On rituals and special days


Societies and religions have really figured something out with the ritual of special days.

Growing up, I used to think of these days as stupid. I wondered why we needed a day to celebrate our moms, dads, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Shouldn’t living a good life and being respectful to others be good enough? I had the feeling that these days were created to indulge our consumer culture.

Recently, I’ve started feeling differently about special days. My new belief is these days are good for pretty much everyone in society.

Let us use Thanksgiving as an example. It gives us a great excuse to consume a ton of food, but also exists to celebrate the practice of gratitude.

  1. For those that don’t practice gratitude at all, it gives them one day a year where it is normal to show your gratitude. This is a big step up from not practicing gratitude at all.
  2. For those that occasionally practice gratitude, Thanksgiving becomes a regular reminder to be grateful. It becomes a great regular reminder to be thankful about what you have in life.
  3. For those that regularly practice gratitude, it gives them a day where they can practice it with their loved ones around them. Even someone who is full of gratitude will enjoy the practice of having friends and family all congregate for this purpose.

This extends to all of the special days. In general, the holiday tends to be:

  1. An example that something special exists, or
  2. A reminder that you should appreciate something special, or
  3. An excuse to have an extra special day for something special.

All of them are great, and obviously, (3) is the best. I suppose what matters is that you can never have enough thanks and appreciation for others. Whether you use the special day as an example, a reminder, or an excuse, more appreciation is always a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you are stuffed, and had quality time with friends and family.

P.S. This is post number #63 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

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