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Transcript of Christmas
The Importance of the winter solstice
FRIST MENTION OF CHRISTMAS
The celebration of Christmas comes from the traditions of several different ancient cultures
One week before winter solstice in Rome, Saturnalia began on December 17th in the Julian Calendar
series of party and laughter anywhere from three to five to seven days celebrating the God, Saturn, the god of agriculture, god of seed and sowing was honored with a festival.
second is new years and 5 day party
between that is the celebration a god
orgy of food and drink, a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves.
varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the Gregorian calendar year. The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere
is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun's "rebirth" was celebrated with much joy. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.
Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider. Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun. The boughs were symbolic of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not "die" thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine). The wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes, in hopes Nature Sprites would come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to visit tthe residents. Mistletoe was also hung as decoration. It represented the seed of the Divine, and at Midwinter, the Druids would travel deep into the forest to harvest it.
Christianity official religion in Rome in the 4th century, and wanted to keep this winters solstice and combine the pagan holidays so picked December 25th as Jesus’s birthday.
First century AD, pagan traditions were challenged from pagan by Christianity as it took hold of the Roman Empire, Christ birthday a mystery Bible does not mention, theorized that the church adopted the date as the birth of the Christ child, the 4th century the church made it official declared December 25th as the feast day of the nativity, church knew it could not outlaw the pagan traditions of Christmas, so it came to accept them, t
The Emergence of Christianity
another name for Christmas
indigenous Germanic and Nordic tribes in northern Europe and Scandanavia with Gregorian Calendar by Pope Gregory
In the tribes of Northern Europe, in the winter solstice, fathers and sons dragged evergreens indoors as signs of life and logs as a promise of good fortune
lit bonfires and candles to push back the darkness (origins of modern Christmas lights)
decorated Christmas trees with apples symbolizing the garden of Eden that later turned into Christmas ornaments
The Sun God Mithras
Some Roman citizens, a small sect with government officials and Roman soldiers who worshipped Mithras( small sect) Sol invictus "the Unconquered Sun" is the name of a Roman sun (sol) God. This is the Roman name for the Persian God Mithras. ("Unconquered Sun") was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults.
The birthday of Mithras is December 25th, and it is the holiest day of the year.
Mithras is always described as "sol invictus" (the unconquered sun) in inscriptions.48. But Sol and Mithras were different deities.49 The vagueness of the term invictus means that it was used as a title for a number of deities.50 Mithraism never became a state cult, however, unlike the official late Roman Sol Invictus cult.51
Although Mithras himself is called Sol Invictus, "the Unconquered Sun", he and Sol appear in several scenes as separate persons, with the banquet scene being the most prominent example. Other scenes feature Mithras ascending behind Sol in the latter's chariot, the deities shaking hands and the two gods at an altar with pieces of meat on a spit or spits. One peculiar scene shows Sol kneeling before Mithras, who holds an object, interpreted either as a Persian cap or the haunch of the bull, in his hand.52
The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder's land, or given as a gift... it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.
Many customs created around Yule are identified with Christmas today. If you decorate your home with a Yule tree, holly or candles, you are following some of these old traditions. The Yule log, newborn sun
Deities of Yule: All Newborn Gods, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Triple Goddesses. The best known would be the Dagda, and Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda. Brighid taught the smiths the arts of fire tending and the secrets of metal work. Brighid's flame, like the flame of the new light, pierces the darkness of the spirit and mind, while the Dagda's cauldron assures that Nature will always provide for all the children.
Symbolism of Yule:
Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.
Symbols of Yule:
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung
in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.
Herbs of Yule:
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.
Foods of Yule:
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb's wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).
Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.
Colors of Yule:
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.
Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.
Activities of Yule:
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule
Spellworkings of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.
Deities of Yule:
Goddesses-Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana
Pagans all over the world since the beginning to Christ to the medieval times celebrated the winter solstice, the darkest day
This year is Sunday December 21, 2014The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north (Arctic Polar Circle) are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south (Antarctic Polar Circle) receive 24 hours of daylight.
The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used today "Western calendar" or "Christian calendar". It was named after the man who first introduced it in February 1582: Pope Gregory XIII. The Gregorian calendar reformed the Julian calendar because the Julian calendar introduced an error of 1 day every 128 years. The introduction of the Gregorian calendar allowed for the realignment with the equinox, however a number of days had to be dropped when the change was made.
There are two accounts of the Nativity by Matthew and Luke
Luke's Nativity Story-2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
" 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived."
"The Nativity" by Gerard David 1510s
Philocalian Catalogue of 354 (first mention of Christmas as December 25th, 336)
The Chronography of 354, also known as the Calendar of 354, was a 4th-century illuminated manuscript, which was produced in 354 AD for a wealthy Roman Christian named Valentinus. It is the earliest dated codex to have full page illustrations. None of the original has survived. The term Calendar of Filocalus is sometimes used to describe the whole collection, and sometimes just the sixth part, which is the Calendar itself. Other versions of the names ("Philocalus", "Codex-Calendar of 354") are occasionally used. The text and illustrations are available online. Amongst other historically significant information, the work contains the earliest reference to the celebration of Christmas as a holiday or feast.
