Celebrate your solstice

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The planet has reached the end of its eliptical course around the sun and down here in the temperate south the days will begin to shorten. It means we look forward to the eventual end of searing summer temperatures, cyclones, and humidity. But it’s not a time we dread. Neither is our winter solstice in June. Winters are not so severe here.

It’s a different matter for our forebears in Europe, though. Up there in the frozen north the temperatures dropped, snow fell, blizzards happened and the food you’d harvested in autumn would pretty much have to do you until spring and summer. That’s why the festivities associated with this season (Christmas is the best known) are really all about the winter solstice and the return of the sun. The evergreen fir tree covered with lights, the jolly man in the red suit, lots of food. Christians know their religion has become entangled with Pagan practices. And it hardly matters.

I hate the commercialism of Christmas, the endless buy buy buy ads, the sappy Christmas carols in the supermarkets, fake snow in the windows when it’s 35C outside. I’m also not interested in the traditional Christmas fare of ham, turkey, roast vegetables, mince pies, plum pudding and the like. It’s too hot for that sort of food here in midsummer. But I don’t begrudge anyone a time to share with family and friends. Pete and I will spend a quiet day at home and partake of various small servings of seafood. However you celebrate, I wish you well.

If any of you are interested in some holiday reading around the concept of Christmas and what it means, I recommend Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather (also available as a movie). Good stuff, and many HO HO HO’s. In a nutshell, somebody is trying to kill the Hogfather (Father Christmas), and in his absence, Death takes over the gig. Which puts a lot of undue pressure on his granddaughter (yes), Susan, who is on that cover. Did you know that white horse Death rides is called Binky? Yes, true. I wrote a review.

And a very merry Christmas to you, too.