“It is a fine thing to establish one’s own religion in one’s heart, not to be dependent on tradition and second-hand ideals. Life will seem to you, later, not a lesser, but a greater thing.” – D.H. Lawrence
Thursday, October 30th
By this time there feels to be a slope to the year. Halloween comes and goes and the Thanksgiving cards are mixed in with the Christmas cards on the store shelves. The calendar is tipped so that all the remaining days can just slide right off the edge. It is also the time when various neighbors stake out time to celebrate special rituals.
Two of my neighbors build a Dia de los Muertos altar at this time. It was met with some resistance at first, but now it has become a beautiful part of our year where people gather each evening to sit in silence or in conversation sharing stories about people they’ve loved who have passed on.
There are many celebrations which are now woven into the fabric of our year now. The Spiral of Lights and the Waking of the Trees celebrates the winter solstice. A Catholic family asks the neighbor children to put their shoes out on December 6th, and gifts are left inside. Some of these rituals are whimsical and some are somber, but all weave together a fabric of appreciation in our community for the beliefs and practices in our lives.
Some times I question how I feel about the practice of picking and choosing rituals from different religions, faith systems and livities. It is not meant to be disrespectful; I guess I’d say that it was the best way I’ve found to join others close to me in something that means a lot to them and see if it resonates with me as well. And sometimes it’s just about being with others, in joy and in pain. Together.
What traditions do you celebrate throughout the year, and how do they make you feel?