We’re all still here. No zombies. No rapture. The apocalypse, it turns out, it just a calendar reset, very much like the solstice, or New Year’s Eve.
Then I got the G+ notification this morning that in the Julian calendar, it’s actually December 8 and that the end of the Mayan calendar and Christmas are both days away yet. Needless to say, my response to that particular bit of sharing cannot be repeated on Writerly Goodness.
Up here in the north, we got our first real snow storm of the year, right on time. Five to six inches fell yesterday and last night, necessitating a one and a half hour snow-blowing odyssey for myself, and that after a kind neighbour cleared my mom’s side of the driveway. Heck of a way to spend a day off 😦
Back to the matter at hand.
The Mayan calendar restarts at this point. They may not get to celebrate this particular new beginning every year, but that’s what today represents for them: a new beginning.
Similarly, the solstice is the renewal of the sun in the northern hemisphere. The shortest day and longest night passes, and from that point in the year, the days become increasingly longer and the nights increasingly shorter until the summer solstice flips the switch. Here’s astronomer Phil Plait’s informative article on the event.
For those of you with paganish leanings, or the Celtophiles among you, here is a link to this year’s solstice ceremony at Newgrange.
Cultures throughout the world celebrate the solstice in one way or another. Christmas celebrations (among others) can be traced back to, or related to the pagan solstice celebrations that predated them.
It is not only the beginning of a new season, but the beginning of a new year for some. If you think about the 12 days of Christmas and start the count on the solstice, the final day of celebrations will be anywhere from January 1 to 3, depending on the year and the day the solstice actually falls on.
That’s why I think that we call it the Christmas season, or used to call it that before the political correctness police descended en masse and advised everyone that we had to say “Happy Holidays” and not “Merry Christmas.”
I get the inclusiveness of the message. I’m not Christian myself, but I was raised in that tradition and I celebrate Christmas with my family and friends like most people of Anglo-European descent. My paganish side honours the solstice and the season it starts for me, culminating in the New Year.
Like the Mayan calendar, and the solar/astronomical year, our calendar restarts at this point as well. January 1st marks a new beginning for most of us, a time of putting up new calendars and taking down Christmas decorations. The tree (a pagan tradition, by the way) is shipped to the curb for recycling, or repackaged back in its box until next year.
Resolutions are made and adhered to or abandoned as our nature demands.
So what do you think about renewals, the Christmas/holiday season, and what it represents for us?
Coming soon: I’ll be posting on Christmas Day, creating a “best of the year” post, and blogging about planning and resolutions with a writerly focus.
For now, I’ll simply wish everyone a happy solstice.
A solstice soundtrack:
- Here comes the sun – The Beatles
- Good day sunshine – The Beatles
- Pocket full of sunshine – Natasha Bedingfield
- Steal my sunshine – Len
- Sun is shining – Bob Marley
- California sun – The Ramones
- Walking on the sun – Smash Mouth
- Walking on sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
- Soak up the sun – Cheryl Crow
- Sunny afternoon – The Kinks
- House of the rising sun – The Animals
Write on, my friends!