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Monday, October 20, 2008

How Humanists celebrate seasonal and life events

This months meeting will focus on how the non-religious celebrate life events and special occasions. With Thanksgiving having just taken place and Halloween around the corner heralding the arrival of Christmas, there is a need to acknowledge the event without necessarily believing in the dogma. All these festivals have pagan origins and together with pivotal life events fulfill a human need.

We hope to have a Humanist Officiant describe some of the ceremonies they perform and discuss the origins of other universal festivals. In the spirit of the season, we will have a small 'pot-luck' with bite-sized finger-foods (or Thanksgiving leftovers ;-). However, we cannot imbibe in the spirits as this is a municipal facility.

Most religious festivals have been co-opted from previous pagan or other traditional feasts of the natives prior to introduction of religion. Typical Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter both have secular origins.

With Halloween coming up shortly, we will again be thinking of the secular origins of this popular kids festival which is celebrated by all. By most accounts, it has several counterparts world-wide and was preceded in North America by a native Mexican festival called the Day of the Dead.

As a Community, there are certain traditional life event celebrations that do not require religious ceremonies but are never-the-less pivotal to our passage. Baby naming ceremonies, coming of age ceremonies, weddings and funerals. All these need to be appropriately marked but not necessarily blessed by a supernatural deity.

We hope to explore the need for these celebrations in our secular lives and how we can maintain a healthy relationship with all these events without going overboard.

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