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lunes, 17 de diciembre de 2012

Christmas [Yule or Saturnalia]

Christmas at home starts at the beginning of the Advent period setting the decorations. That is four weeks before Christmas Eve. With the decorating of our house, it comes the baking of Christmas goodies, the building of our gingerbread house, the planning for the trip to visit our families and of course, marking and assessing students before they go on holidays.
But what is there behind these celebrations?
Many of the ancient celebrations have a connection with the sun and the cycle of life and the passing of seasons, the harvesting, the duality. What do a mean with duality? If this world has been made of pairs, such as good and evil, man and woman, light and darkness, the celebration of this time of the year is not any other thing than the searching for light. We, at least I do, adore light. We  want our houses pretty well illuminated. This is what we do when we are searching for a place to live.

Yule log

Let's go back in time to the British Isles:  Yule was a Norse tradition of the celebration of the winter solstice. Daylight is so short in the north of Europe, that fathers and sons went to the forest to choose an evergreen tree to bring it at home, so they could recall springtime. Later on the Christians, decorate it with red apples reminding them the Garden of Eden;  and there you go, a tradition was born. . It is said that they sacrified a bull and gathered mistletoe, which is nothing more than a parasite. There is a tradition that it could be the Golden Bow of Aeneas.

The Romans had the festival of the Saturnalia, to honor the god Saturn. Before being assimilated to the Greek god Chronos, Saturn was a god of the agriculture and harvesting. This festival recalls the Golden Age when Saturn was a ruler and there weren't social class differences. People wore their best attires, there was exchange of presents, family gatherings and eating of a sweet with a bean inside, whose finder would be crowned as prince of the Saturnalia. There was even a carnival celebration on the second day and of course, the celebration of the winter solstice.

gingerbread biscuits

Among the soldiers, Mythras, the Persian god, was born on Dec 25, the birth of the sun. If Jesus for the sun for Christians, it was a short step until Dec 25th was declared the Nativity of Jesus's Day on the 4th century.
Gingerbread house www.cocinandoconcatman.com

Christmas is also about giving presents, mostly when your birthday is on Jan 6th

Let's revise some dates in the US history.

Merry Christmas!

Teaching English by Fran | Hanukkah
Teaching English by Fran | Kwanzaa 

1 comentario:

  1. Sooo interesting this serie about the different celebrations at this time of the year!!!! Thanks for sharing! ;)