Finishing this week on holiday public policy we have the markets surrounding our holiday decorations ------don't forget those Christmas Tree farms=====those farmer's markets with our holiday greens and mistletoe----and all those candles.
I love this discussion on one of our long-standing holiday traditions=====kissing under the MISTLETOE! It is getting harder to find as the trees on which it grows disappear and if like me you find some and it is on PRIVATE PROPERTY. People and their property rights don't seem to soften in the hunt for MISTLETOE.
Folks may not know this favorite of Christmas is indeed a PARASITE.
'Mistletoe is commonly hung over a doorway as a Christmas decoration. According to custom, two people who meet under it are obliged to kiss. After each kiss, a berry is picked until, alas, all the berries are gone, and no more kissing is allowed!
If you need a big smooch or you’re a naturalist, mistletoe is a treasure. If a tree`s health or structural integrity is a concern, it’s a parasite.
A bird (or sprig or kiss) in the hand is better than two mistletoes in the bush'!
Many families are still tied to the traditional HUNT IN NATURE for just the right greens, plants, and trees.
Where to Find Mistletoe
updated: Oct 05, 2016, 11:34 AM
By Edhat Subscriber
Does anyone ever see mistletoe anymore? I've been looking for it all over the valley so that I can do a project for my daughter's dance class and it is nowhere to be found!
2016-10-05 11:56 AM
I know there is some off Figueroa Mtn. Road, as you head up past Neverland and start to hit the switchbacks. Not sure if it is legal to harvest or not (from public lands).
2016-10-05 12:01 PM
Sycamore trees in the Valley.
2016-10-05 01:26 PM
There is some adjacent to the Nat. Hist. museum woods high up in a tree. Easiest to find after the leaves have fallen from the deciduous trees.
2016-10-05 01:26 PM
There's a lot out there right now. Take a drive up Happy Canyon Rd. and keep an eye on all the trees, not just sycamores (oaks, too). Be prepared to climb or bring pole loppers.
REX OF SB
2016-10-05 01:27 PM
On Alisal Road in Solvang there is a lot of mistletoe on the tree branches that hang directly over the road near Nojoqui Park. In the past, we've stopped and thrown sticks at the mistletoe to dislodge it. I wouldn't think this is illegal.
2016-10-05 02:05 PM
I want to thank everybody for all of their sightings… When I have my husband Available I will be on my adventure to locate some In the areas mentioned. It is such a nostalgic item I want to keep this tradition going And have not been able to see any around the valley lately. Thanks so much community
2016-10-05 03:17 PM
I doubt it's illegal as it is a fungus and not good for trees. Good luck in getting plenty. I like REX's way of harvesting.
2016-10-05 04:38 PM
When my daughter was in kindergarten, she came home crying, and after talking with her for a while, I figured out why she was soooo upset...
Turned out, the class was going on a field trip, and they were gonna cut some Mistletoe. My daughter thought they were gonna cut "toes" ....
So, I had a conversation about it with the wonderful teacher, Mrs. Brownett, and turned out there were other kids that were upset also, but she didn't know why....... Mystery solved!! The teacher explained exactly what Mistletoe was, and that it wasn't real toes.... No toes were gonna get cut off!!!
2016-10-05 06:06 PM
Mistletoe is a parasite, but it's no fungus, unless you mean the stuff like Athlete's Foot that astronauts get ;)
2016-10-05 06:14 PM
Awesome edhat responses -
2016-10-06 08:03 AM
Almost anyplace where there is a stream, river or even Andy riverbed, there is typically mistletoe. It is very prevalent in the SY valley.
2016-10-06 08:35 AM
It grow ild at the top of many sycamore trees, but it is not too easy to get down.
2016-10-06 09:35 AM
Fungus, parasite, what ever it's not good for the trees. I think I've seen it on oaks too.
