Showing posts with label holidays and remembrance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holidays and remembrance. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Origins: All Saint's Day, All Hallows, Samhein, Dia de los Muertos







The origins of Halloween, may have begun with Roman festivals of harvest, but is typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)",which is derived from the Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end."





The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year, and beginning of the "darker half", and is sometimes regarded as the Celtic New Year.

It is believed that the border between this world and the otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through.




All Saints Day, or All Hallows or Hallowmas, is a Christian feast day celebrated on November 1, or the first Sunday after Pentecost.

It a day meant to honor all of the saints, both known and unknown. Because Halloween preceded this feast day, that day actually took it's name from this feast day and thus became "The Eve of All Hallows', and eventually 'Hallowe'en'.




In the Christian West, All Saints Day honors those who have attained beatific vision in heaven, while November 2, All Soul's Day, commemorates the departed faithful who have not been so purified and entered heaven.

In the tradition of using holy names taken from the Greek, early names such as All Hallowmas referred to hallowed or saintly, and mas, to the early Christian mass.




The Day of the Dead (Día de los Difuntos or Día de los Muertos) is a holiday celebrated mainly in Mexico and the Mexican immigrant community living in the United States.

The holiday is based on the complicated blended cultures of their ancestors, the Aztec and Maya, and the Spanish invaders, layered with Catholicism.

For more than 500 years, the goddess Mictecacihuatl (Lady of the Dead) presided over Aztec harvest rituals using fires and incense, costumes of animal skins, images of their dead and offerings of ceramics, personal goods, flowers and foods, drink and flowers.



The Aztec, Mayan and other indigenous traditions have enriched the Mexican's attitude about death. From these ancestors has come the knowledge that souls continue to exist after death, resting placidly in Mictlan, the land of the dead, not for judgment or resurrection; but for the day each year when they could return home to visit their loved ones.





Los Dias de Los Muertos is a time for remembering friends, family and ancestors. In the Mexican tradition, people die three deaths.

The first death is when our bodies cease to function; when our hearts no longer beat of their own accord, when our gaze no longer has depth or weight, when the space we occupy slowly loses its meaning.

The second death comes when the body is lowered into the ground, returned to mother earth, out of sight.

The third death, the most definitive death, is "when there is no one left alive to remember us."




The act of preparing an altar by placing photographs, flowers, candles, favorite foods and drink of the loved one provides a special time to remember, and to transform grief into acceptance.




The living invite the spirits of the family to return home for a few hours of laughter, tears and memories.



Once the night has passed, and the spirits have returned to their world, the ones remaining know that for another year they have triumphed in the struggle of life and that the only way to celebrate death is to live with courage.





Beware of the following superstitions of olde!


• Many people used to consider that owls would dive down to eat the souls of the dying on Halloween. They believed that if you pulled your own pockets out, and left them hanging, the dying would be safe. (Good to know, especially the next time you get caught with your pockets hanging out from the dryer!)

• To ward off evil spirits on Halloween, bury all the animal bones in your front yard, or even put a picture of an animal very close to your doorway. (I'll assume they mean collected wishbones and leftovers from Thanksgiving for the burials, and not those of anyone else, for the photos.)

• People used to believe you could walk around your house three times backwards before sunset on Halloween, and that would take care of all evil. (Next time you can't find the kids for dinner, remember you're keeping your family safe at the same time.)

• It has been said if a bat flies into your house on Halloween, it is a sign that ghosts or spirits are very nearer, and maybe they are in your home and let the bat in. (Living in the country, I've had bats in my house on several occasions. My friends claim they live in my own 'belfry', as well.)

• People used to believe that if bats are out early on Halloween, and they fly around playfully, then good weather is to come. (The bats in my belfry are beyond playful. I've been known to be borderline manic.)

• If a bat flies around your house three times on Halloween, death is very soon to come. (Doesn't this negate the good luck of the above?)

• It could be the spirit of a dead loved one watching you, if you watch a spider on Halloween. (And if you're watching, do so respectfully, and don't squish them!)

