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
Chrysanthemums.
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

Sources

timeanddate.com


Presently September 2021 first published at timelesstravelsteps.com

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The month of September | Presently September 2021 | September e-column | About the month of September | Gregorian calendar | Folklore in September | Traditions in September | Festivals in September | Harvest festivals in September | Michaelmas Day | Lammas | Poems in September | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/The month of September | Presently September 2021 | September e-column | About the month of September | Gregorian calendar | Folklore in September | Traditions in September | Festivals in September | Harvest festivals in September | Michaelmas Day | Lammas | Poems in September | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

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’.

Birthstone

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.

Birthflower

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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Traditions

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

canada.day.presently.july.2021

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

alice.in.wonderland.july.summer.2021

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.

chocolate.summer.july.2021

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

wembley.stadium

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.

bastille.day

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.

olympic.summer.2021

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.

xoxo


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Month of July | Why is July important | What is special about July | Origins of July | July birthstone | July birth flower | Water lily | Presently July 2021 | Celebrations in July | National Picnic Month | Ice Cream Day | Haymaking in July | Ruby July birthstone | Pems of July | Folklores of July | Festivals in July | Henley Royal Regatta | World Chocolate Day | 4th July American Independence Day | Canada Day | St Swithins Day | Whitstable Oyster Festival | Larkspur | Julius Caesar | Gregorian Calendar via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Month of July | Why is July important | What is special about July | Origins of July | July birthstone | July birth flower | Water lily | Presently July 2021 | Celebrations in July | National Picnic Month | Ice Cream Day | Haymaking in July | Ruby July birthstone | Pems of July | Folklores of July | Festivals in July | Henley Royal Regatta | World Chocolate Day | 4th July American Independence Day | Canada Day | St Swithins Day | Whitstable Oyster Festival | Larkspur | Julius Caesar | Gregorian Calendar via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Presently June 2021

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,

xoxo

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June is a time where things really begin to get into full swing with beautiful scents and longer summer evenings - but there is more to the month of June...birthstones, flowers, lores and traditions. Read on and find out what they are. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/June is a time where things really begin to get into full swing with beautiful scents and longer summer evenings - but there is more to the month of June...birthstones, flowers, lores and traditions. Read on and find out what they are. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

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

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:

AMSTERDAM

Tower of London + History of Britain


Subscribe and Stay Connected with Timeless Travel Steps


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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Presently May 2021
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Presently May 2021 first published at timelesstravelsteps.com

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As May dawns, the month brings superstitions, folklores, festivals and brighter, longer days ... learn more about the Month of May via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/As May dawns, the month brings superstitions, folklores, festivals and brighter, longer days ... learn more about the Month of May via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Presently April 2021

Presently April 2021

Presently April, the month that begins with fun and jokes, a custom that has gone on for hundreds of years. The Cuckoo signals the spring, although spring has officially been onboard as of 1 March. The trees and plants starts “to open” and begin to grow with brighter and clearer days (hopefully!) in the northern hemisphere. The grass grows green and charming daisies bloom here and there which is also right about the time when the Easter bunny makes an appearance. In the midst of cheerful, bright and clear days, the month brings April rains which calls for umbrellas and rain boots as well.

More about ‘April’

History of ‘April’

Well, as we know, the month of April is the fourth month of the year and consist of thirty days. However, this was not always the case. In early Roman calendar, April was the second month and consisted of twenty-nine days. Then it became the fourth month consisting of twenty-nine days when January was designated the first month in the calendar – this took place around 450BC. Then, the 30th day was added by Julius Caesar when he established the new calendar.

Today, April remains the fourth month of the year with thirty days in the Gregorian calendar. The month is associated with spring in the Northern hemisphere while it is autumn in the Southern hemisphere.

Not sure if you noticed – the month of April starts on the same day of the week as July and ends on the same day of the week as December in common years. When in leap years, April starts on the same day of the week as January.

