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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How do you celebrate?

I've long been interested in the ancient celebrations that influence today's rituals, no matter how far from the origins we've gone. Christmas being celebrated as Christ's birthday always seemed strange to me, even when I was a Christian. Probably because my family didn't make it into a religious holiday, it was just a family tradition for us, full of warmth and food and gifts and time together.

Summer solstice was a big deal up in Alaska, where I grew up. But my friend Garry reminded me that when we celebrate summer solstice, we are saying goodbye to the light because from that day forward, we have less and less. I had never paid much attention to winter solstice but I feel more of a need to honor that time now. It is a celebration of the return of light, during the darkest time of the year. What better time to celebrate?

So in honor of rituals and celebrations everywhere, I thought I'd post a few links I've enjoyed.
A short article about the pagan roots of Christmas can be found in this essortment article.

I've long enjoyed the story of Hanukkah and the eight days of light. My older boys loved playing the Dreidel game and reading "Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins" when they were little. And who can resist some Challah bread or Adam Sandler's hilarious Hanukkah song? Yes, we own the DVD, from when he did it for SNL.

Drawing from many African cultural influences, there is the celebration of Kwanzaa. The seven principles are centered around unity, faith and purpose. There are very specific practices and rituals involved in the Kwanzaa celebration and like most other celebrations at this time of year, there are candles and light involved.

This lovely article at Religious tolerance gives a quick overview of many, many celebrations during the solstice. From Native American traditions to Buddhist and more.

So however you choose to celebrate I hope your celebration is authentically your own and gives much warmth and cheer during this darkest time in the Northern Hemisphere. If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoy your summer solstice!:)


Blogger Idzie said...

I've been thinking a lot about the origins of Christmas, as well as the Winter Solstice, so was quite happy when I stumbled upon this post. Thanks! :-)

5:46 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Happy Holidays, y'all!

6:21 PM  

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