Let the good times roll…
Jerry Seinfeld coined the term Festivus, Festival for the rest of us.
It is hard for atheists and non-Christians to escape the suck of the Christo-Fascist’s oppressive peddling of Christmas, that bloated corporate excess of crap pushing, as some sort of religious holiday. It isn’t. The reason for the season is selling crap, not Jesus. It doesn’t matter what the Bible thumpers say, that is reality.
Christmas is basically a solstice celebration taken from a multitude of “pagan” customs and festivals.
Happy holidays starting with the harvest festival known in the USA as Thanksgiving is the most generous of greetings as it celebrates all those end of the year festivals and customs including the 12 days of Yule, Chanukah, Christmas, the Solstice etc.
As an secular humanist and an atheist, who suffers from feeling low energy due to the lack of day light at this time of year I can use the cheer of celebrations of the coming new year. After the solstice the days start getting longer and I have fanciful hopes that the new year will be better, that humanity will suddenly discover kindness instead of cruelty. That I will find a sense of security.
So for a few days we suspend skepticism, feast and party.
As for me I try to put aside the message of the “reason for the season” knowing that the already cheap crap will be on sale in January at a fraction of what it is now as they gear up for the next big selling occasion.
By: Jamila Bey
Posted: December 1, 2011
Ah, Christmastime again. It’s the season for decking the halls and jingling the bells, but for those of us not so faithful, we aren’t moved by offers to come and adore the manger baby. This is a season for everyone to gather, share great food and hang out in groups while singing about stars and sleighs and nipping at noses. I think it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
As an atheist, I’m often asked why I celebrate this Christian holiday. More often I’m quizzed about how I plan to explain the blessed season to my toddler. It’s simple. The “Heathen Holidays” — that period after Turkey Day in which we celebrate the generic “Christmas Season” — are here and in full swing.
Sorry folks, but Christmas is a mishmash of Roman, pagan and other celebrations and traditions — some of which are even verboten by the Bible. (Trees and yule logs, anyone?) The winter solstice is the real reason for the season. On the shortest day of the year, the sun — that celestial burning ball of gas — is born and the days become longer. Break out your tinsel and gingerbread! But rather than focus on the historical rationale for why Christmas celebrations are being merely co-opted by some, I just relax and enjoy the good times.
The Winter Solstice: Welcome Back, Light!
Therese J. Borchard
December 19, 2007
Since Saturday is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, I thought I’d include this very informative article just forwarded to me by Deb Caldwell, one of the Beliefnet brains behind Beyond Blue. (If I haven’t mentioned her before, I should have).
It’s written by Richard A. Friedman, a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.
I meant to write more on the solstice because it is an important day for all of us who suffer from depression: Starting on Saturday, the days get longer! Yahoo!! Beyond Blue reader Lapatosu marks the solstice with a celebration. I thought this was a wonderful idea (for next year) … a party or tradition welcoming the light back. Or something like that. Here’s the article ….
In a few days, the winter solstice will plunge us into the longest and darkest night of the year. Is it any surprise that we humans respond with a holiday season of relentless cheer and partying?
It doesn’t work for everyone, though. As daylight wanes, millions begin to feel depressed, sluggish and socially withdrawn. They also tend to sleep more, eat more and have less sex. By spring or summer the symptoms abate, only to return the next autumn.
Once regarded skeptically by the experts, seasonal affective disorder, SAD for short, is now well established. Epidemiological studies estimate that its prevalence in the adult population ranges from 1.4 percent (Florida) to 9.7 percent (New Hampshire).
Researchers have noted a similarity between SAD symptoms and seasonal changes in other mammals, particularly those that sensibly pass the dark winter hibernating in a warm hole. Animals have brain circuits that sense day length and control the timing of seasonal behavior. Do humans do the same?
In 2001, Dr. Thomas A. Wehr and Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, psychiatrists at the National Institute of Mental Health, ran an intriguing experiment. They studied two patient groups for 24 hours in winter and summer, one group with seasonal depression and one without.
A major biological signal tracking seasonal sunlight changes is melatonin, a brain chemical turned on by darkness and off by light. Dr. Wehr and Dr. Rosenthal found that the patients with seasonal depression had a longer duration of nocturnal melatonin secretion in the winter than in the summer, just as with other mammals with seasonal behavior.