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In the spirit of abolishing thanskgiving, christmas, etc.

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I wasn't raised in a Roman Catholic family, so I wouldn't really know about the Mary/May-pole connection. I was aware, however, of its pagan roots as a solar celebration. That was precisely the reason why the R.C. church outlawed celebration of this holiday, and subsequently must have re-introduced it as a Mary festival.


As a Protestant, I'd still have qualms about its celebration in either tradition, but clearly the original post wasn't intended as Catholic-bashing, but merely an example of a pagan holiday I wouldn't wish to celebrate as a Christian.

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"They celebrated their bounty and blessings from

God on that legendary Thanksgiving; not our country or our freedom (sort of predated our country and they weren't so pleased with old either)."


Ummm - you really haven't looked into it for the facts, have you? the above seems to parrot the standard myth (and really doesn't even get into the enslavement of Squanto at all, and the destruction of his tribe by European disease before he came back to save the settlers), and ignores the slaughter of Native Americans alluded to in the true and original FIRST official Thanksgiving proclamation of 1676, a slaughter of hundreds of innocents for which there is plenty of historical evidence, btw. THAT Thanksgiving proclamation mentioned Jesus Christ and the Heathen Native. One of many sites where you can read about this is: http://www.btigerlily.net/BTTheTruthAboutThanksgiving.html


But Jesus was missing from Geo. Washington's first American Thanksgiving proclamation, as He was from Lincoln's proclamation that established Thanksgiving as a fixed national holiday.

Further, as for Thanksgiving being a CHRISTIAN holiday, I think folks want to re-think that a LOT. The Jews fleeing the Holocaust, coming to America, had many reasons to be Thankful - ought they not to celebrate this day, 'cause some misguidedly call it Christian? Well, I'm sure some would say so, and ironically, given the celebration of genicide that was part and parcel of the MBC


While certainly there is a Theistic overtone and intention to the day, I can see even atheists gathering their friends and family about simply to say "Thank you, for being in my life"!


ANYONE can celebrate Thanksgiving - at least as we blithely know it today.


The ideal modern Thanksgiving is a day for ALL of us, citizen or no, atheist or believer, Merlyn or anyone :-) - ALL of us. Anything else betrays the ideals that Thanksgiving should be about. If, on a single day, an entire Nation can unite in giving thanks, to God, or each other, or that last lucky roll of the dice - then we have created one of the truly magical events of human history.


And if any one group says it is especaillay theirs - well then, I thin they miss the point.


Thanksgiving should NOT be about the historical past, not anymore - it should be about our personal pasts, and it should look to hope in the future.


THAT is what I celebrated yesterday, with Jews and Buddhists at my table, along with Christians and atheists.


And the only thing I regret is that we ran out of pecan pie before I got to it!

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I just knew you were going to take this thread in a negative, mean spirited, non-Scouting direction (I'm kidding......). Of course, I'm talking about your celebration running out of pecan pie before YOU got a piece. Luckily, I got to take half a pecan pie home.


Happy Thanksgiving,


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The genius of Christianity is that is has been so adaptable in finding its way into so many cultures and so many hearts, often by accepting the existing celebrations and beliefs and baptising them into the service of the gospel.


So you have Christmas replacing Saturnalia. All souls day replacing Lugnasa (or whatever preceeded halloween)


I am Irish by descent. Did you ever wonder that the great woman leader of the early Irish Church took the name Bridget, the same name as the Goddess associated with holy springs and water? That the monk-hero Brendan, who may or may not have sailed to America, has the same name as the mythical hero Brenn, who also voyaged to into the west?


In Ireland today, you locate sacred springs (dedicated of course to the Blessed Virgin or the saint or goddess Bridget) by strips of cloth tied to ushes near the water. A symbolic sacrifice of something of value, (cloth) to define a sacred space.


In a town me, a few years ago, I passed a huge Catholic church, decorated for a wedding. Every 2 feet, on the wrought iron fence that enclosed the church, probably about 3 acres in all, was a ribbon tied in a bow. A symbolic sacrifice, to enclose a sacred space.


On many footpaths that abut the border of occupied Tibet, hundreds of prayer flags stream in the wind, and on the tombs of Muslim saints in Afghanistan streamers float in the air.


Ancient symbols persist across many faiths, because how else can we approach God?








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I posted this in another thread sometime ago. I thought it might fit in with the discussion here. It seems that our "Christian" celebration is a rather modern invention. Our American Christian forefathers and founders didn't much care for Christmas celebrating and even sought to abolish it.




