Presently January 2022 | Traditions and New beginnings

Presently January 2022 | New beginnings

We are here! We are on the 2nd day in a brand new month, in a brand new year – January 2022. 2022 has tiptoed in gracefully, giving us the momentum on fresh thoughts, fresh energies and the path for new beginnings … so they say 🙂

I agree with all the positives and completely in agreement with January 2022 being the month for new beginnings but I’m not so sure about the energy part! After a month of indulgence in delicious food, roasts with all the trimmings, Christmas cake, and wine with family and friends, I am as slow as molasses on 2nd January! Now, I gotta lose all the pounds I’d piled up, but ahh, I have the 333 days or so for that, right?

Anyways, January 2022.

With January being the first of the twelve chapters, let’s take a look at what Presently January 2022 is all about …

Welcome to January 2022 e-column

Presently January 2022
presently January 2022

About the month of January

There is a certain magic that comes with the very first month of the year. January is the beginning of everything I want. Another year of opportunities, new dreams, the magic of new beginnings, the same me but this time with bigger goals. January 2022 means moving forward with a lot of new dreams and time to get my fitness in tow.

I imagine the month is also a time to sit back and enjoy the snow (or rain and more rain) it brings, winter’s butterflies, hot chocolate, cold nights and frosty mornings. Cozy socks, a shot of port on the side table, a book in hand with winter warm log fires (I’m old fashioned, still prefer to turn pages of a book to kindle). January is perfect to set aside time to plan ahead for the year without allowing the dismal weather along with the dark days of winter to get us down.

While we cherish the cold, frost, dark days of winter, log fires, life on the slow and the snow-lined streets, Presently January takes a brief look at the months origin, traditions and lores along with its special birthstones and flowers.

Origins of January

January was established as the beginning of the year by the Romans. The month takes its name from the god, Janus (Latin meaning ‘door’). Janus was the spirit of ‘opening’, the protector of gates and doorways, that denote the “beginnings and endings.” According to legend, Janus had two faces, which enabled him to look forwards to the year ahead for new beginnings as well as backwards to the past year for reflection and resolution.

Given his incredible ability, the Romans would offer sacrifices and made promises to Janus and exchanged good wishes. It is this custom that is said to be the origin of making New Year resolutions.

The Anglo-Saxons called the first month Wolf Monath. This is when the wolves come into villages in search of food.

Recommended read: Presently March

Festivals, Celebrations, Traditions and Lores in January

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1 | New Year’s Day — January 1

New Year’s Day is the first day of the first month of the year. It is a time to look forward and to make wishes for a good year ahead. It is also a day of holiday.

Celebrations to welcome the new year generally begins the day before, in late evening, on New Year’s Eve. The new year is generally welcomed with fireworks, singing and parties in many countries. In UK, there are extraordinary fireworks display in London, and other main cities. In Scotland, the new year is welcomed with a spirited festival called Hogmanay. As Big Ben strikes midnight, the fireworks over the Thames begins and people link arms and sing Auld Lang Syne, to remember both old and new friends.

2 | Twelfth Night — January 5

January 5th marks an old English custom and brings Christmas merrymaking to a close. In ancient times, the Celts ended their 12-day celebrations of winter solstice on this day. It is customary to mark the end of Christmas merrymaking with a toast with each other present from the wassail bowl.

3 | Epiphany — January 6

Presently January 2022
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January 6th sees the celebration of Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. According to tradition, on this day, there were three wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus. These were “gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

The word epiphany comes from the Greek word, epiphaneia which means “manifestation.”

In some countries where Epiphany is observed, it is a day of celebration where gifts are exchanged. A King Cake is baked with a lucky bean inside and the lucky bean finder is “crowned” as the king of the feast.

More popular in the UK is Epiphany Tart, originated in the Victorian era. Just a fancy name for a delicious jam tart 🙂

4 | St Hilary’s Day — January 13

In the past, January had been the coldest month of the year in UK, with plenty of frost, ice and snow. One particular day was noted due to past cold events, January 13, also known as St Hilary’s Feast Day.

January 13, 1205 is known as one of the severe winters in history. On this day, River Thames in London froze over. Ale and wine turned to ice and were sold by weight.

5 | The tradition of Wassailing

January 2022

Wassailing is an ancient English Yuletide drinking ritual that has been part of Christmas and New Year celebrations as far back as the 1400s. It is a beverage more usually drunk on Christmas Eve and on Twelfth Night.

Wassail is a drink made with hot mulled cider, or wine with spices and drunk in plentiful amounts to enjoy with others in a lively way.

6 | New Year Day Superstition

In medieval times, farmers would place a flat cake on one of the horns of a cow. They would then sing a song and dance around the cow until the cake is thrown to the ground. If the cake fell in front of the cow, it means prosperity for the year ahead and if it falls behind, it meant the opposite.

7 | Unluckiest Day

According to an old Saxon belief, January 2 was one of the unluckiest days in the year.

8 | The year’s first moon

The year’s first full moon is known as Wolf Moon and is on 17 January 2022. The name Wolf Moon originates from the Native American legends. Wolves would howl outside of Native American villages when the full moon appeared. The relation of wolves to full moon also appear in various mythologies including Scandinavian and German.

January birthstone

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Garnet January gemstone

January’s birthstone is the Garnet. The word “garnet” originates from the 14th century word “gernet” which means “dark red.” It is so called as it resembles the red seeds of the pomegranate.

Garnet is a symbol of love, luck, health, loyalty and friendship. It is a gem often traditionally gifted between couples on their second and eighteenth wedding anniversary

January flowers

January 2022
striped carnation
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There are two flowers associated with the first month of the year – Carnation and Snowdrop. Both of these flowers are delicate, representing love and distinction.

January Quotes

Here are some of my favourite January quotes:

The first month of the year,
A perfect time to start all over again,
Changing energies and deserting old moods,
New beginnings, new attitudes.”
— Charmaine J. Forde

“To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June.” — Jean Paul

Recommended read: The BEST New Year Quotes | 91 to inspire a fresh start in travel

What to look forward to from TTS

As January 2022 has begun, so is my excitement in sharing my travel stories with you. I shall be sharing on my travels to Scotland, Seville, Milan, Venice and day trips as well as weekend breaks in England. Presently series will take a new approach and content, to be published on the first Sunday of each month. Expect to receive a once or twice weekly dose on travel inspiration and/or travel tips right to your inbox if you have subscribed. If you haven’t yet, please do so with the link below.

Stay Connected!

Finally …

January comes around every year like a train on schedule and whatever it is we decide to do for the rest of the year, make sure we stay positive and work smart to make things happen. Stop worrying about things we cannot control. January 2022 marks a new beginning – both in business and in our personal life. Always remember that while we’d better get aboard the train, the journey is not about reaching the final destination, the end line. It is about how you get there. Take time to enjoy the ride gracefully, pausing to take in the fresher air, sunshine and the fragrance of flowers along the way.

Have a wonderful year ahead

Georgina xx

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Presently December 2021 | Winter Sparkle, Christmas & Auld Lang Syne

Presently December 2021 | Winter Sparkle, Christmas & Auld Land & Syne

I love the wrapping up of gifts till midnight, filling up Christmas stockings with little gems, indulging in hot chocolate and spiced cookies amidst a background of Christmas songs. Children delight in the magic that December brings. December is the month for Christmas movies, carolling and pantos. Time of celebrations, that brings family and friends together, a time of giving. A time for re-uniting old friends who gather around a fire, sharing tales of old over Bailey’s and ice!

As December is very much associated with Christmas, much of the month’s traditions and festivals are related to this special day in Christian calendar.

Let’s take a look at what Presently December has in store for you …

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Welcome to December e-column

About the month of December

With winter solstice officially on December 21, the month marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the time for blue skies and summer sunshine!

For most, winter means it is the time of rain, wind and snow but the icy serenade also brings out the warmth within. The purity of snow, ringing in our merriment, inviting our feet to play and the spirit to laugh. The winter wind, and the brilliant rays brings uniqueness and excitement. Sunshine and cold. Sparkle and ice. Though cold, it feels warm even when the north wind bites.

I remain cozy within a woollen hat, snuggly scarf, and cosy footsies. Of course, there are days when I stay under the warmth of a duvet, fingers wrapped around a mug of hot chocolate. Yet, there are days, when winter takes my hand, and leads me to appreciate its beauty, allowing for quiet poetry to form in my soul. It is but the dawn of spring where flowers will soon blossom.

