Actually, the temperature is expected to rise to 60 today. My pansies are still blooming, even my primroses are beginning to bloom, and the daffodils must really be getting their hopes up that winter is about over, because they are standing several inches high.
Today looks and feels nothing like we imagine an Appalachian Christmas should, but January 6 is the day many hardy pioneers once celebrated Christmas.
I have been known to leave my Christmas tree up until January 6, but that was just an excuse for procrastinating.
Old Christmas is celebrated on the 6th because of the switch from a lunar calendar to a solar calendar back in the day of Julius Caesar. The length of the solar day was overestimated by 11 minutes or so; by the 1500’s, the calendar was several days ahead of schedule.
The Pope of the day decided to delete that extra time, but the British refused to cooperate. Some were still holding onto their extra days when they “crossed the waters” to settle America.
To this day, you can still find people in these hills and hollers who know what old Christmas is, or was. Some say it coincides with the Epiphany, when Christ was revealed to the Magi. They say the animals kneel at midnight on the fifth, others say they moo and low, their way of paying homage to a newborn king.
However the tradition is interpreted, the truth is that today looks and feels more like St. Paddy’s Day here in Kentucky.
Pea-plantin’ day isn’t until Valentine’s Day, but I’m tempted to get a head start…kind of like the Pope, I’m ready to disregard a few days on the calendar.