Ask Ceil – Spring Happiness

Holi Celebrations!

Dear Ceil,

What is the best way to celebrate the coming of Spring?

Partying in Palmyra

Dear Partying,

You know, it wasn’t just that Winter was long. It’s that Winter came with a club and a mace and beat us all to death, with its polar vortices and endless shoveling. I used to think, fine, let’s have all four seasons. But thinking about Winter is causing an involuntary choking reflex these last few weeks.

But it’s gone! Yay! We just had the first day of Spring, and now everything will be gentle loveliness, right? (Shoots weatherman.) RIGHT? So how do we celebrate?

1. Get nekkid. I have to admit, I really thought the Druids would have my back on this one. If there’s a ritual that seems to want you to get naked and do something lovely with candles and flowers, you’d think it’d be the coming of spring, right? Well, apparently my TV-trope fantasies are way off base here. So I’m making my own ritual: If you’re celebrating something, grab some flowers, light some candles and get nekkid. It’s not religious. It’s not traditional. It’s not really even reasonable, considering that it’s probably still pretty damn cold wherever you are. Who cares? Do it anyway. There were near-nekkid people doing polar bear plunges all over the country a few weeks ago. If they can handle it, so can you. My new slogan: If you’re happy, get nekkid!

2. Wear a head-to-toe black sheet. While the Druids and Wiccans did not have any naked rituals I could cite, they still bring it with awesome dramatic rites. Seriously, who can resist the Wiccans and their “Rebirthing Ritual for Ostara”, or the Druidic “Alban Eilir Spring Equinox” ceremony?

3. Go plant something. I don’t care if you’re not past your last frost. I also don’t care if you need a pickaxe to get into the dirt. Have you looked outside? It’s winter’s garbage can out there. It’s the Grim Reaper’s nursery. Fix it. You need some color, people. Every single exterior surface is gray from salt and death. a) Find a hyacinth; b) Put that thing in the ground; c) Write me a letter of thanks and worship, because a colorful landscape is a joyous thing.

4. Go for a walk. If you’ve been in the northern parts of the country, and this year even some southern parts, there was a time when you couldn’t leave the house. I am most fond, I think, of that day when wind chill brought outside temps to -47 degrees Fahrenheit. That means if the temperature increased by one hundred degrees, it’d still be too cold for a bathing suit. Damn. That ain’t right. Celebrate Spring by blatantly putting your body out there. Take the outside back.

5. Color yourself with dust. I have never been to a Holi festival, but for photographic delectability, it has no equal. Masses of people in rainbow ecstasy. Every single time I see a photo of a Holi celebration, I want to be exactly in the middle of it. Here, at the welcome mat to the midwest, we don’t have a lot of Holi festivals, and that’s my fault. By now, I could have started one. I should have started one. Maybe by next year I’ll see if I can find a large parking lot and a few vats of colored dust. Meanwhile, if you can’t color yourself and your friends for spring, at least read about the fascinating religious beliefs that shape the holiday of Holi.

“Bura na maano Holi hai!”


Dear Ceil,

International Day of Happiness? Where on earth did that come from?

Grim in Grand Junction

Dear Grim,

It was on March 20th, and it came from the UN!

Normally, I would totally curmudgeon-out with you, but you know what? It’s Spring. Time to crack open the icy exterior and see if there’s something alive under there. And if we find a Day of Happiness, well, I can imagine worse things.

For instance, five days earlier was The Ides of March, where we remember how awful being in government can be.

Every March 24th is World Tuberculosis Day, I assume for awareness, and not for contracting. Yay! Illness is fun to think about.

And at least one website claims that March 20th is Extraterrestrial Abductions Day. (I honestly think they made it up. This is just the type of holiday that you create so you can invent new drinking games.)

If the UN has to focus on something, world happiness is a pretty good choice. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll focus on that myself this week.

Happy Spring, everyone! Time to breathe again.


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