Christmas is Around the Corner but Where is Yule?

I had a very bizarre experience in the supermarket the other week when I was casually walking down an isle and came face to face with a display of hand painted Christmas ornaments and other Christmas paraphernalia. My brain had a spasm as I thought to myself “but we haven’t had Easter yet have we?”. After a couple more attempts at putting my brain in order, which was silently screaming that something wasn’t quite right here, I gave up and continued with my shoppping, forgetting all about it.

It wasn’t until my second visit to the supermarket and I saw the same thing and had the same initial shock, that my brain finally put it all together. I realised that, yes, it’s October, and yes, Christmas is around the corner. In explanation: this will be my third Christmas living in the southern hemisphere in Australia but evidentally I still can’t get my head round it being in the Summer! My brain will not compute!

I don’t know if the fact I am a Pagan doesn’t help, being much more in tune with the seasons and relating them to the corresponding festivals. Afterall, in the northern hemisphere everyone will relate Christmas to Yuletide. The two just go hand in hand. But here in the southern hemishere we would celebrate Yule in July; a different time of year but still in Winter.

To me, celebrating Christmas in Summer is plain weird. The traditional Australian Christmas dinner isn’t roasted turkey with all the trimmings but fish; instead of spending the time huddled up all cosy inside one spends it out at the beach or in the garden topping up the tan; people put up Christmas decorations and lights but to appreciate the full effects one has to wait until after 9 o’clock in the evening for it to go dark.

If that’s not confusing enough there is similar confusion with Halloween. Non-Pagan folk are getting ready to celebrate this next weekend on the 31st October. However, as Halloween originates from one of the old Pagan festivals in the northern hemisphere, also known as Samhain, and these festivals were all tied in with the seasons, not specific dates, in the southern hemisphere Halloween should really be celebrated in Autumn around the 31st 30th [thank you Chris] April.

Santa Down Under

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