Silly Christians… your holidays are for pagans

I’m hearing a lot lately about this so-called “War on Christmas”… generally by the very vocal, and very annoying, Religious Right (shouldn’t that be Christian Right, or more specifically Whacked Out Psycho Conservative Christians (WOPCC)…).

All because a few retail outlets choose to be as politically correct as possible, and say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. There’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 – 12 holidays observed during the “Christmas Season”… at least 3 of them are tied with religion. And somehow … wait, I forgot the whole Christian Superiority Syndrome (CSS)… of course Christmas is the only holiday everyone celebrates at this time of year. No one celebrates Hannakuh,
or Yule (I need my rolling eyes smilie…).

Quick to blame non-Christians for waging a “war” on Christmas, and ultimately on Christianity as a whole. But then with their rampant CSS, the WOPCCs would view any minority religion’s efforts to gain some recognition as a direct assault to the Christian way of life.

Of course, they’re quick to forget the deep rooted pagan symbolism so pervasive in Christmas. I wonder if they’ve ever stopped to consider what decorating a tree, giving presents, Santa, elves, reindeer, yule logs, wreathes, candy canes, etc … has to do with the birth of Christ? They’re also quick to forget the fact that even scriptures in the bible indicate Christ was born most likely sometime in late September, and not December 25th.

So why do they celebrate December 25th as his birthday? Quite simply, because the early church in the 3rd or 4th century, decided on December 25th among 8 or 9 other potential dates (all guesses of course), so that it would coincide with the Roman celebration of the birth of their sun god, Sol (it also happens to fall on or very near to the Winter Solstice, which is when the Celts celebrate Yule … which is where all the symbols above are actually from). The reasoning behind this, was to make it easier for pagans to convert to Christianity (Pagan simply means “country dweller”, a pagan is a person, not a religion. Pagan’s had many religions… and due to the literal meaning of the word Pagan, one could even deduce that Judaism and likewise Christianity, are also pagan religions) .

Let’s not fail to mention they also quickly forget that celebrating the birth of someone (be it yourself or another), is a decidedly pagan tradition, as in the earliest days of the church the birth was irrelevant, it was the death that was revered. It was once said “only sinners celebrate their birth”. But, you know… let’s go ahead and celebrate Christ’s birth, never mind the fact we used to condemn this very practice.

Of course, Christmas isn’t the only pagan cum Christian holiday. Easter’s another big one. You know, I used to always wonder why Easter fell on a different day every year. I mean since death was so revered among Christians… why didn’t someone record what day Jesus died on? Instead, again in the 3rd or 4th century (and subsequently updated in the 16th century to be applied to the Gregorian calendar), a formula was agreed upon by the church… the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 20th… meaning it could be anywhere from March 20th to April 15th.

Not surprisingly the Celtic festival of Ostara falls on the Autumnal Equinox, sometime between March 19th and 22nd. And let’s get to symbolism… bunnies, eggs, coloring the eggs, baskets, etc. Certainly don’t see any connection between those symbols, and the resurrection of Christ do we? No surprise since the rabbit was the symbol of the goddess of fertility, eggs are a symbol of fertility, coloring eggs is a tradition that spans many cultures, baskets used for gathering all the eggs during the egg hunt that started with people handing each other eggs, but later turned into hiding the eggs in order to continue their traditions without the church being aware. Interestingly enough, Ostara is a festival of fertility, and ultimately rebirth… convenient the church would choose a very similar date for when to celebrate Christs resurrection, no?

Let’s clear up a few things now, about Samhain… or now more commonly known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, All Holy Night, etc. It is traditionally celebrated as the new year, the end of summer and beginning of winter. It was believed that the barrier separating the world of the living, from the world of the dead, was thinnest at this time of the year. Rituals were practiced to both strengthen the barriers in order to keep evil spirits at bay, and the use of various foods as an offering to the good spirits so that they may continue to watch over the community in the coming year. If you didn’t leave an offering, it was believed you would be plagued by bad luck through the year. Thus the origins of “Trick or Treat”. This was also a time when the spirits of loved ones that passed away during the year were guided by candles into the otherworld… thus the origins of the term “follow the light” or “go into the light”

Even the Christianization of it was a holy night (as it preceded All Saint’s Day)… but lately, somehow, it’s been bastardized and perceived as an evil night. The Devil’s Night, and other such nonsense. Is it evil to celebrate your loved ones? Is it evil to help guide them to the otherworld (or Heaven if you want to apply Christian words to it)? Is it evil to perform rituals to keep evil spirits at bay (hey now, guess that makes exorcism’s inherently evil then, yah?) Is it evil to make offerings to the good spirits to watch over the community (does that make praying evil? What about when early Christians and Jews made offerings to God?) Or maybe it’s just being bastardized because the pagan symbolism isn’t as “cute and happy” as Easter and Christmas, and the WOPCC’s thus deem it must be an evil night (because it’s obviously not Christian. To wit I ask “and Christmas and Easter are?!”)

It’s ok to have the pagan symbols of rabbits and eggs, and trees, wreaths, Santa, etc… but when it comes to ghosts and spirits, witches, black cats and skeletons… that’s where the line is drawn? Actively practicing the old pagan traditions of Ostara and Yule are also ok, but practicing Halloween isn’t? Honestly I thought it was a no-no for Christians to practice pagan rituals… something about heresy, and excommunication, and even death (at least at one time included physical death, but now more in the realm of spiritual death and being condemned to hell). But hey, if you the devout Christian are ok with this, then by all means… knock yourself out. If you’re going to ignore the commandment that speaks against worshiping idols, why should it come as any surprise that you’d also ignore the commandment that says to not worship any god other than God? Or did I miss the decree that practicing another religion’s rituals does not constitute giving praise (ie: worship) to a god that is not God?