Friday, December 18, 2009

Mishmash Christmas

I have been reading up on the origins of Christmas. What a mishmash from the past!

The history of the Santa character is just one example. Clicking the post title will take you to Wikipedia's history of Christmas and its symbols. The Christmas tree is a mutated version of the pagan soltice celebration and paganism's worship of trees. The fat jolly Santa of today is more an Americanization of several characters most not falling far from the bough of St. Nicholaus, but includes a a paganization drunken good times veer which the Puritans found vastly immoral.

Christmas itself is not the date of Christs' birth. I watched a Discovery channel show a year ago on the life of Christ, as researched by biblical scholars, that disputed whether Joseph and Mary would have been in Bethleham at all. Supposedly all Jews had to travel to the town of their birth for census purposes, relating to taxes, but the scholars argued that would have been an impossible command and makes unlikely the story in the first place.

It was allegedly relatively common in that era to claim immaculate conception rather than admit to sex prior to marraige which could get a woman killed. This too was mentioned in the series of shows I watched on the life of Christ.

Nonetheless, Christmas, a bizarre mixture of paganism and varied religious beliefs mashed up into a steaming mince meat pie, is a pleasant faire to swallow. The season is bright, cheery, magical and brimming in the possibility of goodwill towards mankind in a world where otherwise scrooginess, violence and judgement prevail.

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