A couple of weeks ago people were wishing each other “Season’s Greetings” which is another way of saying “Happy Christmas and New Year” or “Happy Holidays”. It may be a bit old fashioned and reminiscent of greeting cards but the phrase is still hanging in. The season referred to is, of course, the festive season of Christmas and the following days celebrating the birth of Jesus and the change of year.
Season is also the term for a quarter part of the year: spring, summer, autumn, winter. Here it is associated to the climate, the length of the day, etc. And from there we get the use of season to refer to periods when some activity is taking place.
The duck-shooting season commences in May and lasts for six weeks.
The clay court tennis season lasts for much longer than it used to.
The opera season is awaited with much delight by its fans.
Raspberries have a very short season – a few weeks in midsummer at most.
We even refer to season in the television world to refer to the number of series a particular programme has had. Usually it will be one season per year.
Empire is now in its fourth season for the Fox Network.
Another logical use is to refer to female animals who are ready to breed.
My mare is in season now, so she stays in a paddock away from the other horses, especially the stallion.
But how do we get to season meaning add spice to food?
Now season the meat, in other words, add some salt and pepper to add flavor.
Or the noun form,
Paprika is a colourful seasoning for this dish and there is no reason why saffron wouldn’t work well too!
And then we have loads of other versions: off-season, high season, both common in the travel business.
Finally, we have ‘the silly season’, which is that moment of the year when people seem to be doing crazy things, publicity stunts, making up exaggerated news.
And now for another antic from the silly season: local man Keith Willis has chained himself to a pole in the supermarket carpark with a dozen chains and 40 padlocks and says he will marry the first girl who can manage to unlock them all.