Healthypages

Why do we celebrate?

Discussion in 'Inter-Faith' started by Crowan, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Messages:
    3,422
    Likes Received:
    1,075
    At our local Shamanic Group meeting for Samhain we have a long and interesting discussion about why we celebrate (in our case, The Eight Festivals). No conclusions of course, and no right or wrong answers - although the most common answer was "haven't really thought about it..."

    So - I'd be really interested in what you celebrate and why you (both as a member of your religion and as an individual) celebrate the events/days etc. that you do.
     
  2. Principled

    Principled Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Messages:
    3,661
    Likes Received:
    232
    Hi Crowan,

    Interesting question!

    The word "holy" means "set apart" - and isn't that what most holy days or festivals are?

    To me, as a Christian Scientist, I don't think of festivals as specific days or times, but as on-going events of momentous importance - Christmas and Easter are the two I commemorate, but they are an on-going daily event that I give gratitude for and try to learn spiritual lessons from.

    As an individual, I have a family get-together, give gifts etc, but I always feel that that is the social, cultural side, which nowadays has very little to do with religion, but I enjoy it (I particularly enjoy chocolate bunnies!) :eek: so why not?

    If anyone's interested, in reading it, this article really sums up to me what the real meaning of Christmas and Easter are (and it includes a wonderful healing of a child born disabled):
    Love and peace,

    Judy
     
  3. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Messages:
    3,422
    Likes Received:
    1,075
    Thanks for this, Principled. You clearly take what you do and believe very seriously. In some ways I feel the same about the Eight Festivals - they are moments to celebrate a larger, on-going mystery.

    But I wonder - why do we celebrate? I know that some people simply want an excuse to do what they want to do - from gathering with family and friends, to a complete knees-up - and, like you, I enjoy that side of it. But, also like you, I don't think that's the important part.

    For some people I know who also celebrate the Eight Festivals, it is a time to be aware of the wheel turning. For me, since shamanism gives me the opportunity, I view a festival as a time to help to keep the wheel turning. I don't know if that makes sense in other faiths (which is partly why I posed the question).

    So, Principled, why do you celebrate Christmas and Easter? Is it for you, for God? what does it actually achieve?

    Anyone else? It's a wonderfully complex world, with wonderfully complex people in it. I'd love to know what you all think.
     
  4. Flit

    Flit New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Messages:
    832
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's an interesting one Crowan.

    The way I look at it, or try to look at it, is that each day is special for some reason.
    Each day is always someone's birthday even if I don't know about it.
    Each day is a special day to someone for some reason or other.
    And, each day is special for us because there will never be that day again.

    It is good to have personal days that mark events, but each day can be special
    because it is the day that we do have.

    I would like to celebrate the opportunities for each living moment,
    for me, for God and for the possibilities of communication that we do have.

    Thank you for asking the questions you do Crowan..
    It is!
     
  5. Kiga

    Kiga New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    2
    As a non-Church-going Christian (I mean regular services), the two occasions which have importance for me are Christmas and Easter, but it does seem that the actual reasons for their celebration are getting lost under the piles of presents and chocolate bunnies etc.

    When I was a child, there was a lot more focus on the actual birth of Jesus at Christmas, and of course his death and resurrection at Easter; nowadays it's not considered PC in schools or the media to seem to be giving more importance to one religion over another, and as a consequence a lot of today's children only know that Chrismas means Father Christmas (or Santa) and presents.

    I'm afraid I don't much enjoy the Christmas season any more because of its commercialisation. Yes, it's enjoyable to get together with relatives and friends and have a good time, but I do try to keep in mind the original reason for our "celebrations", and am always relieved when the madness is over for another year!
     
  6. songstress

    songstress New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2003
    Messages:
    4,286
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Crowan,

    Very interesting topic, thank you.

