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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wedding Superstitions

Here Comes The Bride....

On a personal note, I apologize to anyone who may read my blog and wonder why I haven't posted in a while:  Not only has work been all-consuming but Russ proposed to me on Valentine's Day and I have exactly 103 days (3 months, 12 days; or. approximately 15 weeks) to get it all together.  

The Wedding date is set.  

The invitations have been sent.

The Hall is reserved and rented.

We have our Marriage Officiant.

The licensed caterer is hired.

The menu established.

We bought our rings, and 

RSVP's are trickling in....

Since the marriage proposal was a complete shock and an utter surprise, I have been filled with an enormous amount of nervous energy and have been working on planning and preparation.  I am making all of the decorations myself and it is a huge endeavor, but it will be worth it, as I have picked my colors and theme.

I have started to blog about my do-it-yourself wedding several times, and took pictures of the invitations and decorations I have been making, step by step.  Each time, I deleted the posts.  I realized that I am incredibly superstitious and worry that if I post my progress, it will somehow jinx the day.  Seriously....I don't want bad mojo!

As I have searched the Internet for ideas and themes, before I decided on my own, I noted that many people are using Peacock feathers as decorations - to that, I cringe - remembering my Grandmother telling my Father that Peacock feathers were bad luck, and should never be taken into a home!  This is my own superstition, so if you are using these as your theme, don't listen to me!  (But I am not alone with my irrational fear - Go ahead and Google it!) 

So, without further ado, here are some wedding superstitions from life123.com:

It is good luck for a bride to dream of her wedding day.

Feed a cat out of an old shoe and your wedding day will be a happy one.

If a cat sneezes in front of a bride on the day before her wedding, it is a sign of very good luck.

It is bad luck for a bride to read the marriage service on the day before her wedding.

A woman should not marry a man whose surname begins with the same letter as her own. It is bad luck.

It is unlucky to marry someone born in the same month as you.
It will bring bad luck to marry on your birthday.

Be sure that the marriage is completed between the half hour and the hour.

If it rains on the wedding day, the bride will cry all her married life.

Postponing a wedding is very bad luck.

It is bad luck for the bride to eat anything while she is adorning for her marriage. Wait until after the ceremony.

After the bride is completely dressed and ready for the ceremony, she must not look into a mirror again until she is wed. The bride may dress before a mirror but should leave something off until after she walks away, like a necklace or shoe or earring.

Wear earrings when you are married and you will always be happy.

It is bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the actual ceremony.

It is bad luck to make your own wedding gown.

It is a sign of very good luck to find a spider crawling on your wedding gown.

Pearls are the symbols of tears. For each pearl that the bride wears, her husband will give her a cause for weeping.

A bride should have her hair dressed and veil put on by a happily married woman.

Good luck will come to a bride if her veil is accidentally torn, especially if torn at the altar.

Bad luck comes to the bride who shows her veil to anyone other than family before the wedding.

In the saying something old, something new, the old should be something from a happily married woman, the borrowed should be an object of gold, and the sixpence, penny or new dime should be worn in the heel of the left shoe.

The bride should always be happy if she wears or carries a bit of salt.

The bridegroom should carry a horseshoe in his pocket for good luck.

The bride should step into and out of the church with her right foot first. When stepping away from the altar she should also put the right foot first.

At the altar, the bride should keep her right foot ahead of the groom's.

At the wedding, the bride should make sure she sees the groom before he sees her.

It is unlucky to give away a wedding present.

The bride should drink a glass of water after the wedding ceremony.

Give the clergy an odd sum of money for good luck.

It is bad luck for the bride to put bare feet on the floor on her wedding night. Keep slippers on or have the groom carry you to bed.

Snow Fall - A very successful Marriage Omen.

Rainy Day - There will be a Stormy Marriage.

Sunny Day - There will be a very Happy Marriage.

Sun with Showers - Good luck Omen.

"Something old, 
something new, 
something borrowed, 
something blue, 
and a silver sixpence in her shoe."