So, while winter is here in this December month, Presently December takes a brief look at the origins of this special month, the customs and traditions at Christmas along with December’s birthstone, flowers and lores.

Origins of December

December is the twelfth and the last month of the year in Julian and Gregorian calendars but it was originally the tenth month in the Roman calendar (until 153 BC). It’s name comes from the Latin word, “decem” which means “ten.”

For the Anglo-Saxons, the month was “winter monath” or “Yule monath” because of the tradition of burning the yule log around this time. When the Anglo-Saxons embraced Christianity, they called the month “Heligh monath” or holy month because the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated in December.

December 25 marks the mass of Christ, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago.

As such, a lot of the month’s traditions relates to Christmas. December begins with the season of Advent, a time to prepare for the Christmas feast.

Festivals, Celebrations and Traditions in December

November 28 – December 24: Advent

The word “advent” means coming and it refers to the coming of or the birth of Jesus Christ. The tradition of Advent began in the 1800s.

Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas, and covers four Sundays. The four Sundays usually begins with the Sunday closest to the end of November and the period of Advent goes right through to December 24.

The Advent Wreath and Candles

The Advent wreath is a circle of evergreen laid flat to symbolise to Christians of God’s eternity and endless mercy which has no beginning or end. The green of the wreath symbolises hope that Christians have in God. Hope of renewal and hope of eternal life. In it, four candles plus one is placed.

The advent candles represents to Christians the light of God, coming to the world through the birth of His son, Jesus Christ. During each of the four Sundays before Christmas, it is customary to light a candle to embrace the journey of the Christmas story, and the last one, which represents Christ, is lit on Christmas Day.

The four traditional Advent theme for the candles are:

1 | The Candle of Hope – God’s people. Christians celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ;

2 | The Candle of Peace – The Old Testament Prophets. Christians celebrate the peace we find in Jesus Christ;

3 | Candle of Love – John the Baptist. Christians celebrate the love we have in Jesus Christ;

4 | The Candle of Joy – Mary the Mother of Jesus. Christians celebrate the joy we find in Jesus.

The 5th candle is a symbol of the birth of Jesus Christ. As Christians light this candle on Christmas Day, it reminds us that Christ is the light of the world, and if we follow him, we will have the true light of life.

December 6 — St Nicholas Day

St Nicholas is the patron saint of children. In European countries such as the Netherlands, St Nicholas bring sweets and presents to fill stockings of well behaved children. This tradition evolved to Santa Claus in the USA and Father Christmas in the UK with gift giving rounds performed later in the month.

December 17 — Lord of Misrule

The festival of Saturnalia has its origins in ancient Roman times. This was celebrated in honour of the god of agriculture and was a day event. It eventually grew to be a 7-day feasting and merrymaking beginning December 17, blending into Christmas, and Twelfth Night.

During this festival, the slaves enjoyed a holiday. They received presents, allowed to wear informal clothes, and permitted to play gambling games. They were waited on by their masters for the duration of the festival. It then became customary to appoint a ‘master’ to oversee the celebrations. In England, this character appeared as the Lord of Misrule, who presided over the entire period, sometimes beginning from Halloween (October 31) to Candlemas (February 2).

December 21 — The Winter Solstice (1st day of Winter)

The Northern Hemisphere welcomes winter officially on or near December 21.

The celebration of Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, is one of the oldest celebrations in the world. Celebrated by the pagans, they welcome the longest night, and the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the North Pole is at its furthest point from the sun.

There are two Winter Solstice traditions worth knowing:

1 | Mistletoe and the Oak Tree

The mistletoe and the mighty oak tree are both symbolic at winter solstice. Oaks were regarded as sacred and the winter fruit of the mistletoe that grew on them were regarded as a symbol of life during the dark wintry months. The Celtic priests would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and offer it as blessings.

2 | The Yule Log

The Druids also started a tradition with the Yule log. They thought that the sun stood still for 12 days during winter. During this time, they would lit the yule log, to conquer the darkness and to banish all evil, so good luck will come in the next year.

December 31 — New Year’s Eve

As it is the last day of the year, many sees the year out with celebrations and welcoming the new year with parties, singing, dancing, fireworks, champagne and good wishes. As the clock strikes midnight, people link their arms with each other and sing “Auld Lang Syne” — a song that reminds them of old and new friends.

Auld Lang Syne is from an old Scottish dialect and is translated to mean as “times gone by.” The song is associated with Robert Burns and is believed to be written in 1700s.

It is customary to stay up late to see the year out. There is also the tradition to open the primary door of the house at the last stroke of midnight to allow the old year out and the new year in.

Superstitions and Lores of December

December Superstitions

“The child born on Christmas Day will have a special fortune”

“Wearing new shoes on Christmas day will bring bad luck”

“Good luck will come to the home where a fire is kept burning throughout the Christmas season”

December weather lores and sayings

“A clear star-filled sky on Christmas Eve will bring good crops in the summer”

“Snow on Christmas means Easter will be green”

“If Christmas day be bright and clear;
There’ll be two winters in the year.”

Stay Connected with Timeless Travel Steps

December Quotes

Enjoy December moments with these beautiful quotes:

“Remember This December, That love weighs more than gold.” — Josephine Daskam Bacon

“December’s wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer’s memory….” — John Geddes

“There’s something super special about December.” — Charmaine J. Forde

December birthstone

The gemstone for December is Turquoise. It is regarded a love charm, symbol of good fortune and success. It is believed to bestow the wearer a relaxed mind, calm, and balanced mind as well as protection from harm.

Turquoise is opaque with a blue-green colour. Bluer stones are considered more valuable.

Zircon and Tanzanite are also considered to be December birthstones.

December birth flower

December’s flowers are the Holly and the Narcissus, both symbolising Hope.

The Holly is a symbol for domestic happiness, representing luck, fertility and truth.

December plant

A popular plant at Christmas brighten-up any room! December plant is the Poinsettia. Also known as the Christmas Star, the Aztecs believed it to be a symbol of purity. It represents good cheer, success and celebration also.

All about Christmas …

If you are Christmas crazy as I am, you may enjoy these posts:

Christmas highlights in London | Timeless Travel Steps | Timeless Travel Culture History
32 best Christmas song lyrics for festive Instagram posts
75 Christmas Captions & Puns to Grow Instagram during the holiday season
42 Christmas movie captions
Best Christmas Lights in London
London's Christmas Lights | An Unmissable Festive Cheer
quirky things to do at Christmas
Christmas markets in London

What to look forward to from TTS

I shall be catching-up with friends I hadn’t caught-up with since two Christmas’ ago (we all know what happened last Chrsitmas!) and doing all the things I usually do at Christmas – shopping, movies, baking, planning, my yummy Christmas cake, red wine, Baileys & ice, maybe some port, reading and just chill!

I very much look forward to 2022 and am excited what it may hold for TTS as it goes/grows from strength to strength which would not be possible without your support. I am grateful for the time each of you take to read, to comment, to get in touch and share my stories with family, friends and on social media. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THAT YOU DO TO SUPPORT TIMELESS TRAVEL STEPS and I.

TTS returns with new publication in January. Stay tuned.

Subscribe, if you haven’t already for the latest on Travel News, Travel Offers and Travel Inspiration. Just drop us your email address and enjoy valuable destinations guides for free at your convenience.

Finally …

While I love all things Christmas, and as a Christian, I am thankful for a blessed year. I am also mindful that 2021 has not been a ‘good’ year for many, challenging normalcy as we know it.

Some of us have lost loved ones, and Christmas will not be the same without them. Losses comes in many forms, not just in the passing of our dearly beloved, but also separation and break-ups. While missing someone we love is one of the hardest emotions to overcome, we must take the time we need to heal our sorrow. Take all the time we need, there is no need to hurry. We are, our “best friend” we could count on. Slowly, and surely we press on with courage, for whatever the future holds, we must trust, believe, move forwards and upwards, knowing that we are not alone and are watched over from above.

As we look to the new year, hold on to what is good. Treasure those beautiful memories. Let go of what is bad. Embrace travel — it always has answers even in silence.

We will be okay.

