January is the Coolest Month

21 Jan

St. Paul Winter Carnival Dates: January 24th-February 3rd.

When I hear the word fellowship I cringe at the thought of awkward gatherings, small talk, and laughing at jokes that aren’t funny. I’ve never been a big social person, but at the bidding of the social butterfly in my friends, I risked the dreaded fellowship and made the trek to downtown St. Paul, leaving the coziness of my living room, still shining from the barn lights on my Christmas tree and serenaded by the heat emitting from my radiators. Concerning winter, Shakespeare may have spoken truth that “thy breath is rude;” however, any true Minnesotan knows the delight of winter: the beauty of dazzling trees, the joy of skiing down Snelling Ave, and the kindness that the snow inspires in people to help push cars from the icy ruts of unplowed streets. And any true Minnesotan knows why most people dread the cold and raise their eyebrows at the sight of someone making a snow angel, for they’ve never known the cure for winter days: seasonal beers, spicy hot chocolate, snow sculpting masterpieces, live music, furnacing foods, and brushing shoulders with your fellow Minnesotans. Yes, when it comes to the St. Paul Winter Carnival, Minnesota knows how to throw a party, and it is good enough to sacrifice a warm night indoors for an adventure in good ol’ downtown St Paul.

All it took was a New York journalist condemning St. Paul as “another Siberia, unfit for human habitation in the winter” to begin a Minnesota Winter Revolution in 1886.  Since then, the Winter Carnival has founded culturally rich traditions of royal families, the Order of Fire and Brimstone, and the Vulcan, building a community based on bringing its members together to support its city and economy, all the while having a grand time. While I’m never going to jump at the chance to go to parties or meet strangers, I love my city and because of that, it is my duty to support this annual event. In Psalms we are told “how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” This unity is not simply isolated to the smaller communities of one’s parish, work, family, or school; it includes the broader community of one’s own city. The St. Paul Winter Carnival exists for more than entertainment or good food and drink; it is a gathering of people finding warmth in the company of their community, and perhaps that is one of the purposes of God creating such a thing as winter.

To counteract the discomforts of seasons there are many cures: rain boots for spring puddles, cool lakes for hot summer days, and bulky wool sweaters for autumn.  For winter, the St. Paul Winter Carnival brings warmth and worth to the rude breath of winter. Call it fellowship if you want, but even that won’t stop me from strapping on a pair of skates, standing under a palm tree made of ice, burning my tongue on hot chocolate, proving an over confident New Yorker wrong, and most importantly, participating in creating unity in my city.

St. Paul Winter Carnival Dates: January 24th-February 3rd.

– Zita Larson


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