Windblownbutterfly (Susan) asked if, as an atheist, I would prefer not to see Christmas at all. This was after I bah-humbugged about Christmas gumph appearing in the shops here mid-November. Separately, Diane asked what traditions I do observe. I have decided to kill the questions of two birds with one…uh…post.
First and foremost, from my reading in psychology, I am a great believer that looking forward to things is a big positive in any person’s life. Depression thrives in looking backwards. So with that in mind, I love traditions and festivals. But I don’t delve deeply into their meaning.
Christmas and Easter are great eat-fests. What we eat for Christmas can vary enormously as the weather here is totally unpredictable in December, anything from 12-38 deg C is on the cards (54-100 degF). Easter is less foody but must have hot cross buns on Good Friday, and only Good Friday, even though they are in the shops on Boxing Day. And chocolate eggs only on Easter Sunday.
So I am more fundamental that many Christians on those ones, Susan!
My gripe with the celebrations is not that they happen, but that the retailers have made them so long they lose their special nature. This gets back to my thesis on the benefits of looking forward to festivals and special occasions. Easter runs for up to four months in the shops; how do you make it special at the correct time? For most people bun-fatigue has set in long before Easter arrives.
Also on our calendar is Halloween, something not celebrated greatly in Australia because it is “an American thing”. Don’t say that to any Celts of your acquaintance though, it long predates the US. But we have our own particular Halloween dinner each year, centring around the dessert: mud, blood & poached brains; made every year by popular request.
January 25th is Burns Day and last year we tracked down a butcher who made Haggis and ate it with all due ceremony (served with neeps and whiskey, accompanied by the reading of Burn’s poem to the Haggis).
The following day is Australia Day and roast lamb is obligatory.
St Patrick’s Day gets a mention too, if only as an excuse to have a Guinness. Bloom’s Day is equally popular, if less intelligible.
Pancake Tuesday will be properly adorned with pancakes, of course.
St Valentines Day is celebrated for itself and because it is our half anniversary. Of course, the anniversary proper is duly celebrated too.
Sundry other celebrations that appear in our calendar include birthdays and such like.
The remaining one, and it is a big one, is every Saturday night, when we are home, I do a three course candle-lit dinner. Tonight is the first time for yonks that there is just the two of us; usually there is a flux of family and friends happy to participate.
So, I have no qualms about celebrating religious festivals and pagan ones too.
Just don’t ask me to buy the story behind them.
Now, time to cook dinner.