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Trying to figure out Solstice/xmas traditions

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Ok. So I wasn't really sure how to title this thread. DH and I were both raised Christian and then tried out half a dozen religions/teachings over the last decade. We both have a very esoteric outlook on spirituality. At the moment, I'm more buddhist centered and The hubs is, well, I don't even know. He's been bouncing around a lot but he's pretty secular still and into Descartes. 

 

Anyways. Up until now our holidays have been pretty focused on putting lights up and that's about it. We never exchanged gifts and weren't into the whole Christmas thing. I like the idea of Celebrating the solstice. I want to get a tree on the 21st and cook a big, possibly vegetarian version of a traditional meal. I feel like maybe I should spend more time studies the roots of the solstice and Pagan origins of Christmas but am lazy and wonder if it's worth it. DD is only 5 months old so I have a bit of time come up with family traditions.... but then again, I wonder if we do things too differently, how will it effect things with other families/friends? Besides us, both sides are uber Christian. Like, Christmas and Easter are both about Jesus and have nothing to do with old-world religions Christian. 

post #2 of 6

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Back later!

post #3 of 6

Personally, I think understanding the origins of the traditions you want to incorporate is well worth it.  We are not religious, neither pagan nor Christian, but we do celebrate the Solstice, and Christmas.  The Solstice is more my family's own celebration, and Christmas is more for the whole extended family.  I think I'd be a bit lost in our Solstice celebration if I didn't understand what we were celebrating, and there are old religious beliefs that simply do not apply to me.  While I keep the spirits et al in mind, the Solstice for me is a time of celebrating the darkness and the mystery, about the beginning of the New Year and preserving the source of some cultural traditions that have gotten co opted by another tradition.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

I suppose what I meant is if I should search for "new" traditions for our family or just re-read the history behind familiar traditions and start practicing those. 

post #5 of 6
We aren't religious. We traveled when the children were small to avoid all the gifts, parties and relatives that insist on Santa. Then, when my kids were 10 and 8, we literally "came home" and invented our little tradition of solstice. For us, its a Soup and Solstice party. A small potted tree trimmed with sun ornaments. Greenery and no presents at all. We tweak the details each year. One year I had a fire juggler at the party. One year we made honey cakes from the Roman Saturnalia tradition. Last year we created a Yule log that was a cake and shared it with the guests. Life is good.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by inconditus View Post
 

I suppose what I meant is if I should search for "new" traditions for our family or just re-read the history behind familiar traditions and start practicing those. 

I think if the event is more important to you than historical practices, I think it's great to arrive at your own traditions.  Or, perhaps once you've search for the meaning of *why* you are celebrating in the first place, you might come back around to borrow other traditions.  I think Solstice tends to remind us of similar things: darkness, the return of light and the New Year, those things that appear to remain eternal throughout (thus the evergreen associations with mistletoe, holly, ivy, and the tree).  If you are spiritual, if not religious, you might see this time of year as a time when the veil between the physical world and the spirit world are thin.  Or not.  

 

I tend to like these things this time of year: celebration of the night, stargazing (weather permitting), bonfires.  I like the NW coast story of Raven Stealing the Light-- the Sun is kept by a chief in a bentwood box inside more boxes and so the world is dark, because he is afraid he will see his daughter might be ugly.  Raven wants to know what is in the box, so he turns himself into a hemlock needle and drifts into her tea.  She drinks it and becomes pregnant, and gives birth to a boy that her father dotes on (Raven) so he cannot say no for anything, even when Raven/boy mischievously asks what is inside the boxes.  Once the Sun is revealed, Raven transforms and flies away, stealing the light and putting it in the sky.  The daughter, the man finds, is beautiful.  The best versions of this story, IMO are ones not written for children.  Raven is mischievous and  morally flexible, and the stories are much better when they aren't cleaned up too much.

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