Monthly Archives: January 2022

Have a blessed Epiphany

Today, January 6, is Epiphany. It is the last day of the Christmas season and is also known as Three Kings Day and Twelth Night, depending on the country and custom. To celebrate this day in a meaningful way, in this post, I will share information about the three kings, an excerpt from the Bible about their visit to the Christ child, some customs associated with Epiphany, a short story about one of these customs and a carol. Enjoy!

Origin of Epiphany

Like many Christian holidays, Epiphany has ancient origins. In pre-Christian times, Egyptians drew water from the Nile for holy water, as it was considered to be purest on January 6. This festival became associated with the baptism of Christ when Egyptians converted to Christianity. Four hundred years after Christ died, the date of December 25 was fixed as the date of his birth and Christmas began to be celebrated as an important Christian observance, heavily influenced by existing stories and customs, and the date of January 6 soon became marked as the finale of the Christmas festival.

The Gospel According to Matthew

The Biblical account of the journey and visit of the three wise men is as follows:

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

And when he had gathered the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should  be born.

And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet.

And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

When they had heard the king, they departed, and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

And when they were departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.

The Three Kings

Three Magi, or wise men, were said to visit Jesus. In the early Christian times, they were deonoted as Kings although they were not known to have dominions. Magi were Persian priests, scientists and astrologers who had observed the stars on the night of Jesus’ birth. Legend has it that they brought three gifts to the Christ child.

  • Balthazar, from Ethiopia, brought frankincense. Frankincenes is an incense that was used in relgious rites. The symbolism is that the child was acknowledged as a future priest.
  • Melchior, from Arabia or India, brougt gold. Gold was a tribute to a young king.
  • Caspar, possibly Greek, brought myrrh. Myrrh was an incense and ointment. It was a symbol of a healer.

Although I do not know if it is still done today, in some countries, it was the custom in the past for boys or men to dress up as the Three Kings and process or deliver gifts. We are accustomed to our children receiving gifts on Christmas Day but in those countries, Kings brought the gifts, just as they did to the Christ Child, on January 6. In Italy, La Befana, an old woman, delivers the gifts that day.

We Three Kings

One of my favorite carols is We Three Kings. I like how the melody sounds like the slow plodding of camels and kings on their way to Bethlehem. Listen to the carol as sung by the great jazz singer and Virginian Ella Fitzgerald.

Three Young Kings

The beautiful and moving short story, Three Young Kings, written by George Sumner Albee in 1956, describes the procession of the Three Kings in a Cuban town. You can listen to it here or read the text here.

The King Cake

In France, they still celebrate Epiphany with a King Cake. A delicious pastry is topped with a golden crown. Whomever finds the baby inside is king for a day. This tradition has continued in New Orleans, although now King Cakes are more associated with Mardi Gras.

You can order and buy delicious, French-style King Cakes or King Cake slices at the franchise restaurant, La Madeleine, typically through January 6, while supplies last.

Farewell until November!

For many years, my Christmas has extended past New Year’s until January 6, when I wistfully take down my tree and put away my Christmas decorations. Epiphany also marks the last day of the season I post on Cool Yule. Please visit often and come back for new content about the winter holidays in November 2022. May God bless you and keep you all year. — Mary

✨ Last day for these holiday events ✨

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Merry 8th Day of Christmas!

As the weekend winds down, today is the last day to experience some favorite holiday events this Christmas season.

Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of LightsMeadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. Through January 2 open daily from 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. More than 500,000 LED lights and displays transform the gardens into a winter wonderland, including a flowing stream of softly glowing lights, two-story animated fountain, and Gingerbread Village. Advance registration is recommended.


Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. Through January 2. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around winter carnival and Holiday Village with attractions and s’mores.


Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Wiliamsburg, VA is a highly recommended holiday experience. Runs on select nights through Jan 2.


Winter Lights in McLean Central Park is a walk-through event running from early November to mid-January 2022. McLean Central Park: 1468 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean


Ice and Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run. 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. nightly. Through January 2, including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Admission to village is $10. Skating and admission is $22 and tickets must be purchased online in advancel. 55×80’ Real Ice Rink, 20’ Walk thru Tree, 100’ RGB Lighted Tunnel, lit trees and winter displays, Fire Pits, Heated Igloos, Wreath Photo Op, Bling & Things Retail Shop, Slice & Ice Pizza, donuts & more.


Kings Dominon celebrates Winterfest in Doswell, VA on select nights through January 2. Tickets begin at $32. The event includes seasonal light displays, rides and attractions, performances, character meet and greets, ice skating (additional fee), cookie decorating (additional fee).

👟 How to Keep Your Resolutions 👟

Merry 8th Day of Christmas and Happy New Year!

So…how are those resoltutions coming along? 

Don’t worry, today is also Motivation and Inspiration Day. I am here to motivate and inspire you. You can do this! I believe you!

