or...Changing the Holidays to Follow the Earth's Natural Cycle.
In the years since my spiritual path diverted from the mainstream religion I grew up with, we have changed the traditional cultural holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter to follow the Earth-based observances of the Wheel of the Year. With the exception of Hallowe'en (which has definitely grown into a money-making beast of its own!), these Big Three holidays seem to get the bulk of the advertising dollar and have been a big part of our lives!
These holidays conveniently follow the pagan sabbats rather closely - we have just shifted the focus to align with our Earth-based path.
Thanksgiving has been replaced with Mabon. This is our time to give thanks for the Summer Harvest, a feast with family and like-minded friends around the Autumn Equinox in September. The date adjusts to suit everyone's schedule and we enjoy good food and fellowship as we adjust to new schedules and relax into the Earth's journey towards her Winter Sleep.
Yule begins the Return of the Sun - we really feel the loss of sunlight as the days grow shorter and colder during Autumn...I can imagine how our first ancestors must have wondered if the Sun would ever return..what joy must have been felt when they realized that the days were getting longer again! So that is what we honour, the gift of sunshine and the promise that spring and summer will come again. We gather for a special dinner on that Darkest Day, embrace the quiet and light candles symbolizing the light's return.
We celebrate the Magic of Santa a few days later, decorating with stockings, a tree, presents and enjoying our time together as a family.
Ostara is probably my children's favourite. On that still-cold First Day of Spring, we wake up very early and gather with friends to await the Dawn. We cheer when those first rays of sunshine appear! Followed with a Pancake Breakfast, a chocolate egg-hunt, the movie Hop (love that one!) and lots of hot coffee!!
Adjusting the mainstream holidays that are focused on in school, tv shows, shopping malls, etc to following what the Earth is naturally doing has changed the seasons for me personally. My connection to the Earth has deepened, I no longer dread the long, cold winter to come. Right now, Mother Earth is going into Her resting time and I will wait for the Sun's return as patiently as possible until the promised Spring.