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Friday, April 25, 2014

Arbor Day and Mythological Species of Humanoids #14 and #15 - dryad and hamadryads

Happy Arbor Day everybody! A day to celebrate and plant trees is a great day!
Here's some facts I rounded up about today. I've put the link below the facts, if you like what you see.
The first Arbor Day was on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan started it. A second Arbor Day took place in 1884 and it was made an annual legal holiday in 1885, using April 22nd to coincide with Morton's birthday.

 At the federal level, in 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day.  Today all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate. 
Arbor Day is also now celebrated in other countries.  Variations are celebrated as 'Greening Week' of Japan, 'The New Year's Days of Trees' in Israel, 'The Tree-loving Week' of Korea, 'The Reforestation Week' of Yugoslavia, 'The Students' Afforestation Day' of Iceland and 'The National Festival of Tree Planting' in India. 
Arbor Day is an opportunity to inspect your trees for evidence of disease or insect infestation and think about planting new trees to provide wind or heat protection.  Are there any public areas where tree planting or tree maintenance might make a real difference to your community?
 Arbor Day became a national sensation in 1907, when President Theodore Roosevelt issued a proclamation to school children about forestry and the importance of trees.
 During Christopher Columbus's time, "it's said that squirrels could travel from tree to tree from the Northeast to the Mississippi without ever having to touch the ground," Chris Roddick, chief arborist at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York, told LiveScience in 2009. "In the old-growth forests in the Northeast, you had hemlock that were six or seven feet in diameter, chestnut trees 200 feet tall." 
Trees absorb and hold carbon that would otherwise end up in the atmosphere, warming the globe. They also provide shade that lowers the need for air conditioning. Oh, and greening up urban spaces may even improve mental health

Mythological Species of Humanoids #14 and #15 - dryad and hamadryads 

In honor of Arbor Day I've researched some of my favorite humanoids.
 A dryad is a tree numph or female tree spirit. In Greek drys signifies "oak." So, dryads are specifically the nymphs of oak trees, though now the term means any tree nymph.
 The dryads of ash trees are called the Meliai. Nymphs associated with apple trees are the Epimmeliad, and those associated with walnut-trees are the Caryatids. 

In Scotland the Ghillie Dhu or Gille Dubh is a guardian spirit of the trees. He is kind to children, but generally wild and shy. Said to be dark haired, he is described as clothed in leaves and moss.
A kodama is a Japanese spirit that lives in a tree. Kodama appear in the animated film Princess Mononoke..
Salabhanjika or Shalabhajika refers to the sculpture of a woman, displaying stylized feminine features, standing near a tree and grasping a branch.
The salabhanjika concept stems from ancient symbolism linking a chaste maiden with the sala tree or the asoka tree through the ritual called dohada, or the fertilisation of plants through contact with a young woman.

 In Rome, the Querquetulanae or Querquetulanae virae were nymphs of the oak grove (querquetum) at a stage of producing green growth.
 Hama Dryad
An integral part of their trees, such that if the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well. For these reasons, dryads and the Greek gods punished any mortals who harmed trees without first appeasing the tree-nymphs.

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