Originally Posted By Debbie Peterson (Check it out to comment and enter the giveaway)
On this windy, cold and cloudy, New Year’s Eve, the weatherman is calling for snow. Call me skeptical if you will, but so far today, I haven’t seen so much as a drop of rain here in Las Vegas. Now that doesn’t mean we never get snow here. We have had some on occasion. So when we do, I sit back with a hot cup of cocoa, and watch it through the window–from the comfort of my heated home–with a fire roaring in the fireplace.
|American Homestead Winter – Currier & Ives|
I bet I had an ancestor or two that would’ve loved to have traded places with me. Long ago–when life depended on the planting and harvesting of crops–the long days of winter were filled with various magical rituals. They had rituals for the fields they hoped would ensure an increase in flocks, herds and the harvest. Rituals were held to protect hearth and home. They even had rituals meant to bring back the light of the sun.
|Feast of St Martin|
In several countries in Europe winter began on Saint Marin’s Day. Those gifted with “sight” would see this saint riding his beautiful white horse across the grasslands. This patron saint of wine and vintners would open his cloak and release the first snow of winter. On the eve of this day bonfires were lit and the animals that would not live through the season were slaughtered and salted. A feast in Martin’s honor was held and the first of the new wine served to all in attendance.
In memory of this saint, the children in Germany would put containers of water on their doorstep with childlike faith that St. Martin would stop by and change the water to wine. As they awoke on Martinmas day, they would run to the door and indeed find the water changed to wine. Beside the wine they would find a special horseshoe shaped cookie, providing proof that St. Martin had stopped by.
There were customs for New Year’s Eve as well. In many places all throughout Britain and spreading all the way to Austria, a body fashioned from straw was carried through the streets. “Death,” as they called this hapless form, was then burned, buried, or drowned, whichever was the handiest way to rid themselves of this demon, so that the new year could bring prosperity without hindrance.
In other places, revelers donned masks and costumes so that they could elude the evil powers lurking about as they paraded throughout their towns. They would crack their whips, clang bells and beat on their drums, all in order to drive out the ghosts of the waning old year and bring in the new.
I guess in our own way, we still do a little “town-rattling” of our own with the party favors, feasts, reveling, and fireworks.
So tell me, how do you bring in the New Year?
Today, on the final December stop of our book tour, I am answering questions at Bunny’s Book Reviews, so if you have the chance, stop by and say hello!
AND… to Celebrate the New Year…drum roll please… Inkspell Publishing has agreed to put Shadow of the Witte Wieven on sale for one month only! Now through January 31st you can enjoy both Shadow of the Witte Wieven and Van Locken’s Witch for just 99 cents each!
Remaining Tour Stops: