We all need to celebrate

I enjoy this time of year. The countryside is at its most beautiful, the weather is starting to turn, but its not too cold or wet. And although I don’t actively celebrate either, we’re in the midst of two national “festivals” – Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night.

Most countries have days of celebration. Whether linked with religion, national independence, commemorate special people or events, or simply long standing local tradition. Some may be localised in significance, others merit the whole country having a days holiday. Often they can be linked with taking part in certain activities – such as eating or parades/processions that can take weeks of preparation.

Some, like Hallowe’en, are celebrated in different ways across the world and there are different interpretations as to how they originated (Hallowe’en is perceived as a pagan festival of the dead, but has its roots in earlier Christian festivals). Many are quite bizarre!

Bonfire night, or Guy Fawkes night, celebrates a failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament (our seat of Government) and the King of England in 1605. You could argue that Guy Fawkes, the plot leader, was an early terrorist and wonder at how different life may be today had he succeeded! When I was a child I loved Bonfire Night because we celebrated in our back garden and let off fireworks at will. Today, because of many serious accidents (to children in particular), Bonfire Night is mainly celebrated at organised displays (which I find very boring!)

It is worth reflecting to what extent national festivals impinge on you, your family and your community. Also other celebrations like birthdays. I received an email from my friend Sophie, who’s travels have recently taken her to Cambodia. She related how a friend she made over there has no idea exactly which year he was born or which day (because of the war at the time). Consequently he doesn’t celebrate birthdays (which is quite normal in Cambodia).

What would your life be like if you had no celebrations, no festivals or other such events scattered throughout the year? I mentioned how I now participate in children’s workshops, particularly at Easter and Harvest Festival, which have given those times a year a new meaning to me.

Events such as those described above all form part of the habits and routines that govern our life. Celebration shouldn’t just be an excuse to over indulge in food, alcohol or other vices! They should be joyful occasions to interact with others and participate in an event. Great self confidence and self esteem come back to how we see and feel about ourselves. Learn to celebrate well, and ensure your year has a good scattering of events to take part in.

Benjamin November 4, 2007 at 6:15 pm

I’d love to see some Psychological studies on this. I am personally convinced that celebration and thankfulness are key to our well being. They are a key part of the major religions, but these rituals are increasingly lost to today’s society. Thank you for the thoughtful reminder!

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