Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

December dominates holiday season

Wick's World

 


“Tis the season to be jolly" and December is the month that dominates the holiday season. This weekend we went to four different houses in Eagan and another four get-togethers in Moose Lake.

I am officially partied out and it is only the 13th day of the month. That still leaves the “Twelve Days of Christmas” I’ll somehow have to survive, which I will because I love the holiday season. Yes, there is plenty of stress that can be involved, but for the most part, people seem to be in a good mood.

Adding to the festive nature of the holiday season is the pristine white snow we Minnesotans can enjoy. We can picture deer standing in the woods, snowmen in every yard lit up by the decorations on chimneys, rooftops and trees. What a beautiful sight to behold.

This season we seem to be lacking only one thing — where’s the snow? I went out on the deck this morning and saw three inches of water in my rain gauge. None of it was the product of snow melting. The lawn is spring green and the strawberries appear as if they are aching to bear fruit.

I would like to give you my version of what the holidays mean to me. Traditionally for many Americans, it means exchanging gifts and a huge feast on Christmas day. That is the tradition I grew up with and have passed on to my children. Another Christian holiday, one observed on December 26 in Great Britain, Australia and Canada, is called Boxing Day. I love this one. Traditionally, this holiday began on the day after Christmas when a local priest placed an empty box on a ship, which was then filled throughout the year with various gifts. On the following Christmas day, the gifts were distributed to the poor and needy. The next day the process started all over again.

The Swedish holiday of St. Lucia Day is celebrated every year at the Hope Lutheran Church in Moose Lake. It’s worth a visit for the singing and dancing, and especially for all of the Swedish sugared treats.

For Christians in Mexico, The Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a very important holiday.

I recognize the fact Christians are not alone in celebrating during the month of December. Here are some other celebrations.

The Jewish Hanukkah is probably the largest non-Christian December celebration in the United States.

Africa-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa, which is the fastest growing of the December celebrations in America.

Muslims celebrate Ramadan and Eid.

The list goes on and is too long to include them all.

The world’s oldest December celebrations began with the advent of the human being. Before Jesus, Mohammed or Confucius and before religions such as Christianity, Islam, Taoism, or Judaism, humans were pagans.

Although the term pagan has many different meanings, a common definition reads like this: “Pagan: a member of a religious, spiritual or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth.”

When humans first honored the sun, moon, ocean and mountains, when they first gazed at the stars, the first December celebration began and is still honored today. It is known as the Winter Solstice. This is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. A remnant from this December holiday can still be seen in England. It is called Stonehenge.

December is the month to celebrate holidays from all cultures. If we ask to put the Christ back in Christmas, then shouldn’t we also ask to put Hannah back in Hanukkah or the Is back in Islam? What if we took the Rama from Ramadan, would we still celebrate Dan day? If we took Pag from Pagan, would we celebrate An Day? If we took Lucia out of St. Lucia Day, would we celebrate “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”?

Here is my personal viewpoint: Anyone who wants to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy holidays” should be allowed to — no questions asked. In the same token, if someone is not a Christian and replies with “Happy holidays,” “Shalom” or “May the Mother Moon bless your feet,” there is no need to be offended. The celebrations of December are for everyone.

Have a joyous happy month!

 

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