Origins of ‘April’

No one really knows how the name ‘April’ originated but it is believed that it derived from the Latin word, aperit which means “to open”. Aptly named because April is the growing season and trees and flowers begin “to open.” April is also believed to be named after the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

The Anglo-Saxon named the month Eostre monath or Eastremonath because the Christian festival, Easter is celebrated during April. Easter is often regarded a moveable feast because the date is set according to the moon. Easter Sunday could be the first Sunday after the full moon, which means Easter can be as early as March 22 or April 25. This year, Easter was celebrated on April 4, 2021.

April Fool’s Day

The month begins with April Fool’s Day. It has been a custom where the first day of the month is a day of fun and silly jokes. No one knows how it began but it has gone on for hundreds of years.

April Fool's Day quote

The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”

Mark Twain

The Cuckoo in UK

April column

Listen out to the spring time call of the cuckoo, sometime mid-April when they return from Africa to start their nesting behaviour. Traditionally, the first cuckoo is heard around April 14, St Tiburtius’ Day and sings through to St John’s Day, 24 June. The cuckoo is heard at various places across UK on different dates. The first sighting is often in Isle of Scilly, the far south-west and then gradually moves north. Some places hold cuckoo fairs to welcome spring. There’s a saying that the cuckoo is not heard before Tenbury Fair (21 April) or after Pershore Fair (26 June) in Worcesterhire.

Cuckoo rhyme

Some traditional fairs held as ‘Cuckoo Day’ or ‘Cuckoo Fairs’

Marsden Cuckoo Festival, West Yorkshire – An annual ancient festival of dance, music and sunshine to mark the arrival of spring. Historically takes place on the last Saturday of April;

Heathfield Cuckoo Fair, East Sussex – An annual tradition since 1315 to mark the arrival of spring on the Saturday in late April. “Dame Heffle” releases a cuckoo from her basket to mark this unique event.

Downton Cuckoo Fair, Salisbury, Wiltshire – An annual traditional event to mark “opening the gate” to let the cuckoo through-first weekend in May.

April birthstone

Those born in the month of April can proudly call one of the world’s most sought-after and adored gemstone, diamond as their birthstone. The name ‘diamond’ comes from the Greek word, “adamas” which means “invincible” or “unbreakable”. The gem symbolises inner strength, and clarity. It is thought that the wearer benefits from balance and abundance.

April’s birth flower

By April, spring is (should be) in full swing and April’s birth flowers begin to make their presence known. April’s birth flowers are the daisy and the sweet pea.

Daisy

Daisies - Spring here, there and everywhere
Regent’s Park London | Daisy – springs up here, there and everywhere

The all too familiar rhyme of “he loves me, he loves me not” is associated with Daisy, a flower that is said to convey innocence, loyal love and purity. Yet, it is a flower given between friends to keep a secret – it means “I’ll never tell”

daisy.april.flower.colours

There are about twenty-five varieties of colourful Daisy but the most well known one is our humble common daisy or the Oxeye daisy – white and yellow flower heads brightening up paths, verges and lawns here, there, everywhere. Perhaps the following poem sums up the best of Daisy:

There is a flower, Innocent and bright, Silver crest and goldeneye, sweetly simple and charming;

Standing tall, out of a sky of green, springing up here and there;

It tells you of sunny times, and gay meadows; Where water, wind and birdsong sings a soothing symphony, to calm the hurt of times gone by;

So, as daisies bloom, here, there and everywhere – it speaks of hope, a unique melody;

In the midst of simplicity, where it stands up, like a star – Innocent and bright eyed.

G.D

Sweet pea

April birth flower - sweet pea
April birth flower – sweet pea
April birth flower - sweet pea
April birth flower – sweet pea

The other of April birth flower is the sweet pea – a climbing plant that bear clusters of flowers in a wide variety of beautiful vibrant colours including red, pink, blue, white, and lavender along with intense fragrance. They have a long season of bloom and make excellent cut flowers.

Sweet pea originated in the southwest of Italy and the Mediterranean islands, eventually cultivated as garden flowers in 17th century. They lend a cottage feel to gardens and often grown on bamboo tripods.

