April 12, 2021 8:43 pm
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Hold on, not yet Spring: The Old Woman’s Tale

Hold on, not yet Spring: The Old Woman’s Tale

Yes, hold your horses. I know, I know it was brilliant out today, almost summery, but you have to hold your breath until March is gone. That is the official start of Spring, at least according to the tale of the “Plakas” (Old Woman).

Every Albanian, from North to South knows that winter blues are not over until April. According to the old folk tale (and it varies a bit from region to region), an old woman went up the hill with her sons and herd of sheep on the heels of Spring at the end of March, having been indoors all winter long and started noticing some budding flowers.  In a state of elation, she burst out to March “Ha! I pulled one over you”! looking forward to easy weather and lightened burdens.

Perplexed and angry at the old woman’s bitterness toward him, March turned to February and said:

My brother February
Loan me one day
To freeze the old woman
And all she has!

And so on that extra day of March it became extremely cold again, with wild freezing winds and rain and snow.  The old woman, her sons, sheep and crops were frozen to death.

The tale is obviously a morality and cautionary tale against boastfulness, spite, ingratitude, and most importantly, premature joyfulness,  but it also seems to have served as an explanation for why February has one less day and March one extra.

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Happy Spring and remember not to boast before your eggs are hatched 😉


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