Sunday, 20 April 2014

Reflections on Holidays and Traditions

It's Easter morning, and the sky is the colour of a pearl as the sun comes up, glittering on the frost on lawn and hedge. The birds are singing, the dogs are on their couch, and all is right with the world.

I like how holiday traditions incorporate plants. Easter lilies, Halloween pumpkins, Christmas trees, poinsettias, and cactus, St. Valentine's roses, Dt. David's Day daffodils, St. Patrick's Day shamrocks. It's as if we're inviting the natural world to join us in our celebrations.

But what about those holidays that don't have plants associated with them? I think we should choose some. Canada Day or the 4th of July, for example---well, the obvious choice would be arugula, also known as "rocket." Victoria Day ought to have something old-fashioned, like hellebore or lavender. Labour Day's perfect choice would be quack grass or dandelions, because those cause us the most labour. And February's Family Day? Probably the Zucchini. One hill will feed a family of four. I remember as a child being fed zucchini pancakes, zucchini lasagna, zucchini milkshakes... Once a new neighbour moved in and, in a burst of enthusiasm, planted about seven hills of zucchini, and I remember my parents giggling over it. One year my dad gave away zucchini to any trick-or-treater over the age of twelve. I myself have been reduced to wrapping zucchini in baby flannel, sticking a note on it saying "My mother can't provide for me. I have too many siblings. Please give me a home" and leaving them on people's doorsteps.

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