Today’s Holiday Meaning – April 2nd “Carrying Away of Death”
I adore this holiday. It’s all about celebrating life, renewal and rebirth. This is an ancient German celebration practiced by the Pagans. Now please don’t let the term ‘Pagan’ freak you out. That word has been so maligned by media and religious zealots; the meaning has spun into a dark place. What is the true meaning of Pagan? It means ‘country folk.‘ That’s it. Not as scary as some might have you believe.
But I digress. Today’s holiday meaning celebrates the return of warmth, and the abatement of the cold. The celebration is called “Carrying Away of Death.” For Pagans, winter was symbolic of a time of darkness, and the return of spring meant the return of life from the grips of death.
The ritual of celebrating the Carrying Away of Death is symbolic and elegant. The Pagans made little dolls made of straw. These are symbolic of death and winter. These little figurines also represented the challenges faced over the harsh months of intense cold.
After the straw figures were made, a tremendous bonfire was lit. The bigger the fire the better! Once the fire got stoked to a ferocious peak, the Pagans tossed their little straw effigies into the fire. It’s important to note, fire is symbolic of transformation, energy and inspiration. Tossing the dolls into the fire, it was believed, transformed energy from dark to light.
Essentially, this act abolished all the experiences, energies and spirits that plagued the people through the winter. It was a symbolic act of saying goodbye to death and welcoming the return of life. This ritual was a physical demonstration of annihilating unwanted evil and tribulation. It was also a ritual of welcoming life, hope and the promise of warmer, better days to come.
Today’s Holiday Meaning – April 2nd “International Children’s Book Day”
Today’s holiday meaning advocates children reading books. It is also the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen. He is most remembered by his enchanting fairy tales beloved by children all over the world.
This holiday was founded by The International Board on Books for Young People. Various countries celebrate this day in different ways. In Greece, a common tradition is for children to draw pictures of characters from their favorite books. In Denmark, there is a festival Hans Christian Andersen’s hometown. There, his books are celebrated, and read aloud to children. In parts of America, awards are given to children who have read the most books. Awards are also given to notable authors of children’s books on this day.
In closing, I hope you enjoyed this article on today’s holiday meaning (April 2nd). These two holiday’s are not the only ones occurring on this day – so do some research and see if you can find a perfect symbolic holiday that suits you!
The take-away point to this post, I think, is this: This is a day to celebrate potential. It is a day to embrace imagination. This day resonates with the promise of hope and new adventure. Why? Because between the Pagan Carrying Away of Death, and the recognition of igniting children’s imagination with books – we have a strong combo for awesome, limitless possibilities!
As always, thank you for reading. If you liked this post, feel free to check out these related posts:
Today’s holiday is something to be mightily celebrated. Why? Because this is a day of bowing to the juggernauts in both ancient and modern world. Specifically, the female juggernauts who moved mountains to change minds and advance the human society.
Which brings me to Hypatia. She was a Greek writer, philosopher, astrologist, mathematician…you name it…she seemed to have her finger on the page of whatever kind of wisdom required for the time.
In fact, she was the caretaker and curator for the educational institution of Alexandria. This was a goldmine of knowledge, study and information. Hypatia was the matron of this place, where she taught students, and preserved precious archives.
There is a sorrow that cloaks this day. Hypatia was stoned to death around this time in March (estimation March 8-12). She was accused of political meddling by a bunch of zealots. It did not help matters that she was smart, savvy and way beyond her years in terms of insight and vision.
Nevertheless, Hypatia’s presence was overwhelmingly revolutionary. She paved a way for so many students, women and scholars for tons of decades after her passing.
This is a great day to observe the following…
♦Embrace the beauty of a book
♦Recognize teachers and mentors in your life
♦Take a bow to those who have fought for the freedoms we experience today
♦Learn a new skill, consider a new profession, take on a new challenge
♦Dare to challenge the ‘status quo’, upset the apple-cart, and be a shining example of what it means to stand up for your passion.
