Kings, Beans and Cuddly Things

Jan 6th

What a day we have in store for us today!  January 6th is quite the action packed day!  We’ll start with the serious and end with the frivolous, since ending on the funny is . . . well . . . more fun!

Today is Epiphany, which is a Christian feast day that celebrates the day Jesus Christ was revealed as the Son of God in human form.   This day is also called 12th night, the night that traditionally ends the Christmas season, AND Three Kings Day – commemorating the visitation of the Magi to the Baby Jesus. I wish that our country celebrated this day as an actual Feast Day, since it is a very important day historically AND religiously.  It may be something I put a focus on next year, now that I am aware of it.  I looked up a few ways that this day is observed and found it to be quite interesting!

*  It is apparently considered to be bad luck to leave up the Christmas decorations after 12th Night, so one thing people do is spend the day taking down the decorations, followed by a quiet dinner talking about what they enjoyed most about Christmas this year, and what they might like to do differently next year – less of a planning session so much as a sharing of thoughts.  I like that!  We may actually observe it this way today – there are a few more decorations to take down that will be done by the end of the day, and we’d had a quiet dinner planned already.

*  Reading the story of Befana is a tradition in some parts of the world. According to legend, as the three wise men journeyed towards Bethlehem, they came upon an old woman who was cleaning her house. They invited her to join them; she needed to continue cleaning but said she’d follow when she’d finished. But the old woman, Befana, never found her way to the manger, and has since been wandering the earth looking for the Christ child.  I assume that the moral of that story would be not to hesitate in our decision to follow Christ, or it may be too late.  A wise bit of advice, even today.

*  If you have children, let them decorate a “king’s crown” to serve for dessert. It’s a traditional Epiphany cake with a trinket baked inside it. Whoever gets the piece with the trinket reigns as king or queen of the feast and gets to order everyone else around.  I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like something that would go over well in most households and could very well end up in righting amongst the natives.  If my kids were still young and living at home I think I’d pass on this one.

Being raised in a Christian home, going to church my whole life, it shocks me that there wasn’t even a mention of this the entire time I was growing up.  I wish there had been, it would have made the end of the season special, rather than anticlimactic.

BEANS!  These legumes are absolutely packed with wonderful nutritional value and come in so many forms, colors and flavors.  I couldn’t come up with any one answer about how many varieties of beans there are in the world, but the most common response to my inquiry was that there are 1000’s of different varieties of beans and that some are considered to be vegetables, and some are considered to be fruits.  Beans grow primarily by pole, bush or vine, and are further sorted out by the point in their development that they are harvested, and when soft, in their shell or dried.  Examples of common soft beans are string beans, snap beans or wax beans and bean sprouts like alfalfa or clover sprouts fall into this category.  Shell beans include peas and garbanzos or chickpeas.  Dried beans are generally hard shell and require soaking before cooking . The include kidney beans, limas, pinto, great Northerns, butter beans, white beans, and black beans.  Beans are high in protein and often used as a meat substitute. They are also high in fiber and contain many nutrients. The soy bean is nutritionally a near perfect food, containing all eight of the amino acids.   Of course there are some of our FAVORITES beans that we must not forget –  coffee beans, vanilla beans and cocoa beans!  I know, you’re wondering why I didn’t mention Jelly Beans – well, they are SO special, that they have their very own holiday later on in the year – so be patient my friends – Jelly Bean day will arrive.

When discussing beans we cannot forget that sometimes they can cause an . . . um . . . unfortunate side effect?  This effect is so popular that there is a child’s silly rhyme about it . . . You know . . . beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you . . . well, you know the rest, right?  (I know – the picture is of coffee beans, but I couldn’t find a regular bean musical note – doing the best I can here!)  So, pick your timing wisely when having these delectable legumes for dinner.  No matter when you do though, they are sure to be delicious.  What is YOUR favorite bean dish?  I have to say mine is my mother’s Pineapple Pepperoni Baked Beans.  I don’t know that that is the official name, but no matter their title, they are always wonderful.

And last, but certainly not least, today is Cuddle Day!  I know, it’s sort of odd that whoever it was who registered these days picked the same day to have them, since the two don’t seem to mesh very well, right?  That is why this little kitty is PERFECT to represent the sharing of these two celebrations.  No matter what stinky crime this little guy may have committed, you’d still want to cuddle him!  Seriously though – this is a day set aside to snuggle with someone you love, with your furry pet, or even your stuffed teddy bear.  We all need a good cuddle sometimes, so today’s as good a day as any!

I’ve given a great deal of thought, while writing this, to figure out how I will combine today’s holidays, with the monthly observed days, as well as the WEEKLY observances that start today of Home Office Safety Week and National Weight Loss/ Get Healthy Week . . . so here goes . . . I haven’t worked out all the details yet, so bear with me . . .

We are going to take down the rest of the Christmas decorations followed by a quiet dinner that will have conversation about the highs and lows of this year’s season (Epiphany/12th Night).  The meal will be a big pot of soup (National Soup Month) that has green beans in it (Bean Day), and afterward we will drink a hot cup of tea (National Tea Month), while cuddling with the dog and cats (Cuddle Day), followed by some snuggles of our own.  How’d I do?

How are YOU going to celebrate this mixed up and interesting day?  No matter how you celebrate, may God bless you and keep you today.  See you tomorrow!

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