Friday, December 18, 2015

Unseasonably Mild

It's 'unseasonably mild' as the meteorologists put it, right now.  Which might be why, despite all the lights, decorations and trees, not to mention the seasonal songs blaring away in shops and on the radio, it just doesn't feel like Christmas.  Indeed, if it wasn't for the intermittent strong winds and heavy showers taking the edge off of the temperature once you go outside, it would probably be balmy enough to feel like Summer.  Whilst that helps with my energy bills (the heating is barely coming on at the moment) it means that it just doesn't feel like Winter - and Christmas is deeply rooted in Winter.  All of our traditional ideas of Christmas involve wintry scenes - snow covered roofs, frosty days, snowmen and, above all, cold.  So cold that everyone settles down inside in front of a roaring fire drinking mulled wine and sinilar bevereges.  But when December feels like June, it is very hard to get into the Christmas mind set.  Of course, this concept of Christmas only holds in the Northern Hemisphere - in the Southern Hemisphere right now, it really is Summer.  For those who live below the equator, Christmas is always warm and sunny.

So, whilst we wonder how on earth we can cope with a warm Christmas, in, say, Australia, it is the norm.  For them Christmas is less about roast turkey, sitting in front of the fire and the like, than having a barbecue in the back garden and going to the beach to enjoy the sun.  Which is why, perhaps, Christmas doesn't seem to be such a big deal to them.  Because, like it or not, the festival is inextricably linked to the Winter, having its origins (in Northern Europe, at least), in the pagan festivals which marked the midwinter equinox.  Their purpose being to bring some light and hope into the darkest days of the year.  When Christmas falls in the middle of Summer (as in the Southern Hemisphere) it rather loses its point.  Perhaps they should think of moving the date of Christmas for those living below the equator, (obviously, the religious brigade wouldn't be happy with that, but tough, they hijacked the pagan festival for their own purposes in the first place, so why shouldn't we be able to move it around for our convenience?).  But to get back to the original point, our whole idea of Christmas is very much based upon our expectations as to what the season of Winter should feel like.  Take away the biting cold, the possibility of snow and the need to turn the heating up full and the whole of Christmas' raison d'etre starts to ebb away. Mind you, having said all that, there's always the possibility that the reason I don't feel Christmassy is that I still haven't gotten around to putting up my Christmas tree.  Maybe if I do that, the unseasonable mildness of the weather won't detract from the seasonal spirit so much...     

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