There are four holidays in my religion. They match the seasons, and are balanced and symmetrical. As far as I know, there are at least 2 people other than myself that observe all 4 of these holidays as they’re intended.
Moderation is for monks. Take big bites.
Autumn: Thanksgiving - Food. OMG food. Everyone get together, with family or friends or strangers, and eat a lot. Wine, turkey, corn, gravy, potatoes, pastries, berries, pumpkins and squashes, ham, whateveryoucanfitinyourfaceuntilyourbeltpops. It’s not about family, it’s not about pilgrims and indians or turkeys, it’s about feasting until you have to lay down.
Then sleep. Take Friday off for more sleeping.
Spring: 4/20 - April 20th is the Thanksgiving of the spring. It’s not cold, and there’s no need to stuff your face. Instead, stuff your head. Go outside, celebrate the beauty of nature all around you. Explore new areas in your world and your mind. Have fun with it! See: 420.
The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living
Winter: Christmas - From December 21st-ish until January 1, we meet with family. Bake sweet foods, and play with evergreens, and do other things that smell lovely. Eventually, there’s a big dinner, and presents. The presents used to be the big draw for me, but now, they’re just kind of a hassle. I spend a bunch of money on things that my family doesn’t need, and get a bunch of stuff that I didn’t really want. But wrapping and unwrapping things is fun, and the surprise of it can be enjoyable.
On Christmas, I reflect on my family, and my place in the tribe. We all come together, and it’s a very social thing. Old animosities are stirred up, as are old loves and childhood memories. It connects us to our shared past, and adds warmth to the winter.
Summer: Birthday - On July 1, we take a day off to reflect on the last year of life, and think about where it’s going next. Instead of buying presents for other people, we focus on what we really want for ourselves, and measure the progress that is so often forgotten in our day-to-day business. It’s a primarily solitary activity, but it’s also an excuse to party.
The fact that I was actually born on Birthday is inconsequential. Birthday is for everyone. For each of us, it’s a celebration of the fact that we are present and alive in this world, and a day when we can take a moment to see how we’re doing and consider if there are any course changes we might want to make. Most of all, it’s a day to reward ourselves for what we’ve accomplished, and thus provide greater motivation for more accomplishment.
Consumptive vs Reflective
None of these holidays are better or more important than any of the others. The interesting thing is that, by coming together and consuming, we bond and find commonalities. By reflecting and meditating on one’s place in the universe and in our tribe, we often find cause for feasting.
There’s a value in focusing on one aspect or another, just for a day, just to make sure we don’t forget.
The incomplete life is the life not worth living.