Here is a folksy description of our fair holiday decoration tied to all kinds of warm traditions of kissing and fertility----and yes, mistletoe is poisonous. THAT DEADLY SIN COMING INTO PLAY NO DOUBT!
Lifeform of the week: Mistletoe
By Alex Reshanov in Earth | Human World | Science Wire | December 21, 2015
Mistletoe makes merry at its host’s expense.
The quaint holiday decoration you invited into your home and hung over your doorways is a vicious parasite that leeches nutrients from innocent host trees. It is riddled with cytotoxins, and its seeds are dispersed via bird crap. Merry Christmas.
Not all parasites are creepy-crawly worms or protozoans. Some are cheerful-looking shrubs with dainty white berries. Viscum album is one species of mistletoe*, a group of parasitic flowering plants in the order Santalales. It is an obligate hemiparasite. This means that while it does not derive all of its sustenance from a host plant, it does need some interaction with the host to reach its mature state.† As a hemiparasite, mistletoe need only steal from its host tree’s xylem, the transport tissue that handles water and water-soluble nutrients. It is gracious enough to eschew the host’s phloem, which transports sugars. This renders it less of a pathogen, as the host loses water but not food to the parasite.
Mistletoe bears a fruit that some birds find delicious. The seeds of these berries are covered in a gluey substance called viscin. Birds eat the berries and then fly off to another tree where they eventually expel the digested remains of the fruit, its viscin coating still adhering to the seeds. The sticky seeds cling to the new branch and begin to grow. As it enlarges, the plant forms a peg that drills through the host branch and eventually reaches the xylem. Now the parasite develops its haustorium, a root-like appendage that allows it to siphon nutrients from the host.
Coming to America
Viscum album is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is the original Christmas mistletoe, a leafy green shrub adorned with white berries. It has a wide host range, infecting over 450 tree species, including both hardwood and coniferous varieties. So, yes, hypothetically your Christmas mistletoe could attack your Christmas tree (were it still planted in the ground, of course).
In 1900, Viscum album made its way from Europe to the new world, as horticulturist Luther Burbank deliberately allowed the plant to infect trees in Northern California so that the parasitic shrub could be harvested for Christmas decorations. Over the past century it has expanded its territory by about four miles, which isn’t exactly cause for alarm. Despite Burbank’s efforts, most U.S. holiday make-out mistletoe is more likely to be Phoradendron flavescens, which is native to North America.
Can it hurt you?
Mistletoe contains strong cytotoxins (harmful to cells). Those festive white berries are fine for the birds, but you should definitely not add them to Christmas fruit cake. Nor should you feed them to your dogs or cats or children. Ingesting mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal problems and slow heartbeat, among other things. If anyone at your holiday party eats more than a couple of them, you might want to call poison control.
Can it help you?
Mistletoe may offer humans something beyond just a flimsy excuse to steal a kiss. In Europe, Viscum album extract (VAE) is widely used in the treatment of cancer, often under the name Iscador. The idea of mistletoe as cancer therapy was first proposed by Rodolf Steiner. Though more a philosopher than a scientist, Steiner delved into the idea of complementary medicine during the latter half of his life.‡
Clinical trials of VAE have not always demonstrated consistent results, and many doctors, particularly in the U.S., are skeptical of its efficacy. In Europe it is generally used as a complementary, rather than primary, cancer treatment, and is credited more with improving quality of life than increasing survival rates. Still, given the unpleasantness of cancer therapies, such an improvement would be a decent contribution to society. Especially for a parasitic lowlife like mistletoe.
What does this have to do with Jesus and/or kissing?
Mistletoe dressed up and ready to party. Image Credit: Dorocia.
As far as I can tell, very little. Like many peculiar holiday customs, mistletoe usage likely predates Christianity. It crops up in discussions of Norse mythology and Druid rituals, but nobody seems able to form a cohesive narrative of how it came to be that a person could demand a kiss if they managed to lure somebody under the hanging holiday decoration. Most references to mistletoe as a Christmas ornament appear in the 18th century or later, by which time its role was already established.