There’s a beautiful poem by Alfred Noyes that says all about Sweet Pea:

Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths, they smelt so good.
Then, with strange enchanted eyes,
I saw them change to butterflies.

Higher than the skylark sings
I saw their fluttering crimson wings
Leave their garden-trellis bare
And fly into the upper air.

Standing in an elfin trance
Through the clouds I saw them glance….
Then I stretched my hands up high
And touched them in the distant sky.

At once the coloured wing came back
From wandering in the zodiac.
Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths. They smelt so good.

by Alfred Noyes

April astronomy – Super Full Pink Moon April 2021

Catch a glimpse of the first of the two supermoons in 2021 in the northern hemisphere. The supermoon in April is traditionally known as Pink Moon.

Learn more about lunar phases, supermoons and more from Royal Museums Greenwich | Visit Greenwich, a historical town where Time began

UK readers – venture outside on the night/early hours of Tuesday 27 April, 2021 when the full pink moon is expected to peak at 04:31. However, the moon shall be visible after sunset and you can follow its progress and watch it peak at 4:31 a.m.

USA readers – venture outside on the night of Monday 26 April 2021. The super Pink Moon is visible after sunset and is said to peak at 11:33 p.m. EDT.

Origins of full moon names

The full moon names have several sources. They came from Native Americans, Colonial Americans and European sources.

Time was not recorded using months in accordance with Julian or Gregorian calendar by the early Native Americans. Tribes gave each full moon a nickname to keep track of time and lunar months. Most of these names relate to an activity or an event that took place at a specific location. As one can imagine, there was no uniformity of a “system” as tribes named and counted moons differently. For example, some counted four seasons in a year while others said five. A year was defined as twelve moons while some said there were thirteen!

Although the “system” lacked uniformity, the Colonial Americans adopted some of the moon names and applied them to their own calendar system, hence their present existence.

Why is the April full moon called the “Pink Moon”

Phlox Subulata | April
Phlox Subulata also known as Pink Moss
Phlox in various colours
Phlox in various colours

However, as mystical as the April full moon name may seem, the super Pink Moon in April is not pink!. It was named by the Native Americans after the pink wildflowers which appear around this time in North America, called Phlox Subulata. This pink bloom is native to eastern North America and is also known as moss pink. Another name to given to Pink Moon is Egg Moon because of egg-laying season in spring, while the coastal tribe named the April moon as Fish Moon, referring to the shad swimming upstream around this time.

April Meteor showers

April is a great month to spot some spectacular night sky displays, gracing us with bright and fast meteors. Associated with Comet Thatcher, these meteors come with trains and are at their optimum on 22 April 2021. You could also witness them from 13 April through to 29 April.

Meteor showers make great photography opportunity if you want to capture that milky way! :). Learn more on > How to spot a meteor shower.

April rhymes

April is no stranger to rhymes and there are just one too many to share here but here are three that you may like.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day.

When the sun is out and the wind is still,

You’re one month on in the middle of May.

But if you so much as dare to speak,

a cloud come over the sunlit arch,

And wind comes off a frozen peak,

And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”

–  Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time, 1926 

Oh, how fresh the wind is blowing!

See! The sky is bright and clear,

Oh, how green the grass is growing!

April! April! Are you here?

Dora R. Goodale (1866-1953)

April cold with dripping rain,

Willows and lilacs brings again,

The whistle of returning birds,

And trumpet-lowing of the herds.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

April in history

Famous people born in April – Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci

The ship Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on its first and only voyage – 15 April 1912.

George Washington became the first President of the United States of America on 30 April 1789.

The explosion of Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine forced everyone within a 300-mile radius to be evacuated – 26 April 1986.

First Olympics of the modern age took place on 6 April 1896 – after 1500 years.

For all Mustang lovers – Ford unveiled its first Mustang 17 April 1964 for $2368!


