I really like a good party.
My family has a secular Passover seder every year. It’s a joy. I like the fun of it; I like everyone being together. It occurs at the exquisite time of year when winter comes to a close and the days become longer.
Spring equinox-related rituals are found all over the world, and it’s profound to me that so many people are united by the same astronomical event, by the tilt of the Earth. Passover just happens to be the framework that I use because my ancestors were Jewish, and I see myself as Jewish even though I don’t believe in the theological part.
Everyone, even religious people, chooses what rituals they want to take part in. I think the recipe for figuring out which ones you really want, and which ones you don’t, comes down to tapping into what you actually believe.
"Life’s even better when you choose to spend your time celebrating it."
I’m a fan of rituals because I deeply believe that they help us navigate our world. Life on Earth is changing constantly. That’s no surprise, yet the future tortures us with our inability to predict it. You go to bed at night and you wake up to a new day where anything can happen. That’s thrilling — but it is also an incredibly intense experience to go through.
Rituals are a way of processing all of these changes. They help us figure out what these changes really mean for us.
Rituals also serve as the cornerstones of community. One of the hardest things about being a secular person is that you have to make your own congregation. A ritual could be something like my secular Passover, but it could also be an exercise class you take with your two best friends, or poker night. There are many ways to break up your schedule with special moments. If you crave togetherness, I think that if you choose to take part in that process, and you make time to pause during the churn of daily life, then you are more likely to live with a sense of meaning. Faith is not a requirement to take part in the beauty of the world — and life’s even better when you choose to spend your time celebrating it.
Sasha Sagan is a member of the Inverse Future 50, a group of 50 people who will be forces of good in the 2020s.