The Winter Holiday...

The decorations are up then. The lights are on. The credit fuelled shopping frenzy is well underway.
It's usually around this time of year that some deluded fools appear urging us to remember the true meaning of Xmas.
We are supposed, they say, to be celebrating the birth of Our Lord.
There was , however , a strongly established cross cultural tradition of holding celebrations around the time of the winter solstice going back to neolithic times. This made sense. Winters were hard- the months January to April were known as the famine months, times of actual starvation. The approach of deep winter was a time for slaughtering cattle, in order that they would not have to be fed. Therefore there was a supply of fresh meat. Alcohol produced at harvest time was nicely fermented by December.It was a natural holiday- the land could not be worked- and would provide some relief from the depressant effects of hardship and a lack of daylight.
The Greeks had a solstice festival in honor of Dionysus called Brumalia (Latin bruma = the shortest day) which was generally held on December 25th.

In 45 bce December 25th was established in the Julian calendar as the winter solstice in Europe.

The Romans dedicated Brumalia to Bacchus,(their equivalent of Dionysus). No half measures here- they celebrated for thirty days, commencing on November 24 th.

The date gained added significance in the Roman festive calendar when the Emperor Elagabalus (218–222), who was eccentric even by Roman standards, introduced the festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. This was a sort of catch all festival for an assortment of solar deities. Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (rebirth of the Invincinble Sun) reached the height of its popularity under the Emperor Aurelian, who promoted it as an empire-wide holiday.
Evidence suggests that the earliest Christian celebrations of the birth of Jesus were held in May. Clement of Alexandria (writing circa 200 ad) describes a group in Egypt celebrating the nativity on a date that corresponds to May 20th.
Sextus Julius Africanus popularizied the idea that Jesus was conceived on the spring equinox , and thus born on December 25 th in his reference work Chronographai, published in 221,

Many of the traditions practiced to this day have their origins in the earlier, non Christian festivals.
So my enlightened comrades, when the so called Christians (who show so little evidence of having been touched in any way by the professed teachings of Jesus) bang on about 'their' festival being appropriated by others, lets just remind them that they once did the same, gradually eroding the meaning of winter festivals, which had been around for millenia, with their crazy message.
Have a good winter holiday.


  1. Do you mean to say that people practice cultural appropriation and syncretism? Heavens to Betsy! I'm shocked, shocked!

    I personally find it amusing that much of Marxism was appropriated from an earlier Western belief system, Christianity. None of this, by the way, takes away from the value of celebrating a solstice holiday as you please. Christians can go right ahead and keep Christ in Christmas.

  2. Clever pairing with the "Darker Days" item below.

  3. I'm thinking... Can't we remind them that Jesus was a revolutionary instead? Then we can all celebrate. They will have their Christian saviour and we'll have the original revolutionary (even if I don't really believe in his Dad).

  4. Highlander, I've long been a fan of the old IWW's "Fellow Worker Jesus". FW Jesus had nothing to do with the preachers and their racket. He was a fellow worker, lynched for speaking up, just like Frank Little and Joe Hill.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.