Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Dissecting Christmas

Get your dissection tools, class.  Let's cut apart Christmas.

First, complete this sentence.

Christmas is.........

Let's check out Christmas and it's origins!  For fun.

The word Christmas comes from "Christ's Mass" but Christ was not born on December 25.  Most Christian scholars place his birth in the fall.  You can read theories on Christ's birthdate here.

So why do people celebrate on Christmas Day?  Who knows.  Many people take offense that the "Christ" is out of Christmas, but Christmas is a concocted holiday and in history, had nothing actual to do with the birth of Christ, not until it was "repurposed" from pagan festivals that had become unacceptable to a rising church.

What about the phrase Merry Christmas?    Why not "Happy Christmas?" or "Ecstatic Christmas to you" or "I wish you a very drunken bitter Christmas!"  Why "Merry Christmas"?  Time for that to change.

Here is an expose on the origins of the phrase Merry Christmas from phrase finder, an English website and by the way, the queen has considered the term merry to be far from polite, in its usage together with assumptions of drinking.

Read up on it here.

It's hard to believe anyone would really care if they were greeted with "Merry Christmas" even if they think Christmas is nonsense or have other beliefs.  But people now make a big drama us-vs.-them deal of it.  It's usually Christians who do so too, which cracks me up, because I bet most of them do not know the real origins of Christmas.

Let's get to Santa Claus!  Santa is supposedly a modern remake of St. Nick, a Turk, whose wealthy parents died.  Nickolas gave away their fortune to the poor and became a bishop, who was imprisoned and then made a saint.   However some Christians, who decry Christmas as a heathen holiday, believe Christmas originated as a misguided response to pagan solstice festivals, in which the sun gods or fire gods, were honored, along with fertility, in hopes for a bountiful harvest for the next year and from fear the gods who controlled such things would not be appeased or pleased.   Saturn is the fire god, son of Nimrod, who devoured children with fire, descending down a chimney to do so, even, if sacrifices, often of children, were not made.  This would give Bad Santa a whole new context.

In Germanic pagan culture parts of the Christmas of today came from a mid winter yule festival, that included their god Oden who road through the sky in ghostly manner on Wild Hunts.  We've morphed that into flying reindeer and sleighs perhaps.

This is a most interesting excerpt from an extremely interesting website.  You may want to read the entire website.  It is well worth the time spent.  Go here to do that.

"The19th century was a time of cultural transition. New York writers, and others, wanted to domesticate the Christmas holiday. After Puritans and other Calvinists had eliminated Christmas as a holy season, popular celebrations became riotous, featuring drunken men and public disorder. Christmas of old was not the images we imagine of families gathered cozily around hearth and tree exchanging pretty gifts and singing carols while smiling benevolently at children. Rather, it was characterized by raucous, drunken mobs roaming streets, damaging property, threatening and frightening the upper classes. The holiday season, coming after harvest when work was eased and more leisure possible, was a time when workers and servants took the upper hand, demanding largess and more. Through the first half of the 19th century, Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers and other Protestants continued to regard December 25th as a day without religious significance, a day for normal business. This was not a neutral stance, rather Christmas observance was seen as inconsistent with gospel worship. Industrialists were happy to reduce workers' leisure time and allowed many fewer holidays than existed in Europe."

The website goes on to describe how Santa evolved with a sleigh and reindeer, and stern admonishments to be good or else.

The Christmas tree allegedly was born of solstice and fertility festivals involving sacred trees, like the oaks, to the druids.  Mistletoe grows as a parasite on oaks, sacred to the druids, and became seen as a fertility and healing plant.  Same with holly.

I have worn myself out taking Christmas apart.  As you can see, there is deep history involved with this holiday, some of it vastly entertaining and interesting.  I've touched very little of it here.  It is a boon to merchants large and small and people use it as a reason to get together.  For those two attributes, it is worth its salt.  And for the bright lights and the industries that form around it. 

Get your tree early if you want one.  Root rot is killing them by the thousand.  I call it row rot and blame unhealthy row growing of trees as crops year after year.

As for Christmas spirit?  What in the hell is that?  The buy everything you can spirit?  The put up a zillion lights spirit (I love bright lights)?

Whatever Christmas past was, it scarcely resembles Christmas present.  Create your own meanings and traditions!

We can turn any day into whatever celebration we want.  What's the harm if someone wants to celebrate the birth of Christ and another the return of longer days and someone else something entirely different?  None that I can see.  We don't sacrifice children to appease the gods anymore, at least.  Much more modern to sacrifice children to drugs, money and sex slavery.  Pardon my sarcasm.

Happy Saturnalia Nimrod St. Nick Santa Druid Sun worship Season!

What other holiday is there like this one, that encompasses such a broad and lengthy history of the hopes and fears of humanity from its deepest roots to present?  This season is spectacular!  

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