Published: 2014-04-21 13:41:28
Updated: 2014-04-21 13:41:28
Posted April 21, 2014
By Nate Johnson
If you've ever taken a day off work just to get outside and enjoy nice weather, do I have a holiday for you! Well, the Egyptians do, anyway.
Today is Sham el-Nessim. Literally, it means "smell the breezes," and it's a national holiday in Egypt. The Egyptians celebrate it by eating picnics and visiting zoos, parks, and other green spaces.
In other words, it's a national holiday made for going outside. "Smell the Breezes Day." How about that?
While the holiday doesn't have have a particular religious meaning — it predates Christianity by thousands of years and has agricultural roots — it has come to be marked on the day following Eastern Orthodox Christian and Coptic Christian Easter. Despite its nonreligious roots, I like to think of it as a fantastic follow-up to Easter (and the long stretch of Lent and Holy Week before it).
The date for Eastern Christian Easter varies like it does for Catholics and Protestants, and the dates often do not coincide with Western Easter. However, this year, since Eastern and Western Christians celebrated Easter on the same year, we get to mark "Smell the Breezes Day" together, too.
One place you can "smell the breezes" is the WRAL Azalea Gardens. They're blooming now and are loaded with hundreds (if not thousands!) of colorful flowers, with a special emphasis on azaleas. The Gardens are located next to the WRAL-TV Studios at 2619 Western Boulevard in Raleigh, and they're free and open to the public.
Here's a thought: Instead of showering attention on a weather-forecasting rodent (who never seems to want the attention anyway, if we're talking about Punxsutawney Phil), let's start celebrating "Smell the Breezes Day" as our national weather holiday. Skipping the office for a Monday picnic in the park is something we all can agree on, right?