9 years, 4 months ago

Happy Whatever!

Link: http://weblog.tetradian.com/2011/12/21/happy-whatever-2011/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=happy-whatever-2011

‘Tis the season for… something, probably? :-)

For many people, it’s ‘the ‘Holiday Season’, or Christmas, or New Year, or something like that. A calendrical marker-point, anyway. Something to celebrate, perhaps.

The culture I come from is nominally Christian, hence ‘Christmas’ and suchlike, so that’s the label others around me tend to use. (Though it doesn’t quite have the same sense for me, I’ll admit: in religious terms, my family-background is in the Quaker tradition, which historically regards Christmas as ‘just another day’.)

[These days ‘Christmas’ in this country seems barely Christian anyway: it’s much more about families – which sadly doesn’t have much relevance for me – and, even more, about the real ‘state-religion’, the Church of Conspicuous Consumption, which I try to avoid as much as possible…]

As a perennial Outsider, my real colleagues are scattered around the globe: I have stronger connections with people in the Netherlands, Australia,Guatemala, Brazil or the US, for example, than with just about anyone in this town. Those friends and families and colleagues all follow different faiths, different traditions, different worldviews: even the Christians amongst them will celebrate their Christmas on different dates, from 1st December right through to 6th January (‘Twelfth Night’, also known in England as ‘Old Christmas’). And even a nominally-secular marker such as ‘New Year’ can be almost as problematic: there seem to be dozens of different definitions of ‘New Year’, few of which make much sense to anyone else.

So it’s kinda tricky knowing what to ‘celebrate’, or know which date-marker to use. For purely pragmatic reasons, I tend to focus on astronomical markers such as solstices and equinoxes, because they’re probably the ‘safest’ in social terms. Hence today, being the solstice closest to the most-acknowledged festival in these parts, and also closest to the New-Year point for this culture.

Even so, which solstice? It’s winter-solstice here, but summer-solstice for my friends down south; and solstices don’t mean much anyway to my friends in the tropical-regions, whose ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ and the like align with other real-world markers. Hmm… see what I mean by ‘kinda tricky’?

So what can a not-particularly-social not-particularly-anchored-anywhere soft-of-digital-native do or say these days, in terms of others’ societal celebrations?

I guess the best I can offer is that however, whatever and whenever you choose your celebrations to be, have fun, and Have A Happy Whatever! :-)

Enjoy! – and thanks again for sharing this journey with me over the passing year.