Georgina xoxo

Wishing ALL our family, friends, patrons, supporters and readers a “Very Special & Merry Christmas 2021” and if you do not celebrate Christmas, enjoy the “Very best of Winter Holidays with family & friends.” Have an awesome New Year’s Eve, wherever you are on our beautiful Earth.

TTS Team

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Presently November 2021 | Traditions, Cheerful Feasts & Holidays

Presently November 2021 | A month of traditions, cheerful feasts and holidays

“November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
… ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.”

Elizabeth Coatsworth

Yes, it is November! Already! A time where autumn blends into winter. Leaves fall to the ground, of crimson sunsets, parting birds, passionate wind and songs in the pines. Nights come early, the firsts of white snow, log fires … Coatsworth has given a perfect description of this beautiful transition month.

For now though, put the kettle on, get yourself a cuppa or pour yourself a port and settle cozy in front of log fires to read what this edition of Presently November has in store for you.

Welcome to November e-column

About the month of November

As we step closer to the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere welcomes the sun and the rising temperatures.

With the onset of winter chills, and as we settle in for the slow dance and the grace of winter time, Presently November takes a brief look at the origins of November and what it meant, festivals and celebrations that brings autumn and winter together to their feasting table, along with November’s birthstone, birth flower and lores.

Origins of November

November is the eleventh month of the year and has thirty days. For many of us, the month marks the beginning of the winter even though the winter solstice does not occur till 21st December.

The month of November takes its name from the Roman word “novem” which means “nine”. It was the nineth month in the Roman calendar.

For some, the month of November may not be pleasant! The Anglo-Saxons referred to November as “Wind monath”, reflecting the cold winds that began to blow at this time of year. They also called the month, “Blod monath” to reflect the slaughtering of cattle for winter food. Also known as the “Sombre November” by the poet, T.S. Eliot.

“November’s sky is chill and drear; November’s leaf is red and sear”

Festivals, Celebrations and Traditions in November

November 1 — All Saints’ Day

All Saints Day was previously known as All Hallows Day. ‘Hallow’ meaning ‘saint’ or a ‘holy person’. The feast day started on the previous evening, the eve of All Hallows (Hallowe’en).

All Saints Day is an important day in Catholicism. In 835 AD, the Roman Catholic Church made the day a church holiday.

November 2 — All Souls’ Day

All Souls’ Day is another important day in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a day dedicated to remembering all those who have departed. Families visit graves of their loved ones, lay flowers or have their names read out during Mass.

Tradition and ‘Souling’ on All Souls’ Day

An old known custom, which began well before the Reformation on this day, is for poor Christians to offer prayers for the wealthier dead in return for money or food. This tradition changed somewhat in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, where ‘souling’ became the new custom. Similar to Caroling at Christmas, children go ‘souling’ requesting for alms or soul cakes. They would go around singing the following song:

“A soul, a soul, a soul cake.
Please good missus a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry.
Up with your kettle and down with your pans
Give us an answer, and we’ll be gone
Little Jack, Jack sat on his gate
Crying for butter to butter his cake
One for St. Peter, two for St Paul,
Three for the man who made us all.”

What is a Soul Cake?

A soul cake is a simple ‘cake’ made with butter, sugar, eggs, flour and mixed spice. It looks like a hot cross bun but has no currants or cross on top

Collectively, All Saints Day and All Souls’ Day are known as Hallowtide.

November 5 — Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night

Recommended: Read all about November 5, and its food traditions.

November 11 – St Martin’s Day or Armistice Day

Traditionally, St Martin’s Day was celebrated with fairs and bountiful feasts. Known as well as Martinmas, this day was also a day when autumn wheat seedling was completed. Farm labourers were treated to cakes and ale feast. Some farm labourers would seek new jobs for post winter.

Traditional special cakes on Feast of St Martin are Hopper Cakes and Beef makes the customary meat dish.

However, since 1918, celebratory events on November 11 had almost disappeared. Replaced with a poignant Day of Remembrance (Armistice Day) dedicated to the millions of soldiers who died in the First World War, then the Second World War and in other wars.

22 November — St Cecilia’s Day

The Legend of St Cecilia

According to legend, Cecilia was a Roman noble who was given in marriage to a pagan, Valerian. She was close to God and prayed often. She fasted, and prayed to the saints, angels and virgins to guard her virginity.

On the night of her wedding, she told her husband that she had taken a vow of virginity and she is protected by an angel. Valerian asked to see the angel. Cecilia said he would but he needed to be baptized first. Valerian was baptized by Pope Urbanus and upon his return home, he found an angel by her side. When Valerian brother, Tibertius heard of his baptism and the angel, he too wanted to be baptized. Thereafter, both brothers dedicated their lives to burying the saints who were murdered by the chief of the city, Almachius. Both brothers were eventually arrested and executed.

Cecilia spent her time preaching and converting people to Christianity. Many were baptized by Pope Urbanus. She also distributed her wealth to the poor. This enraged Almachius.

Cecilia was arrested and was ordered to be burnt but she did not die. Almachius then ordered her death by an executioneer. She was struck three times but the executioneer was unable to decapitate her. Cecilia was left bleeding and lived for three days. When she died, she was buried by Pope Urbanus and his deacons.

Her remains were exhumed in 1599 and she was found to be immaculate, draped in a silk veil and a gold embroidered dress. A sweet flower-like scent was also reported as coming from the coffin. Officials did not make any further examinations.

Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

St Cecilia’s remains were moved and placed under the high altar at the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, which was originally founded in the third century by Pope Urbanus. It is believed that the church was built on the site of the house where St Cecilia lived. This church was rebuilt in 1599 by Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati, nephew of Pope Gregory XIV.

Thanksgiving — Last Thursday in November

Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for the blessings of the harvest and the year so far. In addition, it has all the elements of a perfect holiday where families gather to enjoy a feast! Every family has their own traditions at Thanksgiving but generally, the dishes encompass roast turkey, turkey stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, cornbread, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and dinner rolls. Mac and Cheese is a must-have on every Thanksgiving dinner table! There are other side dishes as well such as sweet potato casserole and glazed carrots.

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in the month of November. In some countries such as the US, Canada, Grenada and St Lucia, Thanksgiving day is also a national holiday.

November 30 — St Andrews Day

This day is dedicated to celebrating St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.

Stir Up Sunday

The Sunday before Advent is known as ‘Stir Up Sunday.’ On this day, it is customary for every member in the family to take a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding, whilst also making a wish.

About Christmas Pudding

A Christmas Pudding is traditionally made with thirteen ingredients. This is to represent Christ and his disciples.

The pudding mixture is always stirred from east to west, honouring the three wise men who visited baby Jesus. While stirring, each family member is to make a secret wish.

Often, a coin is added to the pudding mixture and cooked. It is meant to bring wealth to whoever found it on their plate. Traditionally, the coin was an old silver sixpence. A ring may also be added to foretell a marriage.

Origins of ‘Stir Up Sunday’

“Stir-up, we beseech thee,
O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people;
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may of thee be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.”

Weather lores in November

As autumn blends into winter, nature prepares for the cold ahead …

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,

No longer blown hither and thither;

The last known lone aster is gone;

The flowers of the witch-hazel wither …

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

There are a number of weather lores surrounding this transition month:

“If ducks do slide at Martinmas
At Christmas they will swim;
If ducks do swim at Martinmas
At Christmas they will slide”

“Ice before Martinmas,
Enough to bear a duck,
The rest of Winter,
Is sure to be but muck!”

“A warm November is the sign of a bad winter”

If St Martin’s Day is fair, dry and cold, the cold in winter will not last long.

If the leaves of the trees and grapevines do not fall before St Martin’s Day, a cold winter may be expected

“As high as the weeds grow,
So will the bank of snow.”

“If the geese on St Martin’s Day stand on ice, they will walk in mud on Christmas”

“There’s no better month in the year to cut wood than November”

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November Quotes

Take time to enjoy the moments this month with these beautiful November quotes:

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”

Lauren DeStefano

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

“November at its best—with a sort of delightful menace in the air.”

Anne Bosworth Greene

November birthstone

There are two birthstones in November. Citrine and Topaz.


topaz | November

Symbolising honour, love and affection, topaz is also believed to give the wearer increased intellect and strength. It is said to calm anger and balance emotions as well as bring wisdom and longevity.

