Winter Celebrations

religious symbolsThe holidays are here! It’s a wonderful time of year when the twinkling lights go up on trees and we awake, as my Beloved and I did today, to a snowy winter wonderland.   The winds are blowing, the sky is thick with falling snowflakes, and the power is surging on and off.  So in case we are rudely interrupted I want to publish my best wishes for love and laughter in this season of good cheer.

Video: ♫Wind Songs for the Winter Solstice♫

A wonderful part of this season is the food. Luckily I don’t have an issue with weight so I enjoy lots of seasonal food. The feasting began for us during Diwali in October and will continue into the New Year.

Different meals are traditionally cooked on different days of the Diwali festival and the recipes vary from region to region. Our friends served puris, deep-fried in ghee accompanied by a different dal, vegetable curry, fried titbits such as pakoras and a pudding on each day of the festival. We drank tea and coffee, as well as fruit mocktails and smoothies too.

I love eating crispy potato latkes with applesauce and sour cream all year round but not as much as I love eating them with my friend’s at Hannukkah. December 8 – 16th our Jewish friends celebrated Hanukkah, a Festival of Lights,  a time of light and hope. We were served traditional slow-cooked Jewish brisket, herb baked salmon, several kinds of latkes and I liked the appetizers so much I filled up on them before the main meal.  Today just recalling the flavorful blintzes and the cheesecake and the jelly doughnuts makes me drool.

Winter-solstice celebrations could well be the world’s oldest holidays as such celebrations have been observed all over the world since ancient times.  As we deck the halls with evergreens and celebrate this season of rebirth we focus on the true meaning of this time of the year. It is a time when cultures of the past honored the darkness but gave thanks for the return of  the sun, and all that it meant spiritually, metaphorical and symbolically.

Tomorrow are looking forward to attending a Multicultural Society Winter Celebration of Faith on Vancouver Island. It will include performances by First Nation drummers, Choirs from the Christian Choirs and Baha’i faith, The Sihk community,  the Hindu Cultural Society,  the Interfaith Committee,  Islamic Center, Druids, Wiccans and Pagans, and an Island Soul Choir. The Island Soul Choir has over 100 singers from all over Vancouver Island as well as some of the Gulf Islands.

After the performances Paul Bramadat, author, researcher, Professor and Director for the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society with the University of Victoria will facilitate a discussion to explore the potential of music to bridge an understanding of differing theological beliefs.

Faces of UVic Research: Paul Bramadat

Click to connect to  the University of Victoria’s Channel on YouTube.

Friday, December 21st we will be celebrating the shortest day and the longest night of the year locally with close friends.  Our Winter Solstice celebration will be a potluck feast with music making and dancing to follow.  We are making some special dishes and our French Canadian friends insist on sharing their famous melt in your mouth chocolate Yule Log.

May the spirit of the season fill your hearts and homes  with love and happiness that continues throughout the coming year.


  1. Hi TT,

    I think that music can be used as a bridge for varying theological beliefs and other things as well. The diverse gathering you described sounds fabulous. I hope that you had a great time at the winter celebration.

    Best wishes to you and yours.

    • Hi Ray,
      I don’t know anyone who does not like music. As you noted that common enjoyment does make for a wonderful bridge for many things. I open up in multicultural environments. By that I mean my heart opens and my mouth opens too. I love to sing and the music I love to sing is spiritual music from many different traditions. I’m still humming as the evening was a very special one that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

      I’m wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

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