A new tradition to extend the holiday season.
It is said that the tradition of Winsome Wednesday was started by the Amish of eastern Pennsylvania on or about the year 2000. That’s what I heard, anyway, through the ever increasing grapevine hereabouts. Winsome Wednesday has been growing in popularity, and the tradition has been spreading here in the USA. It has reached me, here in neighboring Ohio, and in fact I was invited to an Amish abode last January to celebrate the occasion. More on that in a moment.
First, though, let me tell you about the particulars concerning Winsome Wednesday. It was begun to extend the holiday season, and it takes place on the first Wednesday of the new year. Now if New Year’s Day should happen to fall on a Wednesday, then this new “Holiday” is simply pushed to the following day and folks are encouraged to come up with a witty substitute name. “Threadbare Thursday,” was proffered by a witty young lad and that was received well. I think he offered that name in keeping with the casual clothes worn on Winsome Wednesday. (And I will talk more about that shortly.) But at any rate, this new holiday falling on Thursday is relatively seldom. Yet even when it does, Wednesday is still the star; Thursday simply hangs onto Wednesday’s coattails.
Now the whole point of Winsome Wednesday is to have a fun time in a festive, merry atmosphere; it is a time is for light-hearted warmth, gaiety, and, most importantly, for comfort. “Get comfortable on Winsome Wednesday,” is printed on the flyers. Now, to that end, the guys attending the said celebration at the specified residence are to arrive wearing ties. Okay, I know this sounds like it’s in direct contradiction to what I just said about comfort. Well, here’s the thing: upon arrival, the ties are cut off, with scissors, by the ladies (each lady gets a turn), and so that then takes care of the ties! The guys shed what's left of their ties, and then, all tie pieces are put into a large wicker basket and then there’s a drawing to see who wins the, “Wicker Prize” (there was no way it was going to be called the, Door Prize), and that adds to the festiveness of the occasion.
I hasten to add that dress is casual--very casual. So it’s mostly jeans and Reeboks and sweatshirts and cotton or cotton blends that hang or cling gladly to folks happy and relaxed. Blue clothing is encouraged although it is by no means a requirement. I guess there is some carryover from blue Monday; I don’t know. Blue has always been a charming color, at least to me, anyway.
As for food, it is deli all the way, with cold cuts like bologna, Canadian maple ham, sliced beef and sliced turkey. There is a wide selection of breads, and cold slaw and anti-pasta salad are available. And cheeses galore--lots and lots of cheese, cheeses new to me, cheeses with verve, cheeses with bite, cheeses with personality. Winsome consumption to be sure.
I felt at home in the Amish residence last year--it was comfort wrapped in contentment inside tranquility. It was perfection of new tradition, it was the nexus for the addition to holiday. Season’s greeting extended, Yuletide mirth added with ease and elan. Apropos as a holiday addendum--comfort in blue jeans. Good people with warm-hearted smiles, engaging conversation, an atmosphere of old-world style and simplicity--this describes a Winsome Wednesday, this describes the new tradition that does so seem to be gaining strength. Because it is a tradition far removed from the push and shove, far away from the tenseness of grab and go.
One of the more charming aspects of Winsome Wednesday is dish towels--yes, you heard me right--dish towels. Although the time for gift-giving has passed, people give each other dish towels as part of the Winsome Wednesday celebration. No one I have talked with seems to know how this peculiar custom came to be, but dish towels are to Winsome Wednesday what Jack-O’ Lanterns are to Halloween.
My two dish towels are prominent right now; I see them, there, hanging on the oven door handle. I can’t help but get a good feeling every time I see them, I cannot help associating the charm and overall pleasantness of last January’s event. A warm fuzzy--yes.
Winsome Wednesday brings out the best in people--it really does. And it spawns creativity as well. When I received my two dish towels, there was a little card that came with them. Inside, the card reads as follows:
On Winsome Wednesday you may feel
a happiness that makes you cry.
So keep these dish towels near to you
since they are made to keep things dry.
Now I ask you: who could resist such a new holiday, such a charming tradition that affords abundant joy and warmth? Sign me up for life.
Writer’s Cramp Winner