There is but a week remaining of January and I’m sorry. I love January and feel positive it’s gotten a bum rap over the years from too many people.
You’ve heard them, with their talk of “post-holiday blues”. Complaining how colorless and dull January is. Cold and bitter, lacking any kind of holiday to celebrate, a lonesome, drab desert of a month to be sulked and complained through till February arrives.
And why is February any better? With its highly questionable and overrated Valentine’s Day, its cold weather – just the dregs of January’s really – not to mention the tiny hints of spring melt which will arrive in the air at some point, turning January’s lovely snow to sloppiness and muck.
“It’s a short month, February!” Many post-holiday-bluers protest. “Not so long or cold as dreadful January.”
A short month? Hmmm… I suppose, though shorter than January by only three days, two every four years. Seriously, I’ve known people who were in labor longer than three days, haven’t you?
January has long been one of my favorite months. Right up there alongside December, Favorite Month Number One, and November, Favorite Month Number Two. Some years even edging out October as Favorite Month Number Three. I, obviously, am a winter/autumn kind of person. We’re a rare, strange breed – in my experience at least. Most people I’ve met prefer summer and, (the latter weeks), of spring.
It’s easy to like summer, isn’t it? Easy to like spring as it slips into summer. Sunny days, warm, all the flowers and trees in bloom (sending out their nasty little pollens into the air, attacking all those poor, pathetic people – me for instance – inexplicably stricken, through no doing of our own, with Allergies From Hell.)
Summer and spring are the harlots of the seasons. Painting themselves up, layering on one outlandish, garish costume after another. Simply screaming for attention, adoration, and love.
“Look at me!” shrieks summer. Prancing about with knickers rolled high, bare arms and legs browning as the sun’s rays pummel the earth. From pool to the seaside, from ice cream social to lazy fishing by the lake’s edge dances summer. Utterly shameless in her bohemian lifestyle. Garnering all the attention with her wanton, self-congratulatory, narcissist ways.
“Look at me!” shrieks spring, in a rather gurgled, watery sounding voice, not so strong nor loud as summers. (It must be dreadful don’t you think, being the younger, not quite so popular sister?)
If only more people would pause long enough to truly ponder. If they would but stop to take a breath, gather their thoughts, gird their loins and all that, they’d soon realize summer isn’t quite all it’s cracked up to be. It’s overrated. Over discussed. Trending.
Summer’s simply wrangled itself a better press agent than noble January.
Which is a dreadful shame.
Ways & Holidays to Celebrate during Noble January
Named for the god Janus: a time to look backward and forward. To relax after the rush of the holidays, to contemplate the year behind, to plan the year ahead. A natural time for hygge. Try out new-to-you hot drinks, create a tradition of putting away the Christmas upon whichever date which best suits you. I gradually begin the process after the middle, or Ides, of January. Replacing them with my deep winter decorations. All of Christmas, well, aside from the joy and belief, is tucked away by Candlemas.
Candles, decorations of white and silver, solitude, gatherings of friends for games or talk, hearty soups, (January is a National Soup Month after all,) toasting bread and make making smores by the fire.
All of these and more are the essence of January.
Here are some holidays we like to observe. Some every year, some every few, depending upon our schedule. There are many more if you’ve a mind to do a simple search upon the internet!
Jan. 1 Seventh of the Twelve Days of Christmas
New Year’s Day – Solemnity of Mary – The Kalends of January
Jan. 2 Eighth of the Twelve Days of Christmas – Snow Day
Jan. 3 Ninth of the Twelve Days of Christmas – Evergreen Day
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Birthday – time to reread Lord of The Rings.
Jan. 4 Tenth of the Twelve Days of Christmas – St. Distaff’s Day
Jan. 5 Eleventh of the Twelve Days of Christmas – Epiphany Eve
Festival of The Three Kings
Jan. 6 Twelfth of the Twelve Days of Christmas
Epiphany – Twelfth Night
Jan. 7 Orthodox Christmas (Gregorian calendar; Julian calendar: Dec. 25)
Jan. 8 Author Wilkie Collin’s Birthday (a contemporary of Dickens, Collin’s read The Moonstone. A lovely mystery for a hygge, winter’s evening.
Jan. 11 Plough Monday (the Monday nearest the date!)
Jan. 12 St. Distaff’s Day
Jan. 13 Ides of January
Jan 14. Old New Year (Gregorian calendar.)
Jan. 17 Benjamin Franklin (and my youngest son’s) Birthday
Jan. 18 A day to celebrate the works of A.A. Milne, it’s his birthday!
Jan. 19 Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday. Reading his works aloud by the fire make for a deliciously creepy (yet cozy) evening.
Jan. 20 St. Agnes Eve
Jan. 22 St. Vincent’s Day
Jan. 23 Begins the month of St. Brigit
Jan. 24 St Paul’s Day
Jan. 25 Robert Burn’s Night. Time to read Burn’s poetry and perhaps cook up a batch of Scotch Eggs!
Jan. 27 The birthday of Lewis Carroll. Obviously, a little madness is in order!
Jan. 28 Half Month of Elhaz: a time of meditation, optimism, and sanctuary.
Jan. 30 Festival of Peace
Jan. 31 February, Imbolc, Candlemas Eve