If you have difficulty sticking to your resolutions, here are some tips that may work for you…

1. Go on Pinterest or Google and find an an inspirational image, motivational quote or funny meme pertaining to your resolution that you can download and print. For example, I would like to meditate regularly. I found a great quote about meditation on Pinterest that I know will inspire me. I will print it and tape it to my bathroom mirror. You could also tape in your calendar or planner or pin it to your bulletin board. Or incorporate a bunch of images in a vision board. Memes can help you have a sense of humor about something you are struggling to achieve, such as saving or weight loss, while reminding you to work on your goal.

2. Pick at least one fairly easy resolution you can accomplish in a month or less, right off the bat, such as reading one book in January or cleaning and de-cluttering under the kitchen sink. Nothing inspires you like those little wins!

3. Break down a big goal into steps you can achieve fairly easily. Let’s say you would like to walk outside most days of the week. A first step would be shopping for a new pair of walking shoes or just finding the ones you own already. Hopefully, these small wins will also make you feel good about yourself and confident about your ability to reach goals for the rest of the year.

4. Set a 10 minute goal. I am always telling myself I am going to do an exercise video (which is about 45 minutes long). But do I do it, no, I do not. So I need a 10 minute goal. Instead of telling myself I am going to exercise for 45 minutes every day, I am going to try and exercise for just 10 minutes.

5. Start tracking your progress in a calendar or planner. If you make a small note in your calendar, you will be able to see your progress. Maybe you will put a star on each day that you walk outside. Seeing all those stars may motivate you to stick to your resolution.

6. Try this procrastination-breaker. If you find yourself “stuck” not exercising, organizing or otherwise doing something you struggle to do, break it down into little steps. For example, you are procrastinating taking a morning walk. Say, “I choose to put on my shoes. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…do it now.” It is really empowering language to use. You acknowledge that your time is yours to use as you see fit. Now your shoes are on. Do whatever is the next logical step. Before you know it, you are outside! This trick also helps me when I am cleaning house.

7. Piggy back a goal. So, everyday I brush my teeth. Good thing, right? But I don’t remember to take my vitamins everyday. Although the bathroom is not a great place to store vitamins, if I put them next to my toothbrush, I’ll remember to take them. I am also good about washing the dishes and cleaning the sink every night. But I’m not so good about going to bed before 11 p.m. and that is a goal. So I could make cleaning the sink one of the last things I do before turning in. So, f you have a good daily habit, stick that other one onto it and see how you progress.  

How do you manage to stick to your resolutions?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

You know, I love New Year’s Eve. To me, it is one of the most glamorous and sparkling of holidays. But I think sometimes we forget about New Year’s Day! It gets a little eclipsed by New Year’s Eve. But New Year’s Day is special in its own right.

Here are some New Year’s traditions to help you celebrate New Year’s Day to the fullest. Many of the traditions of New Year’s Day are associated with good luck and good health.

Creating New Year’s Resolutions

I take my resolutions very seriously! I devote hours to reflection and planning for the new year in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. But if you have not written your resolutions yet, New Year’s Day is the perfect time to begin. Good to have on hand is a 2022 planner or calendar and a notebook or computer.

First Day Hike

I don’t know if this is a country-wide tradition but in Virginia, all the state parks are open for the First Day Hike. It’s simple. You simply take a good, long hike outdoors on New Year’s Day.

Why Do We Eat Blackeyed Peas and Collard Greens on New Year’s Day?

The Southern custom of blackeyed peas goes back to the Civil war era. Blackeyed peas were one of the few foods avaialble at the end of the war in the South and people felt lucky to have them. After the war, it became a tradition to eat these on the first of January every year to bring good luck and prosperity to the household.

Some people say the peas represent coins, the greens represent bills (money) and cornbread represents gold.

These foods are healthy and delicious, so starting off the year eating them is not a bad idea.

One way to make black eyed peas more palatable is to make Hopping John. Hopping John is a South Carolina dish made of black eyed peas, ham hock, stewed tomatoes and of course, rice. It can’t be Carolinian without rice!

Vegetarian Hopping John

You can buy canned Hopping John or seasoned black eyed peas. But it is not hard to make. i used to make a vegetarian version with canned black eyed peas, rinsed, and canned tomatoes with juice. To this mixture, I added sauteed garlic, chopped green bell pepper and chopped yellow onion, salt and pepper and bay leaf. You could also add green onions and chopped celery to the saute mixture. This is most delicious if you make it a day a head and reheat. Serve with or without rice, as you like. But greens are a must! 🙂

Why Do We Eat Pork and Sauerkraut on New Year’s Day?

The Pennsylvania Dutch (and other Pennsylvanians) eat pork and sauerkraut for good luck. The pig roots for food moving forward. For this reason, it is considered lucky. Long shreds of sauerkraut are said to represent a long life — and some people also equate cabbage with money.