" "Something Old" stands for continuity, something linking the bride to her family and her past. Many brides choose a piece of antique family jewelry or mother's wedding gown. "Something New" represents optimism for the future: good fortune and success in the bride's new life. This can be a new gown, veil, etc. "Something Borrowed" is to remind the bride that friends and family will be there for her when help is needed. Often the borrowed item is a lace handkerchief, a necklace or the like. "Something Blue" stands for fidelity, loyalty and love: most often the bride's garter or floral bouquet has a touch of blue. And the "Silver Sixpence in her Shoe" is to wish the bride wealth: sixpence aren't common around here, so an old dime is often substituted." -thestraightdope.com

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Equinox

Happy Spring!

There are two equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. Seasons are opposite on either side of the equator, so the equinox in March is also known as the "spring equinox" in the northern hemisphere. However, in the southern hemisphere, it's known as the "autumnal (fall) equinox".

On the equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it's called an "equinox", derived from Latin, meaning "equal night".
However, even if this is widely accepted, it isn't entirely true. In reality equinoxes don't have exactly 12 hours of daylight.

The March equinox occurs the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north. This happens either on March 19, 20 or 21 every year. On any other day of the year, the Earth's axis tilts a little away from or towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the Earth's axis tilts neither away from nor towards the Sun.

In the northern hemisphere the March equinox marks the start of spring and has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth. Many cultures and religions celebrate or observe holidays and festivals around the March equinox, like the Easter and Passover.

Cultural importance

Equinoxes – along with solstices – have been celebrated in cultures all over the world for as long as we have written history. One of the most famous ancient Spring equinox celebrations was the Mayan sacrificial ritual by the main pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico.

The snake of sunlight

The main pyramid – also known as El Castillo – has four staircases running from the top to the bottom of the pyramid's faces, notorious for the bloody human sacrifices that used to take place here.

The staircases are built at a carefully calculated angle which makes it look like an enormous snake of sunlight slithers down the stairs at the precise moment of the equinox.

The Mayan calendar was very precise in this respect, but today the Mayan calendar is most famous for ending exactly at 11:11 UTC on the 2012 December Solstice .

March Equinox in Montpelier, Vermont, U.S.A. is on
Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 12:57 PM EDT (Change city)

March Equinox in Universal Coordinated Time is on
Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 16:57 UTC  

Source:  timeanddate.com

The end of March is the focus for a number of religious and traditional celebrations. As the sun appears to cross the earth's equator on the 20th or 21st of March, entering the Zodiacal sign of Aries, day and night will be equal in length.

Flowers:  Lilies, daffodils, crocus, tulips; snowdrops

Incense: Jasmine; rose; sandalwood

Decorations: Spring Flowers; colored eggs; baskets; ribbons

Colors: Yellow; pink; light blue; light orange; yellow-green; lavender; green and brown

A Spring Prayer

What once was will never be.
I'm making room for the new me.
Be gone, Be gone!
Let me feel, let me see,
Now reborn in positivity.
As I hatch into Spring,
Let all good things now come in.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ethan Allen's Daughter

Surely, YOU, as a proud Vermonter, have heard of Ethan Allen?  Our Revolutionary War Hero and Founder of the Republic of Vermont, who, along with The Green Mountain Boys, captured Fort Ticonderoga with Benedict Arnold to prevent the British forces from marching onto Boston - taking control of Crown Point, New York.  

General Allen's venerated name is one we are all familiar and well acquainted; however, comparatively many people do not make an association with his daughter, Fanny, who forged her own path in Vermont history.

Sister Margaret "Fanny" Frances Allen portrait, Artist and date is unknown.
"Fanny" Allen was born on November 13, 1784 in Sunderland, Vermont.  Frances Margaret Allen was the youngest daughter of General Allen, and his second wife, Frances (Buchanan) Allen.  5 years later, Ethan Allen died and Frances married Dr. Jabez Penniman.
Up until the time Fanny turned 23 years of age, the family moved and lived in Colchester, Burlington, Westminster, and Swanton.  In 1807, Fanny sought the permission of her parents to study French in Montreal, at which time her parents put her in a select Convent school at the Congregation of Notre Dame where she became a boarder and soon after, urgently desired to seek admission into the Catholic Church.  She sought the necessary instruction to make her solemn abjuration and was baptized by Father L. Saulnier, and resolved to adopt a religious life.

Perhaps it was during this time in her life that she had recalled a vision which occurred to her along the banks of the Connecticut River in Westminster, where, after a traumatic event, she claimed that St. Joseph appeared to her to save her life.  

Another version of her chosen path is said to have come from visiting a chapel of Notre Dame where she was "overwhelmed by an experience from God."

Which ever story is true, and to her own amazement, Sister Allen began a path of complete devotion and steadfast resolve to immerse her life in the Divine.  What makes this so astonishing is that her biological father, as well as the parents who raised her, avoided the Church (Protestant and otherwise), and in early life, Fanny rejected the Catholic religion as fanatical and mysterious.

"At 19 years of age, Fanny became a pupil in the
convent boarding school of the Sisters of the
Congregation of Notre Dame in Montreal and
was almost kicked-out for her irreverence of
Catholic forms and ceremonies until she had a
sudden change of heart. On the Feast of the
Nativity, September 9, 1807, Fanny asked to be
instructed in the faith." - fannyallen.org

When her parents got wind of her conversion, their reaction was explosive and disgraceful.  They demanded her immediate return. It is said that her resolve and stubbornness to remain in her new vocation, despite the fact that her parents tried every conceivable ploy to deter her, was much in the same spirit as her father.  Eventually, and with much opposition, she "inherited much of the energy and decision of her father's character, controlled by womanly gentleness."  

It should be noted that prior to her religious experience and announcement to become a Catholic nun, Fanny had graduated from the University of Vermont, and at that time was engaged to be married to a man by the name of Archibald Hyde.

"She broke off her engagement with Archibald Hyde and returned to Montreal to the convent.  Upon seeing a painting of St. Joseph and the Holy Family at Hotel-Dieu, she was reminded of a vision as a child and knew she must join the R.H.S.J. On March 18, 1811, reconciled with her mother, Frances Montresor Allen, and stepfather, Dr. Jabez Penniman who financed her convent expenses."  - fannyallen.org

Fanny Allen was described by Bishop de Geosbriand in his memoirs as:  "In person she was rather above than below medium height, and of uncommon beauty in form and feature.  Her complexion was fair, her eyes dark blue, with a singular depth and calmness of expression, while the dignity and ease of her manners gave quiet evidence to the refinement and loveliness of her character."

Fanny Allen returned to the City of Montreal (ironically the place where her father had been captive and held a prisoner of war), where she sought admission to the Convent of the Sisters (and Hospital) of St. Joseph through the respected Mother Superior, Mother de Celeron.  For a short time, admission was delayed, but on September 29, 1808, she became a Novice of the Congregation until May 18, 1811 when she professed in a ceremony at which many native Vermonters were present.  After this, hundreds of followers came to Montreal who mistakenly thought that she had shut herself away in a monastery.  She politely received all of the curious visitors and assured them that this was indeed the right path for her, and she had not become a recluse, but rather a servant of God.  

Hotel Dieu, 1865
Sister Allen worked as Hotel-Dieu's chemist (pharmacist) and spent the rest of her short life nursing the sick and indigent.  She cared for wounded soldiers from both sides during the War of 1812.  She contracted a disease of the lungs (called consumption at that time) and died of tuberculosis in 1819 at the very young age of just 35 years old.

Sister Margaret "Fanny" Frances Allen is frequently referred to as "The First Nun of New England."   This is not true.  Fanny Allen was the 5th (fifth) New Englander to dedicate her life to God in a Canadian Congregation.  BUT, she WAS the FIRST American of PURITAN stock to become a Nun.

In 1894 the Sisters of her order founded Fanny Allen Hospital in Colchester in her memory. 

For more information about Fanny Allen's life, the book "Ethan Allen's Daughter", is considered an antiquarian (rare) book of her young life.  It was written by Sister Helen Morrissey whose subtitle description included: "The Beautiful American Nun," detailing a romance of Ms. Allen's life as the result of exhaustive research and interviews.  It was originally published in 1940, and has since been re-released.  It is available on line, and you can read it on Kindle.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Haunted Chicago

I am headed out to Chicago for 3 days of job training.  I understand that we will have some down time, so of course I checked these out:





If I happen to get to any of these places, I shall post an update.

In the meantime, Happy Haunted Trails, Everyone!


Update:  3/16/14:  I never made it to any of these alleged haunted places, however, I did see some of the downtown area mostly long before 6 a.m.  Here are a few photos from my wanderings: