Free Thought Forum
 

Traditions

 

Contents

Upcoming Special Events

About our Secular Traditions

Wisdom Fest (September Equinox)

Coming Soon:

Harmony Fest (December Solstice)

HumanLight (Dec 23)

Darwin Day (Feb 12)

Temperance Fest (March Equinox)

National Day of Reason (May)

Courage Fest (June Solstice)

 
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 Upcoming Special Events

 
 

About Our Seasonal Traditions

Special holidays and celebrations can bring fun, distinction, and a sense of unity to a community. In addition to your other local, national, and cultural festivities, we hope that you will join us in the creation and celebration of our four major secular annual events! These events are for our members and guests, but we are also extending invitations to similar organizations and their members as well. Which traditions would you like us to attach to these events? What do you think of our plans so far? Your FEEDBACK is welcome!

Virtue-Based Themes

While many holidays and festivals call back to a person, region, product, or story, we set our sights to something more universal. Virtues apply to all people, from all regions, and across time. “Wisdom” is the first of four virtues we’d like to feature. The other three can follow Plato’s cardinal virtues (Justice, Temperance, and Courage) or come from our unique selection (Hope, Generocity, etc.). What do you think?

Science-Based Times

Scientific fact beautifully and equally applies to all peoples of the world. Rather than schedule our traditions according to culture-specific markers throughout the year, why not look at the actual seasons and orbit of the earth itself? If we are to have four annual secular celebrations, then it is perfectly reasonable to space them equidistantly, and according to natural phenomena, such as the solstices and equinoxes of our planet. For convenience, we can make the official celebration times fall on the weekends before each solstice and equinox:

  • September Equinox (around the 22nd or 23rd)

  • December Solstice (around the 21st or 22nd)

  • March Equinox (around the 2oth)

  • June Solstice (around the 20th or 21st)

Intercultural Activities

What should we do at each of our annual festivals? That is completely up to you and our community! Feel free to be creative and inventive. Sharing your suggestions can help us all create a rich and meaningful experience each year. We have looked around the world for inspiration and have been pleased with what we have found. Likewise, if you look near and far for great traditions and practices, we would love to hear what you find.

 
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Celebrating Wisdom

Based on the ideal virtue for Plato’s philosopher-kings, our Wisdom Festival is a celebration of prudence, intellectualism, logic, learning, knowledge, education, intelligence, expertise, reason, rationality, brilliance, sagacity, and other related virtues. Participants are encouraged to value learning and understanding for its own sake, and not just as a means to an end. We set personal goals for the coming year regarding our individual education and each guest picks up a new book to read. Past academic achievement is celebrated and the senior members of our families are honored.

Starting in September of 2019, the following traditions connected to this festival were set in place and modified according to the feedback of our members:

 
 

What To Wear

Come dressed as you like! Semi-formal attire is recommended. Many of us will use the occasion to look smart, don dapper digs, and dress to the nines.

 

BOOK EXCHANGE

Have you ever run-out of new books to read? Do you have some great books cluttering-up your home library? Why not trade them with a few new reads from a fellow freethinker?! Please bring one or more books that you would like to swap! (Unclaimed books may be donated to be used as prizes at our future promotional events.)

 

Smart Snacks and Mystery Sacks

Visitors to the festival are free to dig-in to an assortment of (surprisingly healthy) erudite edibles and prudent picks for the peckish. Be sure to also pick up a grab-bag of intellectual goodies before you leave!

 

PERPLEXING Puzzles and Party Games

The bulk of this event will be spent playing party games such as “Werewolf” and “jeopardy.” In the future, we can feature other activities such as strategy games, math games, trivia challenges, riddles, and puzzles! Be ready to have your knowledge and wit tested for prizes and bragging rights.

 

HONORING STUDENTS, GRADUATES, AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

We’d like to shine the spotlight on the sacrifice and improvement of our scholars, no matter their age! Did you learn a language, sign-up for your first college classes, graduate with honors, win 2nd place in a spelling-bee, learn how to play an instrument, earn 100% on an exam, or something similar? Let’s share that with the audience followed by some much-deserved applause. If you know someone who has a recent accomplishment in this category, invite them to join us as a special guest! (This practice is inspired by a similar one witnessed at Native American Pow-wows in Utah and Arizona.)

 
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Children’s Activity: Treasure Hunt

Toy treasure is a fun prize, but an even bigger prize comes from the satisfaction of solving a number of trivia-related clues to find it! Visiting children need only ask one of the event organizers for the first clue to get started on their epic hunt.

 

Children’s Activity: SAGE STORYTELLING

In the future, young guests may enjoy a wise guest speaker for some traditional storytelling. After all, intergenerational wisdom was shared through this captivating art form for most of human history. Insightful experiences, myths, and stories from around the world may be featured.

 

Suggested Family Tradition: Senior INTERVIEW

In the week following the festival, families are encouraged to take some time to visit an elderly family member or friend. Interviewing them and inviting them to share their memories and life-lessons-learned can be an enriching and educational experience for all involved. Recording the video or the audio of the interview may create an important family record, treasured by generations to come.

 
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Overall Theme

To ground the abstract concepts featured in this celebration, the following symbolism is utilized:

  • The Colors Orange, Yellow, and Gold - In Europe and in North America, orange is strongly associated with the autumn season and with warnings calls to be careful. In the historical European arts of heraldry and vexillology, these colors were associated with prosperity (like fields of wheat), wealth, sunlight (enlightenment), and excitement. In Sikhism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, yellow represents knowledge, learning, and mental development, and a grounded lifestyle. Orange (saffron) is a sacred color of spiritual purity.

  • The Owl - This was the symbol of Athens in the ancient world, a hub of the arts and scholarship. In classical mythology, the owl is a representation of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. In Hinduism, an owl is the vahana of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity.

  • An Open Book - From the ancient halls of the Library of Alexandria to the ebook collection you have on your smart device, few of humanity’s tools over the years match the teaching power of books. Reading is one of the fastest and most efficient ways you may increase your knowledge, and knowledge is power!

 

PERSONAL IMPROVEMENT SURVEY

Participating forum members are encouraged to fill-out our quarterly member survey. These surveys are used by the Free Thought Initiative to measure the effectiveness and impact of our programs as well as the individual progress of our members in terms of scientific literacy, healthy living, and so forth. This form also gives members a chance to submit formal feedback on the previous quarter’s content.

 

OTHER TRADITIONS

What do you think should be added to this list? Send us a message!