Minister of Free Inquiry (aethyrflux) wrote,
Minister of Free Inquiry
aethyrflux

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hope for the flowers?

Quite simply, it seems to me that what we are dealing with in religious symbolism during this time of year is the ceremonial rebirth of Spring!

This list is obviously not comprehensive (nor is it necessarily entirely accurate)... and thus, it may be edited, corrected, or added to, at any point!

This Wednesday is Groundhog Day, the observance of which comes to us directly from Candlemas, the festival of lights.

Also according to the wiki, ` `Secular historians have sometimes argued that the Roman church introduced Candlemas celebrations in opposition to the pagan feast of Lupercalia.' ' (yet, Valentine's Day is closer to the actual celebration date of Lupercalia)

The Thelemic Feast associated with the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox (with Sol in the Succedent Decan of Aquarius) is The Feast of the Stars. An examplary liturgy for observance of this celebration was developed during the Barking God Project 34/28, and can be found at The Exposed Adytum.

In Celtic-oriented "Pagan" traditions, Candlemas is referred to as Imbolc, the cross-quarter festival devoted to the Goddess Brigid, who presides over such things as fire, water, poetry, the hearth, smithcraft, childbearing, agriculture, animal husbandry, weaving, divination, and healing. Witchvox mentions this concerning Imbolc: ` `Here we plant the "seeds" of our hopes and dreams for the coming summer months.' '

In Haitian Vodou, Brigit is known as Maman Brigitte. She is the Mother of the Dead, and consort of Baron Samedi or Papa Gede.

In the Yucatan, Virgin of Tetiz (The Virgin of the Assumption) is honored during the festival of Candelaria (Candlemas). Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria (Feast of our Lady of Candles) honors Candelina. Later in the month, during the week before Lent, the festival of Carnaval is a celebration of carnal pleasure preceeding the fast between Ash Wednesday and Easter. In Mexico, Carnaval is a particularly popular celebration in Mazatlán, Varacruz, Merida, Ensenada, & La Paz.

Carnaval is celebrated this time of year all around the world... In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Carnaval is organized by The League of Samba Schools. Here is an excellent essay about the Samba Carnaval Traditions. In Austin TX, there is an event called Carnaval Brasiliero. Carnevale di Venezia is also being observed during the first week of February this year. Of course, in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is the final day of Carnival, which will be celebrated on February 8 in 2005 (the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent).

Also during mid-February, Parinirvana, or Nirvana Day, is the day for remembering the death of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Vasant Panchami is a Hindu Spring festival in devotion to Saraswati, goddess of knowledge, music and all the creative arts.

The Maha Shivaratri is the most important vrata for the devotees of Lord Shiva, which coincides with this time as well.

Tu B'Shevat is the Judaic festival known as The New Year for Trees... which is celebrated around the same time as Islam celebrates Eid ul-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, concluding the Pilgrimmage to Mecca, and commemorating Ibraham's (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail (Isaac) for the God, Allah. Following this, the first day of the Islamic New Year, Muharram will fall on Friday, February 11, 2005. The Festival of Muharram is observed by Shi'ite Muslims.

In 2005, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on the 9th of February (the second new moon after the winter solstice occurs)... this will be The Year of the Green Wood Cock!

And similarly to the Candle-mas celebration, the Lantern Festival (also called Yuanxiao Festival) extensively uses lights in its symbolism... this marks the end of the Spring festivals in Chinese tradition, and is observed on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month (which will be February 23rd in 2005).

I found a good summary of the celebration of the Chinese New year traditions at Olvera Street:
` `During the 15-day celebration of Chinese New Year, people make a fresh start and set the tone for the upcoming year. It is a time for reconciliation, to make peace and forgive old grudges. People are warm and friendly to one another, and many families, friends and neighbors exchange gifts. There are many practices that symbolize a new start, homes and businesses are cleaned, and many people wear only new clothes on New Year's Day. A very important part of the New Year celebration is to honor and respect deceased relatives and ancestors. This is also because family unity is a central value of Chinese New Year. The holiday brings families together to celebrate with each other. This 15-day celebration ends with the Lantern Festival.' '

And The School of the Seasons also makes some good suggestions for means of celebration at this time of the year: purification, renewal, pledges, and commitments...
Tags: pagan, research, ritual
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