Sunday, January 6, 2013

We Love All Commemorations

Public Festival ~ Philadelphia Mummers Parade ~ New Year's Day 2013
photo by Anthony West

"The natural tendency of time to obliterate ancient customs and silence ancient sports, is too much promoted by the utilitarian spirit of the day; and they who would have no man enjoy without being able to give a reason for the enjoyment which is in him, are robbing life of half its beauty and some of its virtues. If the old festivals and hearty commemorations . . . had no other recommendation than their convivial character, the community of enjoyment which they imply, they would on that account alone be worthy of all promotion . . . We love all commemorations. We love these anniversaries, for their own sakes, and for their uses. . . . We love all which tends to call us from the solitary and chilling pursuit of our own separate and selfish views into the warmth of a common sympathy" (emphasis added).

Thomas K. Hervey, 1799 – 1859

introductory comments from his Book of Christmas
initially published 1836
then by George P. Putnam, & Co New York, Circa 1848
and Roberts Brothers in Boston, 1888

[Click to read more about Hervey's historical view of Christmas]

One hundred and fifty years later, Barbara Ehrenreich observes similarly that "human festivities -- probably going back to the Paleolithic era -- featured the universal ingredients of feasting, dancing, costuming, masking and / or face painting, for days at a time . . . around bonfires, in the streets . . . Holidays bonded whole communities . . . assembling costumes, cooking up treats, crafting musical instruments and rehearsing dance steps, not to mention the festivity itself."
Ehrenreich's advice:
"Fight for your right to party!
Our ancestors lived for holidays.
Keep that in mind this season."

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