Mason County News
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Around the Square
Wednesday, January 7, 2009 • Posted January 7, 2009

Flowers and gems.

What a way to start the New Year.

And the perfect way to start each month.


January’s birthstone.


January’s flower.

January’s not all fog and frost.

In January, Japan celebrates Coming-of-Age.

Those who turn 20 during the school year get to celebrate.

And the government acknowledges them as official adults.

Presents are given.

Girls dress up in traditional kimonos.

Everybody parties.

England celebrates Plough Sunday.

An agricultural tradition.

Taking the ploughshare to church to receive blessings for a fruitful year.

Perhaps we need to take our rain gauges to church and get them blessed.

Scotland celebrates Handsel Monday.

Small gifts and tips are exchanged.

But nothing sharp must be given.

Or it will sever the relationship.

In January, the United States observes Martin Luther King’s birthday as a national holiday.

In Australia, January marks the founding of that country by the British in 1788.

Farmers in India celebrate the beginning of harvest season with a nationwide Sankrati festival.

The largest single-day regatta in the world occurs in New Zealand as part of their Auckland Anniversary.

Last year 400 boats took part in the celebration.

Obviously January is no dead-end month.

Sometimes it can be the coldest.

The wettest.

The driest.

The loneliest.

The hardest.

The bleakest.

But it wasn’t called January for nothing.

It holds court as the first month of the year.

And appropriately named after Janus, god of the doorway.


The door to the New Year.

And therefore, the freshest month of all.

That’s Mason.

Renee Walker is an author, poet, and real estate broker on the square.

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