Epiphany is a Christian feast celebrating the 'shining forth' or revelation of God to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus Christ.
The observance had its origins in the eastern Christian churches, and included the birth of Jesus Christ; the visit of the three Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) who arrived in Bethlehem; and all of Jesus' childhood events, up to his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist.
The feast was initially based on (and viewed as a fulfillment of) the Jewish Feast of Lights. This was fixed on January 6.
Thus in the Latin church, the feast of Christmas was established before that of Epiphany. Over time the western churches decided to celebrate Christmas on December 25. The eastern churches continued to treat January 6 as the day marking Jesus's birth.
This has given rise in the west to the notion of a twelve day festival, starting on December 25, and ending on January 6, called the twelve days of Christmas, although some Christian cultures — especially those of Latin America — extend it to 40 days, ending on Candlemas, or February 2
In Rome the earliest evidence is in the Philocalian Calendar, compiled in 354, which contains three important entries. In the civil calendar December 25 is marked "Natalis Invicti."in the Philocalian calendar
A Christmas carol (also called a noël) is a carol (song or hymn) whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas or the Christmas and holiday season in general, and which is traditionally sung in the period immediately surrounding the Christmas holiday. Christmas carols may be regarded as a subset of the broader category of Christmas music.
A Christmas Carol
"Do you hear what I hear', "Hark, the Herald Angles Sing"
O Holy Night, "O Little Town of Bethlehem","Silent Night", "O Christmas Tree", "Joy to the World"
some of the famous old English Christmas carols. The practice of traveling door to door begging for goods and threatening repercussions against the uncharitable is a common European practice dating back hundreds of years. It is associated with a variety of holidays and events, and goes under such names as "souling," "guising" and "wassailing." How far the tradition of wassailing dates back is unknown, but it has connections with Anglo-Saxon traditions; the word Wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon toast Wæs þu hæl, meaning "be thou hale" — i.e., "be in good health". Thus wassailing likely predates the Norman conquest in 1066.
go from house to house at Christmas singing carols that is the definition, door to door caroling
Famous Old English Christmas Carols
The "Boar's Head" "initiated in all probability on the Isle of Britain by the Anglo-Saxons, although our knowledge of it comes substantially from medieval times....[In ancient Norse tradition] sacrifice carried the intent of imploring Freyr to show favor to the new year. The boar's head with apple in mouth was carried into the banquet hall on a gold or silver dish to the sounds of trumpets and the songs of minstrels." [15th century English Christmas carol that describes the ancient tradition of sacrificing a boar and presenting its head at a Yuletide feast. Of the several extant versions of the carol, the one most usually performed today is based on a version published in 1521 in Wynkyn de Worde's Christmasse Carolles.
"Wassail"s an English traditional Christmas carol and New Years song, apparently composed c. 1850. The old English wassail song refers to 'wassailing', or singing carols door to door wishing good health
"Wassail" appears in English literature as a salute as early as the eighth-century poem Beowulf, in references such as "warriors' wassail and words of power" and:
The rider sleepeth,
the hero, far-hidden; no harp resounds,
in the courts no wassail, as once was heard.
Recording similar usage, the anonymous Anglo-Norman Poet, who witnessed the Saxon toasting cry before the Battle of Hastings in 1066, wrote:
Rejoice and wassail
Pass the bottle and drink healthy
Drink backwards and drink to me
Drink half and drink empty.
He suggests that the fame of the boar's head goes back to Anglo-Saxon times. The boar's head does seem to be an Anglo-Saxon symbol; "boar's head" helmets were found at Sutton Hoo and elsewhere (see figures 21, 23, and 24 on pp. 229-230 of Beowulf/Heaney/Donoghue). Beowulf itself does not refer to a boar's-head helmet by that term, but in lines 1030-1034 (pp. 106-109 in Beowulf/Chickering; in Beowulf/Heaney/Donoghue they are lines 1029-1033 on page 27) Hrothgar gives Beowulf what sounds like one of these helmets.
Good King Wenceslas "Good King Wenceslas" is a popular Christmas carol that tells a story of a king braving harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (December 26, the day after Christmas). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by following the king's footprints, step for step, through the deep snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia or Svatý Václav in Czech (907–935).
"Bring a Torch Jeanette, Isabella (un flambeau)The carol was first published in 1553 in France, and was subsequently translated into English in the 18th century. The song was originally not a song to be sung at Christmas, but rather dance music for French nobility
St. Francis of Assisi and the Christmas Creche
Whether called the French crèche, the Italian presipio, the German krippe, the Spanish nacimiento, or the English crib, the depiction of the nativity scene is one of the oldest and most beloved Christmas traditions. A crèche is a three-dimensional artistic representation of the birth of Jesus. While focusing on the central figures of the mother Mary and the Christ Child, crèche artists often telescope time and place to bring together a host of earthly and heavenly participants - shepherds, animals, angels, wise men, and commoners.
How did the tradition begin?