To be sure, Hypatia was a rebel. She stood for her beliefs, and she never backed down. Regrettably, that resulted in her gruesome demise, but she cut a path for so many of us because of her unflinching will.
In a way, Hypatia was a hero. So today’s holiday in history is a great day to celebrate your bold, brassy women and mentors that have made a difference in your lives.
It’s been said that on March 17th, St. Patrick’s day, everybody is Irish. That’s not too far off the mark. At one point, Irish immigrants outnumbered any other nationality in the US. In fact, the Irish have been so influential in this country, that many Irish customs (and symbols) are embossed upon the American culture.
This Irish holiday is just as impressive with symbolic meaning. Firstly, St. Patrick was a pretty remarkable dude…and he wasn’t Irish either. He was born around Roman Britain, close to Scotland. In a weird twist of fate, St. Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and made a slave in Ireland. Ironic, eh? Yeah…the guy who is an Irish icon was kept a slave there from the time he was 16. After about seven years as a slave, St. Paddy was called by God to serve a higher purpose, and he ran away from his dour life of slavery.
He traveled Europe and got the education he lacked as a slave. Then God called St. Pat again, telling him it was time to do great things. So St. Patrick went back to Ireland to share his passion for Christianity. Talk about dynamic forgiveness! This is a guy captured by the Irish, yet he went back there as a missionary to talk about salvation.
St. Patrick didn’t have an easy time of it though. He made some big social blunders. On one occasion, Patrick lit a bonfire on what was then one of the most sacred Celtic celebrations (Beltane).
No big deal, right? Well, the high Celtic king, Laoghaire saw Pat’s fire and was enraged. Apparently, it’s not good etiquette to light a bonfire before the king lights his own first. Oopsie.
St. Patrick soothed over the hard feelings about the fire, started to make friends, and successfully shared his views about Christianity.
What I find very cool about St. Patrick is that he took a different tact than many missionaries. He wasn’t about crushing and converting the people. He actually meshed the Celtic/pagan beliefs in with the Christian philosophy. So instead of obliterating Irish ancient beliefs, St. Patrick wove together the old and the new – forming a cohesion.
As he respected the old ways while honoring his own faith – I think St. Paddy would approve of this post on St. Patrick’s Day symbols. Why? Because symbols, either ancient or new, reflect an era, a culture, a belief, etc. Check out these St. Patrick’s Day symbols…I think you’ll find they make March 17th a little more rich with meaning.
St. Patrick’s Day Symbols
Shillelagh: Okay, so it’s not the most sophisticated weapon, but certainly effective. Back in Patrick’s day, there was a lot of warring for territory, and family feuds. The fighting Irish devised these clubs called shillelagh’s from oak trees as weapons. Often, a warrior would double fist their clubs, one club in one hand to deliver the damaging blow, and the other club for staving off attacks. So what makes this one of St. Patrick’s Day symbols? Over time and with the evolution of legend, the clubs turned into staffs or walking sticks. They were considered to be a mark of wisdom and great power. Check out any picture of St. Patrick, and you’ll see him with a staff – a mark of his esteemed position in the Irish culture.
Leprechaun: These are the wee ones in Irish lore. They are a group of fairies known as Luchorpan. The whole deal with their association with cobbling shoes points back to their name in Gaelic, which means ‘one shoemaker’. Now, you’ve got to understand that in ancient cultures around the world, just about everything had a governing spirit (fairy, troll, goddess whatever). There is a hierarchy of mythic beings who are in charge of certain functions in life. Leprechaun’s, apparently were the Jimmy Choo of shoes back in the day. The leprechaun is included in this list of St. Patrick Day Symbols as a nod of respect to St. Pat for keeping old traditions intact. Rather than eliminating beliefs in magical beings, St. Patrick allowed the people to acknowledge them side-by-side with the new religion.