I consulted a few scholars of things European and didn’t get anything more concrete. I did, however, learn about a popular 19th century song called The Mistletoe Bough, which tells the whimsical, light-hearted tale of a young bride who suffocates in a chest while playing a game of hide and seek. How’s that for holiday cheer?
Of course most religions celebrating festivals include candles as LIGHT---especially in our long dark season of winter is critical to a message.
Kwansaa seems to advance a tradition close to Jewish Hannakah-------
Christians used to have a 12 days of Christmas but that seems to have been replaced by the month of BLACK FRIDAY shopping ======
The Seven Candles of Kwanzaa and What They Stand For
by Erika Winston
Family celebrating Kwanzaa while lighting the seven Kwanzaa candles
Kwanzaa was designed to promote unity within the African-American community. Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created the cultural celebration in 1966. By combining customs from various African harvest ceremonies, Karenga developed a new tradition that is now widely celebrated around the world. Seven candles are burned throughout the week-long observance and each represents a different principal of Kwanzaa.
Lighting the Candles
Mishubaa Siba is a Swahili term for the seven candles of Kwanzaa. They symbolize the sun's light and power. Celebrants light one each night as they gather around the candles to celebrate and discuss the principal of the day. One of the candles is black, three are red and three are green. These colors are no accident. Red, black and green have been historically used to represent African-American organizations like the Universal Negro Improvement Association, founded by Marcus Garvey in the 1920s. According to the Association's website, the color black represents the people. Red represents the common blood of African ancestry. Green represents the rich natural resources of Africa.
The Black Candle
At the beginning of the celebration, all candles are placed on the kanara, or candelabra. The black candle is placed in the middle and all of the red candles are placed to its left. All of the green candles are located to the right. Since the main goal of Kwanzaa is to promote unity, the black candle is the first to be lit on December 26, the first night of Kwanzaa. It symbolizes umoja, which means unity. This first principal stresses the importance of uniting the family, as well as the community and nation as a whole. The black candle is also relit during each of the six remaining nights.
The Red Candles
During the remaining six nights of Kwanzaa, the red and green candles are lit from left to right. The far-left red candle is lit on the second day and it symbolizes kujichagulia, which means self-determination. The Official Kwanzaa Website explains that this principal encourages celebrants to define themselves through their words and creations. The next red candle, which is lit on the third day, is for ujamaa, or cooperative economics. This principal promotes the creation and support of community businesses. The final red candle is lit on the fourth day and it symbolizes kuumba, which is defined as creativity. Celebrants are encouraged to be creative and work to beautify the community.
The Green Candles
The three green candles are lit on the last three days of the Kwanzaa celebration, from left to right. The first green candle symbolizes nia, which means purpose. This principal promotes a collective purpose to build and restore the community, while lifting African-Americans to a level of greatness. Ujima is another principal represented by a green candle. It means collective responsibility, where people are encouraged to become their brother's keeper and work together towards solving each other's problems. The last green candle is lit on the last day of the celebration. It symbolizes imani, which is Swahili for faith. On this day, celebrants strengthen their belief in parents and teachers, as well as community leaders.
Let's get back to the ARTISAN in our holidays =====candles are just that holiday tradition where we can buy locally from our own crafts people---FORGET BED, BATH, AND BEYOND. Now, I go for a BEESWAX candle more than this whale oil industry when all that was whale looked like our all that is pig. America has a strong tradition in candle-making ---let's keep it all in the community.
OF COURSE WITH MONSANTO OUR HONEYBEES MAKE WAX CANDLE-MAKING AN ART OF RESTORING NATURAL BEE COMMUNITIES
'King likes to start by talking to guests about the two simple materials that make up candles: wax and wicks.
Honeybees were introduced to the colony around 1616, and by the mid 1700s it was common for colonists to keep bees for the benefit of both their honey and wax'.
