too early, to silly, and too sunny!
04.11.2010 - 26.11.2010 30 °C
So, can you guess what this blog entry will be about? You were hopefully right: about Christmas decorations mostly.
The Christmas decorations in public places have already been around for a few weeks though the first of advent was this past weekend. After having travelled a lot in the US I'm getting used to that, but what I'm not used to is how terrible tinsel looks in summer light! Ok, so Christmas as we know it was, as far as I understand the concept, invented to make people survive the horrible winter. In the Nordic countries and the British islands at least they had mid winter feasts to persuade the gods to give them the sun back. People ate heavy food, drank loads of alcohol, and partied in the ways they could to keep warm and keep up the will to live (This whole account is of course entirely unscientific and possibly historically incorrect). As history progressed we got Jesus as an excuse to continue partying and keeping warm. We still ate heavy foods, lit loads of candles and tried to brighten up our dark days. No wonder that we invented advent lights and tinsel, both of them go extremely well with darkness, cold and an attempt to keep of depression!
December in Australia is warm and sunny so there is no need what so ever for heavy food and candles, traditions that came here with the Britts and other Europeans and that are living side by side with more reasonably summerish Christmas traditions; I will most likely write more about this at the end of December. But a tradition that still lives, and lives well, is the concept of Christmas decorations.
Along the main shopping street in Melbourne CBD are red flags with Santa and along another street are hanging big christmas wreaths (kransar) on the parking signs. I've seen tinsel and Santas and loads of fake Christmas trees. In one imposing Victorian business building the decorations look amazing - as long as you stand so that you can't see the gate and the summer light flowing in through it. It's just not right! Not only that bright warm sun dosen't feel right with wreaths and pine, but more that the sun just extinguishes everything that is magical about tinsel. As every person who has ever visited a club knows: what looks good in darkness dosen't always look as good in daylight...
I'm not sure but that might also be why Christmas decorations here seem more experimental/tropical/horrible (choose a word after your likening). Our old flat mate told us of the decorations in Sydney, where gigantic red, green and yellow flags hung along the streets, but rather than picturing trees and Santas, the flags pictured tropical flowers and a parrot saying "Merry Christmas!" That at least seems funny. The gigantic Christmas tree on the main street for example is a big green plastic cone that's not making any attempt to look like an actual tree. To speak like my theory books: it is now appealing to our symbolic understanding of Christmas decorations. Anyhow, the green cone is decorated with red and green stars. It's horrific, but inventive, and actually looks a little better in the picture than in life. I'm sorry for being negative, but I haven't so far seen any descent outdoors decorations, and I can totally understand why. We got the decorations out today for work and now i'm sitting facing a plastic tree with half the branches still pressed together and decorated with blue lights, blue and silver tinsel and random decorations. Well, at least it looks better than the outdoors decorations, but I have to say that I preffer the Guatemalan and Mexican approach: if it has to be tacky, go with the tackyness!
It's funny too that the grocery stores are advertising mango as part of a traditional Christmas lunch, that makes so much more sense, as the season in in and we are buying mangoes in heaps from the market. We went together to the market last saturday after several weeks where Dana has had to go alone. We bought so much fruits! I was in seventh heaven with a peaches, nectarines, apples, bananas, cherries, mangoes and all the veggies too! Did I mention that I love Australia?
The observation of the week (month really):
November here is called Movember and loads of men wear moustaches to raise money for prostate cancer (if I got it all right). Most of them look silly, but some look ok. Has anyone heard of this phenomenon in another part of the world?
Jag lovade pappa en bild pa nar vi klattrar sa han skulle kunna se att det inte ar farligt. Pa den har bilden gor jag vad som heter en traverse, det innebar att men klattrar i knahojd (den lilla tavlan mellan mina fotter ar i golvhojd) och det ar darfor som jag inte har nagot rep fart i harnesset, men som ni ser anvander vi harness och en annan gang skickar jag hem en bild pa hur det ser ut. Det ar inte farligt om man bara sitter fast i repet eller haller sig vid marken