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"Every Swikvent, which starts on The First Day of Death (December 12th), the Tropist Monks distribute little flyers with the following on them. It is a tradition which goes back longer than anyone can remember, but thanks to our lifestyles most of us can only remember the last five minutes of our lives. What was I talking about? - SL"

Happy Swik!

It's that time of year again, when the spirit of Commercialism and Greed washes over the world like so much vodka, and children everywhere threaten to break Santa's legs if he doesn't bring them what they want.

And so, my almost-friends, I come to introduce to you, or remind you of, the season of Swik. Swik celebrates the true feelings of this time of year, and encourages greed and dishonesty. Swik is a time to tell people what you really think of them, or just to lie to them and say that you like them when really you'd like to be ramming a shotgun down their ignoble throats.

The joy of Swik is Getting, Shouting and Passing out.

This year will be the fifteenth time Swik has been celebrated formally, but it's hard to see where Christmas ends and Swik begins. We hope that you will join with us in making this a time to enjoy yourself, at anyone else's expense.

Swik runs from December 24 to December 26 with all days given equal credit. Happy Swik 15.0, and an acceptable Spiralday or new year to all.

[This message is brought to you by the Tropist Monks of Byzantium]

'One day, Laughing Buddha Jesus decided that his winter festival wasn't usurping the others as effectively as he'd have liked. So he devised many rituals and merchandising schemes and launched the brightest, happiest winter festival ever. He wanted to employ someone to deliver presents, so he got his old friend Satan on the job.

Now Satan, being sensible enough to do as little as possible, realised it would be even better for profits if those foolish mortals did all the work - and they could pay for it with their worthless paper trinkets they seemed so attracted to.

However, the goddess Eris rather liked the winter festivals before Laughing Buddha Jesus got his hands on them. Unfortunately, she seldom interfered with human affairs, apart from the Trojan war and all the chaos and discord she put in that nobody noticed.

So she sent Blessed Saint Gulik the Stoned to mess up Laughing Buddha Jesus' plans. Being a cockroach, he swiftly blessed the festival with even more discord. Around the world, people went through the rituals, even if they didn't like it. They passionlessly spent money they couldn't afford, even for people they didn't like! He even messed up the name of the Prince of Darkness so that the 'n' moved into the middle.

"Excellent", said Eris. "Now the rituals are so ridiculous that they'd have to be really stupid to keep that going for more than a few years." And lo, that is the story of the first Swik.'

From The Gospel According to Saint Gulik, Ch. 15.

'In the beginning there was the Pagan Winter Solstice, and Yahweh saw that it was good so he created Hanukkah, and that was good too. Not to be outdone, the other Yahweh decided to move his son's birthday to the same time of year, and even that was good.

But the Laughing Buddha Jesus was troubled because the mortals didn't seem to want to celebrate any of the traditional festivals, so he went to see his father.

"Hi son," the second Yahweh said as he extended his arms in a T-shape, "How's it hanging?"
"Very funny Dad," Laughing Buddha Jesus replied without malice (he's a forgiving sort). "I'm a bit troubled, really. The mortals seem to be ignoring all the traditional winter festivals and making up this new one in which they worship greed and waste, spend money on things they can't afford and try and make everyone have a Good Time even if they don't want to."
"That sucks," said the second Yahweh. "I wonder why?"

So the second Yahweh and his Son went to see Eris, because she usually knew what the mortals were up to. The second Yahweh explained their problem to Eris who nodded sagely.

"I'm afraid it's always the same. The mortals don't really like being told what to do, that's why I never bother with it myself."
"But they're wrecking some really good festivals!" the second Yahweh protested."
"Well let's just call their new festival Swik and see what happens," Eris suggested.

And verily, that is the story of the first Swik.'

From The Gospel According To Sri Syadasti, Ch. 7.