Thursday, December 01, 2011

Yule calendar: 23 days to go

No, I'm not confused - the Yule holidays start at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve in Iceland.

I plan for December's photos to be completely seasonal. I have a number of photos from past winters and Yuletides that I am going to post this December, along with a Countdown to Christmas like I did in 2006 - only I'm calling it a Yule calendar, as I prefer to downplay the religious connotations. I will also be out and about with my camera, taking photos of the season and posting the best of the results here, so there may be two photo posts per day on some days.

These lights are lovely to look at, but a pain to put up and take down.
The owner of this particular tree leaves the string up year round.

You may well ask why an agnostic makes so much of Christmas, or Yule as I like to call it. The thing is, I haven't celebrated it as a religious holiday for over 2 decades, but as a time to enjoy being with my family during the darkest time of the year, and to celebrate the beginning of the return to longer daylight hours.

Iceland in December is dark and gloomy and the weather is often bad, plus the daylight only lasts about 3 1/2 hours each day as the winter solstice approaches. It is therefore imperative to do something to lighten the inevitable heavy mood all this darkness and bad weather brings on and Yule is perfect for that.

What I love most about the lead-up to Yule is the coloured lights and the decorations and tinsel that brighten up the darkness. I can do without the blatant commercialisation and blaring Christmas carols and seasonal songs being played over and over until they're stuck in your head, so the only shops I go to in October and November are supermarkets to buy food and the bakery for bread. I also almost completely stop listening to the radio until I am am good and ready for the seasonal music.

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