Having a happy Saturnalia?

Here’s some interesting reading for you: an article on the origin of Christmas. It comes with a strong Jewish bias, but quotes several non-Jewish historical sources. It also doesn’t mention how Saturnalia was actually an adaptation of even older customs involved in the worship of Mithra, but you can get the point.

I hadn’t heard the bit about St. Nicholas replacing Pasqua Epiphania. It doesn’t surprise me, though. If you trace the spread of patriarchal religions across Europe you see that happening constantly. Worship of an Earth goddess was broken down by the warrior races that moved across Europe from Asia. The warriors set up male god-kings and divided up the power of the original goddess, reassigning it to several female figures (and giving much of it to the gods, of course). Then Christianity came and eliminated the goddess completely (until Mary was offered up as a replacement) and exchanged saints for the old gods and goddesses, as we see here with Nicholas and The Grandmother.

I find it fascinating how things become ingrained in culture and myth. The part in this article about Santa Claus and his red outfit, for instance. Because of a Coca-Cola ad? It seems almost absurd to think that a huge cultural icon like Santa Claus could be so influenced by an advertisment. And look at how quickly that red suit became a hard and fast rule. Sundblom’s painting for Coke was done in 1931. I bet nobody — at least, nobody in the USA — reading this remembers a time when that white-trimmed red suit wasn’t standard in any depictions of Santa.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising. We’ve discussed here before how the myth of the silver bullet and full moon created for The Wolf-Man movie has become accepted as ancient fact in werewolf mythology. It just seems such things should take generations. Perhaps, though, that’s the result of the ever-growing influence of electronic media.

If you search, you’ll find articles (like this one) explaining that the white berries of mistletoe represented the semen of the pagan god. Red holly berries used to be a symbol of the goddess’s menses, but the Catholic church changed it to say the berries turned red after Christ’s crucifixion because holly was used for the crown of thorns.

And the Christmas tree? According to the article linked above, “In Germany, the evergreen tree was used in worship and celebration of the yule god, also in observance of the resurrected sun god. The evergreen tree was a symbol of the essence of life and was regarded as a phallic symbol in fertility worship.”

Well, anyway, I found this interesting. Makes me want to eat a gingerbread man and get frisky under the mistletoe.

0 responses to “Having a happy Saturnalia?”

    • Of course he’s real! But the jolly old fat man is also a bought and paid for corporate ho. Ho-ho.
      Hmm. I wonder what would happen if we poured an ice cold bottle of Coke over the bones of St. Nick.

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