Coffee and Contemplation: Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated worldwide on December 6, the anniversary of the death of a third-century saint known as Saint Nicholas. He is the inspiration of the modern-day Santa Claus but don’t confuse this celebration with Christmas. Though they have similarities, the tradition of leaving gifts in stockings or shoes is believed to have been started by Saint Nicholas and later incorporated into Christmas. St. Nicholas is known for selling all his possessions and giving his money to the poor. Raised as a devout Christian, St. Nicholas dedicated his whole life to serving the sick and suffering. 

Sailors, travelers, clergy, school children, and thieves, to name a few, all claim Saint Nicholas as their patron saint. He was born in what is now modern-day Turkey. This holiday is sometimes called the Feast of Saint Nicholas. This is the day to offer small, meaningful gifts. These could be candy, chocolate, or even a note to someone special. It need not be something elaborate. Start the holidays early with little mini gifts tonight. I’m down for this idea of a feast. Thanksgiving was recent but I’m hungry again. Perhaps that’s what I’ll start calling Thanksgiving from now on. The US celebrates the Feast of Saint Nicholas a couple weeks early. That sounds like an easy way to explain to foreigners what Thanksgiving is all about.

Wacky Wednesday: November 25

Here we are with the final Wacky Wednesday of November. Can you believe it’s already Thanksgiving? It’s moving fast but I’m not complaining about 2020 being almost over. This New Year’s Eve will be quite the party – with everyone 6 feet apart and in facemasks. We have a couple more old English insults. Fopdoodle is an insignificant or foolish man. I’ve met many a fopdoodle. And Fustylugs is a woman of gross or corpulent habit. Fusty was a word for something that’s gone off or gone stale. Today I think we use the word musty.

We have a number of holidays today. Some are specific to the day before Thanksgiving such as National Jukebox Dayand Tie One on Day. The night before Thanksgiving is the busiest night of the year for bars especially in smaller towns as family has come to visit. People will listen to tunes on the jukebox and we hope they will have a designated driver. Tie One on Day is related to an earlier post of mine about Tie One on for Safety Month to prevent people from drinking and driving. Stay safe tonight when visiting family.

Our other holidays include National Play Day with Dad which began in 2019 to encourage fathers to spend time with and get to know their children. Shopping Reminder Day is self-explanatory if you know what Black Friday is. I’m excited to celebrate Blasé Day. Blasé is of French origin meaning to be indifferent or bored with life, unimpressed, as or as if from an excess of worldly pleasures. Yes, I said I’m excited to be bored and indifferent. Finally, our token food holiday is National Parfait Day. Parfait is a French word that literally means “perfect” and was originally used to describe a kind of frozen dessert beginning in 1894. 

There are many things to celebrate today and you’ve gained a couple new words to help insult family members you don’t like. I am having a one-person Thanksgiving this year. I have a 6.5 lb. chicken I’ll be roasting and preparing green bean casserole and mash potatoes. I’m gonna get my fatty on! Stay safe and have a Merry Thanksgiving.

Coffee and Contemplation: Mabon the Autumnal Equinox

This year, the first day of Autumn is September 22, this Tuesday. Throughout human history, this was the time of the harvest. Many festivals were held to celebrate the harvest and give thanks. Mabon is a pagan holiday and one of the eight Wiccan sabbats. This is the second of three harvest festivals celebrated. Oktokerfest originally began during the last week of September when it began in the 1700s. During the mid-harvest, farmers would know how well their Summer crops did. This would also tell them if they had enough food for the Winter.

The original American Thanksgiving was celebrated on October 3. Thanksgiving was never given an official day on the calendar until 1942. This is the time to have feasts with friends. Drink and be merry and all that. Feasting and giving things at this time of year makes more sense to me than at the end of November. I think I’ll call this Proto-Thanksgiving. Though I don’t have any feasting plans coming up. What I enjoy about living in the desert is any time of year is good for barbequing. Most common folk don’t go out harvesting food like farmers, but this is the appropriate time of year to be thankful for having food. Although one should appreciate this every day.