I went grocery shopping on my way home this evening, and came across these:
Illumination on gingko trees along the big street running by the grocery store
Illumination on the stairway to the grocery store
Nothing extensive or extravagant, just the amount of brightness to light up the all the hearts of those living in my neighbourhood, I think. I see them every year around this time of the year, but I did not know until today that they were being lit up on this day… and then I suddenly realized, one month till Christmas, that’s why!
In the more central part of my town, Christmas season starts on November 1st, as soon as Halloween is over. (By the way, Halloween season starts in late August, as soon as the Ghost Festival ends.) I believe this is so because Christmas is much more a commercial event than it is a religious one in my homeland, and the earlier we start the holiday season, the bigger appetite for spending can be stimulated.
It has been some time since I returned to my homeland, but I still cannot get used to these prolonged seasons – my Asian side is not pleased with our traditional festivities held during these times being pushed aside (although, if they can boost the economy even for a day, people would instantly bring them to the fore), and my Western side does not appreciate the misinterpretations and misrepresentations of the events.
So, for a long time, I kept away from all traditional festivities and imported events. I thought, if I could not do them right, I did not want to do them at all. I even looked down on those who were not doing them right – even though I did not say so out loud, I probably acted so.
But maybe I was the one to be frowned upon.
Maybe by boycotting them all, I had lost the most important spirit of the festivities and events – the spirit of doing.
Maybe it is better to do something, even if it is not perfectly right, than do nothing when even a small part of it is wrong.
After all, how do I know if there really is any way of doing them right? Maybe there are many variations, and therefore acceptable alternatives, around the world, and they most likely arose because some of our ancestors did not do them perfectly right. And maybe I should be grateful that I am in a better position to accept these alternatives, having a mind alternating between two sides.
Maybe I have found my new beacon in finding a way to be – a beacon of alternating light.
Maybe it is not the perfectly right way I imagine to be, but it is still better being something than being nothing, I think.