Ok, I know that I may be in a minority, but certain things that occur in February and March are sure signs of spring. Growing up in an Italian-Catholic household meant that a really significant sign of spring would come around each year with Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. No matter what, Lent was a sure sign of spring. And during Lent, everyone became a little bit Irish with the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day. These events signal spring to me…so with that, and the wonderful weather that Westchester has been experiencing, here are the WH Top Ten signs of Spring, 2012!
1. Today – FAT TUESDAY. Known around the world to Christians and non-Christians alike, and celebrated in such forms as Mardi Gras (big party there!) and the Latin and Italian Carnevale, Fat Tuesday is the pre-cursor to the start of Lent. Traditionally a day of excess, it is the preparation for the season of sacrifice. If you wish to celebrate Carnevale, why not check out the events being held at the Villa Barone Hilltop Manor?
2. ASH WEDNESDAY. Again, traditional among Christians and Catholics, this is the official start to the season of Lent. Catholics from around the county will flock to their parishes today, and receive blessed ashes, showing a sign of their faith, and the acknowledgment of the start of the lenten period of restraint and sacrifice. Keep in mind that pizza parlors might be extra busy, as this is a “no-meat” day for Catholics as well.
3. IRISH SODA BREAD – ok, it may seem strange, but the appearance of Irish Soda Bread in bakeries all over Westchester, including the Supermarket bakeries, is just a sure sign of spring. Irish Soda Bread can’t be regularly found in most baking establishments, but for the few weeks immediately prior to, and about the week after, St. Patrick’s Day. Personally, it is one of my favorite foods (and MUST be eaten with Kerry Gold butter!), and has always signaled spring in my mind.
4. ST. PATRICK’S DAY!! – Erin Go Bragh! Its time for spring! What could be more a sign of spring than a holiday that is celebrated by wearing green?? After the doldrums of winter – the gray, the cold, the dull…we have a day of frivolity, a day of celebration, where everyone is Irish, happy and green!
5. the CROCUS! – oh yes…it is out on my lawn, and I would bet its out on yours too! This traditional spring flower makes its little way just above ground as the weather warms every year. But this year, it is appearing in February! It is a most assured sign of spring, in our county and all over the United States.
6. THE SMELLS. The smell of grass, flowers, and best of all…fireplaces being replaced by the backyard GRILL! Oh yay! Nothing says spring and summer like the smell of meat cooking on the grill!
7. BIRDS. The birds, oh my. Last week I saw a Cardinal (and no, it was not Cardinal Dolan!). That beautiful red, crested fowl that makes it appearance in spring. This morning, while walking my pooch, the trees were alive with chatter of every sort. The tweets, the twittles, the cheet-cheets. It was a veritable bird paradise! I wonder if any of them even flew south at all for winter?
8. the WEATHER. Wow. Have we even HAD any winter here yet? I know I might be jinxing things, but I feel as though we have been in spring since fall ended. 50 degree temperatures nearly every week, people out walking, jogging, playing tennis. Car tops down! Folks in shorts, for goodness’ sake! And loving every second of it…
9. LONGER DAYS. Yes, we turned that corner a bit ago, but it is wonderful to have even an extra few seconds of daylight. Kids out playing in the sun, time for that after-work-walk…and just the Vitamin D, so good for you!
10. BASEBALL!! – nope, not just the boys of summer down in FLA, but all over Westchester! Sign-up for spring little league sessions is going on from Bronxville to Bedford, Scarsdale to South Salem and everywhere in between. In fact, I will be heading to Portchester tomorrow to ProSwing Baseball to get in a little batting practice with my daughter’s school softball team. Baseball and spring just go hand in hand!