Showing posts from December, 2021

Berry Christmas!

  “The holly bears a berry as red as any blood…” There are many berries we associate with Christmas time. I still need to get around to making this year’s frozen haws (hawthorn berries) into some kind of jam or syrup. (Blame the post-vaccine fatigue!)  I’d like to share with you three traditional Christmas tales about berries and cherries. The Miracle of Marjatta I retell this episode from the Finnish national epic The Kalevala in my book Asexual Myths & Tales. It’s a version of the Nativity story, told through the lens of Finland’s pagan past.  The maiden Marjatta (Mary) becomes miraculously pregnant by eating a cowberry that cries out to her, “Pick me!” When the pregnancy starts to show, one believes her tale, and she is forced to search around for a sauna in which to give birth. She asks Herod (here, the village headman) for use of his sauna, but he refuses. So she goes into a stable, where the cattle create a sauna with their warm breath. Her son becomes the one who ousts the s