It's a cold, but not freezing day at the farmette, with about five inches of the white stuff on the ground and more on the way. It's also CHRISTMAS EVE! Okay, I do get a bit excited about these holidays - even after celebrating 53 of them. I've been travelling a bit this past week - lunch in Orangeville with my sisters and another one in Guelph with good friends. Which meant I had quite a bit of CBC radio time on the road. One of the programs was about how people around the world celebrate the season in their own, sometimes unique, ways. That got me thinking about how this time of year should be about being tolerant and big-hearted, not tearing people apart like a certain orange-haired president who apparently said all Haitians are carriers of AIDs who don't deserve visas. Really? Maybe 2018 will be the year this guy gets ousted. We can only hope. Anyway. What I really wanted to write about is how nearly every religion and non-religion does some serious celebrating and decorating around now.
They say it mostly started because of the winter solstice, when the earth is tilted on its axis giving us in the northern hemisphere our shortest day and longest night. In the south, of course, it's the opposite.
From ancient times, it has been a period of rest and renewal. A time to get together with family and friends and get prepared for what lies ahead.
It's associated with light - whether the stars in the sky (the Seven Sisters or Pleiades) for the Cree, the candles on the menorah during the eight days of Hannukah, or the Star of Bethlehem and coloured bulbs on the tree for Christians.
The tradition of bringing evergreens from the outside inside has early pagan roots. They thought that decorating with something that stubbornly survives out in the harsh winter would help the humans better make it through. The Druids thought sprigs of greenery would help ward off evil spirits.
Romans brought in palm leaves to mark Saturnalia - by some accounts an excuse for wild partying and debauchery, but it was also when all people were considered 'equal' and slaves dined with their masters.
Here at the farmette, we do a bit of everything. Like our regular decor, our Yuletide dressings are what I would call 'early eclectic'. No matchy-matchy high-end fussing at the Harris-Wilson-Wilson-Harris household. Just fun bits and pieces that make us smile and give us comfort.
We, too, take it as a time to relax and kick back. Visit with family. Eat great food. Drink good wine. Read fabulous books. Pet felines.
From Rob, myself and the three wise cats (Hobbes, Bea and Lily), we want to wish everyone the absolute best of the holidays - no matter how you celebrate them - and a safe and happy new year.