Hippity hoppity: following the trail of the Easter bunny’s origins

What do bunnies and eggs have to do with the religious celebration of Easter?

Hippity hoppity: following the trail of the Easter bunny’s originsThe community Easter egg hunt was fun until the Easter bunny showed up. My granddaughter took one look at the hairy hare, and the bliss of savouring a chocolate egg turned to terror. My grandson carried on happily eating his treat until the Easter bunny approached him, at which point he too began to cry.…

Love wasn’t always in the air on Valentine’s Day

The Valentine’s Day of today has little resemblance to its ancient Roman and early Christian roots

Love wasn’t always in the air on Valentine’s DayLove is in the air, and with it, red roses, chocolates in heart-shaped boxes and jewelry. But today’s symbols and celebration of the romantic love we associate with Valentine’s Day have little resemblance to its ancient Roman and early Christian roots, both of which involved some violence. In the middle of February the ancient Romans…

Valentine’s Day is about making everyone feel special

In an otherwise ho-hum, often dreary month, Valentine’s Day rituals brighten the landscape of the heart

Valentine’s Day is about making everyone feel specialValentine’s Day is about feeling special – making others feel special and experiencing that same feeling. Valentine’s Day gained traction in medieval times as a celebration of love. Before the 14th century, it was a feast day in honour of St. Valentine. Valentine was a priest who defied Emperor Claudius II’s edict that forbade young…

The real work of Christmas begins after Christmas

The season of giving should remind us how to live the rest of the year

The real work of Christmas begins after ChristmasThe company has gone. The tree flops sadly at the curbside. The decorations are stowed away for another year. As we resume our normal activities, the feel-good generosity and goodwill of Christmas fade. With the Salvation Army kettles out of sight, the needs of others are out of mind. Howard Thurman, an African American whose…

Why Christmas matters in a secular society

It is shortsighted to restrict ourselves to a candy cane diet of Christmas cuteness

Why Christmas matters in a secular societyWe go to extremes to avoid the religious aspects of Christmas in the public sphere, and we are worse for it. Christian beliefs about Christmas might offend someone in our secular and multicultural society, so we ignore its religious and historical background. The reluctance to mention the origins of this much-loved holiday permeates early childhood…

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?

The pre-Christmas preparation can turn the jolliest of elves into Scrooges

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?I have a holiday cocktail napkin that reminds me to keep a sense of humour during the busy weeks leading up to Christmas Day. The napkin depicts a spotless 1950’s kitchen where a mother and daughter are preparing to take Christmas dinner out of the oven. The little girl looks excited about the feast ahead,…

The new normal is not so normal after all

We have learned nothing from the recent past

The new normal is not so normal after allThe new normal. It's a phrase that trips lightly off the lips. But, is the new normal actually something that has changed our behaviour? I don't think so. The new normal implies that the restrictions and practices of the last year and a half have changed the way we live and move. It implies that…

During pandemic, Easter traditions provide joy and hope

During pandemic, Easter traditions provide joy and hopeI recently heard a healthy middle-aged man describe the effects of COVID-19 on his life. COVID-19, he said, hasn’t affected him at all; he, his aging parents and his very elderly grandmother have not been ill. He may not be vaccinated. I found his viewpoint surprising. While no one I know or love has contracted…

Keeping the Christmas spirit alive beyond the festive season

The Christmas spirit only asks us, as Mother Teresa famously said, that we “do ordinary things with great love”

Keeping the Christmas spirit alive beyond the festive seasonWith traditional ways of celebrating on pause, Christmas 2020 was definitely one for the books. Despite COVID-19 – or maybe even because of it – I, and many people I know, celebrated the Christmas season well. As one of my good friends remarked, COVID-19 didn’t spoil her Christmas. She mused that she made new memories;…

Craving the touchstones of Christmas tradition

The traditions and rituals of the festive season have a part to play in creating a sense of normalcy during this time of pandemic

Craving the touchstones of Christmas traditionI almost lost my Christmas spirit, thanks to COVID-19. The reality of no family dinners, no gathering with friends and no church services to attend threatened to dampen my enthusiasm for the holiday season. Not wanting to be Scrooge, I took action. One grey, dreary day in early December, I tromped through the yard, cutting…
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