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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Humanlight celebration and Tree of Knowledge dedication

December was an exciting month as we had our HumanLight celebration on the winter solstice, December 21st, 2009, at my place in Mississauga.

However, preceding this social event to close off our annual activites, we had a dedication ceremony to a Tree of Knowledge at the Halton-Peel Freethought Centre at 5330 Creditview Road. The event, styled after the annual event in Philadelphia, saw a few friends and members of the centre decorate a tree with their favourite book covers, laminated to protect them from the elements. The event was covered by the local Mississauga News.

Humanists celebrate the season

Many people decorate trees this time of year, and the Halton Peel Humanist Community didn't want to be left out of the fun.

The group, founded three years ago, hosted an event Monday night in which its members decorated a tree with covers from some of their favourite books read this past year.

Being humanists, there were plenty of books that focused on science and logical thinking; Charles Darwin's Origin of Species made an appearance as did Al Gore's The Assault on Reason and David Suzuki's The Sacred Balance.

Kevin Saldanha, the group's president, said the event wasn't designed to denigrate people's faith. Rather, it was a way for the group to celebrate and enjoy the season in a way that's in line with their beliefs.

"It was our way of celebrating with a tree that we felt was appropriate and, hopefully, would inspire people," said Saldanha. "It allows us to celebrate the season in a positive way without being offensive."

About 15 people took part in the tree decorating, which was held on Saldanha's property on Creditview Rd.

Saldanha said it seemed like a good idea because many people are decorating Christmas trees this time of year. He pointed to the recently erected Loving Memory Tree for grieving families outside City Hall as another example.

"Our tree promotes knowledge, education and scientific literacy," said Saldanha. .