Slow Yule. Part 1

scrooges_third_visitor-john_leech1843Hello,

I have to admit to being a bit random with my journal up until now, just writing what has been on my mind and what I have been up to. Which means I have promised to talk about things in more depth in later entries and then got myself totally distracted and wandered off on tangents, never returning to the subject.

So, I have decided to put a bit of order into the chaos and am going to follow a theme for a while. So, the theme running up to Christmas will be (predictably) about Christmas and how being Slow can make your Christmas much better.

And then, after that is all out of the way I will talk about you can make some really useul

Probably. Assuming I don’t get distracted…

So, Christmas.

Hmmm, I have to be blunt. Christmas has probably become the most un-Slow of all festivals. It has been taken over by excessive consumerism (I don’t have anything against consumerism as such, but excessive consumerism – like excessive anything – is not good. But that probably is a subject for a post of it’s own) leading to unnecessary debt, the pressure and stress of getting the right presents for the right people and going to visit people you don’t really know or like just because you think you should (even though you don’t bother the rest of the year)…

It is has become far removed from the original festival that is was.

In these first few posts I am going t explore the history of the Christmas festival and so we can start looking at ways we can get that back and rekindle the proper spirit of Christmas (which is very slow indeed!).

The Christmas we know today (with the 3 days – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day) was really an invention of the Victorians (with a bit of help from Charles Dickens) to reduce the festive period into a manageable 2 day holiday so we could all get back to work (this was in the midst of the Industrial revolution), which really goes against the Slow ethos of the work/life balance and is therefore really doomed to be stressful from the get go!!

But the rot set in a long time before that, around the time of Reformation, when Martin Luther (as an enemy to Slow as Benjamin Franklin) created the Protestant Church (and the gave name to the dreaded “Protestant Work Ethic”) and started to cull the Pre-Reformation holidays and festivals as they deemed them “hedonistic” and “superstitious” (Christmas was even BANNED in Britain in 1647!!). Before this Christmas (or Yule, or Christmastide, or the festival of Epiphany, or the Winter Soltace!) was a time of revelry, of community spirit, of celebration and feasting that lasted days (some sources say they started in November!), ending on 12th Night, or the Feast of Epiphany on the 6th January. It combined pre-Christian traditions and Christiam elements to give thanks and distract ourselves from the cold, dark winters!

In Part 2. We will look in more details at these Pre-Reformation festivals and how we could include some the ideas into our modern Christmas to reduce the stress and make it a Slower festival…

SC