At 16, when I left the Jehovah's Witness religion, I made a scrapbook full of things I wanted to celebrate and do when I was an adult and had my own life. Cut and pasted magazine clippings for holiday parties and pink frosted birthday cakes were plastered on every page.
The Winter Solstice is a time of celebration in almost every culture and part of the world -- whether in the Southern or Northern Hemisphere. As a person with an Indian ancestry, I have always been amazed at the diversity of traditions in India alone.
The winter solstice arrives on the shortest day and longest night of the year. Any reassurance of knowing the days gradually lengthen from this point forward is lost in a barren season highlighted by fleeting holidays, seemingly eons away from springtime.
I do not think anyone should feel ashamed for not feeling the way all the screens tell us we should feel. If you are sad while we are farthest away from the sun, while everyone else seems to be having a holly jolly Christmas, you are not flawed.
With each day, the sun warms our bodies and our hearts with a few more minutes of light as we move slowly toward Vernal Equinox and spring. Each religious tradition has expressed thoughts about this transition in our year and thus in our lives, both physical and spiritual.
The slender, young woman had just given me a one-hour massage. My mind and body were euphorically relaxed and I wanted to go home, make a pot of chai, and extend the life-is-good feeling that I had paid for.
This is my prayer for winter solstice 2013: that we have at last reached the depths of the darkest night before the beginning of a new dawn. Warm solstice season wishes to all, including our beloved animals, plants and planet, for the return of light in all of our lives.
The solstice is an auspicious occasion that is celebrated around the world. It represents a turning point in the year, just as marriage represents a turning point in your lives, and it can be a very happy time for a wedding.
We are part of a magical, beautiful, and suffering Earth, whose darkening we have created with our endless exploitation. The Earth, which is so infinitely generous, needs our prayers, needs our loving, our open hearts and remembrance.
Whether it is Hanukkah or Thanksgiving, Christmas or Winter Solstice, New Year's Eve or a festival of light, the human instinct to move closer to the source of light and life intensifies when the world around us grows darker and colder.
Chalica is a little known and comparatively new winter holiday that celebrates service, compassion, and respcect, but in the middle of a season already bursting at the seams with celebrations, why would anyone consider adding another holiday to the mix?