Most of the topics my curiosity leads me to write about on this blog regard people and things that are worthy of celebration. Maybe a person was the first woman sent into Space or somebody invented or improved something. Even events that are sobering need celebration, out of respect for what happened to whom. I do this because, early on, I learned that life is a celebration.
As a species, human beings enjoy celebrations and commemorations. We honor grand historical events like those to be celebrated in the next few days.
Tomorrow is Canada Day. This national holiday celebrates the anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution Act of 1867, aka The British North American Act of 1867. This consolidated three separate British colonies into a larger colony named Canada.
Canada Day is celebrated in much the same manner as is done in the United States on July 4th. Independence Day aka The Fourth of July, celebrates the adoption, by the Continental Congress, of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. The Fourth of July is by far, the most popular of the holidays that commemorate purely national events in the US.
Whether or not celebrations include fireworks and revelry, we define them in many ways. Roman Catholics celebrate Mass, weddings celebrate the official union between two people, to extol or praise the accomplishments of people as we do on Veterans Day, or the festivities following Baseball’s World Series.
Even if we’re unhappy about the commercialization of sacred holidays, like “Black Friday” or Fourth of July “clearance events”, people in the boardrooms are celebrating massive profits as a result of those sales. Employees may receive recognition at a dinner and/or be awarded a plaque to hang on a wall. Why not celebrate a bump-up in quarterly sales?
We learn celebration at a very young age. In fact, most of us think of our birthday as our very own, personal holiday. Why not celebrate the day when we took our very first breath? That really is a big deal.
A meaningful celebration doesn’t necessarily mean we have to eat some pretty cake, practice a religious rite, or shoot off fireworks. Perhaps the best celebration is done in silence. It may spontaneously occur when we realize our inner wholeness. A beautiful celebration for many of us happened when we fully accepted ourselves exactly as we are, including all the warts and beauty marks inside and out. Well, maybe the celebration wasn’t entirely silent. Maybe you whooped loudly in joy at your moment of epiphany.
In my opinion, celebration of acceptance of oneself by oneself should be an officially mandated human right, guaranteed by national governments, and the United Nations. The right to celebrate one’s very being by oneself and others should not be infringed.
It is this silent joy that posits itself as perhaps our most profound celebration. Our honest act of personal acceptance provides confidence and understanding. We feel bigger because we have become bigger. This celebration marks the birthday of true compassion and empathy within ourselves.
In this celebration we receive and welcome joy and sorrow in equal measure. We learn that to do so is how we receive the greatest gifts that life can give. We can commemorate the event by sipping some water and fully experiencing all the sensations of the cool liquid within the body. We can celebrate our life anytime we wish, just by taking some breaths of air and paying total attention to that act.
Certainly we can and should celebrate national holidays. We can and should also celebrate our own personal existence.