Religion and Spirituality

Discovering the Real Reason for the Holiday Season

Axial tilt is the reason for the season, as the (slightly adapted version of) the saying goes. In the most recent episode of TSBS, Mindy, Eddy, Ali Marie, and Katie talked about their holiday traditions, and how they’ve changed from religious to secular. As a follow-on from this, I thought I’d share a bit about how I’ve always celebrated Christmas– and the radically different Christmas I’m having this year.

See, I’m a Kiwi girl, born and raised, and as such Christmas has always been in the middle of summer for me. A typical Christmas day might involve some of the trappings of what other people call a traditional Christmas, shoehorned into our own traditions due to the fact that it’s…not winter. So a Christmas dinner might involve ham and pudding, but it might also involve seafood and salad, or a barbeque followed by backyard cricket or a trip to the beach.

Yet, everything surrounding the Christmas mythology (and by this, I don’t mean religion, I mean the imagery of snowmen and mistletoe and all of those sorts of things) is decidedly northern hemisphere and makes no sense to me.

Which brings me to this year! I am lucky enough to be spending Christmas in the far European north, where the days are short and cold, and the nights long and dark. As I write this, the snow is falling heavily out my window. It’s what Christmas is in the movies, it’s what everyone imagines Christmas to be…and yet it feels fake to me! My Australian friend likened it to “seeing a dragon”– the “white Christmas” is so mythological to me, that now I’m experiencing it, well, it does feel like seeing a dragon.

However, I now understand why such a holiday sprung up. Those long, dark nights? They’re so depressing. Christmas might mean a nice break and a chance to spend quality time with family in my part of the world, but in this part of the world it is downright necessary to even make the season bearable. I can’t imagine what I’d be feeling right now if there weren’t pretty lights, cosy food, and lovely carols.

When everyone posts the “Axial tilt is the Reason for the Season” meme– well now I know, more than ever, why that is true.

So Happy Holidays, everyone! However and wherever you may be celebrating!

Featured Image Credit: Pohutukawa, the “New Zealand Christmas Tree”

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Lauren is a Maths and Physics student from somewhere in the southern hemisphere. She has an affinity for reality, and you can find her on twitter @lolrj, or Google+.


  1. January 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm —

    I am totally there with you! I live in Minnesota and always have, and I swear half the people I know get seasonal depression. The vitamin D deficiency is always rough. In Minnesota, it’s even worse because even after Christmas we don’t get real spring for another few months. It’s still dark and cold all the time. It certainly makes sense that a lot of places needed something to get them through.

  2. January 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm —

    I don’t understand you people! I love dreary, cold, snowy weather. The sun is the devil.

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