What is the "reason for the season"?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do not mean it in a mocking way, but honestly couldn't think of a better way to phrase it.

So what is the point of all these december holidays?? I personally see lots of emphasis on the return of light, especially with Chanukkah, Solstice and Kwanzaa.

Some celebrate this time as Christs birthday.
Some celebrate the eventual return of spring now that the days are lengthening again.
Some celebrate the joy of Santa Clause.
Some celebrate that the oil lasted so long it was a miracle.
Some celebrate positive living.
Some honor their ancestors.

there are many more reasons......anyone want to list theirs??
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#2 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 12:33 PM
 
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I live in the cold, dark north. And I tell ya, you need a holiday around December. All the lights, food, gifts, it helps you get thru the gloom of the winter. I wonder if that isn't reason it started.
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#3 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 12:43 PM
 
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Well #1 would be to celebrate Jesus being born. I can *really* connect with my Christianity at Christmas time because its so filled with love and happiness... (which is kinda what I think it should be like most of the time...)

But I also celebrate solstice with friends (not a religious thing for me, but a light/love thing), and christmas is always a time when I feel close to that child-like magical place I miss so much from being little. Its also a time for family, a time to be thankful, to stop and appreciate things...

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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#4 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thought I would answer my own question. For me this time of year is about that all things change. Even though it's dark and gloomy and cold out, spring will come. I really enjoy winter though. It would be a drag to have every day be the same. To not have the change of seasons would be truly sad. I really enjoy Santa Clause too.

That must be why I enjoy Summer Solstice and the Equinoxes just as much. The turning of the year and the passing of time is really what I honor.
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#5 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 02:39 PM
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Really? I think it is the weather.
At this point in the winter, back when it really snowed a lot and people would spend all winter inside, you really had to have faith that it was going to get warm again. Which is where the rituals came from to bring the spring back. Hence the holiday.
Not to offend...and please don't be, just stating my knowledge...Christianity piggybacked off of the existing winter holidays. Most scholars don't think Jesus was actually born in December. Again, I am not meaning to offend. Just stating what I know.

I love the season. I love the lights - from any religion, I love the greenery!

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#6 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 03:11 PM
 
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The cluster of celebration in the dead of winter is all about the harvest and the solstice. The solstice marks the time when the cold dark days begin to retreat and we return to light and warmth. I think we modern people underestimate how important the calendar was to non-technological agriculturalists.

The symbols are lights and fires, evergreens, the birth of a baby, and the enjoyment of abundance at a time when no food grows.

The season is a reminder towards hope and joy no matter how bleak things may be at the moment.

--AmyB
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#7 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 03:51 PM
 
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This is how I explain it to my kids- and most recently to my child's teacher as she searched to find a universal way to celebrate in the classroom.

Winter Solstice is a phenomenon that marks the longest night of the year and the return of the start of longer days. Thus the 'birth of the sun'

The Jews celebrate the season of light with Hanukkah

The Ramadan celebration period According to the Holy Quran:
is a time one may eat and drink at any time during the night "until you can plainly distinguish a white thread from a black thread by the daylight: then keep the fast until night"
---again the universal celebration of light and dark


The Christians choose this symbolic time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ - ( although I am not sure if it is universally accepted that this is not His birthday)

The Pagans celebrate the longest night in various symbolic ways, usually centering around the Solstice itself as the pagan culture typically felt guided by the sky and astronomical events

Yes, I know I likely did not do justice to each culture, but notice I try to make each one sound joyous and true unto themselves. I am trying to pass that on to my child while focusing that WE celebrate Yule as a time of solstice celebration marked with the birth of the sun god born out of the longest night - the labor.

Peace
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#8 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The Christians choose this symbolic time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ - ( although I am not sure if it is universally accepted that this is not His birthday)

I know that the Armenian church never accepted 12/25 as Christs birthday.
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#9 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 04:42 PM
 
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I think it is right on that the winter celebrations really mark a change in seasons more than anything else.

For us, it is just a time to be happy, to give to others, to look forward to suprises, to think of things that make us feel cozy and at peace. We have a Christmas theme, because that is what makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We talk about different "reasons for the seasons" with ds.

That is the point of it all for us...

Heartmama

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#10 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 06:31 PM
 
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There was controversy in the early centuries of the Common Era about when to set Christ's b-day. Was it Jan 7th, Dec 25th? Both were at one time the winter solstice. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, it is now Dec 21.

I read this without understandig it. Maybe one of our astrologers know what the precession of the equinoxes is.

12 days of Chirstmas: time period between Dec 25 and Jan 7!
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#11 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 06:36 PM
 
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just as an aside, I lived in a very conservative ( spooky) Christian town ( like from Children of the Corn) and I made the mistake of putting " The Season is the Reason for the Season" as a joke on some of my stationary. NOT received well needless to say.....
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#12 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 06:56 PM
 
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darylll... Interesting theory but thats 14 days! Many (most?) Christians celebrate the Epiphany (spelled wrong) on Jan 5 and those ARE the 12 days of Christmas. In Christian tradition this is not the Christmas Season we are in now. This is Advent, a time of quiet reflection and preperation for the big day of Christmas. Then the Christmas Season of 12 days starts and that is when you should be partying and exchanging gifts, etc.

