Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Spring Holidays and the Prompt Contest

Spring and the gift of Easter 

Spring begins with the vernal equinox on March 20. 

Public Domain Photo from Wikipedia
Modern Easter holidays include Palm Sunday,  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.The Easter holidays coincide with the Jewish holiday, Passover

Easter could easily be crowned as the most important of the Christian holidays. It is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. The name "Easter" is of Germanic origin and is said to be derived from the name of the goddess of spring. This is a "movable" holiday, because the date changes from year-to-year. Christian churches in the West celebrate the first Sunday after the vernal equinox.

For Protestant Christians, the celebration begins with Palm Sunday when Christ entered Jerusalem. He and His disciples were en route to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. In that day, it was customary to cover the path of someone worthy of honor, which is how the day got its name. The people cast their coats on the ground, and cut branches from surrounding trees, probably palms.

The literal meaning of maundy is "foot-washing," which refers to Christ's act of service during the Last Supper as He washed the disciples' feet. Of course it was an object lesson, as He encouraged them to serve others.

Good Friday is a day of remembrance. This was the day when Christ was crucified and laid to rest in the borrowed tomb. Though not a legal holiday, many Americans take this day off in order to attend religious services or travel to visit family.

Passover is one of the most important of the Jewish holidays. It is a weeklong festival celebrating the story of Exodus, when the Hebrew nation was freed from slavery in Egypt. They had a savior in the form of Moses. You may remember the famous story from the movie, The Ten Commandments.

The giving of eggs as gifts actually predates Christ. The egg represents life. Though it doesn’t seem to be alive, an ordinary fertilized egg is capable of producing a living thing. Why the egg? In the Christian view, the egg is a symbol of the resurrection, and Christ’s emergence from the tomb. New life. Eggs were once a forbidden food during Lent, so eggs laid during the Lenten period were boiled or otherwise preserved. Then, to celebrate the end of Lent, the eggs were decorated and given as gifts. These were a real treat for egg lovers who had just fasted.


Prompt Contest!! (See below for details)

Spring Holidays
Vernal Equinox (1st day of Spring) 20

Palm Sunday 24

Passover 26 

Maundy Thursday 28

Good Friday 29
Easter Sunday 31
April Fool’s Day 1
Patriot’s Day 15
Earth Day 22
Arbor Day 26
May Day 1
Cinco de Mayo 5
Mother’s Day 12
Armed Forces Day 18
Memorial Day 27
Flag Day 14
Father’s Day 16

Prompt Contest! Prompt Contest!
For this month's prompt contest, I have chosen the prompt for the Christmas post (below). You choose the genre. You have until Sunday, July 29th to submit entries. The winning entry will be posted on July 31st -- yes, posted, in place of our usual Tuesday blogpost. Of course the winner will also receive a $10 Amazon gift card. Get your thinking caps on and come up with a winning post! 

Contest Prompt: 
Hayley couldn’t wait to open her present, the biggest box under the tree. When the moment finally came, she ripped it open to reveal . . .


  1. I love Easter! I learned several new things about Easter and the celebrations surrounding it :) I can't wait to read our short story entries...

  2. Since I was told to post my entry right here, here you go. I'll take every word given to me, but I couldn't figure out how to keep the italicized words. And I'm sure you'll figure out readily enough what genre I write. Blessings!

    Hayley couldn’t wait to open her present, the biggest box under the tree. When the moment finally came, she ripped it open to reveal . . . another box. Then another, and another, each gift smaller yet wrapped with exquisite paper and an elaborate bow. She held what she hoped was the last one on her lap, and dared not look at her family, warmth invading her cheeks. Why did I have to act so greedy, like the kid I haven’t been in years?

    “Aren’t you going to open that one?” Lindsay’s lips curled. Her younger sister must harbor a delicious secret.

    “Oh, I don’t know,” Hayley said, her smile nervous. From the expressions of those sitting around the room—her mom and dad, aunt and uncle, various cousins and her older brother Chase and his wife—they all shared the secret, privy to what lay nestled inside the tiny package. She turned it in her hands, pretending to study it from all angles. “It’s the most beautiful gift I’ve ever seen. How do I even know it’s for me? There was no tag, after all.”

    “It’s yours.” Her mother sounded weary after the busyness of the last couple of days preparing the North Carolina mountain cabin for everyone’s arrival, airing out and cleaning the bedrooms, and cooking up a storm. The aromas of the feast they’d enjoyed still lingered. In her mother’s countenance, she glimpsed the deep contentment and joy stemming from her faith and love for her family. Hayley hoped her smile conveyed her gratitude, especially since she’d been chained to her Nashville desk and only arrived the night before.

    “It’s wrapped so pretty, I think I’ll just leave it under the tree.” As a reminder to accept each gift as a blessing, especially the ones that can’t be wrapped in a box with a pretty bow.