    I think that originally, people celebrated the Eight Festivals because they were more in tune with their surroundings and nature than we are today. I'm going back in time to around 5000 years ago. They knew the land, the ways of animals, sun, moon and stars, the turning year, etc and gave thanks for harvest. They also had gods who were responsible for various things. This gradually evolved into witchcraft, WIcca and other pagan religions, until Christianity began claiming these festivals for themselves. So instead of Yule (a pagan festival celebrating the birth of nature) we have Christmas, which celebrates Christ's birth; Easter, the time of rebirth and resurrection of nature after winter, was originally the festival of the goddess Eostre, which now celebrates the resurrection of Christ. Imbolg (February) was time to begin celebrating Spring. It's now called Candlemas by Christians. Beltane, Lammas, Mabon and Samhain have become May Day, Michelmas and Hallowe'en. The pagan gods have been substituted for Christan saints, responsible for various acts e.g. St. Catherine being the patron saint of dentists. Christian church rites are the same as pagan rites, and Holy Communion is a vestige of human sacrifice, which Christ's death on the cross is. The cross itself, was a pagan symbol, as are Christmas Trees, holly and ivy, gift giving at Xmas, drunken feasting, Easter bunnies and Easter eggs, the guy on the bonfire (human sacrifice) and the bonfires on Bonfire Night. Believe it or not, the American custom of 'trick-and-treating' is itself an ancient pagan custom that the Anglo Saxons brought with them from Germany and Denmark. Then, at Samhain, the lady of the house would make 'sun cakes; for the children of the village. When the children came round on Samhain Eve, the ladies would give a cake to each child with the promise that the child would pray for them. If the children didn't get a cake, they would play a prank on the household. Nowadays, Hallowe'en has become an excuse for mischief and vandalism, an ancient custom sullied.

    Whew!

    Love,
    Patsy.
     
    #6 songstress, Jun 20, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2012
  7. songstress

    songstress New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2003
    Messages:
    4,286
    Likes Received:
    0
    Following on from that, we put items into the coffins of our dear departed. They are grave goods, once provided by the ancients for their burials, we do the same today. Just proves that no matter how sophisticated we think we are, we still hold on to our pagan beliefs.

    Patsy.
     
  8. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Messages:
    3,422
    Likes Received:
    1,075
    Goodness, I wasn’t expecting another post in this thread after all this time. Thanks Patsy. Your answer is very interesting. I was, with my original question, trying to ask about our personal reasons for celebration.
    How many of us, do you think, have any belief in the departed person actually using these grave goods? I know that the Chinese side of my family do, and will offer more when visiting the grave.

    And Kiga, you don’t really believe:
    do you? The law says “wholly or mainly of a Christian character”.
     
  9. Kiga

    Kiga New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    2
    I think you're confusing daily prayers, or 'a collective act of worship' with religious education, Crowan.
     
  10. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Messages:
    3,422
    Likes Received:
    1,075
    From the Government:


    The key document in determining the teaching of RE is the locally agreed
    syllabus within the LA concerned (see 'Agreed syllabus', p.14). Schools
    designated as having a religious character are free to make their own
    decisions in preparing their syllabuses. LAs must, however, ensure that the
    agreed syllabus for their area is consistent with Section 375(3) of the
    Education Act 1996, which requires the syllabus to reflect that the religious
    traditions of Great Britain are in the main Christian whilst taking account of the
    teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great
    Britain.
     
  11. Kiga

    Kiga New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    2
    I stand corrected.

    Doesn't mean schools actually do it, though.

    Think I'll leave it there.
     
    #11 Kiga, Jun 20, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2012
  12. songstress

    songstress New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2003
    Messages:
    4,286
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello Crowan,

    I;m sorry, I thought you meant you didn't know the origins of why we celebrate festivals! You're a shaman - how daft is that, for me forgetting that! :p

    Grave goods - hmmm - I like to think my mum and dad will get pleasure in the afterlife from the photos, flowers and letters that we placed inside their coffins. I know they physically rot in time, as the bodies rot, but I hope their spirits know that our loving gifts are always with them. Guess I am a pagan at heart!

    Patsy.
    xxx
     
  13. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Messages:
    3,422
    Likes Received:
    1,075
    Mum never cared what she looked like and was tired of life for her last decade or so. We didn’t really want to weigh her down with stuff.
    Dad, however, had multiple interests and always cared about looking nice. He was buried in his best suit. We put in his pockets his penknife and a handkerchief (not that we thought he’d need it, but he always liked to have one.), and into the coffin with him, his binoculars and a notebook and pen. We thought about a bird identification book, but who knows what birds he’ll see in the Land of the Dead?
    Just a warning about photos and letters – if put in with the intention of ensuring ‘that a bit of me is always with you’ – I’ve known people lose soul that way, and it can weigh the deceased down so much that they don’t make it to the Land of the Dead.
     

Share This Page

This site uses XenWord.