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early winter garden

November 28, 2011

I love how these trees go from pink flowers in fall to red leaves in November!

yellow currant leaves dropping off, leaving bare branches

We celebrated Martinmas this year (sortof) Since we’re doing a bit of Waldorf homeschooling, these yearly festivals are a part of observing the changing seasons. There are lots of festivals on the Waldorf calendar, which we won’t be celebrating, but I chose to incorporate this one because this particular day marks the beginning of winter. But I though the beginning of winter is December 21st? you may say. That date is traditionally the Solstice, which is midwinter, the shortest day, just as June 21st is midsummer, the longest day. So Martinmas, the Christian festival of Saint Martin, who, on a cold day, cut his cloak in half and gave half to someone in need (who turned out to be Jesus…) marks the first day of winter. I felt the turn that day, and was glad to have noticed it! We took down our El Dia de Los Muertos altar and made some simple lanterns to symbolize and illuminate the darkest days coming. That was about the extent of our “celebrating” but it feels important to know when that subtle shift is beginning and mark it in some way. Especially here in Northern California, where our seasons do not include snow, and rain starts up in fall and keeps going through winter and Spring. Other things to do could be the lantern walk at night, and a special meal where you share half of your food with the person next to you, or just doing some sharing with people in need. I’m looking forward to seeing how our “First Day of Winter” festival unfolds over the years!

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