|Christmas tree on the set of FijiOne news channel.|
Today is the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year. It’s the first day of summer to those of us south of the equator and the first day of winter to those north of the equator.
We never paid attention to this phenomenon in the Southern Hemisphere in our old lives, never giving it a single thought. Living south of the equator gives us another perspective of the massive size of the earth. Here are a few facts:
“Northern Hemisphere Summer Solstice
Southern Hemisphere Summer Solstice
(Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southern Africa)
First Day of Summer?
The first day of spring, summer, fall, and winter can either be defined using astronomical events like solstices and equinoxes, or they can be determined based on meteorological factors, average temperatures.
In the USA and some other areas in the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice marks the first day of summer. However, the official date for the first day of summer varies depending on the country’s climate.”
|There are no poinsettias or Christmas cactus plants in the stores, only colorful flowers blooming year-round.|
As well as our observation of the massive size of the earth and its many differences, it’s a good time of year with the holidays imminent to acknowledge that the Christmas season, although celebrated by no less than 32% of the world’s population, obviously isn’t celebrated by all.
Many other non-Christians celebrate the Christmas season as a time to acknowledge their own faith with the accompanying festivities and gratitude. To speculate that 50% of the world’s population observe the Christmas season in one manner or another is not impractical by some estimates.
With “political correctness” seeming more important than good wishes for those who do celebrate, we all struggle with to whom to say “Merry Christmas” and to whom we say “Happy Holidays” when in fact many of those who do not observe Christmas have no particular holiday they’re celebrating at the moment. It’s perplexing.
Saying “Happy Holidays” to a person who’s not celebrating a holiday is comparable to saying “Happy Birthday” when it’s not their birthday. Duh?
|This year’s Suva Market vendors’ Christmas photo. (Not our photo)|
In Fiji, they toss political correctness aside and say “Merry Christmas” to all. Fijians are warm and friendly people, kind and generous, never with an intent to offend or hurt anyone of any nationality or religious affiliation.
Banners flew over the downtown area in Suva with “Merry Christmas” proudly emblazoned with a “no worries” attitude (a popular expression in the South Pacific and the UK) as to who this may apply to or not. If it doesn’t apply, “no worries,” look away, ignore it and move along.
|Fijians don’t purchase and decorate trees for Christmas. They have all of Nature’s bounty to celebrate every day of the year.|
What if we all simply expressed our holiday greeting of the moment to those we’d like to address with our own celebratory expressions such as a lofty, “Happy Chanukah,” or “Happy Diwali” responding to those offering their personal heartfelt message with a simple, “And to you as well!”
When Diwali, the Hinduism holiday and five-day Festival of Lights celebrating good over evil, occurred while we were in Vanua Levu signs were posted all over the village announcing the upcoming celebrations.
No doubt, signs celebrating Christmas are scattered throughout the village now. No one is offended. Let those who chose to announce and celebrate their special holiday and we can all choose to observe it or not. It’s not that complicated.
No, I won’t go into a tirade about PC behavior in many parts of the world and how it’s become difficult to speak without careful forethought on what may spew out of our mouths to avoid “offending” someone.
As a child in a public venue in the 1950’s I don’t recall hearing anyone spewing derogatory comments about any religion, people, or faction. They were kind. Overall, aren’t people still kind 60 plus years later?
|It takes only a moment to stop to appreciate the colorful surroundings in Fiji.|
Well, at least while we’re in Fiji this Christmas season we can say “Merry Christmas” and if someone says “Happy Bodhi Day (on Bodhi Day, Buddhists from the Mahayana tradition celebrate the Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment), we’ll simply say, “And, to you as well!”
The heat, humidity, and pouring rain have continued for five days and five nights. Our laundry didn’t dry after three days so I brought it indoors hoping it will dry.
Today, we’re off to the Arts Village for a few supplies and chickens. Two weeks from today, we’ll be boarding the ship to New Zealand. Sixteen months from today, we’ll be boarding the ship to Seattle.
Tomorrow, in this part of the world, on December 23rd is Tom’s birthday which we’ll celebrate. And, I’ll say, “Happy Birthday” only to him but…in this case, he won’t reply, “And, to you as well!”
Photo from one year ago today, December 22, 2014:
|One year ago today, we moved into the house next door which we’d continue to share with TJ, Sarah, Nik, and Jayden while our other two families, arriving the next day, shared the house next door. For more photos, please click here.|