• Going in for what was once called a 'dumb' supper, meaning that nobody will talk while having supper, encourages the spirits to come to the table. (Well, not only is that term antiquated and not p.c., most families today with teenagers suffer from this predicament, so it's no wonder that most teenagers appear possessed.)

• It is believed that if an unmarried girl keeps a rosemary herb and a silver sixpence under her pillow on Halloween night, it is quite likely that on that very night, she would dream of her future husband. (If you have young daughter's, check their pillows tonight and remove those sixpence.)

• It is said that if you hear someone's footsteps behind you on the Halloween night, you should not turn back because it may be a dead following you. And if you commit the mistake of looking back, it is likely that you might join the dead very soon. (You just can't win on this one. I'm staying home and wearing ear plugs.)

• People believe that if on the Halloween night, a girl carrying a lamp in her hand goes to a spring of water, she will see the reflection of her life partner in water. (This sounds dangerous to me, especially if you believe in the superstition just above, and the one following you is already dead. Sure wouldn't want him for my life partner.)

• People have a superstition that if an unmarried girl carries a broken egg in a glass and takes it to a spring of water, she will be able to catch the glimpse of not just her future husband, by mixing some spring water in the glass, but also she can see the reflection of her future kids.

(OK, this is just too much. Now we are being followed by the dead, stuck with them for life and sharing common ghouls.)

• There is the old saying that "black cats are bad luck". It was once believed that black cats were the devil, or consumed by evil spirits. (I 've had several black cats, I loved them dearly, they slept with me every night. Time for an exorcism. Now, do I exorcise all black cats or just me?)

• People used to believe that Satan was a nut-gatherer. Nuts were also used as magic charms on the day of Halloween festival. (At this point, I'm feeling nutty. I think the exorcism has to be on me.)

• If you put your clothes on inside out as well as outside walk backwards on Halloween night. At midnight you will see a witch in the sky. People used to believe witches were the devil, or that they were consumed by evil. (I've been known to do both, on a fairly consistent basis. No wonder I run into so many witchy people and was gifted with a sign that says "If the broom fits, ride it"! It fit and I do.

• There is also an old saying "if the flame on your candle goes out on Halloween celebration; it gives you the meaning that you are with a ghost". (Stocking up on matches, lighters, and battery powered lanterns)
 
 


• If you ring a bell on Halloween it will frighten evil spirits away. (Ding!)


  





My own symbolic representation of this celebration. 

Our dining table set up with some of the traditional crepe paper roses, art cards and figurines as symbolic representations of both life and death, candles to light the way for the dead, goblets of water, candy, and packets of the salt.



By using symbolic items to represent the spirit of the dead, we honor them and their courage and ability to survive the physical world and live a life everlasting. 

We honor these days to symbolically keep the thin wall between us separated during the rest of the year. We remain safe in the present while we remember and honor the past.



Check out my blog post:

My  little trio of holiday flags, given as an October gift.  These simple burlap and felt banners can be seen as prayer flags for those in their colorful costumes and festive spirit and not those darker aspects of this season that so many shy away from. Mine is simply whimsical and fun and so truly easy to create!

Michele Bilyeu
Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands. Follow With Heart and Hands Blog on Feedspot


 Currently fluctuating between #32 and #56 . Just scroll their site until you find me (look for my pink and wine art quilt logo) and hit subscribe in their feed. 

Monday, July 05, 2021

Happy Birthday, America!




With Gratitude to All of the Quilts of Valor Quilters Everywhere for their Beautiful Quilts and Google Photos!


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Members from the SC Quilts of Valor Foundation covered the State House in their patriotic masterpieces on Sunday. 
A Quilt of Valor is a lifetime achievement award and a 'thank you' for military service from the foundation. 
According to the group, veterans often consider a Quilt of Valor one of the highest honor they can receive."





As we celebrate our beautiful holiday weekend with family and friends, I am so grateful for being able to live in this beautiful land.




Whether I am in my childhood home in Alaska, or my married with children family home in Oregon, I am so blessed to be in beautiful places with people that I love.




This weekend we all gather together once again, to celebrate the joys that abound, in spite of any ,and all challenges.  And no other occasion brings out the red, white, and blue, like this one!








