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Sunday, 12 March 2006
Time Sure Flies
February did not depress as much as I thought it would, but I suspect the nice weather we've been having may have had something to do with that. And the Birthday "ordeal" turned out pretty benign as I chose to take the day off and pamper myself at the local salon. Good call on my part, it was one of those rare times I could just kick back and do everything for ME for a change.

Looks like Chrissmas really could just well around the corner before I know it. I can hardly wait, but with a little amount of reservation, if only to be able to approach this year's "holiday season" with my newfound reverance for it. I am looking forward to testing the waters while I wish all a Happy or Merry Chrissmas and might even be so bold as to address my personal Chrissmas cards in that manner, but that might be pushing it a little. All I am interested in, really, is to be able to deal with the season in a way that I am able to incorporate all that I know and understand about it and have no wish to impose it upon others.

But again, here I am getting ahead of myself. Plenty of time for sugar plums and all that [wink]

Posted by wayout at 1:30 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 4 April 2006 10:25 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 31 January 2006
Dreary January
January's finally over, now for the February blues...hey, less than 11 months until Chrissmas 2006!

My parents were both born in February, as was I, and so was my husband. And then there's Valentine's Day in there, too. And yet, I still manage to feel depressed every February, perhaps because, let's face it, it's not Chrissmas.

There's no build-up for our birthdays, no fanfare, just the usual, "Happy Birthday", rah rah, but in general none of the pomp and elation of Chrissmas. I wish I could change that, but then Chrissmas wouldn't be so "special" if we did that for every celebration, now, would it?

Nonetheless, Happy Black History Month to all.

Posted by wayout at 10:22 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 4 April 2006 10:26 PM EDT
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Thursday, 5 January 2006
Happy New Year
There's a lot of talk recently, I've seen, about people wanting to put "Christ" back into "Christ-Mas". I'm not sure where this is coming from, but I suspect there was a decree from the Vatican or something to have all churches preach about this to their congregations at least last year during the days leading up to the last holiday season.

I've seen it in newspaper articles, on banners, and on the news. Strange that these are the same individuals that aren't even celebrating Christmas on the correct date, let alone (LOL) the correct month that Jesus was born in.

From a website I came across, "Info Ukes", Orthodox Ukrainians are some who still celebrate Christmas on the original date set by the Old Christians, and it only changed to coincide with the calendar the Romans were using:

WHY DO UKRAINIANS CELEBRATE Christmas on January 7th rather than December 25th? Many people wonder why the Ukrainian date is thirteen days later and only a few people are aware that it is related to a change from the calendar which was in use two thousand years ago. Tradition plays a great part in the lives of people of Ukrainian origin and it is for this reason that they have continued to celebrate Christmas on the old date that would have been observed by all Christians. The Roman calendar that had been in use since the eighth century B.C. originally started the year on March 1 and had 10 months as the names of the months themselves indicate, September (7), October (8), November (9) and December (10). Eventually two months were added, Januarius and Februarius, and the year was started on January. However, it was only 355 days long so it had over ten days error and the seasons and the calendar over the years continued to lose their correct relationship.

And this from ChristmasMagazine dot com:

