Home for Solstice

With the winter solstice approaching, I have a few choices of holidays to celebrate this year. Living in the United States and having a Catholic family, I will of course celebrate Christmas by visiting and exchanging gifts with my relatives on December 25th. While my family is rather religious, they have never asked me to accompany them to church since my deconversion and my own celebration will be entirely secular with the exception of listening to some carols which explicitly refer to Jesus. The rest of the traditions I observe have either secular or pagan origins, and I never bother decorate my home with a tree, wreath or lights because it's simply not worth the trouble to me.

Last year I wrote about my personal celebration of Humanlight, the relatively new Humanist winter holiday honoring reason, compassion and hope, but this year I don't feel as interested. I don't have any newfound objections to artificial holidays or to adding more around the winter solstice – I say the more, the merrier – but I've come appreciate that they can't be properly celebrated in isolation; they require some sort of community. As I'm not currently involved with any Humanist or freethought groups and I don't have any friends who've even heard about Humanlight, I'm going to forget about it this time around the sun and see what happens next year. My new wife shares my Humanist values, but we've never talked about Humanism explicitly, and this is her first year celebrating even a secular Christmas, so there's no need to overwhelm her with anything else simply to accommodate me.

I've also considered celebrating the winter solstice itself as it's the purely natural event which prompts or anchors all the other celebrations, but I realize that I'm already essentially observing it through them and I don't need to add any new practices. Let's all celebrate this time of year, whether we call Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, Humanlight or Festivus!


No comments: