Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Emerald Artz

Emerald is the birthstone for May and a relative of the mineral beryl.  Trace amounts of vanadium and chromium give emeralds their brilliant green coloring. From the Greek word smaragdos changing to esmaraldus in Latin, and becoming emeraude in old English we get to emerald.

Emeralds occur in hues ranging from blue-green to a yellow-green with green being the primary hue. Medium to dark gems are called emeralds with the light toned gems being classified as green beryl.

The Gachala Emerald is one of the most valuable uncut emeralds in the world. It was discovered in a mine in Columbia and donated to the Smithsonian by jeweler Harry Winston.

The Mogul Mughal Emerald is one of the largest emeralds and an inscription on the gem had a date of 1695. It is in a museum in Qatar.

The Incas regarded them as holy stones. 

“Cleopatra’s Mines” in Egypt were emerald mines.  The Vedas or Holy Scripture of the Indians claim that emeralds enhance well-being and bring good luck.

Emeralds were highly prized by Sultans, Maharajas and Maharanis.  An emerald is one of the stones dropped into Hansel’s hand in the story Hansel and Gretel. An Old Portuguese folktale tells of a rabbit who stole an emerald ring from a princess.  Koschei ( Lord Valdemort in the Harry Potter tales is based on a Koschei) is an evil antagonist in a DC comic and in one of the  tales, The Sandman, the  heart of the Koschei  which is an emerald is stolen first by a gypsy, second a werewolf and finally by a Baba Yaga, a superhuman being.

This week we will look at Emerald Artz.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Artz of Mothers

With Mother’s Day right around the corner I thought we could focus on Mothers.

In 1908 Anna Jarvis from Grafton, West Virginia celebrated her mother with a memorial and the idea of Mother’s Day was born. She took her campaign on tour and by 1912 her idea for this special day was accepted. U.S President Woodrow Wilson made the holiday the second Sunday in May known as Mother’s Day official by law.

The fourth Sunday during the season of lent is known as Laetare Sunday. It was during the sixteenth century on this Sunday that people would return to their “mother” church or the closest large church or Cathedral.  The term used to describe what these people did every year was a-mothering. As in “ Lord Myron has gone a-mothering today.” The Sunday became known as Mothering Sunday.

The Romans celebrated Hilaria a spring festival to honor Cybele the mother of all the gods.
                                           Cybele - a fountain in Madrid

In Ethiopia a feast is held as part of  Antrosht  a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood.

In Thailand Mother’s Day is celebrated on the same day as the birthday of the Queen.

Ancient Germanic and Cletic people celebrated Modraniht known as Mother’s Night.

This week join us in celebrating the Artz of Mothers.