Recap of what has been going on so far since March e-column

March had been a busy month – with Lent, Mothering Sunday, spring cleaning, writing and nature walks – not sure where the month had gone!!

On the writing front, there were Easy Sunday Read articles along with travel articles on Isle of Wight, one of England’s haven. As well, a couple of articles on English Heritage, an excellent value for money Pass to visit some of the most iconic of England’s priceless sites for a small fee. Please find all of these articles below, if you had missed them previously:

Easy Sunday Read articles on History of Britain

Articles on Isle of Wight


English Heritage

What to look forward in April

There are couple more related articles on History of Britain and the Tower which will come your way this month as easy Sunday read before this part of the series is concluded. As travel within UK is looking likely in the coming months, there are some articles on Isle of Wight which will be in your inbox as well. If you are planning to travel abroad, please visit Best offer on Winter Sun and Summers at the Beach for some impressive value for money travel offers.

On a final note…

We know “April showers bring May flowers,” – if April rains ever gets you down, remember the silver lining round the corner! Look forward to sharing more in May.

Have an awesome month of April!

Georgina xx

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Presently April 2021
Presently April 2021
Presently April 2021
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April, the month that begins with fun and jokes, where the cuckoo returns and the trees + plants begin to open...learn more about this special month of the year. April spring | Spring in England | Springtime | April | April Fools Day | Cuckoo Festivals | Cuckoo | Cuckoo sings via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/April, the month that begins with fun and jokes, where the cuckoo returns and the trees + plants begin to open...learn more about this special month of the year. April spring | Spring in England | Springtime | April | April Fools Day | Cuckoo Festivals | Cuckoo | Cuckoo sings via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Presently March 2021

Presently March 2021

With Spring officially onboard as of March 1st, it comes with a gentle spirit, warming up slowly with longer days and brighter skies. The flowers come, one by one with uplifting confidence. While snowdrops and crocuses carpet the ground, there is none so pretty that rises from the earth, standing up bright and commands the playfulness in nature than the narcissus.

March birth flower

March and we see the budding buds of the daffodils come to bloom, embodying Spring like none other. Affectionately known as March’s birth flower, the cheerful yellow daffodils represent rebirth and new beginnings as it is the first to bloom after the winter frost. Though these beautiful spring buds also come in white and orange, it is the yellow hues that brings much brightness and cheer to the gardens and parks.

Widely cultivated in Holland and in Britain, the daffodils has its origins in the Mediterranean where it was grown by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Known as Narcissus in Latin, the flower was named after a character in Greek mythology, the son of the river god who was celebrated for his beauty. It has been said that he loved himself too much and his arrogance led him to his own death where he fell into the river and drowned while staring at his own reflection. The flowers growing along the river were named after him. For this reason, daffodils are sometimes known to symbolise vanity.

In England, daffodils are also referred to as ‘Lent Lillies’ or ‘Lenten Lillies’. The term is adopted from a poem written by A.E. Housman because they typically bloom between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

Beyond representing rebirth, new beginnings and as a symbol of vanity, the March flower hold different meanings to different cultures as well. For the Chinese, the daffodils represent good luck and prosperity as they bloom around Chinese New Year. In Wales, daffodils are the national flower, representing faithfulness as it reblooms year after year. The cancer care society, Marie Curie uses daffodil as its symbol to represent hope for a cure. Above all, the daffodils are said to symbolise unequalled love, so giving this cheerful, bright flowers to someone would symbolise deep love that cannot be imitated.

What else about March in UK

March Equinox

presently march 2021 sunrise stonehenge
Sunrise over Stonehenge, Salisbury, England

While according to the meteorological calendar, spring will always start on March 1 and end on May 31, the astronomical calendar marks the first day of spring on March 20, the spring equinox. The spring equinox is also known as March equinox or vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. With the Northern Hemisphere welcoming spring, the Southern Hemisphere welcomes autumn.

Each year, Spring Equinox is celebrated at Stonehenge by the Druids and Pagans. They gather very early in the morning to see the sunrise above the stones. This moment is special because day and night are of equal length all over the world, hence the word “equinox” which means equal night.

