‘Tis the season to spend every lasts penny you have buying gifts for people you have to spend time with and pretending to like the things they bring for you. That certainly sounds like a set-up for a great holiday romance where one person who is cynical meets another person who takes every day as it comes and looks on the bright side of everything. Your view of the holidays is entirely up to you. Honestly, you can change your outlook and create a month of joy-filled celebrations.
No matter which holidays you observe, you can smile and be thankful that you have all the wonders around you. I am a spiritual person but not tied to any religion. I like to participate in a wide selection of holidays and holy days, some because they connect me to my childhood and others because they opened my eyes to a world beyond what I grew up with.
Recently I discovered Rabbi Ilene Schneider through her comments on the current political situation in America that match my own and provide more scope on the important matters. She has a great blog that looks at Chanukah in bite-size portions, making the whole event relevant and appetizing. The celebration starts on the 25th day of Kislev, so it’s a different date every year on the Gregorian calendar.
Many people celebrate the movements of the celestial bodies, especially the sun. The Solstice has become associated with Native American observances. After centuries of being forced into the religious views of their conquerors, the People of the Americas are enjoying the freedom to celebrate their own beliefs.
In Egypt, centuries ago, the Solstice was the Day of the Return of the Wandering Goddess. Hathor returned to her father, Ra, and healed their relationship. She had been called Sekhmet and went on a killing rampage to avenge her father when humans were ridiculing Ra. He tricked her with red beer which, believing it to be blood, she drank until she could not walk straight. As she returned to her father, he renamed her Hathor and her personality changed to one of sweetness and love. Her priestesses drank beer died red in her honor every new year, which of course happened at the solstice.
We’re past the observance of Bodhi Day, commemorating the day Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha, obtained enlightenment. He sat under a bodhi tree one night and as the evening progressed, he realized many important concepts about life. He went on to spread his teachings for 45 more years. December 8th is the traditional date.
The Muslim celebrations of Eid is observed according to a long tradition of lunar sightings and the Islamic calendar. So while it fell in the same month as Christmas for some years, it was observed on September 8th in 2017 and will be celebrated on August 21st in 2018.
Christmas, of course, is the big holiday for Christians at this time of year. While research shows that the celebrated birth of the Christ Child probably happened in warmer months when the shepherds stayed in the fields with their sheep and new-born lambs, early preachers needed to replace the pagan Yule celebrations with something of their own. As Jesus is known as the Light of the World and the Solstice celebrates the return of the light to days, it seemed to make some sense.
Another non-Christian holiday celebrated in December was Saturnalia, when the Saturn, the god of seed and sowing, was honored with a seven-day celebration. Luckily the religion was recognized by the ruling Romans, so no one had to beg for a week off. NeoPagans include reconstruction of ancient religions, including Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, Norse, and Roman, with a few others emerging as they grow in popularity. The Solstice figures prominently in these beliefs and ceremonies.
I’ve looked at Kwanzaa, Yule, and Festivus celebrations in past blogs and for now, I am stopping with what is above. I gathered almost all of the information in this blog from ReligiousTolerance.org, a great site that encourages tolerance through knowing the truth. Any errors in this blog are mine.
Thanks for reading, have a Joyous Holiday Season, and I’ll be back on Thursday.