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Spring Traditions from Around the World - Part 3


Hello and welcome to Wellbeing Wednesday. I am still enjoying the sunshine, although the garden could do with a little rain! We are never satisfied are we?? I hope that you are all able to take time at points during the day to stop and breathe deeply to help calm thoughts and to still the body. Using the breath in everyday life is so beneficial to our minds and bodies and gives us time to just 'be', to experience the present moment. I try to see that this lockdown time gives us an opportunity to appreciate the small things that we experience every day, but have had no time to really enjoy rather than being unable to do the things we normally do. Just maybe it is nature's way of telling us something, you never know!


Anyway, here is Part 3 of my Spring Traditions from Around the World. I hope that they have at least made you smile :) Thanks once again to mentalfloss.com for their research.



WATER FESTIVALS

To carry on the theme of water fun, water festivals take place annually in several countries in Southeast Asia. In addition to the simple splashing of water, the Asian cultures’ variation on the practice involves boat races, floating river lanterns, and the dousing of a Buddhist statue. The holiday is rooted in the Dai association of water with religious purity, good luck, and good will. Soaking your friend or neighbour with a hearty splash is meant to bestow him or her with good fortune.



For just over one hundred years, the Swiss holiday of Sechselauten has involved the ceremonial burning of the Boogg - a life sized cotton snowman which is packed with fireworks. This is to show the move from cold weather to warm weather. The length of time taken for the Boogg to burn is meant to predict the weather for the coming summer. If it burns quickly then a warm and sunny season is to come. This element of the tradition makes it somewhat similar to…



GROUNDHOG DAY

Though the American Groundhog Day occurs a good month and a half before spring even begins, the ultimate fate of the spring season depends on the forecast told by the subterranean mammal in question … or so mythology holds. Much like the Easter Bunny, Groundhog Day owes its birth to German culture’s immigration to Pennsylvania.

Also taking place on February 2, the Christo-Pagan holiday Candlemas, prevalent in a number of European cultures, forebears the themes of Groundhog Day. The German poem explains it rather succinctly:

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, So far will the snow swirl until May. For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day, So far will the sun shine before May.

Another likely German import is the appropriately named May 1 tradition of circling a sizeable pole in musical merriment. As it was common among Europe’s pagan cultures to worship trees (Norse mythology even involved a “world tree” known as Yggdrasil), historians believe that the original custom had observers dancing around a living tree in celebration of natural fertility.


And finally.....


HOLI

The wildly popular “festival of colours” began as a Hindu holiday, but has extended its reach into the secular canon in India and Nepal. Celebrated every March by way of traditions similar to those in many other cultures (bonfires and water fights are prevalent), Holi enjoys its own rich back story.


After the noble and just figure Prahlada refused to bow down to the tyrannical King Hiranyakashipu, his father, the king employed his sister Holika to do away with Prahlada. The malicious Holika’s efforts to trick Prahlada into stepping into a burning pyre backfired, however, and it was she who was burned alive by the grace of Vishnu. As such, the bonfire—a Holi tradition—is a reminder of the ever-active scales of cosmic and spiritual justice.


I hope you've enjoyed reading about these traditions as much as I have done finding out about them.

Until next time, take care, stay safe and just 'be'.

Peaceful wishes. Sally


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