Happy Halloween!

Today is the rather secular holiday of Halloween, where kids dress up in costumes and eat absurd amounts of candy. We'll be observing by doing about the same, only going easy on the candy part. My son is going as a 'skull ninja' and my daughter found a dragon suit to wear.There is something lovely, especially for a kid, about getting to walk around in the dark, autumnal weather. The leaves crunch under the feet. The cold (or rain) nips the nose. You get to knock on doors that you might never … [Read more...]

Holidays and Hinduism

Diwali begins today. Well, in some communities. The major Lakshmi puja is observed the day after the dark moon, on Tuesday. What's hard for me about observing Hindu holidays is that so many of the details depend on cultural traditions of the Indian subcontinent. Tamils observe slightly differently than Nepalese than the myriad other ethnic and cultural groups. The gods even have different names and sometimes slightly different mythology! While this is really confusing, it's also liberating. … [Read more...]

The Not So Dumb Supper

I don't know the much about history and tradition of the dumb supper. I've been to a few communal suppers and really enjoyed them. A few years ago I decided I'd like to add this to my own family's traditions. Finding some balance to the commercialized candy-fest of mainstream Halloween and creating a container to discuss death and ancestors with the kids is important to me. This was our third dumb supper - and it certainly wasn't all that dumb (and by dumb, I mean silent).My ideal dumb … [Read more...]

From one fire to another

Last night was Halloween. Did you dress up? Have trick-or-treaters at your door? Halloween (October 31) is the holiday I reserve for the fun, cultural aspects of this particular season. I enjoy the knocks on the door and walking around in the dark. I admit I take a perverse pleasure in getting to peek inside people's homes. I don't enjoy the abundance of cheap sugary crap and "sexy" costumes, but much of that can be avoided with a little creativity and diligence.My kids dressed up as Luigi … [Read more...]

Samhain Thoughts

Halloween/Samhain approaches. It's my High Holy Days! But there is so much going on in my world right now that I can barely focus. I've missed the last two Maxim Mondays - the week before was the middle of Navratri and yesterday I was attending to family things. I'd like to share some of what's going on in my world and what I've been up to, along with a few thoughts on the season.First, I was able to meet up with some amazing people on Sunday. I drove to Seattle and met with Christine Hoff … [Read more...]

Enough already!

At his preschool, my son made a poppy to wear for Remembrance Day, the British Equivalent of Veterans Day. He quite liked his poppy and made sure he was very careful with it. He wore his proudly in the middle of his shirt all day long. Until he asked why we wore poppies on this day.I'm not sure what the preschool told him. I explained that the poppy flower symbolized remembering and today we were remembering the dead that had fought in wars. I explained that while war was a terrible thing, … [Read more...]

Ancestors

(Part three of three)The Samhain season is at last over for me. Four straight days! The kids' party, a ritual, our family dumb supper, and singing for All Souls' Day at the local Anglican church. While the first and second activities tapped into the spirit of mischief and frolic of the season, and activities two and three capitalized on the 'thinness of the veils between the worlds', only items three and four were explicitly about the Ancestors and Mighty Dead, two very important parts of … [Read more...]


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