    “Not if you want to take the next important step in your life.” The deep but quiet voice came from the man sitting beside her on the sofa.

    Hayley’s eyes met Brandon’s—blue and clear as the stream running beside the cabin. His words apparently signaled the others. The room emptied in seconds, but her father paused with one hand on the swinging door leading into the kitchen. With a wink, he disappeared, and she overheard excited, muffled voices from behind the door.

    Brandon chuckled. “I thought they’d never leave.”

    “They seem pretty excited about what’s inside this box.” Hayley's heart hopscotched when he moved closer and wrapped his hand over hers. How she loved this strong, handsome man. Glad she’d waited to find him, grateful he sat beside her now, thankful the Lord brought them together.

    “Open it.”

    With a smile, Hayley unwrapped the gift. An empty jeweler’s box.

    “This gift represents my heart. I love you, Hayley. We’ll pick out a ring together. Will you take life’s journey with me?”

    She raised her eyes to Brandon’s, glimpsing their future as she leaned into his kiss. “Always, my love.”

    1. Wonderful, JoAnn! Thanks for entering our contest.

  3. How suuweet! [catch my southern accent?] I love it!

  4. Welcome, ladies. I adore flash fiction. For one thing, it proves to this usually long-winded author that I CAN write shorter pieces. Hope you get some more entries, and thanks for the opportunity! Nice to "see" you again, Betty, and I love that southern accent. I always say I'm from "southern" Indiana, stressing the southern part of it. Blessings!

  5. P.S. Plus I'll do almost anything for an Amazon gift card! SMILE.

  6. Hayley couldn't wait to open her present, the biggest box under the tree. When the moment finally came, she ripped it open to reveal a smaller box wrapped it gold paper. Her forehead creased as she stole a glance at Nana.
    Nana's round cheeks wrinkled as she grinned. “What's the matter, Hayley?” Her eyes twinkled with mischief.
    “What are you up to, Nana?” She smiled. “I'm twenty-four years old, and you still feel the need to try and trick me.”
    Nana chuckled, waving Hayley on. “You love every minute of it, and don't try to tell me anything different.”
    It's true. Hayley did love surprises. She always had. Not wanting to wait another minute more, she ripped open the second box. A laugh erupted from deep in her belly. Once again, there was a smaller box, this time wrapped in shimmery red paper.
    “Oh, now you've peeked my interest.” Hayley took out the last box. At least, she'd hoped it was the last box, and gave it a tiny shake.
    “Ah, ah,” Nana shook her finger. “With every present, you must be careful. You never know what the treasure may be, breakable or not.”
    “Hm.” That was a sort of clue if Hayley'd every heard one. “So it's breakable now is it?”
    Nana lifted her shoulder. “You'll have to open it to find out.”
    Hayley was used to Nana's funny antics. She'd lived with her over half her life. Since her parents' and grandfather's deaths, the two of them carried each other through their grief. Fifteen years with just the two of them. She couldn't imagine life without her Nana. Lord, keep her healthy.
    “Are you gonna stair at it or open it?” her grandmother challenged.
    Hayley giggled. “I see you're as anxious as I am.”
    Nana held her thumb and finger a about an inch apart. “Just a tad bit.”
    She carefully unwrapped each side of the box, glancing at Nana from the corner of her eye. With deliberate slow motion, she lifted the paper up.
    “Oh, come on, dear.” Nana rolled her eyes. “Now you're just toying with an old woman's emotions.”
    She wiggled her eyebrows up and down. “Am I? Hadn't noticed.” She ducked as a pillow flew across the living room, aimed at her head. “You win! You win!” Hayley crumbled the paper in a ball and took the lid off the last box.
    A gasp filled the quiet room. “Oh, Nana. This is beautiful!” With extra care, she lifted the fragile tea cup and saucer from its container. Purple wildflowers captivated her attention. Light green thin vines decorated the bottom and top of the cup while gold etched its way through the pattern.
    “That, precious child, used to be my great grandmother's. I've kept it hidden away to give to you for many years now.” Nana crossed the room and sat next to her. “It's been in my family for many generations.”
    Hayley's hand flew to her grandmother's. “This is beautiful. A gift I will always treasure.” She sniffed. “I've been wondering what to begin collecting. This is the perfect thing, Nana. Thank you!”
    Nana wrapped her frail arms around Hayley's shoulders. “You're welcome, dear. I thought you'd enjoy this piece of family history.”
    “Will you tell me the story about this tea cup?”
    “One day, I certainly will. For now, how about you go wash it and bring us in some tea?”
    Hayley nodded. “You bet. I love you, Nana.” She kissed her weathery cheek.
    “I love you, too, sweetheart.”

  7. Thanks Joi! Another su-weet story...