The sun shone brightly this morning as Malinda L. Hamster, president of The Park’s Small Animal Hibernating Community (SAHC), surrendered the symbolic nut to 2014 Keeper of the Nut, Giuliana Imelda Lontra. On this solemn occasion, I entrust this nut to you and entreat you to guard it and to keep it safe until such time as the hibernating community requests its return,” the Hamster said as she offered the nut to Lontra.
Lontra clutched the nut, and spoke the traditional oath of the Keeper of the Nut:
“I swear to keep this nut from harm and to preserve it intact until such time as the hibernating community requests its return. And I do so with respect for all Park citizens.”
With that, the solemn portion of the day was done, and the crowd began to enjoy its half-day holiday.
While attendees partook of the vast array of goodies supplied by The Compost Heap, Provisions by Petrounel, Ants in Your Pantry and Florette’s Fine Edibles, talk turned to memories of past Surrenders and to the evolution of the occasion.
“Historically, the Surrender of the Nut was a solemn occasion. It was a recognition of the trust that Animals place in each other for their very survival and the Keeper of the Nut is a symbol of that. It has always been a very powerful moment for us,” said Beatrice Zilonis, Professor of History at the University of West Terrier.
Park Historical Society president Clark Cascanueces agreed.
“The Return of the Nut is also very powerful… the idea that it is returned unharmed and intact, no matter what the Winter was like, that no harm has come to it, even if there was a shortage of food, it wasn’t eaten. I find that very moving. The nut is sacred and so few things are anymore. To me, there is also so much symbolism in both occasions being half-day holidays. The two parts come together to make a whole. The symbolism in that is amazing,” he said.