Does it matter?

by | Oct 30, 2013 | Uncategorized | 16 comments

 Does it matter that we celebrate seasonal festivals at the right point of the cycle? Here in New Zealand/Aotearoa all of nature is alive with growth.

 The cabbage trees are profuse in their creamy flowers.

 The whau is in flower. Everywhere, nature is greening.
And so today I celebrate Green Day, the time of peak green energy. To the Maori this season was Whiringanuku, a time for planting. To my Celtic ancestors it was Beltane, the threshold to summer.

Unfortunately the commercial world has in recent years imported the northern hemisphere festival of the dead at this time, and children are running around in black with spooky masks and demands for trick or treats.
This is not our tradition. Here it is spring time. My bach garden is growing apace. Foliage is arching over the streets of our city. It’s a season of life and resurrection, hope and joy. That’s what I’m celebrating today, and why I’ve defiantly pinned a sprig of green on to my jacket. To me, it does matter that we align with our own seasons.
Happy Beltane!


  1. Lynley

    What a flowering of cabbage trees it is this year Juliet! They are simply bursting with flower heads here even with the gales, rain and cold.

    Happy Beltane to you!

  2. juliet

    Lynley, so you are noticing it too. It’s encouraging to see how they survive the gales. I guess you are in another bout of storms right now. Blessings to your garden.

  3. Max

    It matters to us. Claud is up to her ears in tadpoles and flower pickings and has zero interest in halloween (as long as she doesn’t miss out on a lolly or two!

  4. juliet

    That’s great Max; Claud is clearly in tune with spring time. Let’s hope it stays that way!

  5. Hotly Spiced

    Halloween was never the tradition when I was growing up in NZ nor was it the tradition for my two older children when they were growing up in Oz. But…for my little guy it’s completely different as Halloween has suddenly become a massive insistence. I find it an intrusion and a silly event at that. But it’s become so hard to avoid xx

  6. Penny O'Neill

    Good for you, Juliet. I applaud your commitment to honor your seasons in their natural progression. You are also honoring the Maori. I do hope the northern traditions don’t overtake yours and become one big commercial venture.
    Happy Beltane

  7. juliet

    Thank you Penny for this affirmation. I really appreciate it. It’s so important to connect in with the indigenous traditions of our land and also to reach through to the spiritual meaning beneath these celebrations.

  8. juliet

    Charlie, there is so much pressure now on the children. All the same, it’s good to let them know that Halloween is a seasonal festival that belongs to autumn. Here in NZ we are celebrating it on April 30 when there are plenty of pumpkins and the kids really ‘get it’ when they realise this.

  9. Marja

    Oh I love all that green The cabbage tree is gorgous. Happy greenday No Halloween for us We don’t celebrate it in Holland either.

  10. Juliet Batten

    Marja, how interesting that you don’t celebrate Halloween in Holland. I hope you have plenty of green around you too.

  11. Vicki Lane

    I agree with you, Juliet — Halloween belongs in the fall of the year — whatever the calendar may say. Your Spring is beautifully exuberant!

  12. Juliet Batten

    Vicki, I always think that the pumpkins let us know what we should be celebrating. Ours are just little seedlings going into the ground right now. Yes, we are having a glorious spring.

  13. Friko

    There’s never been Halloween in Germany, not in my childhood anyway. I don’t know what’s happening now, but I am sure that the old Christian days of All Saints and All Souls, based on their respective pagan festivals, are still observed, as they were in my childhood.
    They were days for remembrance of the dead and, as such, very solemn occasions.

    I totally agree that it would be good to celebrate our own traditions and our own seasons; if we turn the whole world into one common and mindless market place, we will see the whole diversity and difference, which make life interesting, disappear.

  14. Juliet Batten

    Friko, it’s the older festivals such as Samhain, even older than All Souls, that really interest me. Great to hear your perspective from your German origins. Thank you.

  15. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet .. I agree with you and Friko – it’s sad we’re becoming so homogenized … and they’ve realised that’s not a good thing either …

    I wrote about ours last year – but didn’t include Beltane until the comments started coming in … then needed to read up about it and include what I could ..

    With the religious amendments to festivals over the centuries .. it can be complicated .. and different countries with different starting points … Spanish and the Catholics, our early ruler’s desires to bring religion into non-Christian rituals ..

    It is fascinating history … but I too prefer to keep my independence ..

    Cheers Hilary

  16. Juliet Batten

    Hi Hilary, good to have your views. I know how you love to research such subjects.
    For my books ‘Celebrating the Southern Seasons and Dancing with the Seasons, I put all the information together for NZ, so that people could make an informed choice. See my Facebook Books page – click the new button I’ve added at the top of my blog sidebar – for more.


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