The secularists’ holiday calendar

What kind of holidays do you celebrate?  Take Easter, for instance, a holiday that just passed. Did it perhaps mean something special to you? Or could you not have cared less?

I remember reading the introduction to Lady Chatterley’s Lover by the author D. H. Lawrence. In the introduction Lawrence describes how life is built around the turning of seasons, around the union between a man and a woman and traditions that follow each other in a cyclical order. The winter solstice is followed by the vernal equinox an so on. The crucial concept is rhythm. Celebrating the different holidays of the calendar give a rhythm to existence. (I can warmly recommend the introduction as well as the whole novel itself.)

For many secularists, however,  the holidays of the year do not mean much else than a break from work.  To mark the season, a secularist may eat chocolate eggs or chocolate santas. The chocolate provides oral pleasure, and it is nice to have a few days off from the hectic stress of the workplace. The question is, can a secularist appreciate the rhythm of life without traditions that mean something deeper?

It must be wonderful to be able to join the cycle of generations who have celebrated the vernal equinox regardless of religion or race. I, like many other secularists, just do not know how to do this. Pagan rituals or church prayers seem equally distant. Buying decorations? Consuming my way through the holiday? Having easter eggs all over the house must mean I am in unison with life’s rhythm?

Personally, I think a break from work, some candy and lying on the sofa is not a “drumbeat” substantial enough to mark the rhythm of life. Have to figure out something different come midsummer.


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