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June 05, 2008

Ginkgo Day magic

A blogger writes: "The Ginkgo tree (usually) loses all (or the vast majority) of its leaves on one day. This day is Ginkgo Day, the only holiday I know of where the determination of the date is independent of any human decision. The tree decides, and Ginkgo Day may be different from town to town, or even from tree to tree within a given town. The tradition I started (and I really don’t like saying that) is that if you catch a falling leaf on Ginkgo Day, it brings good luck. Oh, and you can catch leaves for other people–giving them the leaves will bring luck to them. “Dr. K.” Several years ago (but well after the tradition had momentum) I caught many leaves, and happened to give one to “Dr. K.”, a colleague of mine who had passed by and asked me what I was doing. Dr. K. had recently been through a divorce, and thought she could really use some luck. Well…within the next week or two, she had met a man, a very nice man, an English teacher. She credited the ginkgo leaf. No, really. She told him about it, and gave him that same ginkgo leaf, laminated into a bookmark. A few months later, he carefully cut the leaf out of the bookmark, and presented it to her in a poem he had written, in which he proposed marriage. Of course, she accepted, and credited the ginkgo leaf. I have a copy of a poem he read at the wedding, crediting the ginkgo for their meeting and love. (The final copy, framed with that same leaf, is on the wall in their house.) The wedding cake had green ginkgo-leaf frosting; she wore gold ginkgo-leaf earrings. One of their wedding gifts was a set of crystal goblets etched with ginkgo leaves. In subsequent years, I would see her at the tree on Ginkgo Day, catching leaves for friends. “I really do believe in this!” Two years ago, she moved out of state. At her new house, of course, they have planted a ginkgo tree. "


At 10/20/2009, Blogger Jet Three said...

Today is Ginkgo Day! I have my very own tree. It's very young, as I am. I hadn't known about catching leaves before, nor even of their dropping, so I wasn't prepared. I loved your story and will try to catch some next year, even if I have to stand under it all month. :)

At 10/24/2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had the good fortune of moving into a home 13 years ago with a beautiful ginkgo tree in the yard - in direct view of our large kitchen window. The first time the leaves dropped in ginkgo fashion, we were in awe. Since then, we have celebrated Ginkgo Day by having 'gh' foods for dinner. The kids create a menu, we bring in the leaves and scatter them on our kitchen table, we read ginkgo poems (my favorite is The Consent), and pay homage to this incredible tree. This will be our 12th year celebrating what we have always called Ginkgo Day.


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