Having a little one has me spending lots of time around the holidays thinking about how I want to celebrate. It is my hope to create some new traditions imbued with meaning, ones that Aedan will cherish and carry on. I would like to celebrate in ways that link closely to the rhythm of the seasons, with a focus on the natural world rather than on "things".
I'm sure that one day, Aedan will want to dress up for Halloween, and I look forward to seeing what he dreams up. But for now, I'm trying to start something with a deeper significance. In many cultures around the world, this is a time to remember those who have passed on. It is a time to talk about the dead, to feel their spirits gathered close around us. It also marks the end of the old year: the harvest is in, the work of preserving it is over, and the fields lie fallow.
Here in the Yukon, the ground has been frozen for weeks and the rivers are not far behind. Each day is noticeably shorter than the last. We are headed in to a dark time, a time to snuggle in close to the fire, to dream of what's to come with the return of the sun at the Winter Solstice. It feels important to me to begin to mark these special days in some way: a measure of the seasons.
So on the 31st, at sunset, I lit a few candles around some photos of loved ones we wished to remember. I prepared a feast for dinner: roasted moose, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and zucchini patties (by special request). Today, Aedan and I will make our way down to the clearing where we buried Patsy, my cat who passed last spring, to pour some spring water over her grave. It feels so good to be making some new traditions, and I look forward to how they grow and change as my family does the same.
Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Samhain or All Souls Day...what traditions does your family have to celebrate this time of year?