St. Francis of Assisi is credited with popularizing the crèche tradition. In 1223, St. Francis was traveling to the Italian village Greccio, when the sight of shepherds in moonlit fields evoked images of the first Christmas. Inspired by the midnight scene, he beckoned villagers that Christmas Eve to light the sky with their torches, bring their animals, and re-enact the Nativity.
How has the crèche as a form of discipleship and art evolved?
During succeeding centuries, the tradition spread from Italy to France and Germany, and then from Europe to other continents. The art form flourished in homes and churches, among kings and commoners. Whether scenes of the 19th century Italian villagers dressed in silks and jewels or contemporary African animal herders formed in clay, each crèche reflects that time and culture of the artist and draws us to Jesus. For it is Jesus - born of Mary, the Son of God, our Savior - who gives cause around the world to rejoice this Christmas season and always.
The Friendly Beasts ( Apocryphal Gospel of James)
Virgil, The Fourth Eclogue; mistletoe as the ramus aureus (golden bough)
The Gospel of James, also known as the Infancy Gospel of James or the Protoevangelium of James, is an apocryphal Gospel probably written about AD 145, which expands backward in time the infancy stories contained in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and presents a narrative concerning the birth and upbringing of Mary herself. It is the oldest source to assert the virginity of Mary not only prior to but during (and after) the birth of Jesus. The ancient manuscripts that preserve the book have different titles, including "The Birth of Mary", "The Story of the Birth of Saint Mary, Mother of God," and "The Birth of Mary; The Revelation of James."
The New Testament apocrypha are a number of writings by early Christians that claim to be accounts of Jesus and his teachings, the nature of God, or the teachings of his apostles and of their lives. These writings often have links with the books generally regarded as "canonical" but Christian denominations disagree on which writings should be regarded as "canonical" and which are "apocryphal".
The Mistletoe (Viscum album, L.). — Forgotten or not, the mis-
tleto is perhaps the most distinguished plant in the flora' of England.
Its name has been spelt in more ways than any other well-known
word in our language. Mistleto itself has been a problem to ety-
mologists, and there is the usual divergence of opinion on the sub-
ject. Prior thinks it means the "mixed" shrub, from its appearance,
so different from its parent stock. Forby thinks mislinbush means
the "golden bush," from a Saxon name of a kind of brass. Virgil
speaks of it as the ramus aureus; a German poet has called it die
goldftirbte mistel, and the Welsh have named it pren puraur or " tree
of pure gold."
"The Botany of Christmas
Mistletoe, Holly, and Ivy:
Both Mistletoe as well as Holly and Ivy are linked to the Roman festival of Saturnalia. Saturn was the Roman god of agriculture and fertility. His festival was celebrated around the winter solstice – from about 17th to 25th December. The festival was about bringing back the sun but also praying for fertility in the coming year. It was a time for parties, abandoning social norms and carousing. Slaves were freed from their duties. Because Mistletoe, holly and ivy were used in his ceremonies they also became linked to fertility and were often used in marriages.
When the Romans came to Britain they discovered that the Druids revered this plant. The historian, Pliny the Elder referred to their habit of cutting away mistletoe from oak trees using golden sickles and catching it before it touched the ground. The Druids elevated mistletoe to sacred powers. They noted that mistletoe was an evergreen and so it became a symbol of fertility. They believed it could cure certain illnesses, protect cattle and they also hung it over doorways to ward off evil.
Now the druids performed the ceremony of collecting the mistletoe around the mid winter solstice and so it was then that it would be put up in houses during this time of year and so again later would become part of Yuletide and eventually Christmastime.
The idea of kissing linked to mistletoe may partially come from anglo-saxon and Norse mythology. The god Balder was the best loved of all the gods. He had premonitions that he would die. In an attempt to protect him, his mother was Frigga, went through the world, securing promises from everything that sprang from the four elements–fire, water, air, and earth–that they would not harm her beloved Balder.
The gods amused themselves by throwing weapons made from all mineral and plants at Balder and laughed when they simply bounced of him.
Supposedly the god Loki, who desired to kill Balder, disguised himself and went to see Frigga and asked her if truly nothing could harm her son. . She confided that she had never got a promise from the plant Mistletoe. Loki made an arrow from its wood and arranged that another god throw it at Balder. The arrow pierced Balder’s heart and he fell dead.
There is a sad and a happy ending to the tale. In the sad version the gods go to ‘Hel’ to retrieve Balder but fail. In the happy version Frigga works hard to heal her son and he is returned to life.
Frigga, over joyed weeps, and her tears became the mistletoe’s white berries. Frigga is so grateful that she made the plant a symbol of love and insists all the gods kiss undneath it.
Peace and Reconciliation
Both the druids and the Norse also saw Mistletoe as a symbol of peace and warring parties would agree to meet under truce where it grew.
Saint Nicolus of Myra
Story of Santa Claus also begins in the 4th century with the death of Nicolous the beloved Turkish Bishop. The anniversary of his death became the Saint Nicolous Day. On December 6th, good children woke to gifts and bad children nothing. Holland known as SinterKlaas,