Traditionally, people from ancient times have welcomed the new year with rituals to attract good fortune. The emphasis being on romance and indulgence. NIce. But beneath all that glitter and sparkle lies an ancient holiday with deep spiritual roots. For centuries people have been observing the end of one year and the beginning of another.
The Winter Solstice is the turning point of the year. The days begin to lengthen and have been long viewed as the birth of the year.. by pagans celebrating the return of the Sun, and by Christians welcoming the birth of the Son of God. The days between the Solstice ( December 21) and the New Year are a magical, luminous time period when anything is possible.
While each culture's New Year celebration has it's own flavor, there is a string of common themes. The time period leading up to New Year's Day is a time for setting things straight; ridding debt, returning borrowed objects, cleaning out and purging what accumulated in the home/ closets, mending quarrels, and reflecting on ones shortcomings.
Whatever goals to achieve these tasks,, or traditions that are executed must be completed by midnight on the last day of the year. Symbolically, shedding the past. Creating new space for new possibilities in the welcoming of the New Year.
The holiday season for those in the industry of retail begins if not before Thanksgiving ( dreadfully) certainly shortly there after. I, for one had been listening to the tunes of Christmas at Matsu since Thanksgiving. Knowing the "move" was in place, to transition from 259 Newbury St. to 264 Newbury; I did my best to maintain the environment and honor the Season. The pine and poinsettia significant through out the store, celebrated the holidays. The rich reds and the deep green fragrant branches of the array of pine varieties I have always loved appeared right before Thanksgiving. No matter where I was , in my home, or visiting or in Matsu, they would appear.. along with the Christmas music.
Today is December 30 th. I woke this morning with the sun a bit higher in the sky, and the temperature rebounding after the latest blizzard and low temperatures. I felt like March could be near by. A hopeless optimistic soul, I am. I ventured down to the flower market on Albany Street in the South End in search for Quince. Really, I woke thinking about cherry blossoms……… again. premature.. but…. Hark ! sure enough. I found Quince.! These branches rather thorny, with hopeful buds about to burst the first sign of Spring, I bought a large bunch for Matsu. The buds so tight, but I know what spark will appear and how gratifying the display of them become once they are ready to open. Quince are the symbol of love and happiness. The little jewel buds appear and you have to smile. They inspire it. They shed light on the winter. The first sight of spring, on the last day of two thousand ten. Time to celebrate.
To see and experience Poinsettia and Quince in one week is truly amazing ! The deep jewel tones of the traditional color of the Poinsettia leaf representing the richness of the season and the depth of the winter month of December. The contrast of Quince, inviting a lighter pallette of a pastel tone, represents the longer days of the sun approaching, and hope with a dim light. Although the winter months are used to replenish our souls and allow the stews, and the hearty soups to nourish at the time when we sit by the fire and reflect our lives with the vision of the flame in front of us, we know that Spring is inevitable. The nature of the 4 seasons. Perhaps this is why we choose to live in New England and experience all of the seasons. Relish in it. Be. Just be.
Quince is a native of Persia. and also Greece and Italy.. The many branched shrubs or small trees with tons of leaves display white or pink flowers similar to those of a pear or apple tree. This tree in ancient Greece and Rome was held sacred to Venus. Goddess of Love.
The winter is a romantic time. Enjoy it, knowing that it is only temporary. The snow brings on a sense of peace that we often find difficult to invite in ourselves. Mother nature does it for us ! Renew, refresh, replenish and revive. This is my mantra for tonight and for the early days of January. I know it works. Just being aware is half the excercise. Enjoy !
Happy New Year everyone.
Yours in joy,