I’m all about celebrations. It’s a day late, but Happy New Year! Yesterday was the first day of Advent, that is, the 4th Sunday leading up to Christmas. This is the Christian New Year. Happy New Year!
For centuries we westerners have lived with the Julian or Gregorian calendars, that most people forget this little fact of the celebration; and then, that the Christmas season actually starts on the 25th and goes to Epiphany, the time when the wise men (astrologers from Asia) came to find the King predicted in the stars. I state this fact in case any of you wonder why we are the last ones in the neighborhood to take down our tree and decorations. It’s tradition. Christian tradition. We also have Chinese take-out on Epiphany. (Get it?)
Of course, because the story of the birth of Christ includes lambs probably meant the birth was actually in the springtime (so say scholars). But then centuries ago, non-Christians all around celebrated the longest night of the year with light and fire, Christians popped up with the brilliant idea to celebrate the birth of the Light of the World during this same dark time. (All those lights on trees and houses at Christmas? Get it?)
People worldwide love festivals and celebrations. So why aren’t there more of them in our stories? How b-o-r-i-n-g to go through life without celebrations of reminders. Long ago people started festivals to help the illiterate to remember dates of the year.
Rural Ethiopians don’t have birthdays. Well, they are born, of course, but they don’t have annual reminders of that date, not unless they were born at a missionary hospital where records like that are kept. The older I get, the smarter I think Ethiopians are in this matter.
So my writing challenge to you readers is to center a scene or chapter around some sort of festival or celebration. You could even make up one. I give you permission. We Carlsons do that all the time. We’re all about partying.
Oh, and happy new year.