Green are the leaves that grow between birds Outside my window, playing hide and seek with the sky. And green are the last of my vineyard’s hopes too, Among rusty leaves, the last of a summer of grapes.
Green are my thoughts, the ones you see through my eyes – Is my soul green? I surely hope it still is. And green are the thoughts I keep in my heart, For they are not ripe-green yet.
For green is good, I think, As long as aplenty green things there are. The singular green frightens me, envious and cold, Therefore green is good in a bunch.
For green were the seas of my childhood tales Of maidens who could and princes who dared, a tad. And green were my teen years, When I thought I could do it all, like them.
Green are the spines on my bookshelves now, And a magic green pencil lays on my desk For the times inspiration fails me, I pick it and its energy handwrites me new tales.
Green are my hopes that end one more decade, And I think that’s pretty cool too. For green speaks of more springs to come, Of harvests of hopes, and a future in green.
If you enjoyed ‘Green Are… Poem and Photography from my Garden’ you might also like to read:
Garlic is deeply rooted in Romanian cuisine but also in Romanian folklore where it is include in numerous rituals mostly due to its heath benefits; it is almost considered magical.
Give me Garlic on Sântandrei, Saint Andrei – 30 November
Sântandrei is a major celebration that involves lots of garlic. Saint Andrei is also the Patron Saint of Romania, observed on the 30th of November.
In case you didn’t know already… garlic is believed to have healing and protective powers. For this reason alone Romanian folktales call it ai (usturoi is named so when used in culinary situations), or the wild garlic, samuraslă.
So on Saint Andrei it is advised to hang garlic, ai, at window, doors, on the eaves of the house, and don’t forget the stables to protect the horses and the cattle against any evil spirits, strigoi and moroi. But do hang the garlic strings so that they form a cross.
In Romanian folklore it is said that God Himself named the garlic ai, because it is a sacred plant.
MUILLA, ALLIUM and an anagram
The flowers from the Muilla genus, although lilies, have flowers quite similar to those of Allium, the onion genus. Just judge by yourselves:
But garlic, aiul, although considered sacred, due to its religious connotations, as well as having magical powers cannot be eaten all year round. For example it is advised not to eat garlic ahead of 29 August (29 Gustar) when Christianity observes the Beheading of John the Baptist, and before 14 September (14 Rapciune), The Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
In Romanian folklore garlic has a head and a cross
In Romanian folklore the garlic, usturoi, is seen as a human been, with a head (capde usturoi, as we call the garlic bulb), a cross, it is dressed in clothes (the many layers of skin one must peel), and the garlic cloves are called catei (puppies).
If you clean the garlic and throw its skin in the fire, make sure they don’t fall on the ground. It would be a shame, the garlic is from God.
Interesting is that Hindu and Islamic traditions also mention garlic in a reverence way.
The Romanian Legend of How Garlic Got its Name
Legend says that Saint Peter wished to rise to the sky, to Heavens. But a magpie was watching him and whenever he tried, the magpie would announce rascal Satan.
Now, before this string of events humans had perfectly flat feet. Yet whenever the magpie would chirps to announce Satan that Saint Peter wishes to rise to Heavens, the horned scoundrel would jump right away and catch Saint Peter by his feet, digging into them with his bony, sharp fingers and pulling out bits of meat.
Saint Peter, in agony, would have called ‘ai‘ towards Heavens, instead of ‘ouch’. And God would answer: ‘quiet, Peter, for ai would also be good for something’.
And since then humans have a curvature in the soles of their feet.
In parts of rural Romania snowdrops are nicknamed little garlic and seen as sacred and mysterious, much like the garlic itself.
Călușarii and the Garlic on the Flag
Călușarii are the members of a Romanian secret society who practice a ritual acrobatic dances with mystical connotations known as the căluș (little horse, pony). Romanian historian and writer Mircea Eliade, described the Călușari for “their ability to create the impression of flying in the air” believed to represented the galloping of a horse and the dancing of the fairies – their patron saint being “Queen of the Fairies” Doamna Zînelor.
Fascinating is the Călușarii‘s flag: the pole is three meters tall and at one end there is tied a white cloth, preferably hand stitched, garlic and mug-wort (for their healing powers). The pole is held by only one of the dancers and can never touch the ground during the dance. The dancers also tie garlic and mug-wort at their waist.
Romanian Folktales often mention local fairies, good or bad. To increase their power they performed various practices at certain times of the year, such as dancing naked on the field on the night of Saint George, 23 April, to absorb earth’ energy and later pour it into their own fields.
Only that no mortal can see them.
Unless they perform this spell.
You must catch a snake, cut his head with a silver coin and stick a garlic in his mouth. The the snake’s head thus prepared you must bury it under your door’s frame.
