Fun_People Archive
5 Jan
And a Merry Feast of Sol Invictus!

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon,  5 Jan 98 16:11:57 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: And a Merry Feast of Sol Invictus!

[I knew that the Christmas Season (tm), for all its feel of antiquity, had  
some modernish elements, but I never realized how many!  And that's not even  
counting Kwaanza (Kwanzaa? Kwannza?)...  -psl]

Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <>
Forwarded-by: Dan Wallach <dwallach@CS.Princeton.EDU>
Forwarded-by: Chris Liles <>

Tom Sito's Christmas Trivia

    As you sit back in your chair this Christmas
(the biggest holiday of the Ancient Roman World, called Saturnalia, and the
birth of the Persian Sun God Mithras, was named the birth festival of Jesus
by Pope Leo the Great in 885 A.D.  December 25th was also the Feast of Sol
Invictus, the Invincible Sun, a cult popular to Romans like Constantine,
the first Christian emperor.  Modern estimates based on the census records
of Augustus calculate Jesus' actual birth in July although Christians had
started to use the Saturnalia as the birthday feast as early as the 300's
by your yule log (pagan German custom), wrapping your presents in pretty
paper (Roman Saturnalia custom) with your house all decorated with lights
(Roman New Year custom) under your mistletoe (Druid custom), drinking from
your Wassel Bowl (Anglo-German hot beer with toast floating in which is why
we "toast" with the words "was-heil" -- here's to ya).
    You're looking at your Christmas tree (besides the Celtic tree worship,
the 24th of December was the feast day of Saints Adam and Eve when Medieval
Churches act out the Genesis story and set up a tree representing the "tree
of life" with glass balls representing the fruit.  This custom was later
associated with Christmas and was taken from Germany to England by Prince
Albert and to America by Hessian soldiers and later German immigrants) (In
an 1883 editorial about the newfangled custom the New York Times called the
Christmas Tree -- "A rootless, lifeless corpse  -- unworthy of the Day..."),
    And you dream of a visit from Santa Claus (a hybrid of anglo-dutch
customs appearing in its modern form in New York in the late 1850s.  The
English form was St. Nicholas, a big jolly Bishop in a red suit and the
Dutch had Kris Kringle, the elf who dropped down your chimney and was also
known as "Klaus-in-the-Cinders" or "Cinder-Klaus.'"  The first image of him
was drawn in 1859 in the New York Sun by cartoonist Thomas Nast for the
Clement Moore poem (Nast also created the Democratic Donkey and Republican
elephant).  The modern image was created for a 1930s ad campaign for
Coca-Cola by illustrator Haddon Sundblom.)
    {A Welsh friend told me the Druid priest who distributed magic mushrooms
wore a red robe with white fur trim. The reindeer had a habit of eating
these mushrooms which gave you a high when you drank their urine.}
    So here's wishing you hopes for a "White Christmas" (song written by
Russian-Jewish composer Irving Berlin) and a very Happy New Year (courtesy
of the 12 month calendar reformed by the Hellenic-Egyptian Sosigenes for
Julius Caesar and modified by Pope Gregory in 1582, else we'd be celebrating
in March.)
    Merry Christmas, Freylich Chaunnakah, Happy Solstice, Happy Birth of
Mithras, Io, Saturnalia, Joyeux Noel, Bozego Narodzenia, Frohe Weinacht,
Happy Birth of Sol Invictus the Sungod, Happy death and rebirth of Baldur
son of Odin, Happy beginning of the rise of Porsephone back from Hades to
her mother Demeter, and pass the reindeer pee!
	-- Enjoy!  Tom Sito

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