The remarkable Topaz is generally found in igneous rocks and is colourless. However, impurities can turn it to various hues. Yellow and Amber are the traditional tones. Blue topaz is rare and the ones commonly available are often treated. The most valuable topaz is the reddish orange with pink undertones.


Citrine comes in the form of pale yellow to dark amber. Natural citrines are rare and the ones commonly found has been treated with heat.

Similar to topaz, citrine offer the ability to stay calm. In addition, it is regarded to heal, protect against snake venom and encourage prosperity.

November birth flower

Symbolising the vibrant colours of autumn, the chrysanthemum is November’s birth flower.

Passionately known as “mums”, the name originates from the Greek word, “chrys” which means “golden” and “anthemion”, meaning “flowers”.

MUMs come in many colours and some are said to hold meanings which you may like to know:

Red mums mean “I love you”

White mums mean “innocence, purity and pure love.”

Best Astronomy events in November

There are a number of astronomical actions in November, but the Partial Lunar Eclipse is said to be best.

Partial Lunar Eclipse

The partial lunar eclipse takes place on November 19, and is visible across Western Europe and Western Africa, all of East Asia, Oceania as well as North and South America. It will begin at 07:18 UTC/GMT to 10:47 UTC/GMT.

Hopefully the skies are clear for you to enjoy best views.

What happened in October …

October was a busy month on the personal front as I get into the festive vibe! Christmas songs, Christmas movies, and Christmas baking begins! Despite this, I managed to publish a few articles. Here they are, if you had missed them:

42 Christmas movie captions | presently November
Christmas markets in London | presently November
75 Christmas Captions & Puns to Grow Instagram during the holiday season | presently November
old sligachan bridge isle of skye | presently November
haunted places on the Isle of Wight | presently November
Collie-Mackenzie monument Sligachan Isle of Skye | presently November

Finally …

Hope you enjoyed this month’s edition on Presently November, a month of traditions, cheerful feasts and holidays.

That’s a wrap from me for now, till next time. Have a wonderful month of November!

Georgina xx

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Presently October 2021| Fun folklores and traditions

Presently October 2021

In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild heavens, and the red leaves bestrew the road, and you can feel the breath of winter, morning and evening – no days so calm, so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air.”

Alexander Smith

There are all kinds of fun activities to get into in October, especially one that calls for eerie dress-ups, full moons, pumpkin patches, and autumn spiced foods. So, grab yourself a warm mug of pumpkin spiced latte, get comfortable and read on to find out all about the special presently October has in store for you.

Welcome to October e-column

About the month of October

October is the tenth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, second month of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and is the second month of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. The month of October has thirty-one days.

The word ‘October’ comes from the Latin word, ‘Octo’ meaning “eight.” The early Roman calendar started in March, so October was the eight month. Then the Romans converted to a 12-month calendar and the year started in January, with October being the tenth month.

To the Welsh, October is ‘Hydref’ which refers to the lowing of cattle.

With autumn dressing herself in bold and vibrant homely hues, of scarlet maple and golden leaves, the season creates a sense of inner calm. Along with special birthstone and birthflower, presently October takes a look at traditions and at some important events such as Octoberfest, Daylight Saving Time, Halloween and special astronomical celebrations.

October birthstone

Pictured above is Opal, unique and distinctly in a class by themselves. They are specially delicate, require special care and popularly worn.

This exotic gemstone comes in all shapes, translucent, transparent and in rainbow colours. It is a stone of good fortune, bringing an abundance of wealth, health and happiness.

October birth flower

October birth flower is the Calendula.

There are about fifteen species to the Calendula family. The bright orange and yellow daisy-like flowers are native to Asia, Central Europe and the Mediterranean. The name has its origin in the Latin word, ‘calendae’, meaning “the first day of the month”.

Since ancient times, the Calendula plant had been used for medicinal purposes. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, often used to treat infections.

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October Traditions, Festivals, Folklores and Events

Traditions, Festivals and Folklores

1 | The “Lost in the Dark” October Bells of St Mary’s Church, Twyford, Hampshire | October 7

Back in the 18th century, one Mr William Davis was riding home to Twyford, Hampshire on the evening of October 7. He was suddenly overcome by thick fog and could not see his way home. Just then, he heard the bells of St Mary’s Church ring and realised he was heading in the wrong direction. Mr Davis guided his galloping steed towards the sounds of the bells. They arrived home safely.

Later, he found out that he was only yards away from a deeply dug quarry pit. Had he gone further, he would have been killed.

Mr Davis died in 1754. In his Will, he left a pound for a peal of bells to be rung on each anniversary of October 7 and for a feast for the bell-ringers afterwards. The money ran out a long time ago but the Church continues on with the tradition. The bell-ringers of St Mary’s Church ring the bells twice, at 6:30 a.m. and at 7:00 p.m. on October 7 every year to help travellers find their direction, should they get lost in the fog.

Where: St Mary’s Church, Twyford, Hampshire, SO21 1NS.

2 | Feast Day of St Keyne | October 8

A well in Cornwall is known as a ‘holy well’ and is named after a 5th century Celtic saint, Keyne (Cain Wyry, 461-505). She was the daughter of King Brychan of Brecknock. Keyne dedicated her life to Christianity. Legend has it that she planted four trees around this  well — an oak, an elm, an ash and a willow and imparted strange powers to its waters.

According to the legend, following a wedding, the first of the marriage partners to drink from well’s waters will be the dominant partner.

Robert Southey (1774-1843) wrote a poem about this Well:

A well there is in the west country,

And a clearer one never was seen,

There is not a wife in the west country

But has heard of the well of St Keyne.”

Robert Southey, An English Poet

Location: The Holy Well of St Keyne, southeast of St Keyne’s Church, St Keyne, Liskeard PL14 4RJ, Cornwall

3 | St Luke’s Day, October 18

St Luke’s Day is special in Christianity. He is the first Christian physician on record. He is the patron saint of artists, physicians, and surgeons.

However, in England, traditionally, October 18 is set aside so girls could gain an insight into their future marriage prospects. For them to see their true love, they have to adhere to some rules.

Before they get to bed, girls will have to put a mixture of spices blended with honey and vinegar on their face. When in bed, they must recite the following rhyme:

St Luke, St Luke, be kind to me;

In dreams, let me my true love see.

4 | English Pudding Season

5 | Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest has its origins as a celebration in honour of the Bavarian royal wedding in 1810. This original beer festival is celebrated in Munich, Germany. It is celebrated with traditional costumes, rides, food and lots of beer tents. The carnival style celebration begins sometime mid September and lasts till the first Sunday in October. Over the years other capital cities has adopted this celebration in recognition of their German community and is a popular event in London.

6 | Halloween

Halloween is a celebration observed in many countries on October 31. The day is said to originate in the Christian calendar, the eve of All Hallows Day. It is a day dedicated to remembering the dearly departed, the saints and martyrs. However, there are suggestions that over time, this Halloween tradition was influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the ancient Celtic harvest festival, Sanhaim.

Samhaim marked the end of harvest and the beginning of the darker half of the year, winter. It was believed that the souls of the dead could return to Earth for one night of the year.

October – all things pumpkin and nice!

With beautiful, bright, warm and charmingly invigorating colours along with legends and Hallowee, October is also exceptional for the special aroma of spices and flavours. A unique combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice mixed together to create the tantalizing pumpkin spiced latte or pumpkin spiced cake — that little slice of heaven we, as lovers of pumpkin spice savour at this season.

Do you like pumpkin spiced latte or cake/bread? Share your views in comments below.

Quotes and Sayings in October

Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves; We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”

Humbert Wolfe

Autumn colors remind us we are all one dancing in the wind”

Lorin Morgan-Richards

All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow, and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken”

Thomas Wolfe

Rain in October means wind in December

When berries are many in October; Beware a hard winter.

If the October moon comes without frost, expect no frost till the moon of November.

October astronomical events

October 8 – 9

October 20, 2021

In skylore, Hunter’s Moon is the full moon following Harvest Moon. It usually appears in October but sometimes in early November. This year, Hunter’s Moon is said to rise on October 20 for most of the world.

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends for most countries in Europe and begins in Australia. The clocks go forward one hour from standard time in Australia as they enter summer time. The European countries go back one hour from standard time for winter.

In UK, remember to turn your clocks back at 02:00 a.m. on October 31.

