Monday, January 05, 2015

The Most Depressing Month?

OK, it's January, it's back to work time, so it's also time to indulge what's become an annual obsession for me: the haste with which we turn our backs on the festive season. After all that build up, we just can't wait to wrap it up, it seems.  As I grow older I find myself becoming, if not exactly a fan of the season, more enamoured of it, appreciating more the defiance of the cold and darkness of Winter that it represents.  Which is probably why all those Christmas light displays people put up on the outsides of their houses and in their gardens fascinate me more with every year which goes by.  Whereas I once thought of them as tacky and garish expressions of egotism and one-up-man-ship with regard to the neighbours, I can now see them as colourful fetishes against the bleakness of the season.  Yet, despite decorations like these lights, literally, brightening the dark days of Winter, we can't wait to pull them down as soon as January arrives, it seems. 

Bearing in mind that many people seem to feel that January is the most depressing month of the year, you'd think that we'd be keener to keep the lights burning and the decorations up.  Indeed, at one time people did keep Christmas decorations up until the end of January.  As recently as Georgian times the Christmas season started late in November and carried on until late January - in terms of the decorations, at least.  In terms of celebrations, let's not forget that Twelfth Night, the epiphany, now used simply as the demarcation point for when Christmas is meant to end, was a major celebration in its own right.  Back then they understood the importance of keeping one's spirits up during the cold season.  But then someone came up with the idea that it would be 'bad luck' to keep the decorations up beyond Twelfth Night, thereby ensuring that the celebrations are cut short and everybody is forced back to the misery of work.  Trust me, it's no coincidence that this Twelfth Night bollocks coincided with the advent of the industrial revolution.  The working classes can't be allowed to enjoy themselves - it could hurt productivity and eat into the profits of their capitalist masters.  Yet another good reason for a revolution, I think - and to start it, this year, refuse to take down your lights and decorations.  Keep them up for January.



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