May Day

Happy May Day! May 1st around the world is celebrated as May Day. It is a prominent holiday celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere, but mostly in European countries and North America. Think typical spring festivals like singing, traditional dances and maypoles! The holiday dates back over millennia ago, and has many different origin and traditions! Let’s explore some!

Two of my favorite traditions originate in Scotland! The young, unwed women in Edinburgh trek up to the top of Arthur’s Seat to wash their faces with the morning dew on the grass. This helps to keep their youthful beauty! In Saint Andrew the university students go to the beach the night of April 30th so that when the sunrises May Day they run into the North Sea.

In England there are many celebrations, and even have a May Queen. There is a maypole, along with numerous dances that date back to the 14th Century. Oxford, Durham, Cornwall and numerous other English towns participate in these festivals! If you are visiting a medieval town around this time of the year in England, be sure to participate! Maybe you will even be named the May Queen!

Many women’s colleges in the US participated in May Day festivities. Two that still continues the traditions are Bryn Mawr College and Brenau University. At Bryn Mawr they sing the Dar Williams song “As Cool As I Am” for the May Day celebration which happens the Sunday after classes end in. They also gather for the “May Hole” celebration which is a feminist answer to the maypole. At Brenau University they celebrate a student from each state for their May Day festivities. They celebrate it a bit earlier in April due to exams being in May!

Since May Day has been around for over a millennia, it is often seen as a Pagan holiday. It is also closely associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Catholic faith since the 18th Century. You will often see Mary adorned with flowers during the May crowning, which occurs in May.   

As you can see May Day is a popular holiday around the globe. Join some of the festivities, or create your own! Attend a May crowning mass, be your own May Queen, or create a maypole with some friends! The possibilities are endless!

How to Rid Yourself of the Winter Blues

Finally, February is here! The shortest month in days, but the longest in winter; February brings the harshest snowstorms and frigid temps leaving us with cabin fever. The most difficult part is coping with the freezing temps and keeping everyone entertained. Here are some ways you can rid yourself of the winter blues.

Get Out There

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” (Elle Woods, Legally Blonde). One of my favorite movie quotes of all times rings true this time of the year. Yes, many people share the New Year’s Resolution of losing weight and going to the gym, but what you may not realize is that regular exercise DOES make you feel better!

If you are not able to join a gym, consider taking a walk during your lunch hour, or if it’s too cold, take a lap around the building or go up and down flights of stairs. Any type of moving helps with the winter blues, so get out there and take a lap!

Prep your Spring Cleaning

We are all fans of the Marie Kondo show on Netflix here at Parish Giving. She is teaching us how to clean our closets, and clean up our lives. If it doesn’t bring us any joy, we are tossing it. Once your closet is cleaned out, you can dust and donate.

This also applies to items around your house. If you have an old vase collecting dust, or some picture frames without pictures in them, why not put them in a box and donate them to your local Goodwill? Not only are you de-cluttering your life, but you are also helping out those who are not as fortunate.

Eat Healthily

I know, I know… it’s difficult to find good, fresh produce during the middle of winter. Eating healthier will make you feel better. Aim to have either one fruit or one vegetable with each meal. Berries with your breakfast, salad for lunch, and steamed spinach for supper is just an easy way to squeeze in produce. Once spring and summer hit, you’ll be craving seasonal treats like peaches and tomatoes!

Let there be light!

Vitamin D is a necessity. It helps us feel good and feeling good means looking good. With the short winter hours, you may want to invest in a lightbox. You are then able to set the lightbox to act as a sunrise, so you feel as though the sun is rising as you are waking up (as in spring, summer, and fall…).

If this is something that is not in your budget, then try to go outside for a couple of minutes each day. Breathe in the fresh air, and try to do it when the sun is out. Even short bursts of Vitamin D are better than no Vitamin D.

Parish Giving

Yes, Parish Giving is able to help with your winter blues! If you are lucky enough to travel somewhere warm over President’s Day weekend, then remember to use our online giving services to remember your parish. Also, this is not just for when you are on vacation. In case your area is pummeled by snow this month, and your streets are too icy, you can give online and watch mass streaming online. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?!

Just remember, spring is just a few short weeks away and so is Daylight Savings Time! We’ll be waking up with the sunshine soon enough! Keep warm and stay safe for the remainder of winter!