Celebrating The Midwinter Festival without the Nativity
The Midwinter Festival is not about celebrating religion it is about understanding the seasons
Celebrating the festival without the Christian paraphernalia of 'the nativity' enables it to be enjoyed by all, a learning experience relevant to all humanity. It reclaims the celebration of the celebration of the 'new sun' at the winter equinox, from the hijacked version of 'Christmas' as the property of a religion, celebrating the birth of its new 'son', a messiah.
Yuletide, Xmas, Midwinter Festival, Noel, Saturnalia, Winterval, is not intrinsically a religious festival. Even 'Christmas' strictly speaking is not relevant to Protestants, it is the Mass said to celebrate the birth of Christ by Catholics.
In pre Christian times, in the Middle East, ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, pagans celebrated the winter equinox (the birthday of the 'unconquered sun' ) and many religions used the symbolism of the birth of a baby boy, a son, to represent the birth of their different 'saviors'
The Midwinter Festival has been celebrated by people for as long as there have been People. In cold northern Europe people had more reason than most to celebrate the turn of the year from winter to spring. They thought of the year as being like a 'wheel - 'Yule' . As it turned, spring turned to summer, summer to autumn, autumn to winter and winter to spring to complete the circle. "The wheel was a universal solar symbol"
What was the most important time of the year for people in the days before electric lights, central heating and supermarkets? When winter turned to spring.
What is small children's experience of seasons?
Why is it summer warm in summer and cold in winter?
Why in summer is it light when you go to bed and in the morning, and in the winter it is dark by tea time and dark in the mornings as well?
Do hot countries, or cold countries, have seasons?
So what does the sun do and why is the it important.
Being a new idea gives a lot of scope for creativity.
Instead of the characters of the nativity, children can act out the seasons of the year. Making the SUN the centre of attraction and importance, and not the baby Jesus.
Take 25 children as an example.
5 could be allocated to each season. They could enjoy choosing, during which they will discuss what they like or don't like about the seasons - a good introduction. - That's 20 children.
1 child as the central role, link, or narrator and 1 child per season could represent the sun in that season. That's the rest. - Keeping it simple!
The seasons would have its 'team' choosing for themselves things that represent the season.
Spring - seeds, shoots, spring flowers, rain, Easter
Summer - Holidays, sun hats & sunglasses, sunflowers, bar-b-qs, swimming costumes travel etc.
Autumn - harvest, apples, rustling leaves, Wellington boots & umbrellas, fireworks
Winter - cold & rain, snow & ice, skating, Lights & cosy homes, presents & parties
There could also be discussion of what music or sounds could represent the seasons.
Spring - birdsong
Summer - lawnmowers
Autumn - rustling leaves
Winter - jingle bells