The Spring Equinox celebration 2021 is cancelled as England is under a lockdown at the moment.

If you wish to visit Stonehenge, English Heritage will re-open its doors on April 12. Tickets are available to book. You could also take up an annual membership for £48.00 and have unlimited access to Stonehenge as well as to over 400 historic properties for great days out.

Read > Stonehenge – A sophisticated architecture which includes a complete guide on how to get to this remarkable wonder

UK – Notable dates and events in March

St Piran’s Day – March 5

St Piran’s Day is the national day of Cornwall, the southern most corner of mainland UK. St Piran is an Irish saint that came to Cornwall and discovered tin.

Legend has it that he sailed to Cornwall on a millstone that was actually tied around his neck when he was cast into the Atlantic sea by people who were jealous of his work miracles. He was thrown off the cliff but as he reached the sea, the sun came out and he was seen seated on the millstone, floating on the waters which took him safely across to Cornwall. He landed between Newquay and Perranporth at Perran Beach which bears his name. St Piran built himself a small chapel in Penhale sands. His first disciples? > a badger, a fox and a bear.

International Women’s Day > March 8

“This year’s International Women’s Day is a rallying cry for Generation Equality, to act for an equal future for all. The Generation Equality Forum, the most important convening for gender equality investment and actions, kicks off in Mexico City from 29 – 31 March, and culminates in Paris in June 2021. It will draw leaders, visionaries, and activists from around the world, safely on a virtual platform, to push for transformative and lasting change for generations to come” > UNWomen

Mother’s Day 2021 in UK is on March 14

presently march 2021

Mother’s Day is a celebration of mothers, motherhood, and maternal bonds. It is celebrated on various days across the world but in the UK it typically falls on the third Sunday before Easter. In 2021, Mothering Sunday in UK falls on March 14.

Simnel Sunday – March 14

presently march 2021 simnel easter cake
Easter Simnel Cake | Image: Supergolden Bakes

Usually the third Sunday before Easter and it coincides with Mothering Sunday. On this day, Simnel cake is eaten. Simnel cake has its origins in medieval times and is a light fruitcake, similar to the one eaten at Christmas but this one is specially reserved for Lent. This cake comes with two layers of marzipan, one in the middle and the other on top. The cake is then topped with eleven marzipan balls to represent the eleven apostles of Christ (less one – Judas).

St Patrick’s Day 2021 – Wednesday 17 > Patron Saint of Ireland

presently march 2021
Irish coffee, St Patrick’s Day | Image: Pixabay

St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 each year. It is a celebration of Irish culture and religious holiday with events of parades, dances, music and special food celebrated globally by the Irish community. It commemorates the death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

The story of St Patrick’s Day

Celebrated for over a century, the legend has it that Saint Patrick, born in Roman Britain was captured at the age of sixteen and enslaved in Ireland in the 4th century. He managed to escape, and later returning to Ireland, bringing Christianity to the Irish and converting a large number of the Irish people from paganism to Christianity. Following the death of Saint Patrick, the day has become an important part of Irish culture and not just for its Christian roots.

In London, St Patrick’s Day is one of the largest celebration and is a pinnacle event in London’s cultural calendar. In 2021, the celebration of St Patrick’s Day is a digital event – an evening of culture, conversation and community fun. It’s a free event and takes place between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm. For more information, head over to London Events.

Lady Day > March 25

Lady Day or the Feast of Annunciation of the Blessed Mary takes place on March 25 each year. The feast day commemorates when Virgin Mary was told by Angel Gabriel that she was to conceive Jesus. This day remained special and in 1155, March 25 was marked as the beginning of the New Year in England. To the Tudors, the holiday was called “Lady Day”. Lady Day was exactly nine months before December 25, the birth of Christ.

