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JoshuaFox comments on Ritual Report: NYC Less Wrong Solstice Celebration - Less Wrong

83 Post author: Raemon 20 December 2011 08:37PM

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Comment author: JoshuaFox 20 December 2011 09:27:09PM *  12 points [-]

Your story of the background to solstice holidays has some correct elements, but it is not correct that Winter Solstice is the time at which many people were in immediate danger of starvation -- that would be Spring Equinox.

December is near the beginning of the time during which one eats winter stores. The danger comes at the end. Everyone would be running out of food and edging close to starvation just before the spring harvest came, which explains elements of many spring festivals.

Midwinter was a time of celebration at the returning light, a little scary but not too scary, because winter stores were still available, as you mention later in the essay.

I have seen the above in various sources, but The Golden Bough is the best known.

A correction: hadn’t strove -> hadn't striven

Comment author: Raemon 20 December 2011 10:12:14PM 1 point [-]

Someone else pointed this out as well. I'm mulling over how to reword the intro so it retains its impact but is more accurate. I think it's still legitimate to pay tribute to scary things in the darkest part of the year for symbolic reasons.

Comment author: Raemon 20 December 2011 10:16:05PM *  1 point [-]

I just replaced "it" (referring to the Solstice) with "winter" in one of the opening paragraphs. Does it still feel inaccurate or misleading? If not, do you have some specific advice on how to reword it? I can begrudgingly sacrifice the intro and rework it completely if it's fundamentally wrong, but I've other work that still needs doing.

Comment author: FAWS 20 December 2011 11:06:49PM *  0 points [-]

You can emphasize that people had to rely on stored food during that time, and continue that if the food ran out before the first harvest they would starve.

Comment author: Raemon 21 December 2011 12:04:21AM *  3 points [-]

How's that? (edited in another change)

There is a hard limit on how many disclaimers I can stick in before it becomes bad political art.

Comment author: JoshuaFox 21 December 2011 04:23:20PM *  1 point [-]

So, do a Spring Equinox ritual. There's lots of good material there: Death into Life, Dumuzi Is Risen, The King is Dead, Long Live the King ... :-)

Comment author: Raemon 21 December 2011 04:33:12PM 4 points [-]

We are in the process of planning a collection of holidays over the year. ('Spring Equinox' festival will be celebrated on Pi day, paying tribute to the cyclical rebirth of the world).

Most of these will probably be kept private, depending on how we decide to go about them.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 23 December 2011 11:42:26AM 4 points [-]

('Spring Equinox' festival will be celebrated on Pi day,

And a Solstice festival on Tau day?

Comment author: Raemon 23 December 2011 02:47:17PM 2 points [-]

Yes, actually.