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Ides, Full Moon, & Crocuses

The crocuses are about to bloom. I don’t have many in my yard and what I have is the traditional small, blueish-purple type with yellow centers. They only occur in one spot and of course only a week in the spring. I have been at war for years to convince the fellow who mows the lawn to leave them be.

So, the idea of blooming crocuses has sent me meandering down the Google path looking up one thing and then inspired to follow another. I’ll share a bit of my mindless travels brought to me by the spring air and sounds of lawn mowers (although not mine – mine was used last week)

Crocus (English plural: crocuses or croci) is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family comprising 90 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to Xinjiang Province in western China.

I had always assumed that Crocus were from England, as are so many of our lovely flowers. Where did Crocus come about their name? Google doesn’t say much

In Classical mythology, Crocus (Greek: Κρόκος) was a mortal youth who, because they were unhappy with his love affair with Smilax, was turned by the gods into a plant bearing his name, the crocus (saffron). Smilax is believed to have been given a similar fate and transformed into bindweed.

In another variation of the myth, Crocus was said to be a companion of Hermes and was accidentally killed by the god in a game of discus. Hermes was so distraught at this that he transformed Crocus’ body into a flower. The myth is similar to that of Apollon and Hyacinthus, and may indeed be a variation thereof.

In his translation of Nonnos’ Dionysiaca, W.H.D. Rouse describes the tale of Crocus as being from the late Classical period and little-known.

Interesting that in the first story a love is involved, it seems that is often the case with mythology.  Perhaps inspired by the hint of spring, the words, “Ides of Spring” came to mind. A little research gave to me the information that it is more properly, “Ides of March”. The time of the Spring Equinox and based on a full moon (perhaps more about equinox and solstice at another time when I need something for the front page)

Idus, Ides—thought to have originally been the day of the full moon, was the 13th day of the months with 29 days, but the 15th day of March, May, July, and October (the months with 31 days).

Moon, eh? I’ll leave you with a small factoid about a full moon. Ever hear the saying, “Once in a Blue Moon?” Well, there really is a Blue Moon, and on some years the distance between them is very long.

A blue moon is an extra full moon that appears in a subdivision of a year, either the third of four full moons in a season or, recently, a second full moon in a month of the common calendar. Metaphorically, a “blue moon” is a rare event, as in the expression “once in a blue moon”.

The phrase has nothing to do with the actual color of the moon, although a literal “blue moon” (the moon appearing with a tinge of blue) may occur in certain atmospheric conditions; e.g., when there are volcanic eruptions or when exceptionally large fires leave particles in the atmosphere.


Calendar

Unlike the astronomical seasonal definition, these dates are dependent on the Gregorian calendar and time zones.

Two full moons in one month (the second of which is a “blue moon”):

  • 2009: December 2, December 31 (partial lunar eclipse visible in some parts of the world), only in time zones west of UTC+05.
  • 2010: January 1 (partial lunar eclipse), January 30, only in time zones east of UTC+04:30.
  • 2010: March 1, March 30, only in time zones east of UTC+07.
  • 2012: August 2, August 31, only in time zones west of UTC+10
  • 2012: September 1, September 30, only in time zones east of UTC+10:30.
  • 2015: July 2, July 31
  • 2018: January 2, January 31
  • 2018: March 2, March 31
  • 2020: October 1, October 31

The next time New Year’s Eve falls on a Blue Moon (as occurred on December 31, 2009) is after one Metonic cycle, in 2028. At that time there will be a total lunar eclipse.

A fun thing to explore the moon:

Moon


Crocus. (2014, December 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:27, January 7, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Crocus&oldid=637228891

Crocus (mythology). (2015, January 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:28, January 7, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Crocus_(mythology)&oldid=640907783

Ides of March. (2014, November 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:29, January 7, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ides_of_March&oldid=634282520

Blue moon. (2015, January 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:30, January 7, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Blue_moon&oldid=641352624


 

 


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