Keys Mama... I may be wrong but I thought that the nature of the Muslim calender/ the designation of Ramadan made it one of those holidays that cycles around the year, very slowly. So while it is in winter time now it does sometimes fall in the other seasons as well... If I'm right it doesn't belong in a discussion of winter holidays. If I'm wrong I know I will be set straight soon!
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#13 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 07:14 PM
 
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I live in a sunny clime. Very little trust in the imminent arrival of new life and light necessary here. Spray snow on palm trees also looks very goofy

I also come from Holland, one of the least religious countries in the world (a small majority considers themselves non-religious according to official stats). Christmas is still accepted as a largely religious holiday (no pressure to be religious results in increased tolerance, I've found) with the added benefit of spending it with friends and family by most people. Interestingly, almost the whole country gets a week off to do so, and "boxing day" is called "second christmas day" so the inlaws don't lose out, either.

Since I've lived in the US, I'm afraid I have become a bit cynical this time of year. It really seems that lining the pockets of the Fortune 500 companies is one of the main reasons for the season here.
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#14 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 07:31 PM
 
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I'm read ing a very interseting book about Winter Solstice and learning that many things that we associate with certain religious celebrations in the wintertime , have been parts of winter celebrations around the world for centuries. Jesus was not the first or only Wonder Child whose birthday was attributed to the time of the yule season, he wasn't even the first who was supposedly born of a virgin. Tracing the roots and transformation of the holidays have led me to believe that these are truly universal celebrations, rather than specific to certain religions (even though certain stories certainly are)
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#15 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 07:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by kama'aina mama


Keys Mama... I may be wrong but I thought that the nature of the Muslim calender/ the designation of Ramadan made it one of those holidays that cycles around the year, very slowly. So while it is in winter time now it does sometimes fall in the other seasons as well... If I'm right it doesn't belong in a discussion of winter holidays. If I'm wrong I know I will be set straight soon!
There are many Muslim children at our school, so Ramadan ( at least this years) is a winter holiday, so it belongs

Ramadan this year started November 6 and lasts 27 days. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, so next year it will start around our Halloween.
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#16 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 07:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by simonee
I live in a sunny clime. Very little trust in the imminent arrival of new life and light necessary here. Spray snow on palm trees also looks very goofy

Same here. I am in the Florida Keys, where typically we go swimming and boating during the whole month of Dec.

It is great, however, that we do see a decline in sunlight during the fall months, and definitely know that it is on the rise again after Solstice.

So, yes, plastic Reigndeer look dumb in the yards down here....
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#17 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 08:02 PM
 
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The dreaded double post!
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#18 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 08:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by KeysMama


There are many Muslim children at our school, so Ramadan ( at least this years) is a winter holiday, so it belongs

Ramadan this year started November 6 and lasts 27 days. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, so next year it will start around our Halloween.
Maybe I was unclear... all I meant was that if we are comparing a variety of holidays associated with the depth of winter/ solstice time period trying to make sense of Ramadan in that context may not be helpful since it is not tied to that time of year just happened to fall near it this year. Am I correct that it can fall in any season, or does it always happen some time in the fall?
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#19 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Regarding the 12 days of Xmas. As far as I know the 12 day winter celebration started with the Egyptions about 4000 years ago. To celebrate the rebirth of Horus. One day representing each of the 12 months in their calendar.

Later there was also a 12 day celebration in Babylonia to the God Marduk. The festival began 5 days before the solstice and lasted six more days after.

More celebrations to follow, I won't go on. None of the stuff I've read gives Jan 7 as a solstice day for the Greeks. AFAIK, there were times when solstice was on the 12/25 though.

Now days the Solstices, along with the Equinoxes are recognised on their astrological date. It is not always the 21st. In fact this years dates were:

Vernal Equinox March 20th
Summer Solstice June 21st
Autumnal Equinox Sept 22nd
Winter Solstice Dec 21st

In the northern hemisphere of course.
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#20 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 08:25 PM
 
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Is anyone here clever enough about celestial mechanics to tell me if the shift in these dates is related to shifts in earths orbit or in it it's rotation. Just curious. And Arduinna, it's funny you should mention the slight shifts in these events. I often confuse people when I tell them I was married on the summer solstice. It is usually June 21 but five years ago it fell on the 20th.
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#21 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 08:26 PM
 
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Well, in all fairness, I know my Christian friends use the phrase "Jesus is the reason for the season" as an attempt to move away from the commercialized event Christmas has become, and I can appreciate that.

For me one of the reasons for the season is to learn more. Recently I've become very close friends with a woman who is Muslim, and she's taught me about Ramadan. I've not been exposed to that before. I'm not going to impose any "reason" on dd--but I do hope to impose a curiosity about things beyond her own experience.
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#22 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by kama'aina mama
I often confuse people when I tell them I was married on the summer solstice. It is usually June 21 but five years ago it fell on the 20th.
Yep, June 20th is my Birthday, hence summer solstice has always been a little more special to me
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#23 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 08:54 PM
 
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We always celebrated the winter solstice, as it gave us confidence that the days would be getting longer, here on in..now, this year, papasoleil and I have been doing much research on paganism, as we feel it is the closest thing to our spiritual beliefs, so we will have a real celebration this year. I live in Northern Canada, and it's always nice to know warm weather will again touch our countryside...then again...it hasnt' been too cold thus far....

Peace,

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#24 of 58 Old 12-11-2002, 09:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by kama'aina mama


Maybe I was unclear... all I meant was that if we are comparing a variety of holidays associated with the depth of winter/ solstice time period trying to make sense of Ramadan in that context may not be helpful since it is not tied to that time of year just happened to fall near it this year. Am I correct that it can fall in any season, or does it always happen some time in the fall?
Oh I see. And to my knowledge, since it is on a 9 month rotation, it will fall at various times. I was using it in my explanation as a holiday some are celebrating this time of year ( this year). But it does hold some of the same cycle of life theme as other holidays of this time of year.
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#25 of 58 Old 12-12-2002, 01:32 AM
 
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Ramadan isn't done on a 9 month rotation. It's the ninth month of the Lunar year, which varies in length and relation to the solar year. Subtle but important difference.

I remember a couple of years or so ago it fell in February--lots of articles in the paper. I don't think it fits into a discussion of winter holidays as it is related to when the Qur'an was given to Mohammed or something like that. It has nothing to do with the rebirth of the Light or the Sun, or even the Son.

The thing about being able to distinguish between a white thread and a black thread is so a Muslim knows when sunrise has come and they are not to eat or drink until after sunset. It defines when the day has begun, nothing more.

Any Muslims here feel free to correct any misunderstandings I may have on this, please.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#26 of 58 Old 12-12-2002, 01:32 AM
 
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Ramadan can occur in any month. It's hard when it's in the summer, boy! But, the winter was always a little easier...

KeysMama, I really don't understand the "cycle of life theme" you're referring to. Could you explain, please? I'm not trying to put you on the spot or anything, it's just that Ramadan is about when the Qur'an was revealed. And, it generally lasts 30 days. Maybe something is different this year...I haven't been keeping up, honestly.

Back on topic: I think of all these holidays as just something fun to do. I am working on celebrating something once a week. It's fun to celebrate and feel joyous. Especially when it seems the rest of the population is celebrating and feeling joyous at the same time.

I think December is a good month to do that in in colder climes, b/c it's so cold. But, it doesn't make sense that people would be celebrating the end of the cold, b/c we still have at least 4 more months of it. The cold has really just begun in December, if you ask me. But, I'm in Indiana. I doubt I'd enjoy it as much if I lived in southern California or Florida. Or, maybe I'd just decorate a palm instead of a pine...
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#27 of 58 Old 12-12-2002, 01:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Meiri
Ramadan isn't done on a 9 month rotation. It's the ninth month of the Lunar year, which varies in length and relation to the solar year. Subtle but important difference.
I stand connected! Just a poor pagan girl trying to learn about the world...
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#28 of 58 Old 12-12-2002, 01:45 AM
 
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You know, it doesn't seem to me that *most* people are all that joyous right now, they are stressed about money, or pressure of having all that company, or whatever...I know many people who sigh a great big sigh of relief on January 2, that they 'survived'....
Just something I've observed....
Quote:
Especially when it seems the rest of the population is celebrating and feeling joyous at the same time.
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#29 of 58 Old 12-12-2002, 01:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chaka Falls

KeysMama, I really don't understand the "cycle of life theme" you're referring to. Could you explain, please? I'm not trying to put you on the spot or anything, it's just that Ramadan is about when the Qur'an was revealed.
Here is a good link on Ramadan that I used for the class this year

http://www.holidays.net/ramadan/story.htm

My interpretation and observations as an outsider were that the fasting during the day, and eating, reflecting, all the night worship after sundown definitely splits night and day, light and dark. Also, like you said when the Quran was given to Mohammed, the 'birth' of a miracle so to speak

( please don't pick on my interpretation, as I said I am not Muslim, but find great interest in comparing and learning and claim to be no expert)

To me, as an outsider, much of this reflects the birth( work, hard, fasting) /life( born out of our work) /miracle themes in other religions and traditions seen this time of year and with other religions.
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#30 of 58 Old 12-12-2002, 01:48 AM
 
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I stand connected! Just a poor pagan girl trying to learn about the world...
You and me both!

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