What happened in September…

presently October
presently in October
presently October 2021

Articles to be published in October

old sligachan bridge isle of skye
haunted places on the Isle of Wight
Halloween quotes, captions and sayings

…and hopefully more — stay tuned

That’s a wrap from me for now, till next time. Have a super awesome month of October.

Georgina xoxo

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Presently October 2021| Fun facts and more first published at in October 2021

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Presently September 2021

Presently September 2021

And then the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and Autumn was awaked.

Raquel Franco

… and it is the wonderful month when I welcome the fresh cool air and the fragrance of the season. Colours of scarlet and gold and their gentle playfulness in the soft light of autumn. Parks are awash with spectacular colours of foliage. Fallen leaves that looks like crusts of brown sugar and cinnamon. Those scarlet and maple leaves create more beauty than I can ask for!

The equinox marks the start of this wonderful season, and harvest celebrations to look forward to with apple picking and pumpkin carving. It’s time to gather up the harvest and prepare for the winter months ahead.

While I embrace the cooler weather, I wrap my coat around me a little tighter rather than letting it flap in the breeze – a melancholy reminder that the sun has taken a step back, allowing autumn to have her moments. I love the season and all that she brings including the showers 🙂

Welcome to September e-column

About the month of September

The month of September is the ninth month in the current Gregorian calendar and comes from the old Roman word, ‘septem’. “Septem’ means ‘seven’ because it was the seventh month in the Roman calendar.

To the Anglo-Saxons, the ninth month was called ‘Gerst monath’, meaning “barley month“. They harvested barley during this time and brewed their favourite autumn drink, barley brew. They also called the month, Haefest monath which meant Harvest month.

For the Romans, the month of September was looked after by the god, Vulcan. Vulcan was the god of fire and they believed September to be associated with fires, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Presently in September, school term begins with the end of six-week long summer break.

A quick look at the history of September

Previous to the current Gregorian Calendar, Britain followed the Julian Calendar up until 1752. The Julian Calendar was based on the solar system – the time Earth takes to rotate around the Sun. Hence, a year was 365.25 days. Over time, the Julian calendar was considered inaccurate as it drifted away from astronomical events such as the winter solstice. Thus, Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 to correct the inaccuracies.

However, it is important to note that not all countries adopted the switch straightaway. It took more than three centuries for all the countries to implement the switch. Russia, Greece and Turkey were the last countries to adopt the switch as late as the early 20th century.

Note: The Gregorian calendar was born in 1582, introduced by Pope Gregory XIII

September birthstone

September birthstone is the sapphire, which is thought to guard against evil and poisoning.

Sapphire is typically blue, a colour caused by the combination of iron and titanium. The vivid medium blues are more valuable than the lighter and darker tones. Sapphires also appear in other colours. The popular ones are red, known as rubies.

Sapphires are said to symbolise purity, truth, trust and loyalty. They also encourage divine wisdom and protection.

September birth flower

September birth flower is the morning glory (above) and the aster. The aster is a symbol of powerful love while morning glory symbolises affection.

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September Traditions, Festivals and Folklores

Harvest festival in Britain

Traditionally, harvest begins on September 24. In medieval England, there were a number of ceremonies and some are still observed in rural England.

“Calling the Mare”

Calling the Mare was a ceremony where the farmers would gather the last sheaf of their harvest to prove that they had reaped the best crops. The would use the last sheaf of their harvest to shape a mare and send this to their neighbour, shouting “mare, mare”. This is to remind them that wild horses would come and eat their harvest if they didn’t gather it in quickly. The last farmer would have to keep the “mare” on display till the following year to signify he was the slowest farmer.

Corn dolls

The custom of making corn dolls dates back hundreds of years. Corn dolls are believed to be the spirit of the corn goddess.

It was believed that the corn goddess lived in the corn and would die when the corn was harvested. So, the farmers saved some of the corn. Corn dolls were weaved out of these last sheaves to make sure the corn goddess stayed alive and rest in until next spring sowing.

Traditions in Britain

Michaelmas Day

Michaelmas Day is celebrated on 29th September and is associated with the feast of St Michael, patron saint of the sea and maritime. Traditionally, the day also marks the last day of harvest.

Michaelmas Day is sometimes also known as Goose Day. Goose Fairs are held in some English towns but geese are no longer traded. A popular one is the Nottingham Goose Fair which is now held around October 3.

Note: “Lammas” meaning “loaf Mass” was a custom celebrated on August 1, to mark the beginning of harvest. On this day, farmers would bake loaves of bread from their new harvest and give it to the church. This custom stopped when King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic church. Instead, harvest day is celebrated at the end of September along with Michaelmas Day.

September Taditions around the world

Moon Festival

The Moon Festival is the second largest festival in China after the Chinese New Year. This has been celebrated in the Chinese calendar for over three-thousand years and typically takes places at the end of September in the Gregorian calendar.

The Moon Festival occurs on the full moon nearest the fall equinox, when the moon is the brightest and roundest. Celebrations involve brightly coloured lanterns, dances and games. People gather together to give thanks for their families, harvest and best wishes for long life and happiness.

Sayings and Poems in September

Sayings in September

Some popular sayings for fun:

Heavy September rains bring drought;

September dries up ditches or breaks down bridges;

Married in September’s golden glow, smooth and serene your life will go;

Poems in September

“The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze. 
–  John Updike, September

“‘Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.”
–  Thomas Moore, The Last Rose of Summer, 1830

“Lord, it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and on the meadows let the winds go loose.
Command the last fruits that they shall be full; give them another two more southerly days,
press them on to fulfillment and drive the last sweetness into the heavenly wine.”
–  Rainer Maria Rilke

Re cap since July e-column

The following are articles published in the month of August, if you had missed them:

The Jacobite Steam Train Travel in the Scottish Highlands
day trips from Milan
the London Pass
Charming City London
The Incredible History of Britain - A tapestry of humanity
Monthly e-column

That’s a wrap from me for the month of September.

Whatever you get up to, enjoy the fall colours and the gentle breeze. Soon, it will be time for log fires, cosy socks and hot chocolate with marshmallows 🙂

Till next time,

Georgina xoxo

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Presently September 2021
Presently September 2021


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Presently July 2021

Presently July 2021

The summer morn is bright and fresh,

the birds are darting by

As if they loved to breast the breeze that sweeps the cool clear sky

William C. Bryant (1794-1878)

… and it is the favourite month for picnics and ice cream

Welcome to July e-column…

About the month of July

July is the second month of summer and is on average the hottest month in the northern hemisphere! In the southern hemisphere, July is the second of the winter months, equivalent to January in the northern hemisphere.

July means summer holidays and longer days are here! Schools are nearing the end of their academic year with summer break just around the corner and families planning their summer vacation.

Longer warm days are here too, with the month dedicated to picnics along with the official ice cream day to look forward to :). Besides fun days, July brings celebrations, typical Dog Days of Summer and this year in 2021, the greatest all time favourite sports of UEFA Euro 2020 and The Championships Wimbledon! An awesome month of July 2021 indeed!

A quick look at the History of ‘July’

Unlike the months of May and June that are named after Greek goddesses, July has its origins in a mortal who ruled an empire. Julius Caesar was a Roman general, statesman, a historian turned dictator and reformed the Roman calendar. He was assassinated in a legendary fashion during Ides of March.

Julius Caesar is responsible for the calendar as we know it today – twelve months, 365 days and a leap year every 4 years based on the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. However, the Julian calendar was inaccurate with some missing days. The Gregorian calendar which we now follow was born in 1582 to correct these inaccuracies.

As we know, July is the seventh month of the year but in the Roman times, it was the fifth month and was called ‘Quintilius’ which means ‘fifth’. The month was renamed ‘Julius’ in honour of Caesar who was born on 12 July.

The Anglo-Saxons called the month of July ‘Heymonath’ which refer to ‘haymaking’ or ‘Maed monath’ that refers to the ‘flowering of meadows’.


The July birthstone is the ‘ruby’. Rubies are believed to protect the wearer from evil.

The word ‘ruby’ is derived from the Latin word ‘rubeus’ which means ‘red’. High quality rubies are transparent, vibrant, purplish red. Cloudier rubies are less valuable.


The birth flowers for the month of July are the ‘larkspur’ and the stunningly beautiful ‘water lily’.

Larkspur generally symbolises good luck, laughter and lightness. The white form is a symbol of lightheartedness; pink means fickleness and purple is for first love.

