Events – Sunday 13 December 2015, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm
Sunday Summer Social
Venue: 4 Alandale Ave, Balwyn
By tradition this end-of-year festive period is called Christmas. It is a time for get-togethers with family, friends, and work-mates; gift giving; for Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus and for retailers to hope we will go out and buy. The general mood is a mix of enjoyment, social bonding, over-indulgence and the likelihood of family squabbles.
These celebratory traditions began in the northern hemisphere thousands of years ago, to mark the shortest day or winter solstice. It was a time of log fires and feasting, associated with killing livestock that would not have survived the winter. Much later Christians appropriated this long established celebration for their own event of Christ’s birth in a manger, visited by shepherds and wise men, etc.
When Europeans colonised the southern hemisphere, they brought this amalgam of pagan and christian traditions with them. Despite the seasons being reversed, Australians still celebrate with decorated pine trees, gift giving and for generations have looked forward to Christmas day dinners with roast chicken or turkey, and plum pudding. In recent years we have moved to more season-appropriate food like seafood, barbecues, salads and cold desserts. And as though you can’t have too many opportunities to party, there has been a growth in Christmas-in-July celebrations.
These observations demonstrate that humans have long constructed celebratory occasions out of a wide range of natural and unnatural happenings. Australia’s first people also had established patterns of life closely tied to their surroundings. Most tribes moved around their country taking advantage of seasonal food supplies and occasionally gathering for celebratory feasts and corroborees.
Even though colonisation drastically altered the original flora and fauna of Australia by introducing exotic species and exploitation, we can still discern seasonal patterns. Two, many will be familiar with at this time of the year, are the vivid orange flowers of the silky oak, Grevillea robusta, and the persistent squawking of fledgling magpies begging food from their parents.
The get-together aspect of Christmas is worth fostering as is thinking of the less fortunate. We therefore hope that many Humanists will come along to our summer social and bring non-perishable food and other daily necessity items to donate to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. We begin with socialising, follow with a shared meal and later there is an opportunity to contribute an item of entertainment.
We urge all members to come along to our Humanist social even if only for a short time. And we wish everyone all the best for the festive season and the coming new year.