Monday, December 31, 2007

It's Still Christmas

Don’t be too quick to put away those Christmas decorations. Christmas Day represents the first of the 12 days of Christmas, ending Jan 6 with Three Kings Day or the Epiphany. The three kings brought the Christ child the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Traditions for this day include blessing the doorways with water and inscribing the initials of the three kings (C+M+B for Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) over the doorways.

I am always interested in the symbolism and use of foods and herbs in ritual. The gifts that the wise men or Magi brought to the Christ child have meaning; gold to represent his role as king, frankincense to represent his divinity, and myrrh to represent his humanity. Frankincense (Boswellia) and myrrh (Commiphora) refer to a resin from their respective trees. Both Frankincense and Myrrh resins are used as an incense that when burned will carry prayers to heaven. Frankincense is still used at Catholic masses for special occasions. Although we think of the gold brought by the wise men as the precious metal, gold could have other meanings. Some say it is symbolic of alchemy – a transition from the physical world to the spiritual world. I have also heard it suggested that gold referred to a specific type of frankincense that was more valuable. Perhaps celebrate Three Kings Day or the Epiphany by placing a small amount of these resins in your fire to scent your home. You could also burn herbs such as sage or rosemary to purify your home.

Other herbs that are used to celebrate the Christmas season include rosemary, costmary bay laurel, bedstraw, mistletoe and myrtle. The herbs bedstraw, chamomile, horehound, thym and sweet woodruff are said to have been mixed with the manger grass that Jesus slept in. You could mix these herbs to make a nice potpourri.

Its not too late to consider an herbal craft to commemorate the Christmas season. Even something as simple as putting sticks of clove into an orange or an apple is an enjoyable project for children or adults! A warm herbal bath is a way of purification and a way to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new. Try using oregano and marjoram to help with aches and pains you may be feeling this season.

But the important thing is to keep caroling and enjoy the Christmas decoration now. Its nice to have this time to relax and enjoy the Christmas season after the hustle and bustle of preparations has ended. So if you didn’t have time to bake the Christmas cookies you wanted to before Christmas, go ahead and do it now, its still Christmas.


Wild Rose said...

Hi Cindy

Welcome to blogland! I didn't know that you had a blog until I looked at your newsletter this morning. I look forward to reading all about your farm and that lavender.

You are right about not taking the decorations down too soon ~ I always wait until twelfth night, so will take them down on Sunday.

I did a post about the gifts of the Magi some time ago ~ it is on my business blog. Do stop by and say hello.

I am adding you to my favourites and will mention your blog when I next post, so you should get some traffic!

Best wishes for 2008

Marie x

Lana said...

I love your blog! Knowledge is a wonderful thing and I learned quite a bit from you :) Keep it coming!
I'm so envious of your new residence - sounds like a dream and snow to boot.
God's Blessings for you and yours,

Isobel said...

Hi Cindy,

Welcome to blogland. I came here from Marie's blog. In my homeland (I live in the UK but I am not from here) it is also tradition to just take down the Christmas decoration son the 6th of January and I brought it over with me. So my Tree and decorations are still up until tomorrow. :)
I loved your post. I will be coming back for sure.
Take care.

violetlady said...

Welcome, Cindy! Marie at Wild Rose said you had started blogging and invited everyone to stop by to say hi. I applaud your venture in planning to live a sustainable lifestyle. Oh to have 9 acres -- you are so fortunate. I will be checking in periodically - please stop by and visit.

Irish Sallygardens said...

Hello, Marie tipped me off about your blog as its right up my alley, I'll but you on my blogroll.

My mother made my wedding bouquet with flowers from her garden for me and she included rosemary. It aids memory and she thought it would be nice to symbolise remembrance of our lovely day.

I love growing all our own food, that includes herbs, veg and meat. This year new herbs I'm going to try growing from seed include horehound, so I was interested to see you mention it.

I also used Frankinsence essential oil during labour, also homeopathy, to assist meditation ... both births went very well, natural births, and I can say hand on heart than I really enjoyed childbirth.

Last but not least my blog on sustainable living includes a new forum, one ares of which is about herbs. I'd love to see you there.

the homely year said...

Hi Cindy, Marie at Wild Rose has recommended your glad she did. Welcome to blogging. Will be back to read more. You're very welcome to visit us at the homely year.
Margaret and Noreen

Anonymous said...

Just came over from Marie Chantal. We always celebrate The Feast of Epithany here at Willow House. We actually have a festive dinner and give a few gifts. Alas the decorations also have to be taken down.
Happy New Year to you.

Tracy said...

Hello, Cindy! I, too, have found you via Marie. Your blog is full of fascinating and fun information. I'll be back. Welcome to blogland! Stop by and see me when you can. :o)

'JoAnn's-Digital-Eyes' said...

Hi Cindy,
Welcome in the blogworld I hope you like to show us some of your life, or whatever you like to show,

I like photography and I am a woman from Holland, I show through my camera the things I see and like, such as my neighbourhood and Dutch habits, my country and my dog, but also my travels, Feel welcome to visit my blog,

A happy 2008

Tea Time and Roses said...

Well hello Cindy!

I found your lovely blog through Marie, welcome to blogland! Be sure and stop by and visit sometimes!




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