'Beeswax candles were preferable to tallow candles, which were made of a waxy animal fat, because they burned cleaner and brighter while putting off less smoke'
This article first appeared In the Summer 1998 Issue of Historic Nantucket.
Beginning with Candle Making A History of the Whaling Museum
By Patty Jo Rice
It remains an enigma. In the same way the basic design of its spermaceti press belies the intricate nature of colonial candle manufacturing, the simplicity of the Richard Mitchell and Sons manufactory (today known as the Whaling Museum) belies the role Nantucket played in Colonial America, Great Britain, and, to a lesser degree, France. To put it simply, when Nantucket spoke, people on both sides of the Atlantic listened. Those listening ranged from common citizens to national leaders. The speakers were whaling merchants, referred to as Nantucketers, or, as Thomas Jefferson called them, Nantucketois.
Whaling merchants were savvy businessmen, among the first in the colonies to recognize the value of expanding business interests vertically as well as horizontally. By the turn of the nineteenth century, several were either directly or indirectly involved in all aspects of the whaling industry.
The art of manufacturing candles from the headmatter of sperm whales began in America around 1748. It is generally agreed that Jacob Rodriques Rivera, a Sephardic Jew living in Newport, Rhode Island, introduced the process after immigrating either directly or indirectly from Portugal (Hedges 1968, p. 89). In 1749, Benjamin Crabb petitioned the Massachusetts General Court for the sole privilege of making Candles of Coarse Sperma Caeti Oyle. The petition was granted, but Crabb never acted on his grant. Instead, he moved to Rhode Island and by August of 1751 was involved in the manufacture of candles. It is believed Crabb's manufactory burned and by 1753 he was involved in the construction and operation of a manufactory for Obadiah Brown, in Tockwotton, now India Point, Providence (Macy 1972, p. 78). This arrangement lasted approximately three years, after which Obadiah Brown and Co. became a leader in the manufacture of spermaceti candles and Benjamin Crabb dropped from view. By 1760, at least seven works were in operation: five in Newport, Obadiah Brown and Co. in Providence, and Joseph Cranch and Co. in Braintree, Massachusetts (Kugler 1980, p. 163).
Once the manufacture of candles began, headmatter, sperm oil (oil from the blubber of the sperm whale), and whale oil (from all other whales) became separate products in the marketplace with headmatter commanding an average of three times the price of standard whale oil. Candles were considered a specialized element of the whale-oil trade and were priced as a luxury item. However, competition for headmatter made the cost of doing business equally high. In 1763, it was estimated that three-to-four manufactories operating at capacity could easily consume the average amount of headmatter brought in annually (Hedges 1968, p. 93). Complicating the picture, whaling merchants often mixed headmatter with sperm oil for shipment to Great Britain to avoid heavy English duties on the former. As a result, producers, i.e., whaling merchants, held the key to trade. They had the ability to evade the American market and ship directly to Great Britain, they could conspire to deny needed headmatter, or they could erect their own candleworks.
The need to be circumspect with Nantucketers was recognized as early as 1756. In that year, Henry Lloyd, a Boston factor, wrote to Aaron Lopez, a Newport candle manufacturer and merchant, warning against being too nice and critical with the Nantucket men for I can assure you that nothing can be done with them in that case; the only way is to make the best terms possible with them whenever you have occasion to purchase, but "tis vain to attempt to tie them down to any measures they do not like." (Byers 1987, p. 157).
Realizing their tenuous position in the marketplace, the candle manufacturers sought to do two things: prevent interested parties from entering into business and prevent Nantucket whalers from artificially inflating the price of headmatter. To do so they formed the United Company of Spermaceti Chandlers, generally referred to as the "Spermaceti Trust". The trust provided for eighteenth-century America its foremost example of attempted monopoly and price fixing (Kugler 1980, p. 168). At best, adherence to trust agreements was tenuous. By 1763 there were as many as twelve manufacturers in the colonies and accusation of pricing violations was commonplace. During this period, an unsuccessful attempt by John Hancock to wrest control of the oil market from Joseph and William Rotch kept the price of headmatter relatively stable. However, once Rotch secured his position prices rose as he turned his eye toward vertically expanding his business empire. Rumors circulated that he was in the process of building a candle manufactory.
