Feb 1, 2001 Elsa the Lion; IMBOLC; Husband divining
- You are listening to Thomas Alva Edison
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go;
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath-day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
366 Red Letter Days of the Year!
Carpe diem! (Seize the day!)
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February 1, 2001
All contents Copyright © 2001, Pip Wilson, Wilsons Almanac
Down with the rosemary and the bays
Down with the mistletoe;
Instead of holly now upraise
The greener box for show.
English poet Herrick, alluding to customs of Candlemas eve
There's no secret about direction, just good common sense.
When the wind blows on Candlemas-eve, it will continue till May-eve.
English traditional proverb
Happy birthday to you!
1895 John Ford, American film director (Stage Coach; How the West was Won)
1901 Clark Gable, Hollywood actor (Gone With the Wind)
1926 Stuart Whitman, American actor (Those Magnificant Men in Their Flying Machines; Oscar: The Mask)
1956 Elsa the Lion, depicted in Born free by Joy Adamson (as featured in Born Free (1966))
1956 Elsa the Lion
Elsa the Lion was celebrated in Born Free, by Joy Adamson, who was a late starter or late bloomer, writing this, her first book at the age of 50. Adamsons writing, and the film that followed the books success, was highly influential in promoting awareness of Nature, and helped give rise to eco-tourism.
Tragically, and incredibly, Joy Adamson and her husband were both murdered, in separate incidents nearly a decade apart. Joy was killed by a disgruntled employee on January 3, 1980 in the Shaba Game Reserve, and George Adamson was killed by poachers on August 20, 1989, inside Kora National Park, Kenya.
Elsa succumbed to illness on January 24, 1961.
This day in history
1893 Thomas Edison opened the world's first movie studio, in New Jersey.
1902 An imperial decree in China abolished the practice of the binding of the feet of female infants, a practice designed to make women's feet small, considered desirable in China at the time.
1989 Omiuri, a 7.6m (25 feet) python in Kenya died. Omiuri was believed to have magical powers, and millions of Kenyan Luo tribespeople mourned its loss.
1990 South African President FW de Klerk told parliament that apartheid would have to go, and he banned many of the hated law's cornerstones. He also announced the end of the ban on the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party, and that Nelson Mandela would be free within a fortnight.
Cross-quarter day of Imbolc, or Oimelc, or Brigantia
Kalends of February, ancient Rome
Candlemas Eve, old England - Christmas decorations come down (Australians do this Januray 6, Epiphany)
Gutor (Expulsion of the Old Year), Tibet
Cross-quarter day of Imbolc, or Oimelc, or Brigantia
Imbolc is the ancient pagan fire festival between Yule (later, Christmas) and the vernal (spring) equinox. That is, midway between December 22 and March 22. It is one of the four midway or cross-quarter festivals: Imbolc, Beltane/May Day, Lammas, Samhain/Halloween, each one halfway between an equinox and a solstice.
Imbolc (Em-bowl/g) is the time when the Goddess recovers from the birth, rejuvenated, and the God is a spirited youth. This is the time of year when we begin to feel 'cabin-fever' or a restlessness begins to grow in us. We are re-energized and become impatient for the weather to break, allowing us to spend more time out of doors (More)
... 'Imbolc' means, literally, 'in the belly' (of the Mother). For in the womb of Mother Earth, hidden from our mundane sight but sensed by a keener vision, there are stirrings. The seed that was planted in her womb at the solstice is quickening and the new year grows....Brigit's holiday was chiefly marked by the kindling of sacred fires, since she symbolized the fire of birth and healing, the fire of the forge, and the fire of poetic inspiration....All in all, this Pagan Festival of Lights, sacred to the young Maiden Goddess, is one of the most beautiful and poetic of the year.... (More)
An excellent links page on Imbolc/St Brigid's Day by folklorist Dr Kathleen Jenks is here.
The Christianised version of Imbolc
St Brigid (Bridhe) is the Christianised version of this day. Brigid/Bridget was an archetype of the great mother goddess, protector of women in childbirth and Imbolc was dedicated to the mysteries of motherhood, with the lamb as a symbol of newness.
Imbolc is a spring festival, commonly associated with Brigid (particularly in Ireland), and the return of life and light. Traditionally, in the Christian era, corn dollies were dressed and St Brigids crosses woven from rushes. Bride cakes were baked for the festivities. Straw cradles called Brides Beds were made, and girls made processions followed by dancing and feasting. In Ireland, people made Bridgets/Brigids Crosses of rushes which were hung on houses and stables to ward off evil spirits. Bridgets Girdles, woven from straw, were worn as protections from evil.
St Brigids Day was associated with lambing and the first sheeps milk.
According to tradition, the saint had promised
Gach 're la go mait
O'm la-sa amach
agus leath mo lae feinigh.
or, "Every second day fine, from my day onward, and half of my own day."
Variants of the Irish name Bridget (meaning strength)
Bride, Bridie, Briget, Bridget, Brietta, Bridget, Brigit, Briggitte, Bríghid, Brid, Breeda, Brigid. (Source)
St Bridget, or Brigid
Brigid was a native of Ireland and a daughter of a prince of Ulster, born soon after the conversion of Ireland. She could perform miracles and had a way with nature: even wild ducks obeyed her call and came to her hand. When she was sent a-milking by her mother to make butter, she gave all the milk to the poor; when the other maids brought in their milk she prayed and the butter multiplied.
The first nun in Ireland, in about 585 she built her first cell (Kil-dara), or cell of the oak under a large oak that had earlier been a pagan shrine. Round this first Irish nunnery grew the city of Kildare. She was a popular saint in Scotland and England as well, where she is known as St Bride. St Bride's Church in Fleet Street, London had a well, Bride's Well, upon which a palace was erected, called Bridewell, which Edward VI gave to London as a workhouse for the poor. The name became associated with such houses.
Bridgets head was kept as a sacred relic by the Jesuits at Lisbon.
Feast of Our Lady of the Purification, Santo Amaro, Brazil
(Till Feb. 4.) A religious celebration: 60 baianas in traditional costume perform the famous washing of the church front stairs.
Husband-divining ritual, Faro Islands
Faroese girls on Candlemas eve leave a mixture of egg-white in a glass of water on their window sills overnight; the shapes formed are auguries of their future husbands.
Owase Yaya Matsuri, Japan (Feb 1-8)
At Owase Shrine, Owase, Mie Prefecture.
This unusual calendar custom is a 'Shouting Festival', one of several 'quarrel festivals'. Young men carrying mikoshi floats collide with each other in streets. When they meet they shout Yaya Yaya!; protective fences are installed by householders along routes. There is much dancing and a naked scramble. On the last night a ceremony is held at the shrine to determine next years participants.