January, 2019

Bengt Nyman, Snow Drop Flower 3309, CC BY 2.0
Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro

2019:  It’s a brandy-new year!

Hail the new ye lads and lasses

We here at The Power of Flowers Project wish you a year of health, happiness, and joy.

Most of us know that January is named after the two-faced god, Janus; but did you know that Janus is the Roman god of doors and therefore sees all things past and future.It makes sense that a month named after a two-faced god should have two flowers: the carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) and the snowdrop (Galanthus).  In my yard, the snow drop is the first flower to show itself, even before the crocus, and often pokes it’s head out of a mound of snow.  You’ve gotta admire the pluck.  This lovely little perennial can serve as a model of tenacity and courage for us throughout the year.

According to the American Red Cross, January is National Blood Donors month.  The many busy activities during December (holidays, school vacations, etc.) coupled with inclement weather and seasonal illnesses that keep a lot of potential donors home have contributed to fewer donations and a diminished blood supply available when disasters strike.  And there were several record-breaking disasters in 2018 that severely impacted blood supplies and other resources: horrific wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, and tragic shootings  You must be at least 17 years old, in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds to donate blood in Massachusetts; however, 16 year olds may donate blood with signed permission from a parent or legal guardian.  Some people find it less stressful and more fun to go with friends, family members, or co-workers to donate blood.  For more information, call The American Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767 to set up an appointment or to find a blood drive near you.

Red Cross Logo American Red Cross [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

January 5 is Twelfth Night, which marks the end of merrymaking.  It’s an English folk custom that signals the end of the Christmas season.  In the Celtic tradition, January 5 ends the 12-day winter solstice celebration.

A punch, called Wassail, is traditionally served on Twelfth Night… as well as throughout the rest of the Yuletide celebrations.  Traditional wassail is a beverage of hot mulled cider, drunk as an integral part of wassailing, a Medieval Christmastide English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year.  So have yourself a nice steaming cup of wassail as you put away your seasonal decorations.

Photograph by Rosemary B. Intingaro, Philadelphia , PA

 

On January 17 we can celebrate the birth of Benjamin Franklin who was born in Boston in 1706.  An American printer and publisher, author, inventor and scientist, and diplomat, he was one of the founding fathers and helped draft and sign the Declaration of Independence.   

 

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.
― Benjamin Franklin

January 20-21 brings the Great American Total Lunar Eclipse, of the Full Wolf Moon, which  will be visible from North and South America and western parts of Europe and Africa. A total lunar eclipse happens during the full moon when the sun, the earth, and the full moon align.  When the lunar eclipse begins on Jan 20 at about 9:36:29 PM EST the bright moon dims as it enters the outer part of Earth’s shadow. The deep tint of a full lunar eclipse is visible once the moon enters the deepest part of Earth’s shadow, or umbra. As the  moon enters Earth’s shadow, all of the moon turns a rusty color,which is why this moon is also called the Blood Moon.  What you are seeing is the color of all of Earth’s sunrises and sunsets reaching the moon.  The Total Lunar Eclipse  reaches its peak on January 21, 2019, at 12:16 AM EST.  This wondrous event ends Jan 21 at 2:48:02 AM EST.

Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro, Washington D.C.
January 21, 2019 is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a national holiday celebrating Dr. King’s immeasurable contribution to the United States and to mankind.  Celebrated on the third Monday of January, the holiday is a time for the nation to pause to remember Dr. King’s life and work.  It is a day to honor his legacy by making the holiday a day of community service, “a day on, not a day off.” Coretta Scott King said, “It is a day of interracial and intercultural cooperation and sharing. No other day of the year brings so many peoples from different cultural backgrounds together in such a vibrant spirit of brother and sisterhood. Whether you are African-American, Hispanic or Native American, whether you are Caucasian or Asian-American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King, Jr. had for America. This is not a black holiday; it is a peoples’ holiday. And it is the young people of all races and religions who hold the keys to the fulfillment of his dream.”

January 31 is a day set aside to reflect on how art affects your heart.  Inspire Your Heart with Art Day can be observed by considering the wide range of art and art forms not only in this country but around the world as well.  Whether it is an oil painting, a song, a poem, a book, a movie … anything that inspires us, moves us to tears or causes us to chuckle.  January 31 is a great day to visit a local art museum, listen to some music, take a class in sculpture, see a ballet, or show some of your own artistic renderings to a friend.  Try something new.

May 2019 be one delightful, unbroken dance after another.

Dance at Bougival Pierre-Auguste Renoir [Public domain]
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