Sunday, April 24, 2011
The rites of spring and other spiritual stuff
Many of our silly cultural traditions come to you today by way of ancient superstitions. The Christmas tree is said I believe to have come from some Nordic practice of bringing evergreens indoors in hopes that the winter gods would not perpetuate snowy dark nights for the rest of the year.
Easter and all of its symbolism came mainly from pagan rites and symbols of fertility, things like eggs and rabbits being the centerpiece. All of this focusing on rebirth. I believe only the Mexicans and the Japanese have any celebrations of death and the here after. Although I've never really researched that subject very much.
I think a lot about our customs and rituals and wonder exactly why we do the things we do. I'm sure that someone from another planet might think we're crazy on observation. So much of what we do has it's origins in ancient superstitions and rituals it's not funny. Even our dress has some trappings of very old ideas. Exactly why would any sane man want to take a long piece of cloth and tie it around his neck with a large knot at the throat and why is that a requirement for doing a non physical job? I hear the origins come from the Turks who used this attire to protect against beheading. Sorry but I'm not some 12th century Turk getting ready for battle.
Then there's the issue of high heels. Why would any sane woman want to slip into a foot covering that throws all the body weight forward therefore causing great pain after extended usage not to mention blisters and callouses and the possibility of ankle injury?
As for the modern version of the Easter Bunny -- you know, an enormous rabbit who wears a bow-tie and looks very cute -- he's mostly taken from German traditions that stretch back to the 1500s. Again according to Mental Floss, "The Germans converted the pagan rabbit image into Oschter Haws, a rabbit that was believed to lay a nest of colored eggs as gifts for good children."
So I guess it all comes down to the amount of hormones and superstitions we hold dear. And since children don't have many hormones then they are stuck with the next best thing. Candy. They are more than able to create their own superstitions.
Now if someone would kindly stop doing the rain dance here I'd be most appreciative.