Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," Samhain 2010 edition! Just think: It's been five years since we posted our first thoughts on Samhain. For those of you who are new here, you can find them in the archives.
Yes, over the years, we at "The Gods Are Bored" have had plenty to say about witches, pumpkins, black cats, Chick tracts, on and on. True to our maxim never to take anything seriously, we've generally made light of the waning of the light.
As this year draws to an end, we don't see much of a change on the horizon, vis a vis "Gods Are Bored" and its inability to maintain a respectful demeanor. So, for my new followers, please be aware that the following sermon is uncharacteristically modest.
With that in mind, let's look at the New Year mindset of the Celts and the Romans.
The Celts celebrated the beginning of the New Year on what is now November 1. By this date all the crops were in, and it was good weather for outdoor bonfires.
The Romans celebrated the beginning of the New Year on January 1. I wanted to ask the Roman deities why that date was chosen, and you know what? Since Percy Jackson happened onto the best seller list, those deities are hard to get on the phone! Busy again! Yowsa yowsa yowsa!
Therefore I will speculate. I think the Romans chose January 1 because by that time the amount of daylight is just noticeably greater. The Romans were big on the sun. The Celts were big on the moon.
You know what I say? I go with the Celts on this one. It's a close call, though. Two good lawyers could put on quite a show making a case for solar vs. lunar.
I would take lunar because, as the descendant of farmer after farmer after farmer, I know how important it is to bring in the crops and to take stock to see if there's enough to get through the winter, and seeing that there is, to celebrate that fact. I remember the frenetic sessions of canning in my grandparents' kitchen, and I remember as well how beautiful those jars looked, sorted and stored on shelves, each with its own kind. Yellow peaches, red tomatoes, green beans, white corn, jelly. And when Grandma opened those peaches in the dead of winter -- oh, they tasted so good!
Bring in your harvest. Arrange it on the shelves and count. Do you have enough of everything to get through the long, cold winter?
I speak in metaphors, of course. Nevertheless, winter is coming. It will be cold and dark for months. Light a fire of gratitude to your deities if you feel grateful for what they have given you since the world grew warm.
In conclusion, I intend to teach transition words in composition class this week. Last week I taught rhetorical questions. Indeed, would you ever have guessed?