Honoring the Harvest
They claim that politically the country is pretty well split down the middle between Democrats and Republicans. There are other denominational differences. There are Summer people and there are the rest of us. I suspect that the Summer people outnumber the rest of us. Any of them who live in the Pacific NW are welcome to move somewhere that never knows the changing of the seasons. We mossbacks will get along without you just fine.
I am an Autumn person. Much as I love the summer flowers, watching the changing of the leaves makes me happy. I love the cool crisp mornings and evenings, flannel sheets, and soup in the crockpot when I get home from work. I even love the rain and am hungry for it during this interminable dry spell we are having. As much as anything I love the holidays.
Halloween or Samhain is the Celtic New Year and when it is believed that the veil between the living and the dead thins. This notion was incorporated into the Christian Church when Europe’s pagans were converted. As with most Christian holidays, pagans kept their holidays and simply called them something else such as All Saints Day and All Souls day. With the growth of the North American Hispanic population we’ve seen more attention paid to the Day of the Dead. As Americans, we tend to bury our dead and that’s the end of it. My daughter-in-law Ana and I have embraced Day of the Dead, creating altars that include our beloveds who have passed over.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it can’t be commercialized and it’s for everyone. It is not a religious holiday and doesn’t involve anything save family and food. What’s not to like? I am sure that Native Americans do not celebrate or view it in the same way since the holiday was meant to celebrate the survival of a white settlement in a land and bounty they willing shared only to be annihilated one way or another. Thanksgiving is not about the Pilgrims for me. It is about the ritual of eating with family and friends, honoring the harvest and bounty of Mother Earth and getting ready for Winter when all of Nature turns inward to rest and prepare for Spring.