Harp: Both a national symbol of Ireland, and St. Patrick, the harp won popularity with the Irish long ago. This instrument was used in festivals, celebrations and just general family gatherings. Its music was said to put evil spirits to sleep, and insure peaceful dreams for children. The harp plays its way into Irish culture because it was custom for great tales and legends to be made into music. These tales were often sung accompanied by the harp. Seeing as how St. Patrick is a living legend, it makes sense a few harp tunes were played in his honor. As a symbol of cultural heritage, St. Patrick and the harp go hand in hand.
Shamrock: This unlikely little plant set St. Patrick on the map. It is THE symbol he is most famous for. Why? Because St. Pat was a clever guy. He used the shamrock as a demonstration tool to explain the triple force behind Christianity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost). Celts were already digging the scene of triple energy (triple gods, and goddesses) when Pat showed up, so a trinity was easy to grasp. St. Patrick used the shamrock to show how each branch of the Christian faith stood on it’s own power, but all the leaves needed each other to live and grow. He used the leaves to explain the individuality of each holy entity, while also explaining their dependence upon each sacred power. Learn more about shamrock symbol meanings here.
In closing, I hope you enjoyed this brief article on St. Patrick’s day symbols and their meanings. To be sure, there are many more icons associated with St. Patrick, as well as Ireland. Don’t let your research stop here! Take some time to find out the symbolic meanings associated with this great time of year and the Irish culture.
If nothing else, you can impress your friends at the pub with your knowledge about Irish symbolic history!
As always, thank you for reading. And I hope your St. Patrick’s day (March 17th) turns out to be a frolicking good time.
There are several neat holidays around the world on this day. Let’s start our journey into symbolic meaning of today’s holiday March 3rd in Scandinavia.
On this day, the Norse celebrated sea deities. Specifically, Aegir Norse god of the Teutonic sea, and his wife, Ran who was also a water-lover.
Aegir (which means ‘ocean’ in Norse) seems to be a pretty laid back dude in Norse mythology. He is considered a kind a gracious host to all who enter his watery domain.
However, Ran (Norse for ‘robber’), is quite the opposite. Legend has it that she would smash ships to bits – ruthlessly waiting until they sunk into the ocean’s abyss. Apparently she got quite a kick out of this destruction.
But maybe Ran wasn’t all bad. Myth states that Ran would also come to sunken sailor’s aid, taking care of them until they could get back on their feet after almost drowning.
In terms of symbolic meaning of today’s holiday March 3rd, we’ve got a lovely do-si-do dance between the concept of creation vs destruction or kind vs cruel.
That’s good to keep in mind on this day, especially since this is the 3rd day of the 3rd month. That kind of energy is all about polarity trying to stabilize and harmonize. How so? Well, consider a triangle. All sides must work together in order to keep its structure. In symbolism, one side of the triangle represents concepts like: Light, Creation, Good. The other side of the triangle represents opposite qualities like: Dark, Destruction, Bad. The horizontal side is the unifying factor. It is the stabilizing energy that meshes dark and light together to bring about balance.
This is good to keep in mind, because this day has a strong triple energy. Being aware of these influences can enhance your balance throughout the day and night. To learn more about triple energy, check out my post on Triple Symbolic Meanings here.
Symbolic Meaning of Today’s Holiday, March 3rd
Visiting The Doll Festival in Japan
Next we travel to Japan, where today’s holiday is called Hinamatsui. This annual holiday on March 3rd is also known as the ‘Doll Festival’. In ancient Japan, women would make paper dolls and rub them all over their bodies. When the doll-scrubbing was done, the women would toss the paper dolls into the river. Apparently, this ritual was symbolically intended to extract evil spirits hiding out in the mind, body and/or spirit. Heck, I might try that myself! Then again, I’ll try anything once!
Later, around the 18th century the paper turned to clay. These clay dolls were so intricate and lovely, that many women could not bring themselves to pitch them in the river. Often, the clay dolls are kept and bequeathed to the first daughter born in the family.
