Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A New Tradition

This is the first year that my family celebrated Three Kings Days. Really, this is the first time as an adult that I have taken closer notice of the twelve days of Christmas and really took them into my whole self, and learned more about what they represent. It is interesting how a holiday that I have celebrated all my life, can continue to deepen in meaning. We lit our Christmas candles and set the holiday table once more, enjoying the special, celebratory space. I roasted a chicken and vegetables for dinner, my mom made a fresh cranberry relish, and then I baked a Three Kings Cake. It was more of a sweet yeasted bread, really. It had citrus peel and currants in it, and was a satisfying treat. Inside the cake, I baked a fresh cranberry into the dough. Often it is traditionally a bean or a small trinket. The person to receive the piece of cake with the object becomes the King for the evening and wears a golden crown. My cranberry rose to the surface when it baked, so instead of crowning one king, I decided to crown all three children. After all, there are three kings! It was a nice opportunity to pull out their special birthday crowns, and they enjoyed the evening very much.
I read a tale from The Christmas Story Book, titled New Year's Eve by Dan Lindholm. It was a beautiful story about a boy named Hans who meets twelve men in white cloaks and crowns and wreathes ,"who rather looked like kings". He recognizes that they represent each of the months of the year, by their varied garb. He sees them gathered round a bonfire, as he travels through the dark night to his Grandparents' house for New Year's Eve. When Hans is asked if he recognizes the men, his reply comes in this verse that his Grandfather has taught him. Here it is ~ something nice to put to memory!

January send the ice and frost
In the snow-drifts don't get lost.
February's light is growing
Even though it is still snowing.
March is bringing in the thaw
And the wind is cold and raw.
April brings the rain and sun,
Sometimes both and sometimes one.
May brings in the cuckoo's call
And the sun light over all.
June is full of lovely posies
Fills the air with scent of roses.
July is bountiful and good,
Cool and leafy is the wood.
August bends down ears of corn,
Soon the fields will all be shorn.
September gives the ripening apple
While the leaves begin to dapple.
October makes the barn-yard full
Now the housewife spins her wool.
November's storms set trees a-shaking
While indoors we're present making.
December's days are short and cold,
Advent candles gleam with gold.
In the story, Hans' own Three Kings' candle lights the flame for the New Year, as the old flame wanes. It was a tale filled with lovely imagery, one we will likely revisit year after year.

May sweetness and noble thoughts be yours!

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