Friday, February 18, 2011

Poya Days and Snow Days

People are often surprised to learn that I, a California girl, love winter.  The way I see it, it cuts two ways:  Either the California folks love it, or they won’t go near it.  There are plenty of Sun Belt natives who are fascinated by a phenomenon they only get to read about in books, or see in movies.  A snowy winter is practically magical to us, who only know a life where you get up and go out 365/12.  Sure—others can’t bear to be cold, or to ponder the added chore of shoveling. But I would gently submit to them that, in snow-covered climes, one doesn’t mow a lawn for half a year.

In Sri Lanka, there is something called a Poya Day.  This is a wonderful national holiday where the people celebrate the full moon.  That means that every month there is a day off from work and school, and shops are closed.  It is a religious holiday and practicing Buddhists visit the temple.  Alcohol and meat may not be sold. Sri Lankans consider the full moon an auspicious event.

Here in Maine, a snow day is our secular “Poya Day”.  On a snow day, the blizzard is so commanding that school and work and traffic stop.  We all stay home, cook soup, watch movies, and play games.  Our lives stop, as they do in Sri Lanka on Poya Days, and we are forced to reflect on our interconnectedness with the natural forces of our planet.

Snow days in winter are wonderful opportunities for me to create new necklaces in my studio.  Here is one from our January blizzard.