The revised ritual goes a step further. These clay dolls are displayed on altars. Hinamatsui displays consist of fifteen dolls, which includes empress, emperor, guards and attendants of the Imperial Castle. It is tradition for young girls to visit each other’s uchi (house) to gander at these exquisite doll displays.
We could say the symbolic meaning of today’s holiday March 3rd in Japan is meant to honor our leaders. This doesn’t have to be royalty for us…it can be giving credit and recognition to our personal leaders, such as teachers, mentors, parents, etc.
Symbolic Meaning of Today’s Holiday March 3rd
In the Form of a Good Luck Symbol
Okay, you’ve got me…this isn’t really a holiday. But I thought it would be nifty to mix it up a little and include a ‘good luck symbol of the day’ feature every once in awhile.
On this, the 62nd day of the year, the good luck symbol isn’t really a symbol, it is a word. The word is “Bedooh”. It’s a Middle Eastern magical word and in Arab it means: “He has walked well.”
This word is typically engraved on gems, helmets, and weapons. The word Bedooh is also used for seals. These are embossed emblems used to seal (usually with wax) important documents and letters. When the recipient received the envelope and notices the Bedooh seal, he knows the sender has integrity and blessed with good fortune.
Sufi writer, Ahmad Ali al-Buni, mentions the Bedooh. To quote Ahmad, “He who carries the magical word Bedooh inscribed on a ruby mounted in gold is assured constant good fortune.” I say anybody who has a ruby mounted in gold is pretty lucky…just sayin’.
In closing, I hope you found this post on symbolic meaning of today’s holiday March 3rd interesting and inspiring. I think it’s a great practice to investigate myths, symbols and holidays around the world. Why? This world is wicked-diverse. If we only know the signs and symbols in our own corner of the world, we are only getting a fraction of the big pictures. Learning symbolic meanings from other cultures enriches our lives and encourages fullness and wholeness in our understanding of this awesome planet we live upon.
The first holiday we’ll explore for today comes from Rome. On the calends of March (calends meaning the first day of the month), ancient Romans celebrated various goddesses, and womanhood in general. The 1st of March is the day Vesta started lighting up the sacred fire in the Temple of Vesta. This was symbolic of the ‘lighting up’ or the ‘warming up to’ of Spring. With the rekindling of the Vesta fire, this was also a celebration of the Vestal Virgins. These virgins were the pure priestesses who surrounded the goddess Vesta. She was a Roman goddess who stood for womanhood as well as hearth, home and earth.
Also on this day the ancient Romans celebrated the festival of Matronalia, which was associated with Juno, the goddess of generosity, love, femininity, marriage and childbirth. This festival was a celebration of women, especially wives. Husbands and children were expected to give gifts to the women in their lives (whether mothers or wives). Women who had servants were expected to make meals for them, as servants had the day off on Matronalia.
In Wales, today’s holiday is called St. David’s day. This celebration features leeks and daffodils
Today’s Holiday in Wales is St. David’s Day
The symbolic meanings for today’s holiday varies widely depending on nation and culture of the people celebrating. In Wales, today’s holiday is called St. David’s Day. St. David is the patron saint of Wales and he is celebrated today, which was the day of his death in 589 AD.
So what’s the deal with leeks and daffodils? Well, firstly they are assumed to be symbols of St. David, but I think mostly, these two perky plants are a symbol of the first signs that Spring is coming.
Leeks and daffodils have a peculiar legend in today’s holiday for Wales. Today also marks the commemoration of the victory over the English. Local lore has it that St. David advised the Welshmen soldiers to wear leeks and/or daffodils on their hats during battle so they could all recognize their fellow countrymen during battle. See more about symbolic meaning of daffodils here.
