Ms. Dirty of Graveyard Dirt has issued her Holy Supper challenge again this year, and I’ll be participating. (There is a lot of swearing at her blog, fair warning.)
Today I realized it’s Sinterklaas Day, or the Dutch Christmas. We celebrated it when I was a little kid, and continued to into my adolescence. It’s a holiday that has strong emotional connections with my relationship with Oma.
And, you know, she’s been gone two years and I just realized today that it’s Sinterklaas Day. I should have put my clogs by the fire last night, waiting for the casual racism of my forebears to bring me the wrong gifts. But I didn’t, and I forgot.
It sort of hit home when I went to check the mail. Everything was for her and Opa. (Most surreal: addressed to Opa, a donation drive letter from the hospice that saw Oma’s last days. I guess they didn’t get the memo that he died last Christmas.)
I’m picking up mail for dead people. What is that, if not a definition of witch?
I mean, really, now that I’m living in their old place I don’t need to bring the dead home. They’re here. Their mail is still coming here.
But there does need to be Heilig Avondmaal.
It got harder to remember Sinterklaas Day as I got older. Adult life doesn’t lend itself to non-mainstream holidays; you have to work hard to make the time for them. Even Solstice-celebrators have an easier time of it; at least Longest Night is only a few days off from Christmas. Sinterklaas Day is a full twenty — school is still in session, finals if not actual classes, and those of us participating in NaNoWriMo are still recovering. If the 5th is a weekday, chances are you’ll have to work.
So you just…forget. It becomes a memory from childhood, not a lasting tradition. Which is the exact opposite of what I want it to be.
I think I accepted the Holy Supper challenge last year because I missed Sinterklaas Day so much.
Which, of course, leaves me the obvious answer: start doing my Holy Supper on Sinterklaas Day. Forge a new tradition — one where Sinterklaas Day is about honoring our ancestors and exchanging gifts, and perhaps leaving behind the whole “six to eight black men” mythos of the day. It can be a more solemn occasion than Christmas, which is celebrated secularly, and a more family-oriented one than Solstice, which I like to have to myself if I’m not going to a pagan party.
Only problem is now it’s 4:44pm and there is no way on goddess’ green earth I am getting together a full Heilig Avondmaal for tonight. This plan will have to wait until next year’s Sinterklaas Day, and this year I will simply do it either before the 21st or after Christmas and before Epiphany.
Heilig Avondmaal; Holy Supper. Feeding the dead who are camping out in your apartment.
I think this year I may try a smaller menu.
Last year’s posts:
Heilig Avondmaal 2011: Bringing the Dead Home