Thursday, March 17, 2011

Travel Log 3-17: A bit O' the Blarney

 Bust out the green beer and get drunk till you can't even stagger straight it's St. Patrick's day!
    This (and sometimes Valentine's day) is one of those holidays that makes me pause and think. To look at what we do and what we mean. I know today isn't one that is usually associated with deep thought or meditation, but hey why should I start conforming now?
   The pagan community's confusion and general discord with almost any mainstream holiday makes me stop and look at them from multiple perspectives while I sort out my own feelings about them. I can see both sides. I can see the small,  underdog pagan community (though all the trolls and general whiners seem to be packing on the weight for us) railing against the mainstream bulldozer that has flattened and rearranged the "traditional" holy days. I love the anthropological drive that is behind a lot of people's faith and belief and I feel that remembering where these days came from is very important.
     And here comes the but ( and just like when we see ours in the mirror, it's always bigger than we'd like, lol). BUT this isn't centuries ago when those holidays were, in fact, relevant. The majority of us wouldn't know how to survive in the world as it was all those hundreds of years ago ( I know I would be crying in a corner for my mommy after about a day and a half of the work that had to be done for survival back then) so to say we understand and can duplicate the driving forces behind the original traditions and holidays on anything more than an allegorical level is disingenuous.
     Every time a holiday comes up there is a lot of talk about why it has to be celebrated a certain way, and what the "right" meaning for it is (from just about every religion on the planet in some cases). Well I don't honestly think that there is a right way to celebrate a holiday. I think that what someone did in the 12th century was nice, and knowing about it makes me feel connected to the continuity of time, but I also don't think I need to do what they did, in the way they did it, or even celebrate for the same reasons.
    When I hear people complaining that traditions are being lost or polluted these days I just want to scream at the top of my  lungs that HISTORY IS NOT STAGNANT!!
    Things change with time and society. That is how the human race moves forward (or backwards as the case may be *cough* teaparty*cough*). There is so much to be learned about who we are as a culture in the evolution of these traditions that it is a crime to bemoan their change. The very season's we are celebrating are proof that nothing was meant to stay the same- not even holidays. We should honor what was, then lift up our green beer (or whiskey if you've got the taste for it or a little Irish in ya') and celebrate what is. That these holidays did not become stagnant and die, but have found a way to exist and thrive and be relevant in a time that is so alien to their originators as to be fictional.

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