We have a guest visiting from England and she was enthralled that people here put up lights for Halloween, decorate their front yards with tombstones and ghosts and generally get into the spirit long before the event.

"You should see Christmas," I told her. If you don't have lights all over the house, Santa leaping on the roof-top and animated snowmen in the front yard you are dubbed a grinch. So why do we go overboard about holidays here? We must be desperately seeking for something--my guess is that we lack the pomp and traditions of older nations--we don't have a week of New Year madness like they do in China, we don't have Carnival like Rio or like much of Europe. Former religious holidays have lost much of their meaning and power,  so we need to make the most of what we have.

I think humans have an inborn desire for feasts, celebrations, especially celebrating the passing of the seasons of the year. So we're just imitating those old Celts. Our spring festival is Easter with eggs and the Easter bunny, our summer festival is Fourth of July and red white and blue parades, our fall festival is Halloween and our winter solstice is Christmas and/or Hannukah.

So do you think we go overboard here? Are we desperately seeking something we no longer have?
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Published on October 15, 2012 15:35 • 180 views
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message 1: by Bethany (new)

Bethany We still have it, we just don't know what it is. Maybe the Americanized versions aren't very close to their roots. But all the same desires to celebrate things keep appearing in different forms: Saturnalia, Halloween, Samhain... like Jungian archetypes, there are just themes and stories we humans thrive on :)

message 2: by Malia (new)

Malia I know what you mean. When I moved here from Germany, it felt a bit mad at first(especially on an eco-friendly level) but when it gets dark so early and it's cold and gray for months, I just love seeing the kitschy lights in peoples gardens. I think making a big thing of these celebrations gives people a sense of comfort and belonging, even if it doesn't carry the same religious meaning to some people anymore.

message 3: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Davie I suspect one reason we don't have the extensive holiday celebrations of other countries is because when the people from those countries come to America, there isn't the same level of support to celebrate the holiday they way do at home. Lord, this was wordy...!

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