Lent, Spring, and The “ides of March”?!
This year the tradition of Lent has started for many traditional Christians around the globe and every 4 years the Eastern and Western Calendars “meet” so this year Lent has started together (https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/roman-calendar.html) Carnival marks the last time of “letting loose” with food, drink, dress/costumes and for many a continuing of winter-Spring traditions extending back to the ancient times; whether you are celebrating “Clean Monday” (Καθαρή Δευτέρα) with kite-flying and a vegetable and fish “diet” or preparing for a 40-day “fast” we focus on getting rid of our negative “habits” temporarily (leaning away from “temptation”) and perhaps reflecting on being better people as well as preparing for Spring! And since we’re thinking of those left-overs last month was also Dental Care Awareness for kids month, maybe it’s the chocolate binge and from Valentine’s Day or thinking of those marshmallow sugarcoated “peeps” for Easter …who doesn’t love Easter candy?! Whatever one does reminding ourselves to visit the dentist at least 1-2 times a year is vitally important and brushing teeth, flossing, sugarless gum after meals also helps! Ironically even the more health-literate Greece, due to the economic crisis not only has the dental profession been affected negatively among other health ‘tragedies’ described in an article in the reputable medical journal The Lancet appropriately called “Omens of a Health Tragedy” by Kentikelenis et al. (2011 article). Indeed, children in Greece now have some of the worst teeth in all of Europe — The latest sign of Greece’s decay: Children’s teeth (identified Reuters article) since not going to the dentist often, more than just ‘a pain’ in one’s month as teeth indeed affect and even reflect a person’s overall health.
In Spring, Pagan and Neo-Christian traditions come to light…
- Persephone comes up from Hades after she was lured to the underworld by a pomegranate and her mother Artemis (Demeter) decides she will allow the bloom of Spring and summer hearth before Persephone goes down again into Fall and Winter scarcities.
- We await for the Groundhog to see his shadow
- The bracelet of Spring “Martis” (Ο Μάρτης) — Greece and the general Balkans one will see the unisex wearing tradition of a red and white bracelet supposedly to prevent a sunburn, and we are called to hang the bracelet on a fruit tree to “grow” the end of the month…remember some superstitious stuff is ok but don’t obsess…
- The famous reference about “The Ides of March” which refers to the full moon which corresponds to the 13th of March, May, July, October. However most of us identify this with March 15th (starting in 44 B.C.) when the Roman ruler Julius Caesar was killed specifically due to his dictatorship rule many of us recall his supposed famous last line at his assassination ‘et tu, Brute’ (Latin for “and you, Brutus” or “even you, Brutus”… said at the time to his ‘friend’)
This special season think of the various messages that can help you integrate actions for better health:
- If you feel like a breath of fresh air away from the troubles of everyday life, plus a bit of exercise running in the wind, ‘go fly a kite’ (not just for controlling your anger any more!)
- Eat less, remember your 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day for better health. Fast wisely.
- Love that candy, but remember to brush your teeth and seek dental care!
- Allergies may be around the corner in the new bloom, be aware of side effects and take precaution (not just the ‘ides of March’).
- The kids may be waiting anxiously for the Easter bunny, but personally love this quote by a famous late comedian-actor, Robin Williams (1951-2014):