Celebrations

Celebrations.
Often misunderstood.
Often lost in translation.
Cross cultural boundaries and yet often, not really.

How do you celebrate?
What traditions do you have?

Christmas approaches.
Thanksgiving has just gone.
Today is my nephew’s birthday.
Bonfire night.
All Hallows’ Eve
Dia de los muertos
Diwali
Armistice
Day of enlightenment
Tis the season…and all that.
What is it all about?
…and while I scanned Wikipedia for festivals and celebrations at this time of year I came across: Modranicht…night of mothers’…Anglo-Saxon Pagans. I think I like the sound of that…I must dig a little deeper.
But where I was going with this was..
What do we celebrate and how?
Do we celebrate or commemorate?
Is it a genuine thanksgiving?
Christmas has become a commercial institution far removed from its origins.
What do you do? How is it influenced by your own way of celebrating?
What are your traditional foods, rituals and practices?

I am sitting in a pub, the cricket is on the screen, it is 28degrees outside, clear blue skies…and the music playing is “We wish you a merry Christmas” followed by “dashing through the snow…..” All these songs trigger for me memories of being warm and cozy indoors, long dark nights, raging fires…they do not sit right in the here and now, Aotearoa New Zealand, summer.
As I write I notice a resistance within me to make sense of all this celebration stuff. Moving away from family some years ago, and to a different hemisphere, I feel a certain disconnect.
I resist the seasonally misaligned celebrations.
I dumb down birthdays without grandparents, without aunts and uncles and extended family.
Celebrations which, once upon a time, for me, were a real party affair with family, friends, party food and merriment. Now they are filled with a degree of uncertainty and confusion.

I have begun writing this several times…
18 days to Christmas and I haven’t yet done any Christmas shopping.
Have I thought about it?
Yes.
Got chocolates for the advent calendar?
Yes
Made a Christmas cake and mincemeat?
Yes, back in October.
Made some cards?
Yes, last week and sent a handful overseas
But I just can’t get myself into that space at all. And it gets worse every year.

Every day that I spend with family and friends is a celebration.
I celebrate that I have a husband and children whom I love deeply.
I celebrate that I have a mother and siblings whom I love deeply but do not see enough.
I celebrate that I was raised in a loving home with a mother and father and grandparents nearby, all of whom I loved deeply.
I celebrate that I have extended family spread far and wide whom I love but again do not see often enough.
I celebrate that the family I married into welcomed me with open arms, all of whom I love deeply.
I celebrate that I have friends who I choose to spend time with and colleagues who work hard and are supportive.
I celebrate that I live an a stunningly beautiful part of the world.
There is much to celebrate and I try to do this all day everyday.
I tell people I love them.
I prepare meals with thought, time and love and entertain often.
I try to help out where I can and believe there is never a time for unkindness.
I make cards and gifts for people in a random manner and send gifts to family overseas with totally random timing. My nieces and nephews probably put it down to having a mad aunt and my own children are probably used to it now.

Celebrations for me are about spending time in the company of those you love.
I look forward with great excitement to spending time with loved ones over the next month…a planned family gathering half way between The UK and NZ, and I look forward to everyday beyond that, for which I am blessed.
There is always much to celebrate.

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