Free Patriotic Quilt Patterns


 There is no doubt in my mind that she searched out the stair steps of the the red, white, and blue rays as she crossed. I could never keep her off of any of my patriotic quilts :-)

And as I once again, offer my big collection of patriotic quilting and sewing patterns. Please remember that these links are my own. And my writings and wording and my stories are my own!!!




I've shared my patriotic sewing in the past, but a few fun photos once again. My singles are never quite as much fun as my multiples. You can see just how carried away I get ;-)






Happy 4th of July to everyone, everywhere!!!






Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: My Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Tutorial Link Lists: By Themes



Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs.
 
And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes. 

Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!


PS to all administrators of other sites:
 
Those sites that have copied my wording, my comments and all of my patterns onto their own Quilts of Valor sites in Southern California and other places, please link to my blog instead of copying all of my words straight off of my blog. 

When you use my words, and my first person narrative, it's as if you are pretending to be me, in order to get search engines to go to your website instead of mine... and that's not ok and actually a reportable offense. Sorry, I have left comments and nothing has changed in many months now!! Please link instead of copying straight onto your blogs! These are my words, my stories.

And if you see any of these sites or others, please leave a comment that they should not be cutting and pasting, but only linking.. ... nicely, of course. ;-)  Happy 4th of July, thank you for your good deeds and service to Veterans, but please read my emails and comments and play nicely!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

50 Years of Earth Day: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow





I held "Earth Day" in my heart all day yesterday. It's a wonderful thing to have been alive for the first one and even more so for her 50th. But of course that's only in this man-made construct of time, space, and our "sensing" of this reality and not what's truly real in the greater scheme of things of all there ever was, is now, or ever will be.




Michele Savikko:  "I was 20 years old for the very first earth day and a thousand miles away from home and family in college. Much was happening all around me. It was incredibly new and exciting. 

Every single day, every single moment was alive and breathing with so many, many new things, new experiences,  new emotions and most of all new acceptances and learnings.

To be this very quiet, very deep and happy and always smiling young person--still a girl truly-- and not yet feeling the beingness of coming into womanhood. To be alive and welcoming and so very excited by even the newness of tiny things was surreal yet always just my "new normal" for then.

Because the next day brought newer experiences, newer new normals. Normal didn't mean anything at all even if i knew what normal was supposed to mean or me. It was easy to accept that i was not anyone else's "normal". I was me and i loved the blessing of this huge huge gift of going off into this very,  very different new world.  

Growing up in an isolated and land locked part of Alaska where just flying south to the lower 48 was like entering a different world and flying in was considered the most dangerous approach and landing in the U.S. with only the pilot's visual abilities providing access to conditions below we just did all things bravely.

Qne didn't question or really even fear the experience just the roar of things coming to life and taking off and into new horizons We would just do, just cope, just accept each and every new experience as it was.

I should have been afraid but it didn't enter my awareness. I was raised with challenges and obstacles and the unknown--even death simply by riding "out the road" with my dad in his rattle trap old company truck was that day, the best, most exciting thing in the world. Especially if he had the money to buy us each a frozen treat out of the freezer chest at the grocery store!

We had 25 miles of road to to get to the end of what i should have seen as the end of my world. But i didn't. We reached the end of that old gravel road and it was exciting and accepted and enjoyed that as 25 miles was considered a huge amount of driving. 

Then we turned around and came back. There was only one way to do that with no alternate roads of any kind yet available. Yet the ride back gave me a up close and personal view of the other side of the road so even that became new and exciting!

I realize now how amazing that life was for me. My whole world was based on the earth, my earth as i knew her. It was living and thriving and surviving but without fear in nature. We were taught where the bears came out, where we had to be alert and careful and what to do if one charged us or attacked us.

I was never afraid to go there with my family as we did every 2 weeks. It was where we picked wild blueberries and the only place we had to dispose of the family garbage.

Doing brave things in nature and relishing and being excited and filling myself up with her breathing, living, ever changing energies just was. Feeling the existence of other earth beings as alive and part of me and all there was..that just was. 

