Halcyon Days


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halcyon days

[′hal·sē·ən ¦dāz]
(meteorology)
A period of fine weather.

Halcyon Days

December 14-28
The ancient Greeks called the seven days preceding and the seven days following the Winter Solstice the "Halcyon Days." According to one legend, the halcyon bird, or kingfisher, nested during this period. Because she built her nest on the water, the gods granted her a respite from storms and high seas so that she could hatch and rear her young.
But Greek mythology has it that Halcyone (or Alcyone), Ceyx's wife and one of Aeolus's daughters, drowned herself when she learned her husband had drowned. The gods took pity on her and transformed them both into kingfishers, and Zeus commanded the seas to be still during these days. Thus it was considered a period when sailors could navigate in safety.
Today, the expression "halcyon days" has come to mean a period of tranquillity, often used as a nostalgic reference to times past.
SOURCES:
BkDays-1864, vol. II, p. 726
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 475
OxYear-1999, p. 499
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