No, I’m not late–today is the start of the lunar new year. This is the year of the tiger, and this year my older daughter will turn 12, having been born a fierce and fabulous tiger. We are celebrating Chinese New Year with my husband’s family, and doing double duty by celebrating his sister’s birthday.
Wait, there is another holiday to celebrate today, isn’t there? Did you guess what I had in mind?
Yes it is Rosh Hodesh! The new moon of the lunar month is a Jewish holiday, named aptly, Head of the Month (which also means first of the month). In biblical times this was an important holiday, which has diminished in status, but remains, according to tradition a women’s holiday. (Is that why it’s minor? But we won’t go there today. I am too happy.) According to the sages, since women didn’t participate in the golden calf fiasco, they were rewarded with the new moon celebration.
Some months my husband gets me flowers for Rosh Hodesh, but as cut flowers in winter is an industry unfriendly to the earth and to labour, lately he’s been getting me pens. Women are exempted from sewing on Rosh Hodesh, at one time a demanding and endlessly time consuming task for women, who hand sewed their family’s clothes. (The biblical poem “a woman of valor” speaks of her clothing them in scarlet, hand dyed of course).
So what am I doing today? Yes I’m sewing. Because of my contrary nature, or just coincidentally because I enjoy it, I am attempting to crazy quilt on old sweatshirt. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
My children have been making valentines (oh yes it’s also that day, too, right?) and birthday cards. Later we’ll watch the Olympics for a while. (That’s going on, too. And here a note of remembrance for the athlete who died.)
We went skating this morning, my children inspired by the speed skaters. Canada placed nowhere but who cares! My older daughter’s best friend in Korea had the honours for that one.
Happy New Year everyone, and a special shout out to all those who turn 12 or multiples thereof in 2010–tiger babies rock!
TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?