This is the first day of Saturnalia. While the fear mongering snake oil salesman on FOX and talk Radio may talk about the War on Christmas this is a good time to remember that the Christian Christmas was actually a war on the assorted pagan winter solstice celebrations. You won’t find any reference to Christmas in the Bible, it was a manufactured “holy day” designed to compete with the winter solstice celebrations found in all cultures.
In Rome that celebration was Saturnalia:
Saturnalia became one of the most popular Roman festivals. It was marked by tomfoolery and reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters ostensibly switched places, much like the Lord of Misrule in later Christian celebrations.
Saturnalia was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat at the hands of the Carthaginians. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, its popularity saw it grow until it became a week-long extravaganza, ending on the 23rd. Efforts to shorten the celebration were unsuccessful. Augustus tried to reduce it to three days, and Caligula to five. These attempts caused uproar and massive revolts among the Roman citizens.
Winter Solstice Celebrations can be found in nearly all cultures:
- Amaterasu celebration, Requiem of the Dead (7th century Japan)
- Beiwe Festival (Sámi of Northern Fennoscandia)
- Brumalia (Roman Kingdom)
- Choimus, Chaomos (Kalash of Pakistan)
- Deyg?n, Maidyarem (Zoroastrian)
- Christmas, Natalis Domini (4th century Rome, 11th century England, Christian)
You will notice that Christmas was not celebrated in Rome until 400 years after the death of Christ and in England it was over a thousand years. The exchanging of presents comes from Saturnalia and the Christmas tree comes from German winter solstice traditions.
Of course Easter too is a manufactured holiday designed to counter the Spring Equinox celebrations. The Spring Equinox was a time to celebrate fertility and we still see that at Easter – think easter bunny and eggs.