Why celebrate

‘The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.’

Oprah Winfrey

Dictionary definition of Celebrate is: To salute, honour, observe, pay tribute to, mark an occasion with significance.

My question is Why, What and How should we celebrate?

To me, life consists of a myriad of ups and downs, swings and roundabouts, good times, sad times, disappointments and achievements. All these things we should mark in a significant way to store in our memory banks adding chapters to our life stories. Our characters are grown when we are faced with all that life throws at us, the tough as well as the good. These events shape and mould us into the people we are. We make choices based on the experiences that we have. Too often we dwell on the negative sides of life and we forget to acknowledge the small and real thins to celebrate.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that we should celebrate the fact that someone has died and tragic death or been diagnosed with serious illness, or that they have recently lost their job. Of course, we need time to process and grieve the sadness and challenges that life brings. Some events are so traumatic that we just want to shut them out such as disasters and tragic events like the terrorist attacks, these things are so painful that we struggle to find the good in them and deal with the influence that the times when we reach deep down inside ourselves and with other people we salvage what we can from the wreckage. In time we can look back and celebrate the way that we handled that situation, the way others expressed their love, compassion and humanity with us. The way that we grew and learnt and continue on in our lives have experienced these events ourselves. The fact that we survived them so that others may know and learn from them.

Someone struggling with serious illness once said to me. “ I celebrate the fact that I can wake up every morning and feel the sun on my face and the ground beneath my feet.” this was the most important thing to them and gave them a positive start to their day. However bad they felt!

Abraham Heschel wrote: ‘People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead, we seek to be amused or entertained. A celebration is an active state of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state, it is to receive pleasure afforded by assuming act or spectacle… A celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions.’

Celebrate the special moments that are personal to you, new baby, marriage, anniversary, study, sport, goals which you set yourself and have worked hard to achieve. It could be as small as getting up in the morning or as big as climbing a mountain. We should celebrate our achievements.

“ Remember to celebrate the milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.”

Nelson Mandela

So how are we to celebrate? I say we do not need to have parties or elaborate events. We just need a celebration that fits best with us. A small group of friends to talk and share with the experience with and celebrate come through a situation.

We could have a family gathering to talk and share about a loved one at a birthday or have a living wake to honour who and what they are and what they mean to us. Do these things whilst the most important people are with us so that they benefit from knowing that you value and appreciate the contribution they have made to our lives.

We could have a celebration to mark the opening of a business or project that we have been working. Take a moment to treat ourselves and reward ourselves for the hard work we have done. Go and have your hair done, your nails, have a glass of bubbles, meet some mates and share a beer, have a coffee, fish or cycle ride. Whatever way we choose to celebrate remember these shared moments cement the occasion in our memories.

Whatever the celebration, we can celebrate the fact that our lives have been enriched or strengthened by these events adding precious chapters to our life story giving future generations lessons and reflections to learn from. Giving meaning, purpose and lasting legacy to our lives for generations and communities to treasure.

And lastly a great quote:

“Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living!”

Amanda Bradley
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