February 2: Candlemas, feast of purification

Candlemas, also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Feast of the Holy Encounter, is a very old holiday with a Christian-Pagan history commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple (based upon the account of the presentation of Jesus in Luke 2:22–40). According to Leviticus 12, the third book of the Old Testament, a woman was to be purified by presenting a lamb as a burnt offering, and either a young pigeon or dove…

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Święconka: the Polish Easter tradition artfully assembles symbolic foods, from bread to lamb-shaped butter.

The Polish people are very religious. Most of them are Roman Catholics. For centuries, during the 40 days before Easter (Lent) the Polish people fasted: they ate no meat, butter, eggs, cheese or desserts. On this day, the day before Easter, called Holy Saturday, Catholics still today assemble artful collections of symbolic foods for a traditional sacred ritual: the blessing of Easter baskets, locally know as Święconka. With roots dating back to the early history of Poland, it is also observed by expatriate and their descendants Poles in the U.S.,…

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The White Spring: a dark Victorian well house now plays host to mystical waters and pagan shrines.

We are in England. It is one of the greatest mysteries of Avalon, the legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend, that two different healing springs, one touched red with iron, the other white with calcite, should rise within a few feet of each other from the caverns beneath Glastonbury Tor, and both have healing in their flow. The quaint sculpted gardens of the Chalice Well surround Glastonbury’s most famous natural water source, the Red Spring, so called for the iron oxide it deposits in its basin. But just opposite…

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