ebonypearl (ebonypearl) wrote,


In Numenism, we don't, as a religion/belief/lifestyle,celebrate Christmas, or Yule, or any of the 36 other celebrations that occur in December. We do have Cookie Day, celebrated on the 12th day of the 12th month (or the closest weekend).

Refresher on Cookie Day: This is one of our two set holy days in Numenism. The other holy days are portable and flexible, but Cookie Day is the 12th day of the 12th month. It's a day when we celebrate bounty, community, and connection through the medium of cookies.

We do like to participate in the celebrations of our friends' events, and that means we do participate in Christmas as a secular celebration. We don't get all bankrupt over gift-giving and generally settle for giving cards or food - and would prefer that others reciprocate. After all, there are plenty of gift-giving opportunities throughout the year, there's no need to burden one day with all those expectations.

Exchanging gifts with others to celebrate the birth of a god is kind of a weird concept, but if it makes folks happy...

What would make more sense would be to give gifts to the newborn god - monetary gifts so the preachers, priests, ministers could devote time to officiating and assisting in the religious community, or giving items needed to support those goals. The god(s) generally already have everything, so what we can give are the things that adhere to the precepts of the religion.

Failing that, it makes more sense to share activities to build memories than to give more stuff - especially when you can spread the gifting out throughout the year and therefore provide a slightly higher and more personalized grade of gifting.

Piling all your gifting on one day means someone is always going to be disappointed, going to be frustrated, going to overspend because they feel they need to. It's just not affordable, really.

So, when people ask us what we want for this time of year, we try to deflect it, and failing that, we offer up a desire for memories, time together, and pressed for tangibles, we ask for food gifts or consumables we can share.

Among ourselves, we give pretty much any time of the year, whenever the need or the whim strikes us. We don't have a day set aside for mass gifting. The gifts we give tend to be either specific to Numenism or to the person we are gifting.

Numenist-specific-gifts tend to be things that most people don't perceive as gifts. Strips of cloth cut from clothing worn to special events to braid into Story Ropes/Quilts (we often wear special bandanas or scarves for this very purpose). Items for our extensive Elven Chess sets (rocks, feathers, interesting twigs, seed pods, antler bits, bones, etc.). Charms for our Standing Announcements. Memorabilia for our Memory Boxes. Tokens for Firsts and Annuals. Hair baubles for Rites of Passage.

Story Ropes/Quilts: These are made up of fabrics from special events so we can tell the stories of them. Each Celebrant is encouraged to have a Story Rope or make quilt pieces of special fabrics from community celebrations to remember the participants and the event. When we "tell the story", we recount and remember the people and connections formed through these ropes/quilts.

Elven Chess is a patterning game where a table is set aside and one or two or all of us study the table top and place an item on it. The rules are simple: the pieces are natural items (rocks, sticks, seed pods, leaves, feathers, bones....), you can only place one piece in your turn and have to wait until at least one other person places a piece (or, if playing solo, must wait at least 1 hour between placing each piece), you can only move the pieces you place, and the game ends when the person who started it says it ends. A pattern or rhythm is built up in the playing board, and the goal is for the players to sense that pattern and participate in it.

Standing Announcements are poles set up to stand upright (a christmas tree stand works well, so does screwing "L" brackets around the bottom), then painted and decorated to represent a person or family. The top often has a candle holder or place to put a small lantern. These are brought to celebrations to provide lighting and to share accomplishments.

Memory Boxes are containers that hold small tokens and memorabilia from one's co-adherents to mark memories of activities done together. They can be ticket stubs, tiny handmade tokens, buttons, charms, rocks, and things that evoke memories or hold a strong meaning.

Firsts/Annuals are celebratory events like First Word, First Step, First Tooth, First Day of School, First Day of College, First Job, First House, First Dentures, and Annuals like First Fire - lighting the first fire/turning on the heat the first time for winter, First Flowers, First 'Mater Day, First Triple Digit Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries.

Rites of Passage are the usual things: Births, Puberty, Majority, Partnering, Eldering, Dying, Funerals and Memorials.
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