William Rotch built Nantucket's first manufactory in 1770 at the head of Straight Wharf and began processing oil that winter. Trust agreements for 1774 bear his signature and show Rotch being allocated thirteen of every hundred and eighty-one parts of headmatter (Hedges 1968, p. 112). The entry of Nantucket whaling merchants into the candle market afforded them an advantage that was both strong and unique. Several were now directly involved in everything from building and fitting out ships to manufacturing raw materials into finished goods. The point was not lost on William Rotch, who, by 1775, was leveraging for a significantly larger annual allocation of headmatter.
The Revolutionary War ended large-scale candle manufacturing on the mainland and shifted the center of activity to Nantucket. By 1792, there were ten candleworks on island; within ten years the number jumped to nineteen (Starbuck 1964, p. 153; Byers 1987, p. 249). Among the early manufacturers was Richard Mitchell, Jr.
Born in Newport, the island's first Richard Mitchell moved to Nantucket around 1731 after marrying Mary Starbuck. He quickly became recognized as a prominent leader in both the Quaker and business communities. His son, Richard Mitchell Jr. also rose to prominence as whaler, merchant, and leader in the Quaker meeting. With the removal of William Rotch to France in 1785, Richard Mitchell, Jr. became Nat leading whaling merchant, owning more than twice as many vessels as any other island ship owner. Among his many land holdings was a triangular piece of land at the corner of what is known today as Broad and South Beach streets. It was here, at the base of "new north wharf" he established his manufactory. Upon his death, the manufactory passed to his son Paul. In March of 1846, Paul's sons, Frederick and Paul Jr., inherited the manufactory; that July it was destroyed in the great fire.
Late that same year, Richard Mitchell purchased the remains of the firm from his brothers. He constructed the current building and opened for business as Richard Mitchell and Son. In 1848, William Hadwen and Nathaniel Barney purchased the building and incorporated it into their operation. Few traces of its original purpose remain today. The largest artifacts are a press and the original tryworks foundation. To learn about the building and understand its purpose one must rely primarily on archival documentation. While the general nature of converting headmatter into spermaceti candles is documented, the exact process remains elusive. What is known is that it was a fairly lengthy process lasting from fall until the following summer. Nature played a role in the process and the work force floated between candlemaking and other island industries.
An average candleworks was capable of refining at least six hundred barrels of headmatter annually. Manufactories were often made of wood and generally measured 900 square feet with an adjacent storage shed averaging 720 square feet (Kugler 1980, p. 164). The purchase of the year.s supply of headmatter was made in the fall. At that time, a work force would be recruited to transport barrels to the works and begin the manufacturing process.
Unlike oil from whale blubber, headmatter was not tried out aboard ship. Upon arrival at the works, it would be poured into a large iron kettle and heated to remove any impurities and/or water. The remaining mixture was drawn off, stored in casks, and removed to a shed. A letter to Tench Francis, in Philadelphia, from Nicholas Brown and Co., Providence, describes the care given the mixture: .[The] manner we keep our Oil is this, when it Comes to us we Carefully Trim it, for which purpose we keep a Cooper whose Constant Business is when aney [sic] leaks to over hall it and Trim it anew. (Brown 1968, p. 92). During the ensuing winter, natural climatic cold would congeal the matter into a spongy and viscous mass.
On a "favorable day in winter when the weather slackened and the temperature rose" the congealed headmatter was shoveled into strong woolen bags and placed between the heavy wooden leaves of the spermaceti press. The post end of the press beam was lowered until it rested on the topmost leaf and locked into place with an iron pin. The free end of the press beam was lowered and pressing began. The oil drawn off "winter-strained sperm oil" was clear and considered to be the finest of all spermaceti oils. The material remaining in the bags was then reheated and molded into forty-pound chunks, called black cake.