The majestic water lily‘ instantly enhances a quiet pond or lake with its colourful flowers and beautifully shaped leaves.

The starry flowers and uniquely shaped leaves float placidly on water while deeply rooted in mud below. Water lily bloom in a range of colours from spring through to autumn. The stay rooted in the mud over winter and regrow the following year. It’s leaves can be rounded, star-shaped, jagged or straight.

The ‘water lily’ represents  innocence, purity, fertility, pleasure, celebration, hope, rebirth, wellness, and peace in many ancient cultures. In particular, the flower is associated with re-birth in Buddhism and Hinduism because they close-up in winter and re-open in spring. Besides its religious meaning, water lily is generally a symbol of all that is true, good and beautiful, representing good fortune, peace and enlightenment. 

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The UK is no stranger to traditions often celebrated with festivals and regatta. With summer sunshine well underway in July, the month has a number of festivals to look forward to. Here are four that are popular:

1 | Henley Royal Regatta

It has been a tradition since 1839 where the Henley Royal Regatta takes place during the first week of July. The Regatta started on a single afternoon of rowing and now, over five days. The rowing takes place on a stretch of River Thames at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. However, this year the event is scheduled to take place in Henley from Wednesday, 11 to Sunday, 15 August 2021.

2 | Swan Upping

Swan Upping is the annual census of swans that takes place on River Thames in July. Swans are counted and marked on a seventy mile journey over five days up the Thames.

3 | Whitstable Oyster Festival and St James’ Day

The Whitstable Oyster Festival traditionally falls on July 25. It is the accepted day for the festival in conjunction with the feast day of St James of Compostella, who is the patron saint of oysters.

The town of Whitstable on the north coast of Kent is associated with oysters for hundreds of years. Relying on customs and traditions, the festival has evolved from year to year, while retaining its individual character and continues on till today. The roots of the festival goes back to Norman times. Whitstable was an established fishing port and it was customary then for the fishermen to celebrate with an annual thanksgiving ceremony.

4 | Haymaking

We have all heard the phrase and the wisdom associated with – “to make hay while the sun shines” – to make the most use of a favourable situation while it lasts. It can’t be truer when it comes to haymaking!

July is the month for haymaking!. All across the country, hay is being cut.

To make hay, the field is cut.  The grass spread, and turned over three or four times until it is dry. Then it is rowed up, baled and put in a barn as quickly as possible before the rain comes. The process can take up to a week. If it rains in the middle of the process, the hay must be left in the field until the sun comes out to dry it off.

Lores, sayings and poems in July

1 | St Swithin’s Day

St Swithin’s Day takes place on 15 July each year. According to traditional folklore, whatever the weather is on the day, it will be so for the next 40 days and 40 nights!

An old poem on this legend goes like this:

“St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain

Full forty days, it will remain

St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair

For forty days, t’will rain no more”

And the story…

St Swithin born around the year 800 and became the Bishop of Winchester. He requested that, upon his death his remains be buried outside in a simple tomb “where the sweet rain of heaven may fall upon my grave”. According to legend, when his remains were moved inside the Cathedral, there was a great storm. It rained for many days and weeks thereafter.

As the old saying goes, if it rains on St Swithin’s Day, it will rain for the next forty days and forty nights. If St Swithin’s Day is dry, the next forty days and forty nights will also be dry.

Not sure if any one takes the prediction literally but according to weather experts there is no statistical evidence to support forty days dry or forty rainy days following July 15 since records began in 1861.

2 | Poems in July

“Answer July—
Where is the Bee—
Where is the Blush—
Where is the Hay?

Ah, said July—
Where is the Seed—
Where is the Bud—
Where is the May—
Answer Thee—Me—”

Emily Dickinson, “Answer July”

“Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.” 

Sara Coleridge, “Pretty Lessons in Verse”

“The Summer looks out from her brazen tower,

Through the flashing bars of July.” 

Francis Thompson, “A Corymbus for Autumn”

“The serene philosophy of the pink rose is steadying.  Its fragrant, delicate petals open fully and are ready to fall, without regret or disillusion, after only a day in the sun.  It is so every summer.  One can almost hear their pink, fragrant murmur as they settle down upon the grass: ‘Summer, summer, it will always be summer.'”

Rachel Peden

3 | Other folklores associated with the month of July

Ne’er trust a July sky.

If ant hills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.

No tempest, good July, Lest the corn look ruely.

Whatever July and August do not boil, September can not fry.

Celebrations in the month of July

July 1 is the National Day of Canada. It celebrates the anniversary of July 1, 1867, the effective date of the Constitution Act.

Annual celebration of the much loved classic children’s book – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

july 4th | presently July 2021

July 4 is the American Independence Day. A national holiday celebrating the anniversary of July 4, 1776, the day on which the original 13 colonies of the United States declared independence from British rule.


World Chocolate Day July 7 2021 – Celebrating all things chocolate! 🙂


July 11 2021. The UEFA EURO 2020 final takes place on Sunday 11 July kicking off at 21:00 CET postponed from 12 July 2020. Wembley will also host the semi-finals on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 July.

July 14 2021 – Celebrating French Independence. Bastille Day is a holiday celebrating the storming of the Bastille, military fortress and prison which took place on July 14, 1789. A violent uprising that helped usher in the French Revolution.


The Olympics – the world’s biggest sporting event, held every four years. Scheduled to be held from July 23 through to August 8 2021.

Postponed from 2020, this time it will be held in Tokyo Japan.

National Picnic Month

July was founded as the National Picnic Month by the American Bakers’ Association in 1952. It seems perfectly understandable why the month is dedicated to picnics. The warm air, bright blue cloudless skies stirs up the appetite. Garden vegetables, fruits, cheese and pickles make outdoor eating easier. With longer days, there’s no rush to head home but to enjoy the warmth of the sun for as long as it affords you to.

The word ‘picnic’ is derived from the French word, ‘piquenique’ which originated around the 17th or 18th century. It means a social gathering where each one bring some food to share in a leisurely style of eating – sort of 18th century al fresco French dining. A bottle of wine, loaf of bread, lots of cheese and fruits for a leisurely meal under the blue sky.

And the best of July must surely be the National Ice Cream Day!

National Ice Cream Day is celebrated every third Sunday in July which means it is July 18 this year. A day is decreed as National Ice Cream Day by President Reagan in 1984 by describing ice cream as ‘‘a nutritious and wholesome food enjoyed by over ninety percent of the people in the United States.’’ The US still lead the way in the consumption of this delightful frozen treat but it has sparked cravings world over and is celebrated annually.

Recap since June e-column

Here are all the articles published in June and the latest in July if you have missed them:

city walking tours in Amsterdam
Royal Windsor Steam Express - Unique train travel | Scenic train journeys in UK
cycling in Amsterdam
Amsterdam by bike
canal biking in Amsterdam
Delicious Dutch culture food in Amsterdam
10 practical travel information for Amsterdam
Explore Amsterdam with superb value I Amsterdam City Card
best food walking tour in Amsterdam
Presently June 2021
Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam
Ouderkerk aan de Amstel - Amsterdam
Best of England UK
June 18 2021
Ultimate guide to the best of Amsterdam

Summer 2021 seems so different from the last. Crowded beaches, busy parks and cities are alive again, with so many of us out and about basking in the summer sunshine. The longer days are so welcoming and the warm sun just livens up a dull moment.

Whatever you get up to this July, remember your scoop on the wafer cone and time in the parks.

Till next time.


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Presently June 2021

It is the month of June,

The month of leaves and roses,

When pleasant sights salute the eyes,

And pleasant scents the noses.

– N.P. Willis (1807-67)

…. and it is the favourite month for weddings

Welcome to June’s e-column…

About the month of June

June means Summer is here! A time where things really begin to get into full swing with beautiful bouquets, delicious fruits and vegetables. Each day lasting a little bit longer and summer evenings become a treat to look forward to with the undeniable urge to get out there and enjoy the sunshine. This is not the case if you live in the southern hemisphere though. In the southern hemisphere, June is just about the time when winter starts to set in, the days are shorter and nights become cooler and fresher. Wherever you are in the world, June marks the first half of the year is here and the next six months to look forward to.

