Happy Humanlight, folks!
Do you celebrate Humanlight? What do you do for festivities?
Here's my plan. (Re-posted from my FaceBook note...)
I just heard about Humanlight for the first time. Maybe every person I know will laugh at me for this, but I like it, and I'm going to celebrate it. Like many holidays, including Christmas and Chanukah, Humanlight adopts some traditions, symbolism, and the date (roughly) of older holidays, but has its own unique raison d'etre. Humanlight is December 23, shortly after the Solstice, when light is first re-gaining dominance over darkness (in minutes per day). The theme is hope, with the obvious symbolism... literal light represents metaphorical light just starting to show evidence of gaining ground in the struggle with metaphorical darkness. The purpose is to celebrate humanist values - reason, hope, compassion, and faith in the potential of human endeavors to improve the human experience. The establishment of a holiday with traditions and rituals and symbolism and festivities recognizes the important role that these things have in the human psyche, without the need for a supernatural justification.
Ideally, Humanlight is celebrated with family, friends, and community, but if I'm to celebrate it alone this year, this is what I have in mind, so far:
1a) Big Haul Salvation Army Drop-off.
In a time of plenty, this amounts to a cleansing ritual; removing clutter from one's physical surroundings as a means to clear one's mind... physically and mentally preparing for renewal. Giving the items away rather than throwing them away is important to me because of the natural resources used, modified, and polluted in the manufacture of the items; hopefully someone has a (re)use for them. Plus, the Salvation Army (or other worthy charity) might be able to make a few bucks by selling them.*
1b) Food Pantry Drop-Off
Same idea. Plus, its timely for food pantries stocking up for holiday meals and winter.
2) Costumed Run through the Neighborhood
Fun, festive, memorable (aka cold), and a good counter-balance to holiday stuffing-one's-face. In the future, I hope to add singing and interval dances, which one might reasonably expect to degenerate into snowball fights.
3) Stuffing One's Face
A holiday isn't a holiday without stuffing one's face. Or, y'know, fasting. Traditional family Humanlight dishes TBD.
4) Candle lighting
Symbolic, pretty...blatantly stolen from Jewish tradition. Rabbi Wine claims that the tradition of lighting more candles each night for several consecutive nights actually pre-dates Chanukah in Jewish tradition, and was associated with the growing light of mid-winter.**
5) Cooperative strategy games
What can I say? ...I'm a gamer. Besides, problem solving and cooperation are humanist values.
6) Nesting in the Living Room
When I was a kid, my sister and I and the neighbor kids would occasionally build a big "nest" out of blankets in the living room, and sleep in a haphazard heap. It was the kind of thing that wouldn't have been any fun if we'd done it often, but doing it once in a while, rarely, it was inexplicably great fun. I think that will make it an ideal Humanlight holiday tradition.
* I didn't include monetary donations to charities because I do that regularly anyways, and I find it too business-y to be a holiday tradition. This may be a relic of being raised in a tradition where handling money is forbidden on holy days (or just Sabbath? I don't know.)
** I have a design in mind for a mirrored sun-shaped candle-holder, with human figures (see also: stick figures) circling the central candle. I have an idea of how I would build it, but realistically, this won't happen probably ever, and certainly not by the 23rd. But if I do make one, I would call it a Sun Bouncer.