In the spring, generally around April, the black cake would begin to show the presence of oil. Once again, it was shoveled into bags and placed in the press. The result was "spring-strained oil" considered to be inferior to winter-strained oil as it could not be used in the cold winter months. This pressing left the black cake compressed and waxy. The cakes were stored again, but this time in a warm rather than cool location until summer, when they were shaved or ground into flakes, placed in bags, and pressed a third time. What remained after this pressing was spermaceti; but despite being nearly pure, it was brown in color.
Again the spermaceti was ground. Shavings were then placed in a kettle and heated until liquefied. Water and an alkali, generally potash, were added. The mixture clarified and whitened the spermaceti; eventually, vapors from the hot mixture removed any residue from both the water and potash. Occasionally, beeswax was added to prevent granulation as the spermaceti cooled. Once cleaned, the mix was transformed into candles in only two days.
As with the whaling industry, the island.s candleworks led to the creation of other on-island product-related businesses. Account books show payments to local businesses for paper and boxes used in packaging (AB 402, 1817, n.p.; AB 150, 1783, n.p.). Wicking was also produced (AB 149, 1825, n.p.). After the 1846 fire, the candle industry never regained its earlier prominence. Demise became inevitable with the development of kerosene lighting. By 1869 records show only one works in operation employing two men (Warner 1866, p. 421). The Mitchell and Sons/Hadwen-Barney building was used as a warehouse and storage facility until its purchase by the Nantucket Historical Association in 1930. Today it serves as a constant reminder of Nantucket's early industrial and economic might and a time when her sons ruled the seas.
16 mins ·
· OMG! Hope the family hands out sunglasses to all that can find the door!
HUGE CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAY OREGON OHIO HOLLY ST OH
HUGE CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAY OREGON OHIO HOLLY ST OH See the 2009 video here http://www.yo…
Global Wall Street LOVES this consumerism!
OF COURSE THERE IS A NEW PRODUCT FOR ALL THAT=====but please if you are into these holiday decorating traditions do embrace this public policy
As someone who grew old driving around neighborhoods looking at Christmas light shows----Baltimore has its tradition of Hampden MIRACLE ON 34TH ST that is a great city tradition.
PUBLIC POLICY FALLS INTO ALL THESE TRADITIONS----corporate sustainability with SMART CITY home energy will make these kinds of displays far too costly IF indeed you are still able to be LANDED GENTRY owning a home.
Here in Maryland we are watching as larger and larger estates are allowed to be called AGRICULTURAL----MCMANSIONS with estates plus global corporate campuses that go on for miles--- will take all property once freely accesses for that evergreen hunt. No Sherwood forests in this ONE WORLD FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE.
Is it the husbands driving these outside decorations or do husbands have wives who push towards these displays? Are these tendencies uncovered during courtship or is this the compromising that comes with marriage?
LED Christmas lights smart choice for saving energy
By Kent Pierce Published: December 1, 2016, 12:52 pm Updated: December 1, 2016, 1:08 pm
NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – This is the time of year when many people are looking to decorate the house and trim the Christmas tree. If you like to decorate in a big way, you probably see a big spike in your electric bill this time of year, but with improvements in LED lighting technology recently, you can actually save a lot of money now.
Those LED lights are right next to the incandescents on the store shelf, but they do cost more. News8 asked United Illuminating Program Administrator Lisa Sarubbi what LED lights actually give you for that extra money.
“LEDs don’t have filaments or glass, so if you drop them, they’re not going to break,” Sarubbi said. “They last a lot longer, and they’re cool to the touch, so that there’s less of a risk of fire or shock.”
LEDs used to emit only a harsh, bluish light, but that has changed. Sarubbi showed us around the North Haven Home Depot, which has a display showing the LEDs have a warmer side.
