Greek New Year’s Day
Ripping August’s page from the calendar has always seemed more of a new start than cheering the stroke of midnight December 31. September signals an end to the leisurely rhythms of summer and the approach of sparkling autumn days that can fill us with fresh energy. So it makes perfect sense that Greeks would celebrate the new year at this time, bringing seed to priests for blessing and weaving wreaths out of summer’s bountiful harvest: quinces, garlic bulbs, pomegranates, walnuts, and sheaves of grain. On the island of Kos, reports Anneli Rufus in The World Holiday Book (Harper San Francisco, 1994), children cast last year’s wreath into the sea, then immerse this year’s in the water, carrying it home along with a jar of newly gathered pebbles to ensure 12 months protection for the household.
William Morris Day
Autonomedia, an anarchist collective in Brooklyn, publishes a marvelous calendar celebrating what they call Jubilee Saints–figures throughout history and around the world who can inspire us with their ideas and lives. The hero for October 3 is William Morris, the 19th century English designer, author, socialist, and founder of the Arts and Crafts movement. In an age obsessed with new technology and characterized by Victorian frilliness, he championed the value of craftsmanship–both as a way to improve the lives of workers and to bring a measure of simple elegance back into the world. His famous advice–“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”–makes more sense now than ever. You can order next year’s Autonomedia
calendar and find out how to nominate your own Jubilee Saints at www.autonomedia.org.