read MacDonald, editor.


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2 responses to “On the Ninth Day of Christmas: I’m Looking Forward to the Feasts

  1. Pingback: FESTIVALS: Break Glass in Case of Holiday Emergency, The Twelve Days of Christmas Will Save Your Sanity | WNC Travel Intelligence·

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