II. Christmas in America During Colonial Period


During this time of turmoil in England, English settlers arrived in America. The English who settled in the south were those who enjoyed drinking in excess as the way to celebrate December 25. For example, Maryland-bound passengers aboard a boat in 1633 so immoderately drank wine on Christmas that the next day thirty sickened of fever and about a dozen died.


Up in New England the Pilgrims were Puritans. They spent their first Christmas at Plymouth building a house. Later, the Puritan Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony attempted to suppress the holiday.


A Puritan minister wrote:


It can never be proved that Christ was born on December 25. Had it been the will of Christ that the Anniversary of his Nativity should have been celebrated, he would at least have let us known the day.


South of New England, Dutch, German and Swedes settled the areas of New York and Pennsylvania. They celebrated Christmas and New Years by drinking hard cider, masquerading, card playing and the firing of guns. In Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, the non puritan English settlers enjoyed dancing, card playing, cockfighting, ninepins, and horse racing.


In the lives of people in the mid Atlantic colonies and the southern colonies, Christmas was not a major holy day. Thomas Jefferson rarely mentioned Christmas. George Washington frequently spent Christmas hunting and settling year-end financial matters. In the 18th century Americans celebrated few holidays before independence and even fewer after our revolutionary war. At the time of the birth of our county national holidays as we know them today did not exist. The only consistency was that where and when people celebrated a holiday, drinking, fighting, and squandering of money was the routine way to behave. All of this changed as the culture of our new nation developed.


III. Christmas in the New Nation


Anthropologists and sociologists say that special religious and civic days, interspersed among ordinary days, temporarily release us from the everydayness of life. Holidays establish a rhythm in a calendar year and help us describe and give significance to units of time. They help us renew social, religious, and civic commitments, and in this way they give us a national cultural identity. So as our new nation matured, we gradually created holidays such as Thanksgiving, Independence Day, New Years, and Christmas.


In the early 19th century loud explosions were popular on Christmas, as they were on the Fourth of July and New Years. Shooting guns and exploding gun power was the most common approach, but people created explosive noise any way they could. One man in Missouri recalled that in his boyhood his brother took the bladders of freshly butchered hogs and blew them up tightly. Christmas Day they lay the bladders down on the ice and struck them with a big paddles making a noise louder than a popgun.


The practice of drinking as a way to mark Christmas was also popular. According to a newspaper, in Philadelphia on Christmas eve 1833 young men wandered in packs, drinking in taverns and fighting on street corners.


IV. Starting about 1823: A Transition

from Explosions, Drinking and Gambling to Home and Family


Gradually nineteenth-century Americans recast Christmas. Slowly our foremothers and forefathers molded Christmas into something new. It became a celebration of the family and the home as a spiritual sanctuary from the world.


The central scripture of this new American Christmas was a poem attributed to the Episcopalian, Clement Clarke Moore. An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas was first published in 1823. Soon it appeared each year at Christmas in newspapers throughout the nation. The poem about Santa Claus celebrates home and family instead of gambling, firing guns, and getting drunk.


A central focus in the home became the Christmas Tree. A pagan symbol of fertility and regeneration, the practice of bringing an evergreen branch or a small tree into the house and placing it on a table became popular in German speaking areas of Europe about 1600. The Pennsylvania Dutch brought the custom of Christmas trees to the United States. One of the earliest documented references is in 1821. In 1832 Rev. Charles Follen a Unitarian and professor of German at Harvard College, put up a tree in his home in Cambridge and decorated it. Because of this, Unitarians like to claim that we were the first to introduce Christmas trees to America. These first trees were small and sat on tables. Soon Americans started bringing trees that went from floor to ceiling into their homes. They decorated the trees with candies, toys and candles, transforming this ancient fertility symbol into a symbol of the home as a spiritual sanctuary from the world.


Slowly the popularity of the day grew. Louisiana was the first to declare Christmas an official holiday, in 1837. By 1860 fourteen states had done so. The need for a national holiday to celebrate religion, family happiness, childlike mirth, and generosity increased during the Civil War. By 1865, 31 states and territories officially recognized Christmas, and in 1870 the Congress in Washington voted Christmas a federal holiday.


V. Christmas in America after the Civil War


Christmas after the Civil War came of age as the most important American holiday. The old Christmas of drinking, card playing and shooting guns had disappeared. A national celebration of home and family replaced it.


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