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Eamonn

Kinda Sad?

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I always thought the Yule Log was adopted as a Christmas tradition from distinctively non-Christian backgrounds

 

The whole rabbit and egg thing for Easter does not have any Christian roots. In fact the name Easter, the most sacred Christian Holiday, has its roots in non-christian lore

 

Why are the exact dates important anyway?

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What is truly sad is how for so many people, Christmas ends on the 26th of December, when in fact that is only the second day of the Christmas season.

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Actions speak louder than words. Whatever people do - that is what the thing in question is about. People shop, buy things, give presents, travel, and decorate their homes. They do more of that than anything else.

 

The people have voted with their actions. That's what Christmas is about.

 

It doesn't matter what you think it ***should*** be about or ***is supposed*** to be about. That's just your preference. Apparently the country prefers otherwise. Game over.

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packsaddle: "On most calendars, that would be more like a summer 'solstice'."

 

My bad. I blame the batch of fermented Kool-Aid wine I was drinking when I wrote that. You need a packet of grape Kool-Aid or equivalent, a package of yeast from the commissary, a handful of raisins, and a cup of sugar. Mix 'em all in a jug, stick a balloon over the opening, hide it under your cot, wait until the balloon inflates from the fermentation, and Bob's your uncle. Makes a pretty good bottle of popskull at a very reasonable price. I learned how to do that when I earned the (sadly discontinued) Beer and Wine Making merit badge.

 

OldGrayEagle:"I always thought the Yule Log was adopted as a Christmas tradition from distinctively non-Christian backgrounds."

 

I always hear that brought up, but honestly, does ANYONE actually use a Yule Log these days? I'm over a half-century old and have never seen one of the things. James Frazer claimed it was of pagan origins in his "The Golden Bough," but I don't know any anthropologist (and I come from a family of 'em) who takes his work seriously anymore.

 

Again, in the absence of any evidence of a continuing pagan tradition through Europe, it makes as much sense that the custom of "burning things" just seems to be a fun thing for people to do, as all of us know from sitting around a campfire with a bunch of scouts, and if it's Christmas and cold, why not burn a log?

 

We know that the January 6 Nativity feast was sometimes called the Festival of Lights,' like Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights and both were characterised by lighting lamps and kindling fires, which could just as easily be the source of this custom. The Swedish folklorist Carl Wilhelm Von Sydow disagreed with the idea that the custom of using a hard, long-burning chunk of wood at Christmas-time had any pagan or indeed any religious significance at all.

 

OGE: "The whole rabbit and egg thing for Easter does not have any Christian roots. In fact the name Easter, the most sacred Christian Holiday, has its roots in non-christian lore."

 

I assume you're referring to the claim that the English word "Easter" derives from "Eostre," a purported pagan goddess. The problems with that are 1) Most countries that celebrate the Resurrection, other than England and Germany, don't use that word, but use a variant on "Pasche," or "Passover;" As this was allegedly an Anglo-Saxon goddess, and the historical record shows that Christians were celebrating the anniversary of the Resurrection in the second century (long before the conversion of the Saxons), the idea that the Saxons could have influenced the celebration (other than possibly providing a local name to the celebration), is not possible. 2) We only have one text (from the Venerable Bede) that makes the claim that the name of the holiday derived from "Oestre," and no pagan text makes any reference to the existence of such a goddess. The Bede may have simply been passing on incorrect or misunderstood information from a source.

 

The Anglo-Saxons were not known to name their months after deities in any other cases (they named their days of the week after gods, not months), except for the possibility of one other god, Hrethmonath (for March), for which the Bede is again, the only source for the god's existence - neither god shows up in the Eddas or anywhere else , and there is no known Anglo-Saxon pagan celebration during either March or April. The best guess is that the Saxon name from April derives from Estor-monath, "The Month of Beginnings" or "The Month of New Things." (Actually, a fitting name for the month of the Resurrection.)

 

As Charlemagne renamed the months, and he was violently hostile to Germanic paganism, it is unlikely he would name it after a pagan deity.

 

Eggs and bunnies? Eggs were symbolic of the resurrection (rebirth) of Christ, but we don't worship eggs or bunnies. (I just like chocolate bunnies an awful, awful lot.) It's been suggested that English and German kids would roll eggs down hills on Easter Sunday to simulate the rolling away of the stone covering Christ's tomb.

 

OGE "Why are the exact dates important anyway?"

 

Exactly. My son's birthday would be important to me whether we celebrated it on the anniversary of his birth, or any other day we chose at random.(This message has been edited by AZMike)(This message has been edited by AZMike)

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If the Yule Log is not known, why do people send Christmas Cards with the words 'Yuletide Greetings"? If the term Yule was not used, why does the valediction of "Have a Cool Yule" occur?

 

While we may have a dearth of yule in the hearth, the term and symbol remains

 

and originates not from Christiandom which was the point. And neither does the privilege of kissing a girl standing under mistletoe have Christian roots

 

And it matters not that the rest of the world does not use Easter, does the rest of the world celebrate Chirstmas the way we do?

 

Way Way Way back at the turn of the Century I remember Y2K, and how the world would grind to a halt because of not having 4 charactors in the year field for most computers.

 

The TV Networks covered midnight 2000 in major cities all over the globe and I was amazed to learn other countries celebrate the New Year with as much energy a we do. I had thought that the spectacle that is New Years was an American thing, and its not, its global. New Years may be the only global holiday, although I am sure I will be told where I am wrong (if I am)

 

So, we agree that the exact date does not matter, as your son's birthday example eloquently illustrates, but we still argue, is that the most American thing yet or what?

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OGE is correct almost all the customs we associate with Christmas come from pre Christian Pagan tribes. If you are a devout Christian and study scripture you would know Jesus was not born Dec 25th or even close and the "wise men" did not even see Jesus until after he was well over a year old.

 

The point is when you mix the sacred with the profane you do not create a "holy day", Christmas celebrates the winter solstice alone and the fact that the early church adopted and changed it to convert these so called pagan tribes to Christianity does not automatically change its origins or make it holy except in the minds of its creators. Ever wonder what Jesus must think of humanity every Dec 25th?(This message has been edited by BadenP)

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Eggs were symbolic of the resurrection (rebirth) of Christ, but we don't worship eggs or bunnies.

 

Also the old Lenten fast was severe - eggs were among the things from which Christians would fast - so eggs are symbolic of the end of that fast.

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Ah, the Lenten fast, so severe for some Germanic monks that they looked at grain, barley and such and thought, how do we change that into a liquid, as we can drink as much of liquid a we want. SO they soaked the grains and let them ferment and cooked the juice (more or less)

 

And Voila, Ale was born, as Mother is the source of all Inventions, the Lenten Fast gave us Beer, to which we all give thanks, especially Benjamin Franklin

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Great story OGE - and I learned something new today - there were German Monks around somewhere between 3500 and 3100 BC, when the first Barley Ale was created.

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If you are a devout Christian and study scripture you would know Jesus was not born Dec 25th or even close

 

How would one know that from studying Scripture?

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