Today’s Holiday in Scotland is Whuppity Scoorie
Symbolic Meanings for Today’s Holiday in Scotland
This is one of the more interesting celebrations around the world. Why? Well, it’s a little mysterious because its origins are unknown. Plus the festivities are a little unusual. The name of today’s holiday in Scotland is called ‘Whuppity Scoorie’. From what I gather in my research, it is essentially a kinda of ‘Yahoo!’ to the dying of Winter and a ‘Yeehaw’ to the oncoming Spring (I’m not sure if the Scots say yahoo or yeehaw, but you get my drift). As legend goes, around the 19th century the church bells in the small town of Lanark ceased to ring all winter. But on March 1st the church bells fired up after a long Winter’s spell. The lovely sound of the bells marked the renewal of the earth and the anticipation of Spring coming.
This doesn’t seem so odd, but what happens next has me a little baffled. At the first stoke of the church bells’ chime, all the townspeople congregate at the Lanark church. All the children then run around the church (clockwise) three times while the adults hurl pennies at the racing youngsters. Still…not too weird. Where I got a little stymied was when I learned the children made paper balls with a string attached. The kids would swing the balls over their head while dashing around the church and proceed to bonk their fellow racers on the head. After the three laps of the race was done, the children would grapple and grab all the pennies the adults had thrown during the race. I suppose if the kids weren’t pummeled by pennies or bludgeoned by swinging balls – they could potentially bring in a small fortune.
The origins of this interesting Scottish ritual on March 1st are unknown. However, some historical scholars claim the events on this holiday serve a purpose to scare the bejeebers out of the evil spirits, and cast away the winter doldrums.
At any rate, due to the concern for child welfare, today, Whuppity Scoorie is more of a festival of art and storytelling sponsored by the community center in the town of Lanark.
In conclusion, I hope you enjoyed these thoughts on the symbolic meanings for today’s holiday. Furthermore, I hope these holidays inspire you to create your own celebration every March 1st!
If you liked this post, be sure to check out the links below for similar articles:
Before we start flying with the angels, I think it's important to investigate how these divine entities came to govern the days of the week. Back its heyday, Rome was one of the most powerful empires in the world. Living large and in their prime, philosophers had plenty of time to...well...philosophize. A lot of the wisdom developed during this Roman era was connected to the cosmos. In the case of the days of the week, Roman philosophers designated the energy of a celestial feature for each day of the week. These are as such:
Celestial features assigned to the days of the week by the Romans.
Cosmic Connections Designated for Days by the Romans
Monday = Moon
Tuesday = Mars
Wednesday = Mercury
Thursday = Jupiter
Friday = Venus
Saturday = Saturn
Sunday = Sun
As time went on, early Europeans followed the same trend of associating cosmic bodies with the constants in life - like the days of the week. Like the ancient Romans, early Europeans certainly had gods and goddesses, but they also had a strong understanding of angels. While the Romans associated days with deities - the Europeans associated days with angels. Either way - deities or angels, all entities governing weekdays were affiliated with celestial properties as well as astrology. Below are the angels associated with the days of the week, and some information as to how they are connected to heavenly elements.
Cosmic and astrological influences helped determine the angels governing the days of the week.
Angels and the Days of the Week
The archangel Michael is in charge of this day. In the Hebrew language, Michael's name means: 'One who is as God'. Sunday and Michael are both associated with the Sun. This makes a lot of sense. Consider, Sunday in earlier eras was commonly established as the day of Sabbath, or day of worship. The symbolic meaning of the Sun is akin to the spirit, the light that shines bright within us, the fire within the soul. Archangel Michael and the Sun are mighty partners to enhance our virtues, devotionals, prayers and meditations on Sunday.
The angel Gabriel gets busy on this day. In Hebrew, his name means 'God is my strength'. Mondays are aligned with the Moon in astrology. The angel Gabriel, the Moon and Mondays are entangled in some pretty intense symbolism. First, the Moon is symbolic of creativity, intuition and birth. When I say birth, it isn't exclusive to childbirth (but is certainly applies). The process of birth can also apply to the launch of a new project, the birth of a new idea, the conception of a new creative endeavor, etc. Interestingly, Mondays are commonly considered the birth of a new workweek. So where does Gabriel fit in with all the birthing symbolism? Gabriel was considered the top liaison between heaven and humans. He was often called upon to deliver (birth) new insights to humanity. In fact, Gabriel delivered the big news to Mary that she was indeed pregnant with the Christ child.