Christmas in Russia
By Lyudmilla
First of all I would like to give you some history. Christianity was introduced in Russia in 998 and since then new year had started in March. Sometimes it started on Easter Day. In 1492 it was the first year when both the civil and the church new year started on September 1. It was the day when everyone was supposed to render tribute and pay other debts. To create a festive atmosphere, the Tzar used to pay a visit to the Kremlin and anybody could come to visit him for any reason - to ask for something, to seek for the truth and the Tzar's mercy. An especially gorgeous and luxurious New Year's Day was on September 1, 1698, under Peter the Great. Peter the Great named everyone a brother, gave out apples to everybody, and wished a happy New Year and a lot of happiness. A volley of 25 guns accompanied each toast of His Majesty! In 1699 Peter the Great changed the New Year's Day to January 1. His name is connected with the custom to decorate houses with branches of the evergreen trees, mostly from the coniferous trees. In the 30s of the 19th century only the Germans, living in St. Petersburg (Russia), decorated their houses with New Year Trees. Since1852, they had started putting the New Year Trees in the squares of St. Petersburg. Only by the end of the 19-century people started putting them in the houses. In 1918, the New Year Tree was banned because it was a reminder of Christmas. And as you know, during those years Russia was ruled under the Bolsheviks (Communists). They were atheists. More and more Christmas was forced out and New Year's Day became the most important, beloved and favorite holiday for the Russians. But at first, it was prohibited to celebrate this holiday with the New Year Tree. Only in 1935 Stalin, "the best friend of children and all the peoples", gave his permission to make the New Year Tree the center of New Year's parties. In the former Soviet Union we did not celebrate Christmas so openly as it is celebrated again now. Though sometimes somewhere people did mention this great holiday in their private talks and even celebrated it at home. Only after the so-called perestroika people started celebrating Christmas again. Do you know that we actually have two Christmases? One is celebrated based on the Gregorian calendar - December 25, and this celebration is not official. That is the date when people in pre-Revolutionary Russia celebrated Christmas. The other one is an official Christmas and celebrated by our Orthodox Church January 7. This is a holiday now and it quickly becoming one of the most popular celebrations of the year. So we celebrate New Year's Day on January 1, and later -- January 7 -- is our Christmas Day. But if you are in Russia, you will be amazed at our traditions. Some people celebrate both Christmases with the same great enthusiasm! Isn't it funny? Besides, we have the so-called Old New Year's Day! It is celebrated on January 13 and 14, but it is not an official holiday. Still nowadays, New Year's Day is the most popular holiday and celebrated nationwide. We put up a New Year Tree (usually it is a fir-tree, or in Russian it is "yolka") decorate it just the way people do in the USA, and presents for our relatives and children are usually set under the tree. At midnight, a bottle of champagne is opened and people wish each other, "Happy New Year!" Some residents wish their neighbors and friends a Happy New Year dressed as Grandpa Frost. There are huge trees in our main city and town squares, with ice towers and snow-towns and other stuff made of ice: horses, wolves, rabbits and other animals and fairy tale characters: Grandpa Frost (sort of Santa Clause, but his history is different!) and his Granddaughter Snow Maiden. Schools are closed for the holidays and lots of children are out in parks and squares, playing in the winter frosty weather and enjoying the ice world. There are circuses, performances at all Palaces of Culture and play houses and other theatrical presentations as well as traditional outdoor parties with troika (three-horse sleigh), rids, folk games, and dancing around New Year Trees. Then comes January 7, our Christmas Day. Cathedrals and churches are especially enchanting and visitors are welcome. Some of them go to worship, the others - to observe. The mass starts at midnight and lasts till dawn. There are no seats in Orthodox Churches, but even non-believers are likely to stay longer than they have planned.

I find it interesting that so many different traditions are celebrated around the world at generally the same time of the year :-)

Posted by wayout at 11:42 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 7 January 2006 4:26 AM EST
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Thursday, 29 December 2005
Just need a name for it
I'm leaning towards some sort of a "Winter/Year End Celebration". Like a summer BBQ with a pool, friends and family, except in this celebration it's with snow (sometimes), a decorated evergreen tree )symbolizing the eternal spirit of life), friends, family, each other and gifts to give/exchange. Much like wedding gifts are given to a newly wedded couple to take into their new life, we give gifts to our friends (family is very few and far between) to be carried into the new year.

Ah, I'm still workin' on it...but I think I'm getting close to finally capturing the essence of the Christmas Spirit to suit my lifestyle and beliefs :-)

Hmmm...I may just call it "Chrissmas" one would know I'd be calling it anything different out loud, and then there's no need to explain what I mean and why - LOL! Chrissmas suits me! ;-D

Posted by wayout at 10:36 AM EST
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Wednesday, 28 December 2005
Living a Christmas Lie
Does anyone else feel guilty about celebrating Christmas? Maybe not guilty, but perhaps confused? Life was much simpler when I was a kid, we celebrated Christmas at face value, it was a time for the family to get together and be merry, eat lots of food, exchange gifts and remember Christ our Saviour. Then, as I got older I became more agnostic, and then of course found out that Jesus who was considered the real reason for Christmas in the first place wasn't even born in December, but more likely in May, and that the whole "Christmas thing" was just a ruse to get pagans to be more "Christian". There are, also, other celebrations such as Kwanzaa and Hanukkah/Chanukkah/Hanukkah taking place around the same time, not to forget the original pagan festivities of Lenaea and Saturnalia/Brumalia, to name a couple. The are also the recent developments of Festivus and Solstmas. This is the first year I have really felt empty, in spite of being able to partake and rejoice in the happiness of others with gifts I've given or from food I've prepared. Today, having WAY too much time on my hands of course, I am finding myself reflecting on this conundrum and trying to figure out how I can fit into my life what I call the "Christmas Lie" I've been living the past number of years. Sometimes it really sux knowing too much...ignorance IS really bliss, as they say :( Anyone having any workable suggestions is welcome to post in this blog (registration is free). And, please, nothing like, "shut yer yap, stop complaining, count yer blessings, you are loved," I've already tried all of those approaches and thensome. What I'm interested in finding is a way to celebrate without feeling like I'm just doing it to appear like I'm into Christmas. I mean I am, but my heart has trouble more and more every year with living this lie. I need a truth I can live with, that doesn't involve any religious or "supreme being(s)" connotation. A foundation that can work with a non-Christian, non-Pagan, agnostic individual.



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Posted by wayout at 12:38 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 3 January 2010 1:51 AM EST
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