Sunday, December 31, 2017

January 2018 Calendar Sketch

My notes on the month ahead.

January 2018 Sketch click here to download the PDF

Left in black and white for you to color.

There are more Epiphany customs than I could fit, including of course the one best known to Americans, the King Cake. This pastry ring is often filled with nuts and cinnamon sugar, covered with icing and colored sprinkles in purple, green, and yellow. A plastic baby Jesus figure (or similar token) is hidden inside, and the lucky person who discovers it in their slice of cake is the "king" for the year, or has to host the party next year, customs vary. This same cake is sold throughout the Epiphany to Mardi Gras season. However, this pastry always looks unappetizing to me, after all the sweets we've already had at Christmas--and store-bought versions are always off limits since I am a celiac--so I prefer to emphasize other Epiphany customs.

In my house, I am methodically putting Christmas decorations away. First the stockings, then the tree (it was dried out and making me nervous), next the nutcrackers, outdoor lights, and assorted seasonal knicknacks, and eventually, at Epiphany or Candlemas, the nativity scenes. My favorite this year is a blue and white china nativity set that I have sitting in the window with white tulips. My traditional nativity set is sitting in the kitchen window, where we can see it all day long as we wash dishes and prepare meals. The advent wreath with Christ candle will sit on the dining table to be lit daily until Epiphany (if the candles hold out) and then it will be recycled, as it's made from a tree round and cedar greens.

Lighting candles daily is important to me in these gray, dark, cold and wet days. Where I live the sun is now rising about 8:00 am and sets by 4:30 pm, and most days are cloudy, chilly and wet all the way through til after Easter. If the Narnia had had the weather of the Pacific Northwest, the phrase would have been "always November and never Winter (let alone Christmas)!" 

Have a blessed month of January!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2018 Quarter Days Calendar

And on the sixth day of Christmas...

Ta da!
It's here. The 2018 Quarter Days Calendar.
Now in black & white so you can color it in yourself.
The full year, all four quarters on one poster, beginning with January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018.
All mistakes are my own. :)
Free for your personal use. Please do not sell or modify my work.

2018 Quarter Year Calendar click here to download the PDF.

What are the Quarter Days?
In the English agricultural/academic/economic calendar, the year was marked by four holidays, roughly all falling on the 25th of the month: Annunciation 3/25, St. John the Baptist Day 6/24, Michaelmas (St. Michael's Day) 9/29, and Christmas 12/25.

In the Scottish/Celtic calendar, the custom was to follow the "cross-quarter days" that fell somewhat equally between the quarter days, usually on the 1st of the month: St. Brigid's Day 2/1 or Candlemas 2/2, May Day 5/1, Lammas (a harvest thanksgiving feast, lammas is a contraction of "loaf mass") 8/1, All Saints' Day 11/1.

These Church holy days had been built on the best parts of what existed naturally in these cultures, the various pagan holidays that marked the natural seasons, solstices, and equinoxes of the year. When placed together on the circle of the liturgical calendar, insight into the nature of these holy days can be had,  such as the celebrations of the births of St. John the Baptist and Jesus being opposite from each other in the year. "He must increase, I must decrease," fits nicely with the natural year as well, as daylight increases (in the northern hemisphere) with Christ's birth following winter solstice and decreases after John's following the summer solstice. There are many such natural and spiritual connections, which help explain many of the regional customs to celebrate the holy days that sprang up over the centuries.

What does this Calendar include?

  • At the center is Christ in the Eucharist, the small white circle at the enter of our Sacramental lives. On it is written the year 2018.
  • This is divided into four quarters, the natural seasons of winter, spring, summer and winter.
  • Next, the months of the year.
  • The Sundays of the year are the next circle, these can be colored in the colors proper to each Sunday.
  • Outside that are the moveable feasts, saints days, fasting days, liturgical seasons and other observances of the year. Of these, I included the celebrations that are my personal favorites. There are many more which would never all fit on a calendar this size, but you can write in as many as you like. 
  • The outer corners are marked by the points of the compass rose, the leaves and arrows, the 8 holidays of the quarter and cross-quarter year. There is extra white space here for you to write in your loved ones' birthdays and other remembrances. 
  • The symbols in the corners are: top right, the Virgin & Child for the Presentation/Candlemas, bottom right, a family heraldic design including four leaves for my 4 children for May Day, at bottom left, a wayside shrine of Christ the teacher surrounded by wheat and flowers for Lammas, at top left, the star of Bethlehem surrounded by heavenly light, for All Saints and Christmas. 
My original drawing is about 15 inches square, but when you print it will turn out something like 8 inches. I have some examples of the colored version on my instagram @la_balbirona and I would love to see your finished versions as well! Use the hashtag #quarterdayscalendar if you post it there.  

Happy New Year!