December 13th, Light in the Dark

I have an uncomfortable relationship with traditions. I grew up as a child in one country, but I grew up as an adult in a couple others. Coming “home” again to the culture of my birth left me feeling at-sea. I wanted to feel comfortable in my own new skin, but I was surrounded by people insistent on one way to celebrate; one way to live and be. And if I dared to live or think differently, it caused defensiveness, anger, threats, and even abuse from others who treated my differences as a negative reflection on themselves.

Yet for some reason, traditions won’t leave me alone. There’s just something bone-deep about them. I may have shed a desire to celebrate Independence Day or Thanksgiving, but every year I celebrate Armenia’s Old New Year on January 13th. I may not be of Asian-descent, and yet somehow I keep coming back to the Mid-Autumn Festival. I mark time by the solstices, and for years now I’ve made sure to have folkloric gifts to give my followers.

And every year, on December 13th, I turn to my albeit distant Swedish heritage and quietly celebrate the light in the darkness.


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