The family — that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to. ~Dodie Smith
It is the week for taking personal inventory, isn’t it?
We are the only creatures who do this. Dogs live in the here and now, and while cats appear to hold more grudges, I doubt that they spend a lot of time beating themselves up about it. Only humans make mental checklists of their successes and failures as one year ends and a new one begins. It’s kind of our thing. I read this week about a festival in Peru called Takanakuy, which translated, means “when the blood is boiling.” It is an annual ritual that allows residents of the community to solve differences by beating the holy hell out of each other once a year on December 25th.
I read this and was fascinated. You can’t make this stuff up. Well. You could, but I didn’t. Google “takanakuy” if you don’t believe me.
On the day of the festival, men, women, and children gather in bullrings and engage in bare knuckle fist fighting refereed by local officials. It is an indigenous tradition intended to really clear the air with family and friends before the new year begins. There are only two important rules. You don’t kick an opponent when he or she is down. And once you’ve fought, you forgive and forget. You hug it out and move on.
I guess that’s one way to settle scores. I can’t see it catching on here, but you never know.I suppose it depends on how many people you’ve had around at your house for the past week using your towels and eating all of your food and watching football and just generally being in your business.
They will all go home soon. I promise. And then, you will miss them. You will. If you have young adults home visiting, they will have to go back to work. If you have college students, a new semester will begin. If you have kids home on Christmas break, they will eventually go back to school, too. And if you have grandchildren, you will clean up the mess their parents let them make in your house and be sad a week from now that there are no more sticky fingerprints to wipe off of anything. You will take down the tree and pack Christmas away for another year. Then, you’ll collapse with a cup of tea or something stronger, proud that you didn’t punch anyone for anything.
So take a deep breath this week and count to ten. Or twenty. Or a hundred, if you must. Count your blessings and love your dear ones. Step away from the bullring. You’ll be glad you did when a new year dawns, fresh and bright and full of promise.
Happy New Year!