“You can choose the warm white, which is more like a traditional incandescent bulb, but you’re still getting those energy savings,” Sarubbi said.
How much savings? At the Energize CT Center, a North Haven education space supported by United Illuminating and Eversource, they have both kinds of Christmas lights hooked up to an electric meter. Turning on the LED lights barely makes the wheel on that meter move at all. When you switch on the incandescents, however, that wheel spins much faster.
“Let’s say you want to light a 6 foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days,” Sarubbi explained. “If you do that with LED lights, you will pay 27 cents in electricity. If you do that with incandescent lights, you’ll pay $10.”
So you make your money back on your power bill, plus LED lights can do tricks.
“You can get holiday LED light strands that you can dim, or have color-shifting or even connected ones that you can control with your smart phone,” said Sarubbi.
If you are still on the fence about switching lights, you can take home some LEDs for free this Saturday at the Energize CT Center.
“We’re having a holiday light bulb exchange. So you can bring in any old, used, traditional incandescent lighting strand for the holidays, whether it’s the big old C9’s or these little ones and trade them in for up to 2 free energy-star certified LED lights while supplies last,” said Sarubbi
No matter what kind of lights you’re using, if there is any fraying or breaks in the wires, just throw the whole strand away and don’t use them, broken wires are a fire hazard.
We may be late in recognizing another dark winter season holiday but not forgotten is Milad un Nabi birth of Prophet Mohammed.
Milad-Un-Nabi 2016 - December 11 (Sunday) - December 12 (Monday)
Milad-un-Nabi is also known as Barawafat or Mawlid and marks the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. According to Islamic calendar the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad occurs in the third month, Rabi' al-awwal. The celebration of Milad-un-Nabi origin is said to be have been since 11th century in the Fatimid dynasty.
The birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet is remembered on 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal of the Islamic lunar calendar year by all Muslims.
The Holy Quran was revealed by the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The same day marks the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet.
In India and some other parts of the sub-continent Milad-un-Nabi is popularly known as as 'Barawafat'. The word 'barah' stands for the twelve days of the Prophet's sickness.
Mawlid falls in the month of Rabi' al-awwal in the Islamic calendar. Shias observe the event on the 17th of the month, coinciding with the birth date of their sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq, while Sunnis observe it on the 12th of the month. The dates of celebrations in the Gregorian calendar varies each year.
Celebrating Bodhi Day for the 21st Century
12/08/2012 09:01 am ET | Updated Feb 07, 2013
Lewis Richmond Buddhist writer and teacher On Dec. 8 Buddhists the world over will celebrate Bodhi Day, the day when Siddhartha Gautama, on seeing the morning star at dawn, attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree and became the Buddha, the “Awakened One.” Buddha’s enlightenment has for 2,500 years been the central article of faith for Buddhists of every school, sect and nationality, as well as being the unifying principle of all Buddhist teaching. For Buddhists everywhere Bodhi Day is an opportunity to acknowledge our dedication to the principles of wisdom, compassion and kindness — the distinguishing features of the Buddhist worldview. I also think it is an opportunity to understand the relevance of Buddha’s enlightenment to today’s world, where Buddhism is enjoying something of a renaissance at a time when a troubled planet needs kindness and compassion more than ever.
I think of three ways that the traditional story of Buddha’s enlightenment can be reassessed in the light of modern sensibility. The first has to do with Siddhartha’s identity as a man, a prince and a warrior. The second has to do with his intention. And the third has to do with humility.
Historically, Buddhism has been a male-dominated religion, and today’s inclusion of Buddhist women as equals is a revolutionary development. Scripture tells that the Buddha himself was reluctant to include women in his monastic order and down through the centuries Buddhist women have for the most part been treated as second class citizens. Historians can say this was culturally normative, but that is not an excuse. Recently an influential young Tibetan Lama announced in public that this historical bias against women was simply a mistake that now needed to be corrected. This is good.
