Christmas colours.

The Creator has Mother Nature all sorted out for the seasons!  Our morning hikes have morphed into walks, now that we are better acclimated to the altitude and the gradient, as well as growing a little fitter. (and hopefully a little less fatter – ha!)

The seasons in Switzerland are very definite. That, I guess applies to the northern hemisphere in general, over the warmer southern hemisphere where I come from. That being said, I grew up in the foothills of the mighty Drakensberg Mountains of SA where the seasons were certainly very obvious in the changes of the vegetation, not to mention temperatures!  What makes me think that the seasons are more dramatic here in the north, is perhaps linked to the colours that we associate with various times of the year.  Not only does the southern hemisphere “follow” the north in terms of traditions, fashions and festivities, but it seems also to apply to seasons and their colours.

Easter in SA means Autumn but our “traditional” picture of Easter is spring and all things new coming forth with fluffy chicks emerging from eggs, crocuses sprouting straight from the new green grass, leaves unfurling from their winter hibernation on bushes and trees and blossoms bursting on the bows.  In The Netherlands it means daffodils and tulips, the likes of which I had never in my life imagined could be quite so sensational!

Autumn in Switzerland has produced some delightful surprises, not least of them being the discovery of alpine crocuses bursting out of the slopes, just when I was thinking that they were the first sign of spring??

The change of colours in the trees is nothing short of glorious, especially when illuminated by the glow of the weakening sunshine. These golden colours of the deciduous are beautifully contrasted with the pines and firs and it is in the shade of these evergreens that the mushrooms and toadstools emerge in fairland fields of fantasy!

Christmas is coming, virus or no virus, global travel restricted or not, families will gather, though this year it may be via technology and virtual video viewing (this begs the question: what have we humans allowed ourselves to become?!) and so too the seasonal change and the associated colours.

In sunny, blistering hot SA, Christmas Day is one in which cool colours would be most suited, along with salads, swimming pools and iced drinks. However, we too are led by the traditions of our northern ancestors and their colours of red and green are adopted in celebration of the season and festivities of Christmas.  The most prolific red is found in the traditional pots of poinsettia that seem to be the accepted substitute. Plastic holly berries, with spiky green leaves (the spikes are worse on the real thing, of which there is plenty in NL!) and other vibrantly red plastic berries, seem to garishly heat up the rooms of many hot homes in the south, whilst in the north, nature turns her own sort of colourful magic.

I believe now that the Creator of all was in cahoots with Mother Nature when deciding on the colours for Christmas because, at every turn, those glorious combinations of the most vibrant reds and deepest greens appear all around us here in the Swiss countryside – what splendour awaits the dusting of snow and crystal crunch of the frosted ground! 

I would be remiss to mention that although I miss the delicious taste of chilled watermelon and an ice cold Pimms or Sauvignon Blanc, glass literally packed with ice cubes, during the southern summer Christmas holidays, I am happy to adopt the deliciousness of hot gluhwein, nutty baked treats and carb filled cheesy traditions of the northern regions as a substitute and to enjoy the warmth of the traditional Christmas colours too!

6 thoughts on “Christmas colours.

  1. Sometimes I feel like southern ‘hemisphereans’ were discriminated against when Christmas was ‘created’ (sorry, this is VERY tongue in cheek chatter here). I mean- green spruces, little red berries with thorny leaves and mistletoe? What was the deal?

    But mostly, I love the seasons in Europe. The winter gets a bit dire, especially since us in Sxb seem to hover under perpetual clouds due to valleys and hills, but real actual seasons? Wow. Boston certainly is privy to real seasons, but certainly this part of Europe makes for very marked differences. And happily, I have appreciated every single change over the last 9 months!


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