If you eat that garlic or take it with you , then only will you be able to see the fairies dancing naked on the night of Saint George.
No wonder that vampires are afraid of garlic.
Garlic’s strange powers
It is said that if you wish to attract a snake… you should rub a clove of garlic on your shoes or legs. Snakes love its pungent scent.
Please, do wear a head of garlic tied to your belt or as a decoration on your hat 😉 on Pentecost Day, Rusalii or Cincizecime, celebrated by Christianity on 31st May, for protection against the mean Ielele (charmstresses, women of forests and waters with magic powers living in Romanian woods).
Westerners, mostly, do believe that garlic warns off vampires – that’s why you see them wearing fashionable garlic necklaces or discover that they asked house decorators for advice on modern garlic decor items to hang above the entrance door or around the chimney.
Something I wouldn’t advice anyone to follow – is the recipe requiring garlic and a strong liquor for the woman who wants to have a baby… Place nine cloves of garlic in half a liter of liquor. Let it sit for nine days in a warm place, preferably near a source of heat. And then, start drinking it…
Did you know that, when garlic is crushed, it releases allicin (an organosulfur compound), similar to penicillin? If only Outlander’s Claire Fraser would have known this…
If basil inspires love and frankincense scares the devil, then the garlic is the best shield against vampires and diseases. These three powerful weapons united under the power of God almighty form a defense shield that no enemy can penetrate. Armed with these three shields no soul must be ever scared, but know that at midnight he can walk alone anywhere, over the fields or through the forests, and no matter what enemy he will encounter, it will not have the power to harm him.
Patricia Furstenberg, High Country (Work in progress)
And if you do love garlic in your food, know that it will protect you against blood-sucking… mosquitoes.
‘Frasier” has to be one of my all time favorite TV comedy shows, with Marty Crane and his best friend Eddie the dog (a Jack Russell Terrier) my favorite characters.
In the episode 14 of season 11, aptly titled Freudian Sleep, Marty gives us a jazzy rendition of The Sunny Side of the Street. I love this part, and Marty Crane confines in us with his life motto:
“I focus on what’s good about my life.”
Martin Crane, Frasier
On the Sunny Side of the Street with Marty Crane in Frasier
Here are the lyrics:
“Walked with no one and talked with no one And I had nothing but shadows Then one morning you passed And I brightened at last Now I greet the day and complete the day With the sun in my heart All my worry blew away When you taught me how to say
Grab your coat and get your hat Leave your worry on the doorstep Just direct your feet To the sunny side of the street Can’t you hear a pitter-pat? And that happy tune is your step Life can be so sweet On the sunny side of the streetI used to walk in the shade With those blues on parade But I’m not afraid This Rover crossed overIf I never have a cent I’d be rich as Rockefeller Gold dust at my feet On the sunny side of the street Grab your street
I hope you enjoyed On the Sunny Side of the Street with talented John Mahoney as Marty Crane in Frasier. and if you found yourself humming the tune and trying a few steps of dance, even better! and, yes, Martin Crane loved the music of Frank Sinatra!
The #MusicMonday meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You can pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog feature on Mischenko’s lovely blog, ReadRantRockandroll .
According to lunar folklore, the full moon of May is the Flower Moon. On May 7 we can see the last full supermoon of 2020. The full moon will last only a moment, at 6:45 a.m. EDT (1145 GMT) on Thursday May 7, when the side of the moon that faces Earth will be fully illuminated by the sun.
The Story of How the Moon Came to Be
There was once a beautiful maiden and she was the Sun’s sister. Her name was Ioana Samziana. She had long, silky hair and so blond that it was almost white. She was tall and gracious and she had a beautiful, alabaster, round face. The Sun loved his sister so much, a bit too much some say. So he turned himself into a human and came to ask her to marry him.
But as he changed, he lost all memory of who he really was. He only remembered his love for this Maiden. He searched for the woman he loved, and traveled for nine years, along nine roads. Until he found her. Samziana liked the human, but something in her heart told her she should not marry him. So she ran away. Alas, he followed her, traveling through Heavens and through Hell, until he found her again.
Eventually, she gave in and agreed to marry him but asked he build her a bridge of copper, over a sea of black , for she knew of a monastery on the other side. Where they could marry.
Once on the bridge, the girl threw herself into the sea. She became the foam of the waves and, as the saints scoop it in their hands, Samziana turned into the Moon. And this is how the Moon came to be.
And the human became the Sun again. And they never saw each other again.
No wonder the moon has been personified as a deity, think of Greek goddesses Artemis, Selene, and Egyptian god Thoth.