History of ‘June’

June is the sixth month in our modern day Gregorian Calendar and it was the sixth month in the Julian calendar as well. This was not always the case. June was the fourth month of the year in the earlier Roman calendar and the year was made of 10 months – all these before Julius Caesar came to power. Then, around 46 BC, the Julian Calendar was born when two months were added to the year, making it 12 months in length and June became the sixth month with 30 days.

Origins of ‘June’

There are a couple of theories on how the name ‘June’ came about. One theory rests upon the Latin word, ‘juvenis’ meaning ‘young people’ who were celebrated during this month. Another theory, and I am much inclined to accept this one is that the month was named after the Roman goddess of marriage and well-being of women, Juno.

The Anglo-Saxons called the month of June, sera monath, meaning “dry month.”

Why is the month of June popular for weddings?

Traditionally, June was the month to marry.

It was the belief that goddess Juno, for whom the month of June is named was the protector of women in all aspects of life, especially so in marriage and in childbearing. Therefore, a wedding in June was considered most auspicious.

June weddings also comes from the Celtic calendar. On the Cross-Quarter Day of Beltane, (May Day, May 1), young couples were paired off for three months. If their courtship lasted the duration, they would wed on the next Cross-Quarter Day (Lammas Day, August 1). However, the waiting period was shortened and the couples would wed in June, thereby bringing about the popularity of June weddings.

Aside from traditions, June makes a perfect month to marry because the weather is better, more predictable (less rain) and makes it easier for guests to travel to get to the wedding venue.

June birthstone

June’s birthstone is generally considered to be the Pearl, along with Alexandrite and Moonstone. Pearl is by far the most popular of the three. With their natural beauty, pearls have been beloved for centuries.

Pearls are associated with purity, honesty and calmness. It is said that if you dream of a pearl ring, then expect romance to come your way. The ancient Greeks believed that pearls were the tears of joy from the goddess of love, Aphrodite. The ancient Egyptians associated pearls with Isis, the goddess of healing and life.

This natural gem with exquisite white lustre, has a demure glow, and create a look that’s simple, elegant and appropriate for any occasion.

Alexandrite – an extremely rare gem that changes colour. In the daylight, it is blueish green and becomes purplish red in incandescent light.

Moonstone – a gem that shimmers like moonlight. The clearer the gem, and bluer the sheen, the more valuable it is.

June birthflower

Presently June 2021
Presently June 2021

June’s birth-flowers are the rose and honeysuckle – both associated with all things love, desire, generosity and affection.

Rose – has inspired many poets and painters for centuries and has more symbolic meanings than one can imagine! A pink rose is said to mean ‘happiness’, a red rose means ‘I love you’ while a white rose represents ‘innocence, purity and new beginnings’

Honeysuckle strongly means ‘everlasting bonds of love’

June – Folklore, Festivals, Superstitions & Traditions

Summer solstice

Summer solstice – the longest daylight hours of the year is June 21 or it could be June 22 on a leap year. It is the day when the sun is at the most northerly point which creates “the longest day” of the year.

Summer solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge, Wiltshire to a great extend. Thousands gather to watch the sunrise on this special day of the year with cheering and revelling. Stonehenge is a sacred place for the Druid and pagan community who perform rituals, invoking a great sense of awe and humility.

Read > Stonehenge – A Sophisticated Architecture. Learn more about summer solstice celebrations along with the possible theories surrounding the construction of these huge stones which have stood there for thousands of years and no one knows how it got there!

Midsummer’s Day

Midsummer’s day comes after the summer solstice, the longest day in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day in the southern hemisphere. which is the middle of summer – on June 24. It is a day associated with witches, magic, fairies and dancing.

Traditionally, on the eve of Midsummer’s day, many bonfires were lit all around the country. This was done in praise of the sun, as the days were getting shorter and the sun appeared weaker. So, bonfires were lit to energise the sun.

Superstitions associated with Midsummer’s Day

As we know, roses are special in June. Roses were even more special on the eve of Midsummer’s Day. Superstition has it that any rose picked on the eve of Midsummer’s Day will keep fresh until Christmas. It has also been said at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve, girls should scatter rose petals before them and, the next day their true love will visit them.

Well Dressing

Presenly June 2021 | Well Dressing
© Well Dressing Derbyshire

There are ceremonies called ‘Well Dressing’ that takes place at various times during June as well as throughout summer. Wells of fresh water and springs that come from underground streams have always been considered special, so some wells are decorated with greenery and beautiful pictures of flowers and moss.

Some Well Dressing events for 2021 are cancelled but you could look up locations via Derbyshire Well Dressing link for a future visit.

Weather-lore and sayings

‘A calm June puts the farmer in tune’

‘June damp and warm, does the farmer no harm’

Recap of what has been happening since May e-column

The month of May flew by very quickly – with more walks in the local country parks, trips local and away, and birthdays to celebrate, along with more writing on the city of canals. Here are all the articles written and published in the month of May and up to the latest in June:

Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam
3rd June 2021
Ouderkerk aan de Amstel - Amsterdam
1st June 2021
Amsterdam Bos Netherlands
30th May 2021
Amsterdam Uithoorn
27th May 2021
Amsterdam | See and Do | rent a bike
24th May 2021
Stroopwafels in Amsterdam
22nd May 2021
Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
13th May 2021
Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397
11th May 2021
Amsterdam City and Regional Public Transport Travel Pass
11th May 2021
best value public transport ticket for Amsterdam
8th May 2021
Amsterdam Inspiration - Travel quotes and sayings
6th May 2021
Lady Arbella Stuart | History
2nd May 2021

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On a final note…

The month of June is an interesting one and certainly made me smile when I stumbled upon the lore on the rose petals in my research. I must admit, I did not know very much about the Well Dressing festival or how widely it is celebrated still in modern day , so I hope to make it to one of the festivals next year. As well, what a beautiful portrayal of the priceless jewel, pearls – a natural gem every girl should be bestowed with along with roses of all colours 🙂

I am hopeful that the month of June henceforth will bring good days of warmer sunshine and will make exploring UK possible. I have a few trips planned this summer, bbq Sundays with family & friends and I look forward to some relaxing ‘me’ time.

Whatever you get up to, have a splendid rest of the month of June.

Till next time,


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Presently May 2021

Presently May 2021

As the first day of May dawns, it begins with celebration of May Day that dates back to ancient times. Rich in folklores of maypoles, Morris dancing and May queens, the day is now known as Labour Day or International Workers Day. The day also marks the mid-point to summer in the northern hemisphere, and the beginning of autumn in southern hemisphere. The beautiful month of May ushers in longer and warmer days where the fresh cold winds of winter are gone! With birds chirping, rainbow hues of spring flowers everywhere, and right about the time when delicate, beautiful Lily of the Valleys and Hawthorne adorn the grounds, hopeful of joyful, fun and bbq days ahead 🙂

Whilst we work hard to be accurate, and provide the best information as possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out.

About the Month of May

May is the fifth month in the Gregorian Calendar, has thirty-one days and is associated with spring in Northern hemisphere and autumn in Southern hemisphere. May 1st is notable for its May Day celebrations – spring celebrations which has its roots in medieval and astronomy. However, May Day has developed into a celebration of workers day worldwide, popularly known as Labor/Labour Day. The day is a public holiday in European countries, the Russian Federation and in some Asian countries. In USA, Canada and Australia, the date is said to vary.

In UK, the first Monday in May has been a bank holiday in Scotland since 1871. The early bank holiday Monday in May was only introduced to the rest of UK in 1978.

Origins of ‘May’

May is named after the Greek fertility goddess, Maia who was celebrated for the growth of plants. The month is a time for great celebrations in the the northern hemisphere as it is the time of ‘rebirth’ where the flowers begin to bloom and crops begin to sprout.

The Anglo-Saxon called the month of May, ‘Tri-Milchi’ because with the lush new grass meant that the cows could be milked three times a day! The month was first referred as ‘May’ in about 1430s. Prior to this, the month was Maius, Mayes or Mai.

May birthstone

May birthdays fall right in the heart of spring and those born in this special month can proudly call Emerald as their birthstone. Emerald carries a rich green colour of spring and radiates a beautiful and brilliant tone. Emerald, derived from the word “smaragdus,” means, quite literally, “green” in Greek. A symbol of ‘rebirth’. Emerald is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth.

May birth flower

May adorns us with the delicate and sweet scent of Lily of the Valley and Hawthorn as its birth flower. There are many myths and legends surrounding these flowers.

