Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Arrival of Spring

Each spring my Romanian grandmother, Bunica, would mark the vernal equinox with a centuries-old pagan ritual. She would dig up two clods of green grass and place them on each side of the gate posts of her house, and then insert twigs of pussy willows in the centre of the grass. When we asked about the meaning of this ritual she said, "For us Romanians, pussy willows announce the arrival of spring and the renewal of nature. They tell other plants and trees to wake up.”

Traveling through a village in northern Romania in 1981, I noticed two gate posts capped with clumps of grass and pussy willows. I stopped my car and went over to ask the lady in the yard about the significance of this ritual. She told me, "It’s nature’s way of announcing springtime, new beginnings and ensuring fertility in the coming year.”

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