Autumn Equinox is not very celebrated feast around the world. We have to practically form our own traditions. The good thing about this is that we get to celebrate the Autumn Equinox exactly as we'd like to. The bad thing is that - we don't have the slightest idea of how. :-D
Some years ago I wrote about how to plan a Midsummer celebration. I told people to plan it by simple rules: do what you like, don't do what you don't like. Even if it is a tradition, if you don't like it, don't do it. In Sweden it is a tradition to eat pickled herring for Midsummer. I don't eat seafood of any kind. It doesn't matter how much people say it doesn't taste like fish or any other thing they assume is the reason to why I don't eat seafood, I won't eat it.
(The reason to why I don't eat seafood is that it doesn't taste good to me. Even the best things I have been offered haven't tasted especially good. They haven't necessarily been bad, but it's on the list of things I would eat if I had to, but if I have a choice - which I consider I always have - I choose something else. I'd rather eat liver than seafood. So, just a simple question of taste. Some people like purple, I don't. Some people love seafood, I don't. For some reason it's ok to not like purple, daisies, cats or smell of rotten fish, but when it comes to food, you MAY NOT not like something, or you are considered childish, immature, whiny, trying to be special, trying to get attention or something else like that, and you can BET there's someone trying to trick you to eat the very thing you said you don't like... and when you are polite and eat and thank for the food given to you, they laugh at you because you somehow have been "exposed"... No, darling, I still don't like it. I'm just well brought up. Unlike you.)
Back to pickled herring. If you don't like it, don't serve it. Even if you have a "secret" family recipe, don't make it. Give the recipe to someone who appreciates it. You don't.
See all the feast traditions the same way. Yes, it's a tradition to eat turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. But if you don't like turkey, don't eat it. Don't serve it, don't make it. Tell your guests in good time beforehand that they won't get any turkey in your house. Your house is a turkey free zone. If they want turkey at Thanksgiving, they cannot celebrate it with you. You HOPE that your company is more appreciated to them than turkey, but if they now just have to have turkey for Thanksgiving, and not day before or day after or at a restaurant, then they cannot celebrate Thanksgiving with you. There are people like that, and having your dream holiday is not to be your guests' worst nightmare.
Anyway - pick the traditions you love, the ones you like and the ones you don't mind, and discard the rest. Adopt traditions from other people. People do that all the time.
I know I yap about the Christians "stealing" Yule and now they are "stealing" Chanukkah (which is kind of worse, because they are not just taking the traditions, date and other such stuff and renaming it, they are taking the whole megillah and giving it new meaning... *rolling eyes* Christian Chanukkah? I mean... Chanukkah is celebrated to commemorate the victory over the Greeks, and Christianity is practically synonymous to Greeks. Makes me sick.)
Anyway, in my mind adopting and adapting traditions is quite ok. Even for Christians. I start having problems when they adopt traditions and then start claiming they were theirs in the first place. Like "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". Nope. Winter Solstice is the "reason for the season". Winter Solstice happens every year, to every person living on this planet, totally in spite of what people believe in. Believe all you want that Jesus is the reason to why Earth's axis tilts, but don't start arguing about the matter, be so kind.
Bah. I keep sliding from the issue... I think I need to mark with different color the thing I'm trying to say here, so you can ignore the chattering in between ;-)
Pick the traditions you like from ANY culture, civilization (it's actually offensive to speak about culture and civilization, because not all people live in cities or farm, and they are not less "civilised" or "cultured" than those who do. In many cases it's the other way around.) and adjust it to yours.
I am creating my Mabon celebration based on
- the Jewish Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkoth AND Simcha Torah celerbations;
- the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival (Moon festival);
- St Michael's celebration;
- Oschophoria and other Dionysos' feasts and vintage celebrations.
- Thanksgiving and Harvest feasts all over the world, through the ages and
- Octoberfest. (It actually starts around September Equinox and lasts for 2-3 weeks... like "old time Christmas", 12 days...)
Interesting here is that the National Grandparents' day is in September and The International Day for the Elderly is October 1st - and one of the themes of Mabon is "Old Age".
My husband and I are actually wondering if I might have ADD... ROTFLMAO! I was writing this blog entry and then looked up something and three hours later... "Oh... I was writing a blog entry!"
Bah. I'll never get there!
Some time ago I wrote a little something about how to plan the best Midsummer fest ever.
Look back at your experiences and ask yourself:
1) What was the best and the worst of the previous Midsummer celebrations
2) What was the best and the worst of OTHER PEOPLE's Midsummer celebrations
3) What is the best and the worst of the celebrations of OTHER FEASTS at this time of the year
4) What is the best and the worst of the OTHER SABBATH celebrations
Take what you want, adjust it to your needs and run with it :-) That's the way traditions are created. Most of the modern holiday traditions are just 1-2 generations old. Grandparents didn't celebrate the holidays the same way their grandchildren do...