Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lady Day, Hilaria, SCOTUS .....and stuff

Today, March 25th is Lady Day. The name is a reminder that March 25th was honored as the date and festival of The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - the date of conception of Jesus Christ, 9 months from the supposed date of His birth, 25 December. It's now widely accepted that 25 December was not Christ's birthday, so Christian festival dates are treated as symbolic.

25 March in ancient Rome also had connection to things female, a celebration called Hilaria. As a general term, Hilaria covered several types of anniversary or joyous personal occasions. There was also a more general Hilaria celebrated on 25 March "the eighth day before the Kalends of April, in honor of Cybele, the mother of the gods. The day of its celebration was the first after the vernal equinox, or the first day of the year which was longer than the night. The winter with its gloom had died, and the first day of a better season was spent in rejoicings."

Coincidentally, this year, 25 March is the date when the Supreme Court of the United States will be hearing argument on a case relating to female matters: (see here)
Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, two highly anticipated cases that deal with the Affordable Care Act, religious freedom and women's access to contraception. The case won't be decided Tuesday, but we could get a clear indication of which way the justices are leaning.
My own thoughts on the Hobby Lobby case are in a 2012 post, HERE.

Back to Lady Day...
Lady Day was adopted in Britain and Ireland as one of four Quarter Days. These were days when servants were hired, and rents and rates were due. They fell on four religious festivals roughly three months apart and close to the two solstices and two equinoxes.
Lady Day (25 March); Midsummer Day (24 June); Michaelmas (29 September); Christmas (25 December). In the UK, the tax year still begins around Lady Day (actually 6 April to 5 April) a relic of the traditional Quarter Days.

Lady Day, 25 March, was also New Year's Day in England until 1752 when a crossover from the Julian to Gregorian calendar took place, moving New Year's Day to first of January. When I worked with a County Archivist long ago, I had to carefully remember, when dealing with documents from before 1752, which were dated January, February or March(up to 25), to catalogue them as, for example, 16 March 1714/5.

(See here - for further detail on the history of calendars).
"Calendar is a word that comes from Latin calendarium, or account book, and is derived from calendae or the calends, the first day of all of the old Roman months. This was the day on which accounts were due and on which the priests of Rome called the people together to proclaim (calare) that the new moon had been sighted.

Calendars generally have been based on some combination of celestial observation and observance of the pattern of human activities and rituals. Despite all of the astronomical dilemmas (lunar, solar, seasonal, etc.), we have arrived at our present Gregorian calendar because of the astronomical and political skills of many generations."
Also, it has to be said that religion has always played a major part in defining calendars throughout the world.

Sidelight: "Lady Day" was also the nickname of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday, who, though not born on this day, was born with Sun in Aries (7 April 1915.....chart and biography at Astrodatabank's Wiki, here. )


mike said...

The concept of modern time is an abstraction of the natural world rotating on its axis, circling around the Sun in the Milky Way galaxy. Modern humans adopted the astronomical-astrological time-keeping of the Pagan, Mesoamerican, et al, and conceptualized religious symbolism to supplant the natural with theological implications. The Gregorian calendar of today was implemented by the Pope to maintain Easter for the Christians.

One of the fringe benefits of dabbling in astrology is following current astronomical-astrological events, particularly the Sun's passage through each sign and the cardinal points, and the Moon's phases. Most astrologers would state that the year just started with the advent of the Sun into Aries and that this weekend's new Moon in Aries truly starts the Aries initiative. I can't help but feel a touch of Pagan pride when I utilize astrology or simply observe the natural movements of the Sun, Moon, and planets...LOL.

Money and time have become intimately intertwined with our modern lives. Most workers trade their time for money, with employers constantly striving to maximize efficiency, or work produced per hour or day. My maternal grandparents were farmers their entire lives and didn't have the same sense of time that my mother had...they dealt with visits in the "morning" or "afternoon"...not precise hours of the day...maybe early morning or mid-afternoon, but not accurate time by the hours and minutes. Same with money...they only needed money to pay property taxes and some flour, sugar, and coffee. They never ever borrowed money...paid cash for everything (they earned cash by selling produce and eggs). My grandfather took tremendous pride in his soil's organic fertility and didn't desire to maximize his harvest with modern fertilizers and chemicals.

As for HobbyLobby...I think that I've already told you of a Catholic acquaintance that didn't use anti-contraceptives. She preferred an abortion once every several years, as that was one sin...taking the pill was one sin per day and too many confessions! Whatever...LOL.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - I just remembered a couple more statements from my grandparents regarding the scheduling of visits or events. "when the lilacs are in bloom"..."when the peaches are ripe"..."at the first thaw".

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, it's a pity that elements of religion were allowed to manipulate our calendar from its original and more natural setting. Religion has a lot to answer for - and not only as regards calendar hi-jacking! (Cross-reference today's SCOTUS hearing.)

Nice detail on your grandparents' natural time-markers. :-) Simpler times meant simpler needs and life more in harmony with nature. We've grown so far away from that pattern now, sad to say, yet it was an inevitable result of human development, industry, technology etc etc etc.

Your memory of grandparents' lilac and peaches time markers reminded me of an old English saying:

"Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out" - translated: don't stop wearing warm clothes until May blossom appears on the bushes....i.e. it'd be warm enough for the blossom so mild enough to put away warm underwear and heavy garments until next winter. Some people (mistakenly I reckon) took the saying as being related to the month of May rather than May blossom.

