Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » December 2005 » Co-Opted Festivals...

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12/10/2005: Co-Opted Festivals...

To celebrate the birth of Jesus?

The Egyptians put date palm leaves into their homes to celebrate the return of the sun at the solstice. Romans honored the god of farming with evergreens and gifts during the Saturnalia, their weeklong solstice festival.

Did the Romans say "Happy Holidays" to one another?

No, the traditional greeting was, "Io, Saturnalia" (the first word was pronounced "yo"), which meant roughly, "Ho, praise to Saturn." Scholars suggest that the date of Christmas was picked in the fourth century to coincide with the Roman holiday.

Did Roman pagans complain that Christians were taking Saturn out of Saturnalia?

Perhaps, but in those days there were no conservative all-news channels. The pagans in northern Europe must have complained about their traditional Yule solstice festival. Christians not only co-opted customs like burning a Yule log, but also turned Yule into a synonym for Christmas.

They took the Yule out of Yule?

And put it into Christmas. For all we know, some Norse lumber merchants tried appeasing both pagans and Christians by marketing "holiday logs," but the term didn't stick.

Why are today's Christians having such a hard time holding on to Christmas?

In some cases because of ridiculous political correctness, like not allowing the singing of traditional Christmas carols in public schools. But it's mainly because they're up against retailers who don't want to offend their many non-Christian customers. That old seasonal admonition of good will to all means more sales.
So what's the right greeting?

If you want be safe - or sell anything - go with "Happy Holidays." Otherwise, say anything you want.

What's your choice?

Yo, Saturnalia!

-- John Tierney (NY Times)

Or as this bit from the Chicago Tribune has a Q&A of Mr. Tim Wildmon (head of the American Family Association, based in Tupelo, Miss):
"Q. What do you hope to gain with a boycott of Target?

A. That you diminish the importance of Christmas when you censor the word "Christmas" out of your promotions. What does Target think people are buying? They're buying Christmas gifts, not holiday gifts. We're not trying to hurt American companies, but something needs to be done.

Q. For many years, Christians have been decrying the commercialism of Christmas. Yet you have chosen to make retailing your battleground. Why?

A. It's about the secularization of Christmas and of our entire culture. It's political correctness run amok.

Q. Given the fact that "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World" play endlessly in every store and that Santa Claus and trim-a-tree shops are everywhere, do you really believe that the holiday is endangered?

A. Yes, because it's about exchanging our traditions for a more generic December. These changes don't happen in a vacuum. It represents an anti-Christian bias. To equate the importance of Christmas with Hanukkah or Kwanzaa makes absolutely no sense to me. About 95 percent of the people who are in your store are there for the birth of you-know-who.

This whole “War on Christmas” would perhaps not be such a crock - IF these supposed Christians were all so fired up about the *true* birth date of Christ. If they gave a rat’s ass at ALL it would be celebrated in April - at the time of the more historically accurate point of his birth. But that *Christians* chose (centuries ago) to co-opted other celebratory festivals -- Literally stealing other pageantry and holidays and claim them for Christ -- is the problem.

And, per usual, history and facts (and science) be damned with these Funda-gelical Facists.

But it’s also not about their ability to celebrate as they wish, but about making everyone else celebrate as they wish, even as to stolen holidays and traditions. But they now want to re-write more history and foster more uneducated dogma on the public.

But I can not subscribe to the Fakery and Lies and False Premises for trying to enforce a historical re-write over all the various reasons and holidays celebrated around the world and across our Nation.

Bah-Humbug on Loofah Man and all his co-horts for their fake “war.” And how shameful of them given the real horrors of WAR all around us this year and carried in the hearts by those who have lost the most dear to them. Shame on you!

I love the season, all the holidays and the traditions of my upbringing (Catholic), and I celebrate them. I also hold out the notion of a *Sharing Season* of Goodwill towards All at this time of year whatever the Celebrations and Faiths of others.


Karen on 12.10.05 @ 07:44 AM CST

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