Monday, October 15, 2012

Desperately seeking something.

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?


  1. I think you've hit it on the nail. I know that when I attend church, particularly during the holidays, I like the ritual. There is a sense of peace in repeating the familiar words and singing the familiar songs. It is more than just faith, it's the movement and the 'belonging' of it.

  2. We moved from the midwest to southern CA 21 years ago. At that time, Californians had jewelry & socks for EVERY occasion, which was different for me. I told my new friends I thought they were overcompensating for the lack of weather. Now it seems this overdoing of holidays has spread, perhaps nationwide!