Flower Moon, Lunar Folklore and Superstitions
It is said that if you’re been born during a full moon you won’t know any shortages all your life.
A church service aimed at good health is much more effective during a full moon.
Of course, spells benefit from the full moon, its light and energy amplifying their powers.
For good luck for the rest of your life, fill a green bowl with water and leave it outside under the full moon. Next day, use the water to wash yourself and no harm will come to you, ever – is the folk belief.
If you wish to fall pregnant, stand under the light of the full moon for as long as you can and your wish will come true. Some folk believe that the fifth day after a full moon is the perfect time to try to conceive a child.
But the new moon is also a symbol of new beginnings, marking the ideal time for making new plans.
In Romanian folklore, New Moon is called Crai Now, New Prince. The night with a full moon is ideal for maidens to dream of their new beau. Step outside inti the light of the new moon, cross yourself three times and say “New Moon, New Moon, let me drink the morning dew, New Prince, New Prince, may I dream my one true love.”
Of course, wishes do come true under the new moon. Write your wish on a paper, burn it and throw the ashes towards the new moon. Your wish will come true.
A British legend says that if Christmas falls on the day of a dark Moon, the following year’s harvest will be rich.
In some parts of the British Isles it is believed that a waxing moon on Christmas meant a good crop the next fall, but a waning moon was a warning, indicated a bad one would come.
A lunar halo in folk belief meant that rain, snow, or other foul atmospheric conditions were on their way.
In some Chinese religions, offerings are made to the ancestors on the night of a full moon.
The moon has fascinated people since ancient times. Not only because of its beauty but also because of its influence on life on Earth.
Things you should not attempt during a New Moon:
Don’t move. Don’t sit the hen on eggs. Don’t get married. Don’t go in trip after midnight.
The New Moon an the Lunatics
Some 2 000 years ago, the Roman naturalist and philosopher Pliny the Elder claimed that the full moon affects the moisture in the brain and therefore all human emotions. Then, in the 17th and 18th centuries, despite the fact that the Renaissance era moved away from superstitions, doctors such as Richard Mead and James Gibbs argued that certain periods of the solar and lunar cycles induce certain conditions, such as epilepsy and hysteria.
Did you know that the term “lunatic” derives from the Latin word “moon”?
Today, scientists are still debating on the full moon’s influence on the human psyche. Those who state that crime is on increase during full moon nights are reminded that street lights have been around for more than a century. Nevertheless, animals seem to exhibit a different behaviors during the full moon and this aspect cannot be ignored.
Ancient Month Names for the Full Moon
January’s full moon is nicknamed Wolf Moon, after the howling wolves. Other names are Moon After Yule, Old Moon, Ice Moon.
February’s full moon is also called Snow Moon, easy to imagine why especially if you grew on or above the 45th parallel north.
March has the Worm Moon because of the earthworms that come out at the end of winter. Is is also known as the Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sap Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, or Lenten Moon.
April’s Pink Moon name comes from from the pink flowers – phlox – that bloom in early spring. Other names are Sprouting Grass Moon, Fish Moon, Hare Moon, Egg Moon, and also Paschal Moon because it is used to calculate the date for Easter (falling on the first Sunday after the March Full Moon – as long as the March equinox and Paschal Full Moon coincide).
The May Full Moon is known as Flower Moon, symbolizing the flowers that bloom during this month. Other names are Corn Planting Moon or Milk Moon.
June’s Full Moon is called Strawberry Moon. How sweet! Other names are Hot Moon, Mead Moon, and Rose Moon.
July’s Full Moon is called Buck Moon, after the new antlers that emerge on deer buck’s foreheads around this time. It is also known as Thunder Moon, Wort Moon, and Hay Moon.
In August, the Full Moon is called Sturgeon Moon because of the large number of fish in the lakes where the Algonquin tribes fished, in North America. Other names are Green Corn Moon, Barley Moon, Fruit Moon, and Grain Moon
September‘s Full Moon is Harvest Moon. Most years it is in September, but every three years September borrows its full moon to October. Other names for September’s Full Moon are are Corn Moon or Barley Moon. October’s Full Moon is also called Hunter’s Moon, Dying Grass Moon, Blood Moon (not the total Lunar Eclipse) or Sanguine Moon.
November’s Full Moon is nicknamed Beaver Moon, since beavers become active preparing for winter. It is also known as Frosty Moon, or Oak Moon. When the Beaver Moon is the last Full Moon before the winter solstice, it is also called the Mourning Moon.
Lastly, December’s Full Moon is called the Cold Moon, or the Moon Before Yule, or the Wolf Moon (more common used for the January’s Full Moon).