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

Yikes " a sin a day per pill" ~!

guess I'd be up to about 20,000 Hail Mary's by now....giggle

My grandparents also followed the cash rule . They raised their own vegetables,chickens for eggs, as well as turkeys and rabbits for meat. He was a builder by trade and winters slowed work down so it was good they had reserves to depend on.

thanks for another great post.. I always learn good stuff when I visit here.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ More self-sufficient grandparents! Good! :-) My own maternal grandparents lived along similar lines, though it was more like a mini-cooperative for them I think. They and the nextdoor neighbours kept a couple of pigs, they shared upkeep, feeding etc and shared the meat, bacon and sausage etc. eventually. Other neighbours kept chickens so swapped eggs for bacon etc. A farm acorss the road from the cottages sent milk around each morning. Everyone left out a container which the farmer's daughter or son would fill with the fresh milk - often still warm from the cows!

LB said...

Twilight ~ Once again, I've learned something new - who knew it was "Lady Day"?

mike ~ I loved your comment about your grandparents and their organic farm.

And Sonny's grandparent's too.:)

These comments remind me how progress isn't always such a good thing - though it's hard to imagine going back to a time when we were more in tune with our natural environment. Now we expect nature to adapt to us, a path that is not without serious health and environmental consequences.

Did anyone happen to watch the PBS documentary on the other night, "Frogs: The Thin Green Line"? One of the topics explored was how some synthetic herbicides are affecting frogs (and potentially, humans): http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/frogs-the-thin-green-line/video-agricultures-effect-on-frogs/4848/

One of the scientists featured in the film is Tyrone Hayes, whose discoveries have made him the target of Syngenta: http://www.commondreams.org/video/2014/02/21-0

Twilight said...

LB ~ For every step ahead we receive via "progress" there always seem to be two steps back, not usually discovered until it's too late for adjustment.

I didn't see the PBS show you mention, but have read about Dr Hayes, atrazine, and how some frogs change gender after constant exposure to atrazine in herbicide.

The issue has been known for at least 10 years, maybe more, yet nothing has been done to restrict Syngenta's use of atrazine, or the company's efforts to hide/bury Dr Hayes' findings. As usual it's all due to $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ . :-(

LB said...

Twilight ~ Yep. Atrazine is scary stuff. In spite of all that's known, it continues to be one of the most widely used herbicides in the US, 2nd only to Monsanto's Glyphosate (Roundup):


It's why we try to buy organic -food, textiles, cleaning products, cosmetics, etc.- whenever possible. We've spent the past six months making the transition, and I still have a lot to learn.

Every time I'm tempted to consume something that's *NOT* organic (and admittedly, I do fail from time to time), I think about the all of the people who live and work around these toxic substances. Since I'm one of the lucky ones who has a choice, it helps keep things in perspective.

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

so true LB.. I have been in the deep south and watched the little planes drop fertilizer right on the workers in the fields:( many in summer have to take their kids with them~!
Yes Annie, I should have more closely followed my g'parents example.. maybe it isnt too late.

mike (again) said...

LB - This is an old Nature program that I saw several years ago...some of the comments are dated five and six years ago. I believe it's in this program that the state of TX is mentioned as having the lowest rate of human male sperm fertility, which is believed to be related to atrazine, too. It's been over fifty years since Rachel Carson's book, "Silent Spring" was published about DDT...we never learn and we seem compelled to take our actions to a point of no return. Atrazine is just one of a myriad concerns. When I was a young adult, DDT and PCBs were the toxins de jour...now it's an endless list. Contrarily, we now have an endless list of disease observations (humans, animals, insects) that we can't or won't correlate to a toxic cause-and-effect.

I've not watched PBS for the past three weeks, due to its fundraising drive, which just ended. Sadly, my local PBS has the worst fundraising "specials"...very low budget productions that are shown year after year. I became spoiled living in larger metropolitan areas for the past thirty years. Larger metropolitan PBS stations always present the newest and best specials showcased during their funding drives to attract a large audience of potential donors. Not here. If I should ever become wealthy, I will pay my local PBS to NOT do their fundraiser...LOL.

LB said...

Sonny ~ It's terrible, isn't it? Don't know why more people aren't more concerned about the people who grow our nation's food. Farmworkers and their families fare the worst, though even the folks who live nearby suffer every time the wind blows or they take a drink of water from a water supply that's been contaminated, or, in the case of small farmers - try to grow a non-GMO crop. Then too, there are other living creatures to consider, since they have no place to go.:(

mike ~ Sorry about your PBS station's lack of interesting programming during fund drives. Kind of related to this, I still remember the days when TV reception was free. So much has changed.

mike (again) said...

LB - I don't have cable...I DO have free TV over the airwaves...very limited, but I kinda like it that way...more time for reading books and replying to comments on blogs...LOL.

LB said...

mike ~ Where we live, it's pay for cable or nothing, since an antenna won't work. Even with an antenna, we wouldn't have access to all of the stations other (wealthier) folks enjoy.

My point was it didn't used to be like that.:) There was a time when, barring reception issues, we all watched (and had access to) the same stations.