A Message About The Holiday Season
Did you know that our word “holiday” actually comes to us from ancient times when it meant “holy day”, a time of rest and devotion?
In many cultures and in many lands, the beginning of winter-the winter solstice-is honored as a special holiday. This is the time when earth is the farthest from the sun, resulting in the shortest day of the year. Here are just some of the ways people around the world celebrate the winter solstice.
Some experts say that the Mesopotamians were the first to mark the winter solstice over 4,000 years ago. They took part in a 12-day festival to honor the god Marduk.
The native Americans also celebrated the winter solstice and they marked the event with rock paintings. The paintings, by the Chumsuh Indians who occupied coastal California thousands of years before the Europeans arrived, still exist.
China and Tibet also observe the beginning of winter with merry-making and feasting in their winter solstice celebration. It’s part of their cultural heritage and has been for centuries.
The early Germans, in their winter solstice celebration, built a stone altar to Hertha, the goddess of domesticity and the home to mark the beginning of winter. When a fire was lit on the altar, Hertha was able to descend on the smoke and foretell the future of those assembled at the feast in her honor.
However you choose to celebrate the winter holidays you’re taking part in a tradition that is as old as the mists of history. At this time of year when we count our blessings and enjoy the company of family and friends, it’s vital to make safety a part of every day. That’s especially important in the days leading up to the holidays. You don’t want to ruin your celebration with an accident because your mind was elsewhere.
So pay extra attention to the safety rules and guidelines that you follow throughout the year. Stay alert, practice good housekeeping and keep an eye out for fire hazards, especially around holiday decorations. Take extra care when traveling home for the holidays. Watch for hazardous road conditions and don’t drink and drive. Also be courteous to other holiday travelers on the road so everyone can enjoy the holidays. Remember staying safe is the best way to keep your holidays happy.
CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS SAFELY
*COPYRIGHT 2006 HARKINS SAFETY (B221)