Lady Day was also the first of the four quarterly dates in English calendar. In order, these quarterly dates were, Lady Day on March 25, Midsummer Day on June 24, Michaelmas Day on September 29 and Christmas Day on December 25. On these dates, school terms would begin, servants would return to work and rents were due.

It’s worth bearing in mind that Lady Day was the start of the New Year in Tudor times. and as a result, the dates on the brass memorial of Thomas Boleyn which gives the date of his death as March 12 1538 is actually March 12 1539 because we take the year as starting from January 1.

The ‘new’ style calendar which begins on January 1 was changed in 1752.

Palm Sunday > March 28

Palm Sunday is a special day for Christians. It is the Sunday before Easter and marks the beginning of the Holy Week, remembering Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem and the waving of palm branches.

Oranges and Lemons > March 31

presently march 2021

It is said that once upon a time when the River Thames in London was much wider than it is now, it allowed the swift flow of barges carrying oranges and lemons to dock just below the churchyard of St Clements Dane. On the last day in March, school children would gather at the church and recite a famous nursery rhyme while playing the tune on hand bells. At the end of the service, the children were presented with an orange and a lemon. The famous nursery rhyme begins > “Oranges and lemons; Say the bells of St Clement’s” You can read all about this nursery rhyme here.

Other stories, sayings and lores about March

> The word ‘March’ is said to originate from the Roman word ‘Martius’ which was the first month of the Roman calendar, named after Mars, the god of war.

> The Anglo-Saxons referred to March as Hlyd monath which meant Stormy month.

>The traditional games played throughout March are skipping and marbles. The games were stopped at twelve noon on Good Friday.

>The last three days of March borrowed from April:

” March said to April,

I see 3 hoggs (hoggets, sheep) upon a hill;

And if you’ll lend me dayes 3

I’ll find a way to make them dee (die).

The first o’ them wus wind and weet,

The second o’ them wus snaw and sleet,

The third o’ them wus sic a freeze

It froze the birds’ nebs (noses) to the trees.

When the 3 days were past and gane

The 3 silly hoggs came hirpling (limping) hame.”

>There are many weather lores about March and here are just three:

“When March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb”

“A dry March and a wet May, fill barns and bays with corn and hay”

“March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers”

> Popular Anniversaries in March

March 3 – Alexander Bell was born in 1847 – inventor of telephone.

March 15 – ‘Ides of March’ in the Roman calendar where the day on which the month was divided into two equal parts.

March 22 – English football league was formed in 1888

March 25 – Heathrow Airport opened in 1948

March 29th – Coca-cola was introduced in 1886

March 31 – Eiffel Tower in Paris was officially opened in 1889

With March well underway, I’d like to share with you a little of what went on in February since my last monthly column.

What went on in February…

I began the month with plans to write on past travels to Morocco, Dubai and Italy, but I realised that sometimes, the universe may set a different course for you. So, I set aside my plans for writing and focused on what came my way. One of the changes was the change of domain name from ‘my timeless footsteps’ to ‘timeless travel steps.’ Along with this change, comes also updates and edits to implement which is time consuming to say the least. I am ploughing through patiently.

In my February column, I mentioned that I remain hopeful that travel will be possible by autumn. Today, as I write this column, I continue to remain hopeful as more of us in the UK are receiving our vaccinations. I look forward to travelling even within our borders if not abroad by the end of the year.

February was also a month where a number of articles were published as ‘Easy Sunday Read’, continuing on with the History of Britain:

> Forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Tower;

> Anne Boleyn The most magnetic and enduring of Tudor Queens;

>The Boleyn Family | Who were they and What happened to them after Anne’s death;

>Interesting books on the Boleyns | Recommended;

>The magnificent Hever Castle | Anne Boleyn’s Childhood home;

I hope to continue with Easy Sunday Read articles throughout the month of March.

Impressive Value for Money Travel Offers

With hopes of getting the pandemic under control, the travel sector has started to promote holidays again. Here are some of the latest offers for you to consider:

Jet2 Holidays

Jet2’s offer comes with a £100 off on all holidays for Summer 2022. If you are ready to travel next year, take advantage of the early savings offers and book yourself a summer you deserve by navigating the banner below. Note that the savings apply only to package holidays and not when you book flights and/or accommodation separately.