I was curious about ancient burial grounds of the old native ones and felt them around me. Now i can see and feel the emotion known as fear that i should have felt, should have not perhaps been drawn to or not chosen to open to. Nothing bad happened when I did. 

It was just very very curious and different and i wondered if it was "real" or part of my amazing inner life of my own creative imaginings!

The earth was a part of all of us. The winds and the sky and ocean seas and rivers and lakes and waterfalls and the mountains rising on both sides of my world in between all things-- and absolutely all and nothing else--but all of life as one. "

Copyright: Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands". 




To celebrate "earth day" at age 20  (50 years ago!) wasn't a blip on the radar of my life in my memories  I probably just wondered why people in the "south" needed to to create a specific day to celebrate what always just was. 

Happy Birthday Great Mother. Happy Birthday yesterday, today and all of your tomorrows!





Michele Savikko Bilyeu

And yes, I made my 70's top.
Oh how Ioved it! Sold it for a very few dollars at my very first garage sale in the 80s. Live and learn!








Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Mother's Day in History and Deed




Our American holiday known as Mother's Day is credited to Ana Jarvis, from Philadelphia, who never married and never had children.

But Anna Jarvis still had a fierce devotion to her own mother. She began a national campaign to establish a national Mother's Day, beginning first in her own church, and then moving outward into others.

She was inspired by her own mother saying "that it would be nice if someone created a memorial to mothers".




Three years after her mother died in 1905, she organized the first official Mother's Day service at a church where her mother had spent more than 20 years teaching Sunday school.

By 1911 Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state. And in 1914,  President Woodrow Wilson made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.

Today, over 100 years later, the former Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church is considered the official shrine to mothers around the world.

So, today as the shrine celebrates this anniversary, each mother will be given a white carnation...Jarvis's pick of the 'official' Mother's Day flower...her mother's favorite.

What is most interesting, is that while Anna Jarvis was passionately devoted to the idea of celebrating an official Mother's Day, she was also just as passionately against its commercialization!!




She detested store bought cards and believed that gifts should be individualized. She felt the era of the 'true' mother was rapidly disappearing and was adamant about the day as a celebration of the 19th century ideal.

She became well known for scathing letters in which she not only berated those who bought their cards but for whom the holiday simply had become an opportunity to sell cards, candy and flowers.

Before she died in 1948, she actually protested a Mother's Day celebration in New York and was arrested for disturbing the peace.

Like her own mother, Ann (a celebrated community activist) Anna Jarvis believed in her ideals and was willing to fight for them to the end!










💜Love you and miss you sweet mama 💜

Nell Grace Peltier Savikko
Sept.1, 1925
St.Martinville, Louisiana
Sept.8, 2013
Douglas Island,  Alaska






We celebrated my Mother's Day 2019 with wine and chocolate and beautiful fresh garden flowers and lots and lots of lovely plant starts and seeds to grow more flowers next year and many more years to come and a darling handmade and little hand printed stepping stone!

Picked, harvested, created or thoughtfully bought with love 💜 
The next year I made sure each family celebrated their own person Mother's Day with their own little families and not necessary to celebrate me as a mother or Larry as a father. They are all working full time as mothers and fathers with parenting and pet raising. I truly want their days to be their choices of being, doing, and celebrating. That makes me so happy for them. 




So Mothers Dat is now  their day for each family's fun and of course Sunday doings and each family's own Mother's Day in all the forms that comes 💜

We can be mothers and grandmothers, aunties and foster moms, we can be mothers to beloved pets, friends' children who've lost their mom,  we can remember our own mothers and grandmothers and aunties.

But most of all we can take good care of ourselves and love and nurture our hearts and our spirits in all ways 💜




Happy Mother's Day Love to Mother's Everywhere




Links for creating lovely gifts ideas for Mother's Day:





With Heart and Hands: Links: 2,500 3500 4500 over 5000 Free Quilt Patterns!



Making Fidget Quilts, Aprons, Pillows, Bags for Alzheimer's Patients: 


Free Redwork and Embroidery Patterns


  


 

Making a Quillow

How to Make a Quillow 

...and fold it back into a pillow!



moms pink ribbon blanket.JPG


Celebrate Mother's in All Ways on Any Day!






Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.