Its An Ancient Festival. Deal With It.

The winter solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years before anyone ever heard of Jews or Christians. Its a Christian overlay, not a Christian holiday.

Imperial Rome called it Saturnalia.  It was a 12 day festival of Saturn, the Sun God.  Midwinter solstice is the time when the Sun and/or the Sun God ends his journey south and begins his return to the north. 

At the Second Council of Constantinople in 551 the Christians created their schedule of overlaying ancient pagan festivals with Christian celebrations.  The pagan spring fertility festival was chosen as the date to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.  The ancient midwinter solstice was chosen as the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. 

Loosely translated the Archbishop of Constantinople opined, "While the *$^ pagans celebrate the rebirth of the Sun God, we can celebrate the birth of the Son of God." 

The turning of the year and return of the sun is one of the most important parts of life in the northern half of the earth where most humans have lived for a hundred thousand years.  Our ancient festival of solstice is deeply buried in our evolution and bodies.  The comparatively recent Christian overlay has not changed our need to celebrate the return of the sun which is the real reason for the midwinter festival. 

Evergreen trees are used to decorate because they promise life even in the dead of winter while other trees are "dead."  Likewise holly bears its fruit in midwinter promising a faith in the coming spring.  We light thousands of tiny lights against the darkness, a magick act that invites the light of the sun to return.  We give gifts, a practice from Roman Saturnalia.  We have "12 days of Christmas"  that come straight out of the Julian Calendar, and were the 12 days of Saturnalia.  Our cultural celebration and decorations have nothing to do with the Christian overlay.  

Call it what you will, Saturnalia, Solstice, Yule, or Christmas, its the same ancient midwinter festival that was ancient when history began to be recorded, thousands of years before Jesus.   The return of the sun is the reason for the holiday and the season.   Overlay it with your religion if you want, but that does not change the festival even as you light your candles and other little lights to perform the ancient magic.
DozerDan DozerDan
66-70, M
5 Responses Sep 16, 2012

Or do you use "HAPPY HOLIDAYS"???

Do you SAY merry christmass???

Isn't amazing what is found when people delve into history a bit.
Thank you.

Very well said!

Good job, great info, wonderful story!