The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Another Happy New Year

Important festivals of new beginnings fall around this time of year. The Lunar New Year began this week. It is a big festival. It is New Year to many people. Lent began for Latin rite followers, and the Triodion that marks the Lenten start for Eastern Orthodox will fall on Feb 17 this year. This past week was marked by wearing ashes in several cultures. Ash is deeply symbolic of endings, transience, and transformation.

Ash begins black with substance and turns white with formlessness, a symbol explained last year in The Story of the Black Belt. Ashes are used to clean bodies and spirits. They symbolize wisdom that remains when all else is burned away. All things eventually become ash. Catholics wore ashes last Wednesday. Hindus used bhasma, the sacred ash, at the recent festival we attended to learn more about wound healing, told in this post - Thaipusam - Exercise of Body and Spirit.

In the North, February is a harsh month. Through the cold and dark, the first plants begin to bud and animals show growing signs of spring births to come. The first signs of returning life inspired the February 1st Imbolc festival of Brigid (the Bride) a Celtic goddess. The Church later replaced this festival with Candlemas on February 2, dedicated to the Virgin Mother Mary. Both festivals are marked by candles and fire, a mark of the coming end of winter and the return of crops. Shinto followers celebrate this as Setsubun Sai.

Happy New Year to all.

Photo of lanterns by terryansimon
Snow sun photo by Flidais
Snow flower photo by oschene
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.