I have Seasonal Identity Disorder. Ok, I made that up; there’s no such clinical disorder (not yet), but it’s a thing, really it is. Keep reading and you’ll see.
It’s autumn here. It’s brought a bit more rain and the leaves are turning glorious shades of golden orange and deep red. The days are mild and the nights are cool. The grey, rainy days aside, it’s mostly a nice time of year.
A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to host an autumn picnic and so I went shopping for some decor. I was looking for pretty items such as cornucopias, gourds, leaf-shaped platters, golden-coloured wine glasses – if you’ve been to Target in America, you know what I mean. Apparently, that’s not a thing here in Oz. Target, K-Mart, the arts and crafts shops, the fabric stores, and so forth didn’t have any new, seasonal stock for autumn. That’s okay; now I know and I will be prepared next time to be more creative. I think the reason may be that there are no major autumn festivals to decorate for. Australians don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and Halloween, while a harvest festival, is still celebrated in October, which is in the spring.
There is one major holiday approaching: Easter. So, while it’s autumn and it’s getting cooler and the leaves are turning colours and dropping from trees, it’s a good time of year to stock up on spring-themed decor. Shops are now full of pastels, bright baskets, bunny figurines, and so forth. I wonder whether Aussies consider Easter a spring festival celebrated in autumn, an autumn festival with spring themes, or if they think about it at all. Perhaps they simply accept it as a Christian holiday and don’t much consider its seasonal origins and symbols.
Back in the States, not being a Christian, I took only a secular approach to Easter though, as a Pagan, I observed the spring equinox. In Australia, I have to divorce these two festivals, just as I have to divorce Christmas from the winter solstice, and Halloween from autumn. And that feels strange because these festivals are rooted in their seasons and that’s how I have always experienced them. I wonder if those lack of connections with the land and seasonal changes contribute to what I perceive as a general lack of enthusiasm for holidays here. I mean, how can you muster up genuine excitement for rebirth and renewal when everything around is wilting and dying?
Do you feel comfortable celebrating seasonal holidays outside their seasons? How do you make that work for you?