Expand your repertoire of seasonal rituals by observing some from other cultures. Mythologist Joseph Campbell once noted, “The celebrations of the world are a reverent part of the human heritage.” Celebrations Around the World: A Multicultural Handbook by Carol S. Angell outlines more than 300 festivals and religious holidays form Angola to Zimbabwe. Here are three examples.
January 11-13 is Makra Sankrant (Winter Festival) in India. Small silk bags containing sesame seeds mixed with sugar are offered to friends with the greeting “Eat this sweet sesame and speak sweetly to me,” an expression intended to assure there will be no quarreling in the year.
In Iran, No-Ruz, or the New Year, is celebrated on March 21-22. The family gathers in new clothes bought for the occasion around a table, which is decorated with a candle for each family member, fresh greens grown from wheat or lentil seeds, and a goldfish in a bowl. It’s believed that the goldfish will turn over in its bowl at the moment when the year begins. The touching Iranian film The White Balloon centers around a little girl’s efforts to get a special goldfish for the holiday.
September 12 is Respect for the Aged Day in Japan, a day to honor older relatives and family friends. It’s a good time to write letters to elders and visit them in their homes.— Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat in Spiritual Rx: Prescriptions for Living a Meaningful Life