The guardian of this day is Samael, and the ruling planet is Mars. This is a combustive combination. Why? Well, because Mars is considered a planet (and a god) of aggression, war and conflict as well as red hot passion. And Samael has a dicey reputation. His name in Hebrew means 'blind to God' and/or 'poison of God'. By some experts in angelology, Samael is thought to be the angel of death, and/or a dark angel. However, the Judaic Kabbalah references Samael as the 'severity of God'. In this context Samael was commanded by his superiors to essentially do all the dirty work that the 'nice' and 'pretty' angels didn't want to do. Affiliated with Tuesday, Samael and the planet Mars assert an energetic message that says: "This day is likely to bring conflict. But do not question the power of your influence over adversity. Assert your will, fight, refuse to let the poison of negativity overwhelm you."
The angel Raphael rules this day. He is considered a healing angel, as well as the protector of pilgrims. Interestingly, Wednesday is governed by the planet Mercury. This planet (and the Roman god) is symbolic of travel (pilgrimage), translations and exchange in all kinds of communication. Raphael and Mercury combined are a super duo when it comes to exchanging ideas, proposals or feelings to other people. This terrific twosome is a great formula for successful travel. I'm not talking physical travel exclusively. We can also travel places in our minds, through contemplation or meditation. Wednesday is a great day for astral travel, international travel, small day trips - and also auspicious for allowing our words to travel fluidly to our higher power (as in prayer/devotionals) and/or communicating with friends, family, co-workers, etc. Your thoughts and words are best received on this day.
It's starting to become clear that each of the days of the week offer a different flavor. Each day carries a certain personality. This day is under the influence of Sachiel, who is considered the ruler of all Cherubim. Cherubim are thought to keep constant vigil upon souls in need of strength, faith and renewal. Sachiel represents purity of heart and innocence. His name means "covering of God" in Hebrew. Thursday is also governed by the planet Jupiter. Jupiter is symbolic of generosity, personal growth, expansion, and gaining success in life. These two influences invokes a feeling of renewal, hope and enhancement upon Thursday.
Friday: There's a reason out of all the days of the week, Friday is commonly dubbed 'date night'. Why? Because Fridays are overseen by the angel Anael, who's name means 'Star of love'. Anael is one of the angels considered to have helped with the creation of the heavens and earth. If Anael doesn't convince you that Fridays are for lovers, then perhaps knowing this day is ruled by Venus might give you confirmation. Venus is symbolic of love, sensuality, creativity and relationships. Of course, love and loving isn't exclusive to Friday. Everyday of the week is an opportunity for love. However, Friday is most auspicious for connecting with others on a loving level. This doesn't mean you have to have a date, or a mate. You can augment your intensity of love on Friday by showing affection to your pets, your family and/or your friends. You get the idea.
Saturday: The angel Cassael governs this day. Cassael's name means 'speed of God' in Hebrew. This angel is symbolic of solitude, control, balance, reflection and sensibility. Interestingly the ruling planet over this day is Saturn, which has similar symbolic qualities as Cassael. The symbolic meaning of Saturn and Cassael deals with concepts such as: Time, Stability, Hard Work, Authority and Being methodical. As a result of both angel and planet connection, Saturday often has a controlling feel to it, or comes along with a sense of obligation. It is commonly a day of catching up on work we've put off, because that is the 'sensible' thing to do. This day often casts a sensation of establishing balance and order back into our lives.
In closing, I hope you enjoyed this post on angels and the days of the week. Whether you believe in angels are not, I'd like to think this post at least piqued your curiosity about the energies that flow through all the days of the week.
If you liked this post, don't miss these related articles: