I used to hate Mother’s Day. I have written about this before, so I won’t belabor the point. Suffice it to say, I used to believe that Mother’s Day was the one of the biggest lies of all. It was… Read More ›
Passover is a holiday of remembrance, of ritual re-enactment: this, we say, is what our ancestors experienced. This is what they felt and knew, what they tasted in their blood. The movement from slavery to liberation, from the soul’s winter to spring. We must never forget, we say, we must always remember, be thankful for our freedom, never take it for granted. “In each generation,” the Haggadah enjoins, “we should feel as if we personally had come out of Egypt.”
Even though Jesus was born during the reign of Augustus, first Roman emperor, the empire didn’t celebrate that birth until three centuries later when his birth date was moved to mid-winter to match the birth date of the sun god… Read More ›
Samhain is upon us. Halloween. The Day of the Dead. All Saints’ Day. All Souls’ Day. That liminal time of year when the doorways to what the Celts called the Otherworld, Annwn in Welsh, are open. In New York City, we have the 45th annual Village Halloween Parade, a queer extravaganza of puppetry, masquerade, and cross-dressing that draws some 60,000 participants and over 2 million onlookers. Elsewhere, we have children in costume and lawns covered with plastic skeletons and illuminated ghouls. Everywhere, if we’re lucky, we might catch a glimpse of “the piper at the gates of dawn,” the vision granted Rat and Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows: “something very surprising and splendid and beautiful”—Pan the goat-god, boundary-crosser, Friend and Helper, trans-being.
A few months ago, a friend and I were having one of our many hundreds of random conversations when we started to talk about the differences in the commercialization of the two major Christian holidays: Christmas and Easter. We started… Read More ›
In ancient times, Pesach was one of three pilgrimage holidays, the others being Sukkot and Shavuot. According to the the Torah, Israelite men were required to travel to Jerusalem to bring offerings to the temple. Supposedly, this reconnected these Israelites… Read More ›
February has come and with it the celebration of the Chinese New Year. This year’s cycle is the Year of the Dog. The 15-day celebrations can range from parades, gift exchange, meals, and fireworks. Chinese New Year is a large… Read More ›
When you read this dear FAR family, it will be December 22, the day after the winter Solstice. Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, and marks the beginning of winter. I am Catholic, a board member of… Read More ›
I turn inward and become reflective at this time of year. It’s the Advent season in the Christian liturgical year, which encourages practices of piety focused on preparation, examination, and hopeful longing. It’s the end of a semester and a… Read More ›
During the holiday season we’re bombarded constantly with contradictory messages about how we ought to take care of our bodies this time of year. Over the early winter months there is a collective expectation and even glorification of indulging in… Read More ›
December seems to have more holidays than the rest of the year put together. Days to honor Ix Chel, the Virgin of Guadalupe, St. Lucy (aka Santa Lucia), the Declaration of Human Rights, and the publication of the Rider-Waite Tarot…. Read More ›
Wondering what to give the revolutionaries in your life for the holidays? Want to support feminist small businesses as you shop? Need some creative ideas with powerful feminist history and theory embedded in each purchase? Would it help if the… Read More ›
Dear FAR readers—you will be reading this blog the day after Thanksgiving, which is one of my favorite holidays. It didn’t used to be—but it is now. Over twenty years ago, I remade this holiday for myself. At that time… Read More ›
There’s nothing like the holiday season to bring out everyone’s least feminist self. In one of the courses that I teach—Gender, Food, and the Body in Popular Culture—students are assigned to examine gender roles throughout the holiday season through the… Read More ›
I find myself asking (again), when the religious right, evangelicals, and Christian fundamentalists hear Trump say, “Make America Great Again,” do they really hear him saying, “Make America Christian Again?” How can the really hear him saying that in light of what this man has actually said and actually done? The answer: because of the same mythical purity that erases the violence, slaughter, and atrocity attached to this “Christian nation’s” founding.
This year the summer solstice occurs on Tuesday, June 20 in the Northern Hemisphere. (In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the winter solstice and it occurs on June 21.) For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice is the longest… Read More ›
It’s only been a month and I am still reeling from the US presidential election. I feel like I’m just beginning to emerge from the sense of loss and futility that has cloaked me. But I am beginning to move… Read More ›
Happy Memorial Day. Happy? Really? Every year, on the last Monday in May, this prosaic American phrase causes me to physically recoil whenever I see or hear it. Happy Memorial Day. With those casual words, tossed over shoulders on our way to… Read More ›
Pesach, Toilets, and Clean, Local Water: Seemingly Mundane Yet Necessary Components of an Embodied Liberation by Ivy Helman
Despite all of the ways Western society has separated the spiritual pursuit from the material and deemed spirituality superior to physicality, the religious holiday of Pesach doesn’t. In fact, it is the physical liberation of the Israelites from slavery in… Read More ›
This week, the Christian season of Lent began. Ugh. Lent can be so somber and serious and gloomy. Last year, I didn’t want to place myself in that frame of mind. I was experiencing grief and self-doubt and loneliness, and… Read More ›
One of my colleagues at Feminism and Religion recently wrote of Xmas and Feminine Wisdom. My blog, for Christmas Day continues this exploration. Elen of the Ways is a figure primarily studied by scholar, Carolyn Wise. She wrote two core articles available… Read More ›
Remembering to be thankful may just be a privileged illusion that individuals in positions of power get to write about in the December of each year to self-congratulate themselves about being actually able to be able to be thankful. It may just seem like people who write about being thankful are complaining or pontificating that being thankful is in itself a chore.