My husband and I moved to Holland from the Bay area on July 4, though I grew up in hot, humid St. Louis. It was a beautiful summer night as we watched the fireworks from Kollen Park. I was enchanted.
Fast forward to February, with me 8 months pregnant, and I was less thrilled with Holland. It was always so cloudy! It snowed all the time! A new Holland acquaintance even counseled me, “Never make an important decision in February. Everyone’s just a little bit crazy from the weather.” This warm-weather girl was going crazy!
It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned to make (some) peace with winter. I was reading a parenting magazine and learned about Setsubun, a Japanese holiday on February 3 to welcome the arrival of spring and bring good luck for the New Year (in the lunar calendar, spring begins on February 4). My kids and I threw soybeans outside, yelling the traditional Japanese words to usher in good fortune for the coming year.
Is February 3 a little early to welcome spring in Michigan? Probably, (those soybeans were sometimes thrown onto snow 🤦) but it became a bright spot for me nevertheless. Spring IS coming, it always does. Other traditions celebrate this transition as well. The groundhog predicts the coming of spring on February 2. Likewise, the Celtic Feast of Imbolc is celebrated to honor St. Brigid and the coming of spring. Brigid inspires you to honor that which ignites your passions. She is inspiration.
There’s just something about this time of year that invokes hope and dreams of new beginnings. TEN years ago was a new awakening, a new beginning as the Pilates in Holland studio was under construction. We can’t even believe it’s been 10 years. Pilates in Holland was a whole new vision for Mandy (who is celebrating TWENTY years as a Pilates teacher!) during a dark time in her life. And now it is a movement haven for 5 more staff members and countless clients. It’s our community, our sanity, our bright spot.
I hope Setsubun 2024 feels hopeful, like another new beginning. Take some time to celebrate hope! We are here, making it through a tough winter together, and seeing the coming of spring is just as worthy of celebration as greeting the new year. (And keep an eye out for some 10th Anniversary celebrations!)