The Difference between Full Moon, Supermoon, Dark Moon and New Moon
Full moon refers to the moment when the moon’s Earth-facing side is fully illuminated by sunlight. Supermoon is the same, but the moon must be the closest to Earth.
A Dark Moon happens when the moon is between the Earth and the Sun (in conjunction with is the term) and it appears dark to us. But astrologers call this a new moon because it marks the beginning of a new moon cycle. You will not find a dark moon in the moon phase calendars.
But the Pagan’s New Moon, the one that counts for moon followers, is when the moon begins to show the tiniest illumination, its waxing, and it happens after the dark moon (that we cannot see).
A new moon refers to the moment when the moon’s Earth-facing side is fully in shadow. (Unfortunately, that means the Black Moon will be more or less invisible, even if the moon is high in the sky).
A moonbow is just like a rainbow, but appearing at night. It involves the way the light refracts. A moonbow will only be seen in the part of the sky opposite of where the moon is visible.
Next supermoom (90% closeness to Earth) will be visible in April 2021 only.
Nevertheless, the full moon carries, apart from its own visible halo, an invisible one of mystery and magic, tied to the ebbs and flows of the tide, as well as the human body, and our intuition. Whether we want it or not, the moon will probably light our footsteps for many more cycles to come.
Renowned Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu performed ‘Tatăl Nostru‘,Pater Noster or the Lord’s Prayer, accompanied by Romanian violonist Alexandru Tomescu in front of the Romanian Atheneum, in a deserted Bucharest.
I would like to share her performance with you and take you through a few places of my native Bucharest.
The recording was made on 19 April 2020 by Pro TV, Romania’s most watched private television network.
‘During such times, I wish everyone courage, love and hope!’ (Angela Gheorghiu).
Alexandru Tomescu performed on a Stradivarius Elder-Voicu violin on loan from the Romanian government until 2023 – a privilege won through a contest. The violin is listed as a national patrimony item. It was manufactured in 1702 and purchased in 1956 by the Romanian state to be used by violinist Ion Voicu. In 2007, it was estimated at USD 1.2 million.
Composer: Anton Pann Producer: Sabina Ulubeanu Sound: Andrei Kerestely A PRO TV (2020) production.
I have to admit I am a big fan of Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu. I think she is not only gorgeous, but talented too. Nothing comes without hard work and sacrifice though, and she proved it more than once. Since her professional debut in 1990, she has performed in leading roles of several operas at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, London’s Royal Opera House, the Vienna State Opera, Milan’s La Scala, and many other opera houses in Europe and the United States. She has a substantial discography primarily with EMI Classics and Decca and is especially known for her performances in the operas of Puccini.
The Romanian Athenaeum is the-most-gorgeous-concert-hall-ever. Of course is located in Bucharest! The building was designed by the French architect Albert Galleron, for the Romanian Atheneum Cultural Society and built on a property that belonged to the Văcărescu family (one of the oldest noble families of Wallachia, now Romania). It was inaugurated in 1888. The construction showcases the neoclassical style typical for the era with some romantic touches. The Romanian Atheneum is a symbol of Romanian culture and an European Heritage Site as well as one of Seven Wonders of Romania.
Bucharest is my home town so this recording is special to me. I have never seen this city so deserted during day time. If you don’t know, Romania is one of the safest countries to live in.
Follow me through the video.
Romanian Atheneum above, Cismigiu Park below – I have never seen Cismigiu so deserted. Cismigiu is lovely in summer for a stroll in the shade or a leisurely row and fantastic in winter for ice skating all day long and under the spotlight in the night.
A Rose by Any Other Language or finding a suitable translation to ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet‘ in various languages to celebrate the Birthday of William Shakespeare, believed to have born on this day, the 23rd of April, in 1564.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” are words spoken by Juliet in the famous balcony scene of Act II, Scene II of Romeo and Juliet. The line refers to Romeo’s house, Montague, and it implies that his name (and thus his family’s feud with Juliet’s family, the Capulets) means nothing to her and they should be together.
A name is but a label we affix to an object or a person. Its intrinsic value is not / should not be affected by it. Individuals or things are worth what they carry inside. Thus, even if we call a rose by an entirely different name, it would smell the same as it does by its name “rose.”
By extension, to show someone how important they are to us, we give them nicknames, and we often give our pets human names, to show that in our eyes they are valuable, equal members of our family.
But is Juliet right to minimize the importance of names? And isn’t this line perhaps summarizing the entire tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, the play? Words have power and undermining their power can be a dangerous act. (More on this idea in a future blog post.)
One of the most quoted line from Shakespeare it appears that in the format we know it today, A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, was edited into the text of the play during the 18th century by Irish editor by Edmond Malone.