Celebrating hope in a time of darkness


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/12/2020 (886 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

For thousands of years, probably since the dawn of civilization, people have celebrated festivals of light in the darkest times.

It is no coincidence that so many holidays and festivals across the diverse cultures around the world fall sometime around the winter solstice. Whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, or any of the other festivals  around this time of year, billions of people across the northern hemisphere have been celebrating this month and last because the darkest time is also the moment that light is about to return.

In a culturally diverse city like the one we live in, no doubt many of these festivals will be celebrated by our own friends, neighbours and co-workers. Not every one of those celebrations holds the same significance. Christmas, for example, is an important date on the Christian calendar; Hanukkah by contrast is relatively minor.

What is equally significant to all of us is that how we celebrate has been markedly different this year than any other we can remember. Stories of surviving through the darkness connect all of us across cultures and time, but this year we are all sharing a hardship of a different kind. COVID-19 doesn’t care that it’s the holiday season, and, in that, we are ironically connected by what is forcing us to stay apart.

Implicit in all of the stories of survival are reasons for hope, and interwoven in the devastation of this year is the promise of the better days we hope the global effort to produce a vaccine will deliver.

But it won’t happen overnight, not even over the longest nights of the year.

The shortest day is behind us but anyone who has experienced a Manitoba winter knows the hard times of far from over. The days have already started getting longer, but we know the months ahead can feel the darkest.

Those who try to put a poetic spin to winter tell us it’s a time of incubation — of review and renewal. The less optimistic among us, particularly those who like to escape during the colder months, might consider it a time to simply survive. What most of us will agree on is that we’re sick of incubating because we’ve been doing so, to a greater or lesser degree, for the better part of 10 months already.

We all know winter won’t last forever, even though sometimes it feels as though it will. Anyone who’s lived in a cold climate for any amount of time knows that even though the light is returning, the hardest days are on the horizon.

We also know that it is part of the natural rhythm of life, and that spring will come.

Stay safe, and have a happy new year.

Andrew Braga is a community correspondent for South Osborne.

Andrew Braga

Andrew Braga
South Osborne community correspondent

Andrew Braga is a community correspondent for South Osborne.

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