Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Vernal Equinox and "the Month of Spring"

Happy first day of spring according to the new calendar.

To the right is the sunrise this morning. The came up quite a bit to the north of where it came up on the Groundhog's day cross-quarter day. At that time, the sun came up in the notch in the trees above the house across the street.

It is now coming up due east, which is right for the equinox.

Yesterday was Rosh Chodesh Nisan--the new moon of Nisan, which is the first day of the month of Nisan. It is also called Chodesh Aviv--the month of spring. This is a very important month for us because on the night of the full moon of spring we celebrate the Pesach Seder--the feast of Passover--and for the next seven days we celebrate the festival of unlevened bread--Z'man Cheruteynu--the season of our freedom. Yesterday we read:

"Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon in the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt, literally, "the narrow places"): This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you..."

Yesterday then, was also Rosh Hashanah Chodeshim--the New Year for Months. which is one of the four new years celebrated in the Jewish calendar. We will not taste Matzah for any snacks until the evening of the 14th--the full moon--when we celebrate Pesach.

I am still busy with the preparations for Pesach. I need to finish shopping for Passover food and kasher (make fit) the kitchen for Passover. This involves all sorts of unusual cleaning practices, including changing the dishes, immersing every day implements in boiling water, and using a blow-torch to clean the stove burners! I am grateful that I now also have a self-cleaning oven, which makes kashering the oven more practical. (Now is payback time for our Christian friends, who will smile at this piece of insanity just as we smiled at the practice of bringing a large, dying tree into the house and the vacuuming of pine needles in December).

The weather is absolutely beautiful. They keep threatening clouds and possible rain--which would be alright--but so the far the barometer has stayed stubbornly high. If it does rain, then according to old weather lore, we are in luck because on the quarter days the weather of the day predicts the weather for the season. We have been told to expect a dry spring because El Nino shut down rather suddenly a few weeks ago.

N. says: "Whatever! I just hope that La Nina stays far away from the Pacific. We need a good monsoon this summer."

Happy Spring!


Megan Bayliss said...

We're acquainting ourselves with El Nino too. He plays havoc doesn't he. I reckon he's got Aspergers!!!!

E, I am so busy at the moment that I have barely been into read of your exploits. My thoughts are with you and I will catch up after this wedding mania has abated.

Fairion said...

When / How far in advance do you actually kasher your kitchen? This is my first year getting ready for passover with a little one. Last year we went to my folks for the whole holiday and just left our house undone. In previous years, I have worked on it the weekend before and we ate out for a few days - not possible with a toddler. I have no one local to ask and my mother does not remember what she did when we were little.