The Siddhartha of scripture was born into privilege as a prince, and his spiritual journey has the archetypal quality of the warrior hero, making death-defying efforts, battling the delusions of Mara the Tempter, and achieving final victory in the face of difficult odds. Siddhartha was a loner, too. He abandoned his family in favor of the spiritual life; he had named his son Rahula, which means a fetter or chain. I doubt that these elements of Buddha’s story resonate much with women practitioners of today, who juggle the demands of work, relationship, family and children and still find time for spiritual practice. One of the ways we can rectify the “mistake” the Lama spoke of is to imagine a Buddha story and Bodhi Day that celebrates the experience of modern Buddhist women.
The first step in Buddha’s eight-step Path is Right Intention, and it is important to remember why Prince Siddhartha abandoned his royal privilege and set out on his spiritual journey. It was not to become famous, charismatic, wealthy or powerful. He already had all of that through his birth. His motivation was to solve the riddle of human suffering. Why do people suffer and cause suffering for others? How can their suffering be eased? This was Siddhartha’s life question. He came to realize that no privileges of birth were useful in solving this riddle. In ancient times or modern, very few people turn their back on wealth and power for such a reason. (St. Francis of Assisi was one Western exception.) The fact that Siddhartha did this is inspiring; that he pursued his spiritual question to the end is what we celebrate on Bodhi Day.
What about spiritual leaders of today? Some go on talk shows, attract large numbers of Twitter or Facebook followers, publish books and preside over spiritual centers and legions of rapt followers. The Buddha was not like that. He lived as a homeless mendicant and walked from village to village, devoting his life to easing the suffering of others. This is not to say he was naïve; when he needed a park or a forest for his monastic community he used his personal connections with local aristocrats to acquire them. Undoubtedly Buddha’s royal pedigree helped him as a spiritual teacher in numerous ways. But he clearly lived a life of humility — the most difficult of all spiritual virtues to inhabit and sustain.
Living in the light of humility, kindness and compassion is the deep lesson and timeless inspiration of Bodhi Day. When we celebrate Bodhi Day this year I hope that we can celebrate it as a 21st century holiday, embracing the full weight of Buddhism’s long history without being limited by it. Enlightenment exists partly outside of history and partly within it. The suffering of humanity and its causes persists today as it did in Buddha’s time; the life question of the Buddha remains — how do we overcome greed, anger and confusion and create a truly kind and compassionate persons and societies? What is our authentic response to the world’s pain as it exists today? To paraphrase an old teaching from the Zen tradition: every day is Bodhi day.
When we understand public policy broadly and know how the 99% feel about these issues then we come together as a 99% vs the 1%-------
Please don't hate ----don't fear-----we can respect one another especially during these festivals of light!
Saphala Ekadashi – Safala Ekadasi
Saphala Ekadasi is observed during the waning phase of the moon in the month of December – January.
In 2017, the date of Saphala Ekadashi is December 24. The significance of Safala Ekadashi was explained to Yudhishtira by Lord Krishna. It is mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana. Fasting on Saphala Ekadashi is believed to help in cleansing the sins committed and it also opens the door of fame in earthly life. Ekadashi is a highly auspicious day dedicated to Lord Vishnu and it falls on the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight in Hindu calendar.
Legend has it that Lumbaka, one of the four sons of a famous king, was always questioning the authority of Lord Vishnu. Due to this attitude, he was exiled. Lumbaka continued with his behavior and started plundering the wealth of poor villagers and made his home under a banyan tree. He started eating killing animals and ate the raw meat.
Once on Saphala Ekadashi day he fell very ill and as a result he kept a fast the whole day and stayed awake during the night and thus unknowingly he undertook the Safala Ekadasi Vrat. Next morning he felt good and realized that all this was due to the blessing of Lord Vishnu. He realized his mistake and returned to his father and lived a happy life.
All the normal rules associated with Ekadasi are observed during Safala Ekadasi.