Long before Jesus was born people, all around the world the world, celebrated the winter solstice rejoicing the end of winter and longer days of daylight.
The Norsemen of Scandinavia celebrated Yule from Dec. 21 through January. The men brought home huge logs which were set on fire, the local people feasted until they burned out sometimes the fires lasted up to 12 days. The sparks from the fire each represented the birth of a pig or calf. Decorated Yule Logs are a Christmas traditional decoration.
Early Europeans slaughter their cattle at the end of December so they wouldn't have to feed them through the winter. They were insured plenty of fresh meat and also their beer and wine thy made was properly fermented at that time, making for a jolly celebration.
During the winter holiday Germans honored the Pagan God Oden. They believed Oden flew through the sky observing his people and determining who would prosper or parish. Many people stayed inside during that period.
Romans celebrated Saturnalia honoring Saturn the God of Agriculture for a full month during the winter solstice. Food and drink were plentiful, slaves became masters and peasants commanded the city.
The also observed Juvenalia, a feast to honor the Roman children. Upper class Romans celebrated the birth of Mithra,the God of the Unconquerable Sun, on December 25. Legend has it that Mithra an infant God was born of a rock, many considered the birth of Mithra as the most sacred day of the year.
Early Christians did not celebrate the birth of Jesus. Their main holiday was Easter. During the fourth century Christians decided to celebrate the birth of Jesus, believed to have occurred in the Spring. Pope Julius I chose Dec. 25th in an effort to coordinate and absorb the ancient holiday traditions of the pagan Saturnalia Festival.
The celebration was first called the Feast of the Nativity. By the year 432 the custom spread to Egypt and arrived in England at the end of the sixth century.
Wisely Church leaders decided to hold Christmas during the winter solstice to increase the chances of popularity. During early celebrations of Christmas, they attended Church and celebrated in a feast of drunken rowdiness similar to Mardi Gras. A student or beggar was crowned the "Lord of Misrule," and celebrants served the part of his subjects. The poor could demand the best food and drink from the homes of the rich. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined "debt" to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens.
(Gosh were there Democrats back then, take from the rich and give to the poor!)
Oliver Cromwell and Puritans controlled England in 1645. Christmas was canceled in an attempt to Rid England of decadence. Charles II was returned to the thrown and reinstated the Christmas Celebrations. The orthodox Puritans or Pilgrims did not bring the spirit of Christmas with them. 1659-1681 saw Christmas banned in Boston. Meanwhile the Jamestown settlement enjoyed the Christmas holiday.
The American Revolution dispelled all English Customs in America. Christmas was officially declared a federal holiday on June 26,1870.
1828 brought drastic changes to the way Christmas was celebrated in this Country. During the holidays a riot broke out in New York City. Gone were the days of the drunken party like turmoils. The American tradition turned to Christianity and families being together celebrating Christmas with parents presenting gifts to their children without the appearance of spoiling them. Along with this change Americans began their own traditions many of which we still enjoy today, gift giving and sending cards are among them.
"Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger." (According to History.com)
Let's enjoy this Christmas Season no matter if you are poor, rich, unemployed, employed, hurt, missing a loved one, or just a SCROOGE! The traditions of this holiday are and have been based on the value of family, friends and the belief of various Gods.
Make this holiday special for someone who is in need. A kind smile and words of encouragement are always well received. Instead of buying a gift you can not afford, give a friend or relative a bag of cookies you made. Make a special Christmas Card for someone. Help your children make decorations for the tree. Send a card to a soldier who will not be home for the holidays because he is defending the Freedom of our Country. Above all have faith in God, your family, friends and our Country.
We will be posting YOUR Christmas Stories on http//RednecksForAmericans.com
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Read about how many of our Christmas traditions came about.
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Have a Very Merry Christmas!Tea Party Deanie