The sweet smell of pie baking in the oven. A present wrapped in crisp shiny red paper and tied with a glittery gold bow. Each provokes warm memories of special times with family and friends. Maybe it’s the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg that remind you of days spent at grandma’s, a cool breeze that stirs up the time spent picnicking with high school friends, or the taste of blueberries that incite a flood of images from years vacationing on the beach. It’s the traditions and celebrations we remember that make holidays special.
In English, holiday is derived from the words “holy” and “day,” and originally signified special religious observances. Today the term has evolved to represent national, cultural and spiritual celebrations.
In the United States, a 12-month calendar marks 30 days with those cute little occasion icons, including 11 federally recognized holidays. Broaden your criteria and you’ll probably find that there’s a holiday celebrated somewhere in the world on any given day.
Besides the more well-known holidays—Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and April Fool’s Day—there’s Earth Day, International Friendship Day, World AIDS Day, International Dance Day, United Nations Day and World Food Day. There are 23 dessert-related holidays alone. Like cherries? Don’t fret. Celebrate National Cherries Jubilee Day on Sept. 24. Do teachers hold a special place in your heart? Knit up a little something for Mrs. Steer for National Teacher Day, celebrated on May 6 this year.
For Ravelers, we have Bobmas on April 10, a celebration of the launch of Ravelry. The BobBoosters are keeping track of local meetups here on this thread. As if that weren’t enough, there’s World-Wide Knit in Public Day (tentatively June 14 this year). Started in 2005, fiber folk descend on public areas to share their love of the craft. You can learn more about local plans in your area over at the WWKIP Day group.
Even entire months are dedicated to honoring a specific group; and different organizations have their own calendars. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated every October. And on Ravelry, we’re honoring Charity Month and National Crochet Month all throughout March.
Holidays lend themselves perfectly to knitting and crochet projects. Besides gift crafting–which tends to take over our lives during the fall and winter months leading up to the holidays, many holidays come complete with their own unique symbols. Pumpkins, snowmen, stockings, firecrackers, four leaf clovers, bunnies, ornaments and pink ribbons all have their special meanings.
Do a pattern search on Christmas and you’ll get 18 pages of patterns to weed through. That doesn’t include all the winter patterns you might want to whip out during the holiday season. There are another 48 pages of patterns in Ravelry, many of which aren’t what you’re seeking.
This past Valentine’s Day, Ravelers benefited from some very hard work by cherryred8, who created a list of heart and love inspired patterns. This spurred the formation of Theme Pattern Seekers, which is compiling similar lists for holidays, special occasions and other themes, and then creating group pages for easy reference.
This month, we’re working on St. Patrick’s Day, Charity Knitting and Easter. With St. Patrick’s Day in a week, there’s still time to show your Irish pride. Crochet this adorable Shamrock or make a whole chain of them to create a necklace.
In honor of Charity Month, we’re compiling patterns that are great for donating to charity. Although you can knit or crochet pretty much anything for charity, this list will include projects that are quick and easy, as well as more time-intensive projects. In addition, we’re trying to note any copyright information for the patterns. This can be tricky, as phoenix mentioned last week in her article Finding Patterns To Use For Charity. But hopefully in the end, the list will be a comprehensive reference.
With all these holidays, we have our work cut out for us! So if you come across patterns that fit a theme, let us know by posting in the appropriate thread. Not seeing a specific holiday? Make a theme suggestion and we’ll see what we can do. We want these lists to be as comprehensive as possible so that the next time St. Patrick’s Day comes around, you’ll have a plethora to choose from and you can really deck your halls. So get crafting!
Originally published March 10, 2008 in This Week In Ravelry (issue #7)