“The Procession of the Swallow takes place in Greece on March 1 as a celebration of the arrival of spring. Children go from house to house in pairs, carrying a rod from which a basket full of ivy leaves is hung. At the end of the rod is an effigy of a bird made of wood with tiny bells around its neck. This is the ‘swallow,’ the traditional harbinger of spring. As they proceed through the village, the children sing “swallow songs” that go back more than 2,000 years. Each neighbor they visit takes a few ivy leaves from the basket and places them in her hen’s nest in the hope that they will encourage the hen to produce more eggs and gives the children a few eggs in return. The ivy, which is green all year round, is symbolic of growth and fertility, and it is believed to have the power to bring good health to hens and other animals.”–from Helene Henderson’s “Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, 3rd ed.” via Barb Jernigan
I wonder what the Texas equivalent of this is. Perhaps carrying a mockingbird around, which doesn’t even need bells around its neck–it can mock them pretty accurately. And walking around collecting not eggs, but pecans (lots of trees around–although those don’t come in until MUCH later). That would be fun. When spring finally DOES arrive, I mean. Sometime this month, normally! We do have a few crocuses coming up in the back yard by the fence. The neighbor who had a prize collection of blooming purple irises moved a few months ago and took them with him (now there’s a “pebble garden” put in by the new owners, sigh), so we won’t be able to go by that. As far as squirrels, there have already been hundreds all winter, barking at my dog as if it is THEIR turf; I told them it is HIS turf, but they just bark back at me. And I’ve already seen a robin.