Besides, Jet2 Holidays, I am absolutely excited about the incredible savings offered by Sandals along with their extended booking period – up to 2023.

Sandals

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Feeling…

I feel blessed as every day is a new day, a new beginning to endless opportunities and days of hope for better things to come. While March is a special month for me as it is my birthday month, it had also proved to be a little challenging on the health front but I am glad that all is well now. I look forward to sharing more travel stories and travel offers in the coming weeks.

That’s my roundup of news in Presently March 2021 at Timeless Travel Steps. What has presently been going on with you?

Georgina xx

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March comes with a gentle spirit, warming up slowly with longer days and brighter skies. The flowers come, one by one with uplifting confidence but none so pretty that rises from the earth, standing up bright and commands the playfulness in nature than the narcissus. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/March comes with a gentle spirit, warming up slowly with longer days and brighter skies. The flowers come, one by one with uplifting confidence but none so pretty that rises from the earth, standing up bright and commands the playfulness in nature than the narcissus. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Presently February 2021

Presently February 2021

February 2021 has come around too quickly, I think. As I reflect over the month of January, not a lot had happened. In fact, not a lot had happened in the last eleven months since we began adjusting to a new way of life. Yet, a lot has happened as well…vaccines are being rolled out and people are being vaccinated. There is Hope. Lockdown…it is what it is. I am an optimistic person so I’d say that it has not been too bad. Yes, I miss travel. The excitement of planning and packing for an adventure that awaits is indescribable. As well, I miss the outdoors immensely but time has afforded me opportunities to catch up on activities that I would not otherwise do, and in that respect, January has been a good month.

What went on in January…

Following a slow Christmas and New Year as we were still under lockdown, I ‘cruised’ into January :), catching up on television series. I had been wanting to watch the TV series, ‘A Discovery of Witches’ and was able to do this in January. I enjoyed it so much, I watched both seasons back-to-back. Vampires, witches, time-travel and Elizabethan England – what else can I ask for, right! The handsome Matthew Goode as Matthew Clairmont plays a scientist vampire and Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop is a historian and a reluctant witch. They time travel in search of the ‘Book of Life’ – a fantasy television series based on the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

February 2021
A fantasy television series based on All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

If you prefer to read the trilogy, these come into stock at Amazon UK on 8 February 2021. For USA Readers, you can purchase the boxed set from Amazon using this link

Download the complete set on Kindle Store

If you are into fantasy, you might like it also. I look forward to the third season.

As well, watching television also meant watching events unfold on January 6 at the Capitol. It was like watching a movie, unbelievable and sadly it was reality of what happened. Every so often I shake my head, wondering of this great nation and the future of this world. There were also many moments of hope. The eve of the inauguration was a beautiful dedication to those lost to the pandemic. I tuned in to the inauguration and watched the whole process. I was moved with the great reminder of ‘This land is your land’ by Jennifer Lopez but the one who stole the show is Amanda Gorman and her touching poetry, ‘The hill we climb’ Then, there was the swearing in of the 46th President of USA, Joseph R Biden and he placed his hand on a 127 year old Bible – what a remarkable history and ancestry. There is Hope.

Much time was spent on reading and downtime on social media. As anyone who knows me well will also know that besides travel, food, and red wine, I love history. I love the complexities of the past and the intriguing tales that draws me in. It makes me seek further and sometimes question the truthfulness of events, for some are truly beyond comprehension! How could any-one do such a thing? I had been reading on the many sources available now on the enduring queen Anne Boleyn whose voice now speaks after half a millennial. I was much saddened to read about some of the ‘forgotten royal prisoners’ in British history along with the rise and fall of one of the most powerful families in British aristocracies. The history of Britain during the Tudors, the Elizabethan and the Victorian era are truly remarkable, and of course it all began a thousand years ago with William the Conqueror and the Tower of London.

