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No flowers in Michigan gardens yet-- we have to get rid of about 18" (~45+ cm ? ) of snow first 





On Tuesday, February 4, 2014 5:05 PM, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
 
Spring greetings to those in the northern hemisphere!

Autumn greeting to those down south!

On 04/02/2014 16:22, David McCann wrote:
> On Mon, 3 Feb 2014 09:48:23 -0800 Roger Mills wrote:
>
>> Today, by my calculations, is exactly halfway between
>> the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. Surely a
>> cause for celebration, as it in on Cindu (although
>> their Mid-winter day is quite a ways off.)
>
> Please respectfully inform H.E.The Karun that he has
> been misled. The idea that winter begins at the solstice
> is a delusion of astronomers which has only recently
> been foisted on the populace.

Yes, and not everyone follows that line.  In RightPondia the
Met Office reckoned winter began on the 1st December and
Spring will begin on 1st March (St David's day).

> Of the four days on which rent is traditionally paid,
> that close to the summer solstice is called Midsummer
> Day. Similarly, one of our poets referred to the "bleak
> midwinter" at the winter solstice.

These are the English 'Quarter Days': Lady Day (25th March),
Midsummer Day (24th June), Michaelmas (29th September),
Christmas (25th December)

Quite right - the winter solstice and/or Christmas is indeed
the bleak MID-winter.  As the name "Midsummer Day" clearly
shows, it was reckoned to be the *mid*-point of Summer.

When J. Caesar reformed the calendar in 45 BC, he set the
Spring equinox at 25th March - and the other dates, of
course, corresponded to solstices and Autumn equinox.  By
the time of the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD the Equinox had
shifted to the 2st March, and that date was chosen for
calculating Easter.  As we know, during the centuries that
followed that date got progressively wrong; by 1500 the
Spring equinox actually fell on the 11th March!

Pope Gregory XIII brought about the calendar reform we now
use, but restored the equinox to the 4th century date, not
to Caesar's original - hence Midsummer Day is slightly out   ;)

> Today, therefore marks the end of winter; the actual
> celebration — St Brighid's Day, Imbolc, or Candlemas —
> fell a few days ago.

Candlemas on last Sunday (2nd Feb.) - also called 'Groundhog
Day' over the Pond, I'm told   ;)

This is one of the "cross-quarter days": Candlemas (2nd
February), May Day (1st May), Lammas (1st August), and All
Hallows (1st November).

Imbolc was the pre-Christian Irish festival, midway between
the winter solstice and the vernal equinox, marking the
_beginning_ of Spring. It's now fixed at 1st Feb, (St
Brighid's Day).

> Spring is indeed at hand, and I have flowers in my garden
> to prove it.
>

There are a few in mine also   :)

-- 
Ray
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