Heilig Avondmaal 2012: Bringing the Dead Home (again)

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.

Chocolate Letters
Chocolate letters. A tradition for Sinterklaas, and especially important in our family besides.

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:

Challenge Accepted

Heilig Avondmaal 2011: Bringing the Dead Home

 

8 Comments


  1. I feel weird putting this here on a completely unrelated blog post, but… I’m heading up to Van on sunday and was wondering if there was anything of interest up in that neck of the woods that I might keep an eye out for while there?

    Hope all’s well with you, btw~

    Reply

    1. Haha, it’s cool.

      I’m not sure if there’s anything going on this Sunday! I can ask my bonus mom tonight; she’s far more involved in the local pagan scene.

      On Monday is the Vancouver poetry slam, which is pretty awesome. Not sure how long you’re staying, but if you’ll still be around Monday evening you should come check it out.

      Reply

      1. Hey yeah maybe! I’ll actually be in town until the 21st. :)

        Reply

        1. Awwweeesssoommmmmeee. Ok, I will figure out everything that may interest you that’s going on between Sunday and the 21st, and send you a PM with deets.

          Also maybe we can get coffee or something?

          Reply

  2. If you want, I can try to remember to give you fair warning next year – maybe let you know when Sinterklaas arrives in the country here, which is usually about three weeks before the Dec. 5th celebration of Pakjesavond.

    Reply

  3. I’m sorry, just sticking this on here to say how wonderfully weird it is to see Dutch words on English posts. We’ll be sure to give you a head’s up next year.

    Reply

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