The Halton-Peel Humanist Community held its annual "Tree of Knowledge" celebration last night in Mississauga, highlighting the fact that holiday celebrations aren't only about religion. Numerous cultures through the centuries have celebrated the winter solstice, when the days begin to grow longer again as we get more sunlight "During the winter holiday season, where the word holiday has taken on a more secular meaning, many events are observed," said local Humanist Community spokesman Kevin Saldanha. "This tradition of celebrations, however, is grounded in supernatural religious beliefs that many people in modern society cannot accept."
The Tree of Knowledge celebration "presents an alternative reason to celebrate — a humanist's vision of a good future. "It is a future in which all people can identify with each other, behave with the highest moral standards, and work together toward a happy, just and peaceful world," Saldanha says. Members of the group chose books to hang on a tree at the veterinary clinic near Streetsville which Saldanha owns and operates. Among the titles were God Is Not Great by the late journalist Christopher Hitchens, who died earlier this week. Other books hung as ornaments included Charles Darwin's Origin Of The Species and The Descent Of Man. Other titles highlighted were Cosmos by Carl Sagan, The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins and The End Of Faith by Sam Harris.
The Halton Peel Humanist Community sponsors speakers throughout the year in Oakville and at the Mississauga Central Library.
The group has a website at http://haltonpeelhumanists.ca.