Lily of the Valley

Lily-of the-Valley are one of the most fragrant blooming plants that has been around since at least 1000 B.C. This spring flower is a moisture loving, woodland flowering plant. They are sweetly scented, nodding and bell-shaped white flowers. The stems are of medium bright green. Lily of the Valley flowers grows easily and are native throughout cool temperate northern hemisphere. Red seed pods remains after flowering which makes Lily of the Valley attractive after blooming and very carefree.

With its delicate flowers and sweet scent, Lily of the Valley is a favourite of many. The flowers are a special favourite of royal brides.

There are many myths and legends that surrounds the origins of Lily of the Valley. Here are just two:

Some say that the Lily of the Valley appeared when Eve’s tears fell after she was evicted from the Garden of Eden. Others say that when St Leonard fought a fearless fight against a dragon, the lilies appeared wherever the brave warrior’s blood fell.

The sweetly scented Lily of the Valley is said to symbolise humility, sweetness and the return of happiness – a perfect gift for Mother’s Day should it fall in the month of May.


Hawthorne hedges have been around since Roman times and are a favourite for bees and about three hundred species of insects. They commonly grow freely in hedgerows, woodland and scrubs. While they grow well in most soil, they flower and fruit best in full sun. Hawthorne are also no stranger to gathering numerous folklore and superstitions.

Hawthorne: pale green leaves, pale pink flowers – sign of spring turning to summer.

Hawthorne fruits known as “Haws”

Hawthorne’s pale green leaves are the first to appear in spring with an explosion of pale pink blossoms in May – a sign that spring is turning to summer. Flowers are highly scented, white or occasionally pink with five petals, and grow in flat-topped clusters. Its fruits, once pollinated by insects, develop into deep-red fruits known as ‘haws’.

The myths and legends surrounding Hawthorne are many and here are two:

Hawthorne is a pagan symbol of fertility and associated to May Day since ancient times. It was used as Maypole and its flowers and leaves were used for May Day garlands and wreaths for the Green Man! Hawthorne is also associated with death and must never be brought into the home. It is believed that Hawthorne blossom inside the house will bring about death, illness and grave misfortune. In medieval times, the smell of Hawthorne flowers was equated to the smell of death, the Great Plague.

Having said that, the following is going to make you smile 🙂 – something that is associated with death, Hawthorne timber is used for making cabinets and veneers as well as boxes, tool handles and boat parts. It also makes good firewood and said to burn to high temperatures. As for the young leaves, flower buds and young flowers – they are all edible! They can be added to salads and the developing flower buds are said to be particularly good, though you are not advised to eat the haws.

About ‘May Day’

In UK, as in most parts of western Europe, May Day marks the end of harsh winter months. Although summer does not officially begin until June but May Day has traditionally been noted as the beginning of summer. May Day celebrations in UK has gone on since Roman times for 2000 years. The Romans celebrated the Festival of Flora, goddess of fruit and flower which marked the beginning of summer. The festival was celebrated from April 28 through to May 3.

Origins of May Day

May Day is said to have its roots in astronomy! The ancient Celts believed that May 1 is the half-way point between spring equinox and summer solstice. The solstices and equinoxes were called “Quarter Days” and the mid-points was called “Cross-Quarter Days” marking the beginning of a season.  Equinoxes, solstices and cross-quarter days are all points of Earth’s orbit around the sun.

May Day Traditions and Celebrations

Many villages across Britain celebrate the ancient spring May Day festivals of maypole, Morris dancing, music and entertainment.

The Maypole Dance

The Maypole Dance has its origins with ancient Celts. The ancient Celts celebrated ‘Beltane’ to mark the peak of spring and the beginning of summer. The word ‘Beltane’ originates from the Celtic word ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’ and ‘teine’ from the Gaelic word meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright Fire’, or ‘Goodly Fire’ and traditionally bonfires were lit to honour the Sun. In ancient times, the Celts also danced around a real tree brought-in from the woods, praying for good crops and fertility. The tall tree (pole) usually garlanded with greenery and flowers and hung with ribbons. These ribbons were woven into complex patterns by the dancers. The dances are part of spring rites to ensure fertility.

Watch Beltane Fire Festival Edinburgh Virtually

For the younger generation, maypole day was a day for courtship. If a couple were paired by sundown, then their courtship would continue for six weeks to get to know each other. They will then marry on Midsummer’s Day in June. Maypoles are still part of some village life and villages dance around it.

In some parts of Britain, May 1st is known as Garland Day. Children from English rural villages would parade with garlands of flowers, sometimes fastened to a stick.

Morris Dancing

Beltane Border Morris Dance

Another tradition that is seen throughout May is Morris Dancing. This is a traditional English form of folk dancing performed by a group of men or women. Morris Dancing has been performed for hundreds of years in villages of rural England and passed down from generation to generation. They wear different colours of clothes depending on which part of the country they come from. There are several thoughts as to its origin and is believed to have originated from the Moors of North Africa. Many different groups perform Morris Dancing at the Medway Sweeps Festival.

Learn more about Morris Dancing > Morris Ring, Tradition and History

Other festivals, traditions and celebrations

Although the May Day celebrations had been observed for centuries, with even Jack-in-the-Green making an appearance in Hastings and May Queen being crowned, but over time, the celebrations have altered from their ancient folk roots, becoming more centred towards their own communities, while still embracing their traditions. If you would like to attend one such festival, look up some of the following best traditional May Day events:

The Clun Green Man Festival, Shropshire | Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh >> Watch it Virtually | Jack-in-the-Green Festival, Hastings | Helston Flora and Furry Dance, Cornwall

May Day Superstition

First thing in the morning of the 1st day of May, young girls rush out to the garden to wash their face in the morning May dew. The reason being – there is an old tale that says there are magical properties in the May dew, that anyone who washed their face in it will have a beautiful complexion all through the year. This dew is supposed to remove freckles and pimples.

Interesting customs in May

Oak Apple Day

Oak Apple Day or ‘Pinch Bum Day’ takes place on May 29, and is a day where traditionally people wear oak apples or oak leaves pinned to them. This is to remember that on May 29, King Charles II returned safely to London, triumphantly restoring the monarchy in 1660. It became customary for people to wear the oak apple or oak leaves to show support for the King who took refuge in an oak tree, escaping his captors. Until the 20th century, anyone caught not wearing an oak apple or an oak leave could be punished.

Arbor Tree Day

Arbor Day is the last Sunday in May. In Aston-on-Clun, Shropshire, a large tree in the centre of the village is decorated with flags. The flags stay on the tree until the following May.

According to legend, the local landowner, John Marston married on May 29, 1786. He and his bride were passing through the village when the villages were celebrating Arbor Day. His bride thought that the tree looked so beautiful covered in flags that she gave money to the village so the custom would continue. This tradition has been observed today.

Rhymes, Quotes and Sayings about the month of May

The month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful; the blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding, the cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before the brightness of the summer.

Lady Gregory

In the marvellous month of May when all the buds were bursting, then in my heart did love arise. In the marvellous month of May when all the birds were singing, then did I reveal to her my yearning and longing.

Heinrich Heine

Another May new buds and flowers shall bring: Ah! Why has happiness no second Spring?

Charlotte Smith

Recap of what has been happening since April e-column

With the onset of brighter and warmer days, April was a beautiful month to get out and about, to enjoy the sunshine, exploring local country park and on long walks to burn-off that winter “gain”. It is also time to awaken my favourite friend, Canon that had slept a little while under the silken dust. Somehow, all things seem possible in the month of May.

On the writing front, the Tower of London and related articles on History of Britain series is now complete, for the moment at least and Easy Sunday Read will return in fall, September 5th. There’s more to look forward to on the Tower and History of Britain which I hope to share in the future. April was also a month to catch-up on Europe – more travel inspiration can be found on Amsterdam. In case you missed April’s publications, these are listed below:

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On a final note…

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about the month of May – I certainly enjoyed the research and learning about the superstitions and folklores associated with May. Lily of the Valley is one of my favourite spring flowers but nothing beats the bright daffodils for me! I never knew about the associated tales with Hawthorne and now I do. As the days are longer and warmer, I look forward to weekends with family and friends, BBQ Sundays and red wine – I think it is possible to do all of these this summer.

Whatever you get up to, have a splendid rest of the month of May.

Till next time,

Georgina xoxo

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