Classics in Religion: Midwinter Holidays Dec 30

This program is part of the Classics in Religion series. This group is open to all and meets Mondays (11 a.m. to Noon) at the Penn Yan Public Library, 214 Main St. Penn Yan.

Pagan Roots of Midwinter Holidays  

European midwinter festivals have ancient indigenous roots. We’ll explore them in a broad overview of the history of various celebrations, the times and practices, and how they are related. Why does most everyone, regardless of belief system, set a major holiday at this time of year? The Winter Solstice was important in the lives of early peoples–and still is! It signifies that the trials of winter, which were part of living close to the land, would come to an end in time. As cultures shifted, practices blended and the origins of some traditions were lost. We’ll trace the antecedents of these winter holidays and some of the practices that developed to celebrate them. 

Facilitator: Tom Close has stepped in to present this, replacing Sally White who is out sick. Because of the wide range of this topic, the presentation may vary somewhat from the general description above, as Tom focuses on his own interests in the topic.  

A long-term resident of the area, Tom has contributed to various community organizations in the Town of Jerusalem as well as in the county, including the Keuka Lake Land Use Steering Committee, the Office of the Aging, the Bluff Point Association, and Yates County Progressives. He enjoys people, music, and outdoor activities, and builds and plays violins in his home workshop.  

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