The first real snowfall drifted over camp two nights and our camp is transformed! The evergreens looked dressed in white for the holiday season. An owl swooped over the upper pond path as I walked through. Such a glorious living holiday ornament!
December is such a magic month—in many places around the world. Human beings are adjusting to different balances of dark and light in their lives, and many cultures stop in this month, to celebrate both the darkness and the light. At camp, many camp friends will gather to burn a Solstice bonfire, this year, a few days before the actual darkest night of the year, December 21. We will sing, light candles, and offer wishes for a peaceful and settled New Year. We know that other people will be doing the same in lots of countries, and that many Betsey Cox people will be participating.
Did you know that some Buddhist sects also celebrate in December? Bodhi Day is celebrated on December 8 and honors the day that the historical Buddha experienced Enlightenment. The Day is called the Day of Enlightenment. There is acknowledgement of the gifts of the Buddha—an awareness of the challenges of human suffering and some strategies for moving beyond it.
Some Hindu groups in the USA celebrate Pancha Ganapati from December 21-25. It’s a 5-day festival of celebration around Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed, multi-armed Patron God of the arts, sciences, and wisdom. Hindus decorate statues of Ganesha with five different colorful scarves, one for each day of the holiday. On the first day, golden yellow is the scarf color and it is meant to symbolize the importance of your immediate family. The next day, kids place royal blue scarves on the statue and neighbors, relatives and close friends are honored. Then, ruby red follows and business associates are honored. Emerald green scarves appear on the fourth day and thoughts turn to honoring the role of the arts in society. Finally, on the last day, brilliant orange scarves appear and love and harmony, two core values, are honored and observed.
Around the world, Jewish families light the eight candles of the Minorah and Hannukah, a commemoration of the rededication of the Holy Temple, where, in ancient times, candles remained lit for eight straight days. This is a time of feasting , fun and reflection.
Whether your family is preparing cookies and a Christmas tree, or lighting candles on a Menorah, or considering the lessons of Buddha, or placing scarves on a Hindu statue, or lighting a Solstice bonfire, or preparing to celebrate the African-American holiday of Kwanzaa, or simply stopping to reflect on the important lessons and opportunities if life, we here at Camp Betsey Cox, wish you and yours a very happy holiday season!