The concept of a winter festival dates back before the Romans and usually had more to do with the winter solstice than anything resembling today’s religions, and evolved into a Christian holiday.
Today, if you look around, this holiday and festival period has devolved back to a pagan party. Drive through the neighborhoods, walk through shopping centers, and watch television, you will not see very much religion. For that matter, most of the music you’ll hear will be winter related, not Christ related despite the name, Christmas Holiday.
When the earliest people recognized the winter solstice as being the day with the least amount of daylight, and that the following days’ light increased slightly one to the next, it was obviously party time. The next solar year was under way, and they needed to celebrate that. It was a gradual moving ahead, advancing toward the awakening with the arrival of the spring equinox.
Our most ancient ancestors lived by the solar year. They planted, hunted, married, and bred their animals based on where the sun was in the sky. Grand monuments exist even today to attest to that. Think Stonehenge, and many traditional farmers around the world depend on the ancient solar year knowledge.
But, let’s get back to the party thing. Norse, that is Viking, invaders wee probably the last of the Europeans to continue the winter solstice pagan rituals and brought many of those into their invaded lands. Yuletide became Christmastide, for instance. The original Yule log and its burning was pagan as was the hanging of evergreen wreaths.
The Roman church found that it was far easier to incorporate pagan holidays into their religious program than to deny converts their pagan holidays and festivals. Think Saturnalia for example. Whew.
Regardless of what it is you’re celebrating, on or about December 21st, the world will welcome the winter solstice and six weeks later the ground hog will tell us there will be another six weeks of winter, and then six weeks later we will celebrate the spring equinox. Funny how that works.
The idea of the days getting longer brought joy to the so-called pagan world, and today, the period around the winter solstice brings warm fuzzy feelings to businesses across this vast nation of ours.
Until next time, read good books and stay regular
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