We need our Holidays, and we need them evenly divided over the year.
As we work during the days and rest at night,
as we work during the week days and rest at weekends,
so should we also work for 6 1/2 weeks and rest for one week...
People, in every generation, in all cultures and continents, have noticed that this diviton; 86% work and 14% rest, works best. That way we won't get too tired to work nor to not work.
We need the Holidays to be able to rest and notice the passing of the seasons.
We need the Holidays to be able to work the rest of the time without getting burned out.
We need the Holidays to vent our emotions, aggressions and spirit of independence, to remember we are free and lords of ourselves, our feelings and thoughts.
We need the Holidays to get traditions and structure to our lives, an anchoring to the time, culture and society. To history and humankind.
We need the Holidays to get beauty, pleasure, joy and comfort to our lives and something to look forward to.
We need the Holidays to forget for a while all our troubles, worries and strife, our burdens and our misery, and to remember the joys, blessings and pleasures.
We need the Holidays to celebrate these felicities of our lives, to honor and glorify them, to enjoy of and to thank for.
We need the "props" and the settings; food, decorations and activities, to get us to the right mood, so that the Holiday fulfills its purpose.
Some people need a lot of persuasion, outright manipulation, brainwash, to let go of the everyday life, and the USonian holiday movies are very effective at creating the "need". They appeal to our emotions, engage us, and remind us of the good things in life. Watch some of these movies to see what it is they do and how they manipulate our minds.
Unfortunately, if the manipulation is so rough and blunt it can't be ignored, it has the exact opposite effect. We don't want to be manipulated, we don't want to be emotionally blackmailed and forced to feel. We don't want the "holiday message" pushed to our faced and expected to enjoy things just because "it's Christmas!". It gets very uncomfortable and unpleasant, and both those feelings are not what one should feel at Holiday time. One should WANT to celebrate the Sabbaths, not feel FORCED to celebrate them.
Also, these holiday movies and heavy manipulation of our emotions and minds creates a perfect, flawless holiday fantasy, which in turn creates expectations and stress, and that too is counteracting the true purpose of holidays.
So what we need is inspiration, not manipulation.
We also need to follow the seasons and adjust the holidays to the nature, our environments, culture and lifestyle, to our ideology, lifestance and world view. The holidays should strengthen our values. That is the only way we can avoid that the celebration becomes too much, unnatural, unrealistic, complicated, expensive, incomprehensible burden, mere expectation, uncomfortable, stressful and difficult to organize. If we build the holiday on our values and thoughts, the reasons to celebrate are clear, the traditions are practical and sensible and every part of the holiday; food, decoration, entertainment, activities, enhance the good in life.
This is why we need to remember the "reason for the season", focus on the message, the meaning and purpose of the holiday, the symbolism, the cause, and build the holiday structure, traditions and routines on that core.
This is very important to me.
This is Samhain altar by "katt343"
It looks like a really nice table setting for a "dumb supper",
except that I would have ironed that tablecloth... >:->
I don't much care if (or why) Christians celebrate Christmas or not, it's 100% their business and none of mine, but I care very much when Christians try to force their values to the Pagan Yule ("Jesus is the reason for the season" and "war on Christmas"), or when they kidnap Jewish holidays and infuse them with their own symbolism, which is very foreign to the Jewish mindset. ("Jesus is the Hanukkah Light of the World", "Jesus is the sacrificial lamb of Pesach"). What ever you believe about Jesus, Christianity is very much younger religion than both Paganism and Judaism, and if you celebrate Pagan or Jewish holidays, you don't start claiming Jesus has anything to do with those celebrations n their original shape and religion, the time of those celebrations, the symbols of those feasts or the reasons of those celebrations. Midwinter Feast IS 100% Pagan holiday. Celebrate Christmas, if you wish, celebrate the birth of your God at Midwinter, like the Pagans do, if you wish, it's as good a date as any, but DON'T EVEN THINK OF CLAIMING JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON. He's not, and you should know better. Don't mix your religious myths with history of religion and anthropology. Know where your TRADITIONS come.
It's OK to "steal, adopt and borrow" any tradition from any culture and adjust it to your own lifestyle. I have taken much from the Finnish Christian culture, because that is the culture I grew up in, and the symbolism is there. I do share a lot of the values of Finnish Christians, even when I don't share their religious views. Values and ethics have no religion.
Now I have ranted enough. :-D