My original article on Tower of London was published in September 2019 as part of my retracing my footsteps series but reading about the history of Britain during the Tudor era inspired me to write more on and about the Tower. There is much to share with all of you on certain aspects of history that relates to the Tower. There were five articles published in January – The Bloody Tower on Sir Walter Raleigh and the missing princes as well as a great selection of books and Kindle download to support readers who wish to delve deeper into the mysteries that surrounds the missing princes at the Bloody Tower. Some selections can be downloaded for free on Audible. I also wrote on the Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, bringing you beautiful pictures of the most treasure Jewels of the British Monarch on display and the history behind them-an easy read to inspire you to visit the Tower, if you haven’t already. I followed up with two more articles. One on the Beauchamp Tower, a place for high ranking prisoners in a building nestled away across the green from the main buildings of the Tower of London. In here you will find graffiti left behind by some of the prisoners so they will not be forgotten. At the end of January, I simply had to share a little background to Bonfire Night that is widely celebrated on 5 November. Sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as, if not more as I had enjoyed writing them.

What to expect in February

In February, stay tuned for more on what went on behind the fortress during the Tudor era as well as articles on my previous travels to Morocco, Dubai, Italy and Scotland which I hope, time allows me to write. I intend to continue reading on British history and will share with you in future articles.

I remain hopeful – more so now than in December that travel will be possible and at some point soon, perhaps as early as Autumn, we will take to the skies again albeit adhering to precautions in place.

I have published a page on remarkable places to stay around the globe, a comprehensive page bringing you choices on hotels in cities around the globe – I am still updating the list on each city and hope to bring more on this in March column.

Impressive Value for Money Travel Offers from our Trusted Partners

I am delighted to bring you the latest travel offers from our Trusted Partners:

Sandals

I am absolutely thrilled to bring you Sandals – Sandals are the world’s leading all-inclusive holiday company, offering luxury Caribbean holidays for couples. With 15 resorts across the Caribbean, Sandals provide the ideal holiday packages for romantic holidays, honeymoons and even wedding destinations. All holidays are ABTA (Y6413) and ATOL (11174 protected.).

What’s more? Incredible savings and bookings up to December 2023! Here’s the T & C’s, which is the latest at time of writing:

Savings of up to 45% off apply to the accommodation portion of the holiday. Save up to £700 on selected resorts, room categories and durations, book by 28 February ‘21. All savings are valid for travel up to 4 December 2023. Prices are based on 2 people sharing a room, flying from London (unless otherwise stated) and include Sandals airport transfers, tips and taxes” – Sandals


Jet2Holidays

Another incredible offer for the wanderlusters who can’t wait to travel but not yet ready to do so this year. Jet2Holidays offer comes with incredible savings and bookings for Summer 2022. Learn more about Jet2Holidays and what makes them unique here. Book your holidays early and take advantage of the savings by navigating the banner below. Note that the savings apply only to package holidays and not when you book flights and/or accommodation separately.


EasyJet Holidays

EasyJet holidays are one of the best in Europe and they run seasonal offers on their package holidays. Please note T & C’s – the savings applies to package holidays only – not flights and/or accommodations booked separately.

Learn more about EasyJet and their 5 Protection Promise here.


On the Beach

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Feeling

There’s a part of me that is really excited over the ray of hope on taking to the skies again by fall but I am also too afraid to plan ahead for it. In the absence of travelling abroad, I have taken to exploring local – my travel to Scotland was beautiful and there’s much to see still. I am likely to return to the land of the magical myths as soon as travel becomes normal again within our borders.

If you haven’t yet…

I was in a super mood to write in January and here are the links if you had missed them:


I hope to bring you more on the history of Britain as an Easy Sunday Read, travel offers on Tuesday News and Thursday Travel Inspiration – subject to time permitting.

That’s my roundup of news in our first monthly column, Presently February 2021 at mytimelessfootsteps. What has presently been going on with you?

Georgina xx

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