Posts tagged ‘christmas’

January 16, 2014

Eastern Orthodox New Year

by eirenehogan

14th January, 2014, is new year according to the Eastern Orthodox church, or some of them, which has kept the Julian calendar – or a version of it –  instead of taking on the Gregorian calendar, which was introduced in 1582.

 

The Julian calendar had been introduced by Julius Caesar and added the leap year to make up 0.25 of a day each year was out.  But the year was actually out by 0.2425 of a day, ie, slightly LESS than a quarter of a day.  By the 1500s this meant the calendar was out by 10 days, and more importantly, meant Easter, which was meant to be celebrated at the time of the Spring equinox, was out, and so the reforms were brought in.

 

But while Catholic countries took it up quickly (as Gregory was the Pope) Protestant and Orthodox countries were suspicious of it.  It wasn’t taken up in England until 1752.

 

The Orthodox churches didn’t take it up within their church, although the countries did slowly adopt it as their civil calendar.  Russia took it up finally in 1918 (ie, after the revolution) and Greece did not take it up until 1923.  That’d be right, the Greeks never did like the Romans.

 

While most countries in the world have taken it up, some still have not, including – according to Wikipedia – Saudi ArabiaEthiopiaNepalIran and Afghanistan

December 20, 2013

Why is Christmas on the 25th December?

by eirenehogan

1 – this is date of mid-winter by the Julian calendar, which was the calendar of the Roman Empire. 

 

2 – The date was in practise as the time of Christ’s birth by the 4th century AD.  There is a theory that an old Jewish tradition of the time believed that people died on the same date they were conceived.  [Huh! If such a belief did not belong to any of the Judeo-Christian-Islam tradition, it would be considered ‘superstition’].  Given that this Jesus character was supposedly killed in a crucifixion during the Jewish Passover, in 33 AD, which was in Spring, then the early Church Elders worked out that, if he had been conceived at that time, he would have been born in December.

 

It is convenient that Jesus died in Spring, a common time for the death of dying gods in ancient Mediterranean religions.  And it is equally convenient that his supposed birth occurred in mid-winter, another time of religious celebrations in ancient Mediterranean religions.

 

Jesus is just another in the long line of dying gods in the Mediterranean, popular with the Greeks.  They tended to be accompanied with ‘Mysteries’ which were secret ceremonies people were inducted into, which generally gave them a promise of eternal life.  Sound familiar?  Christianity was just another Mystery Cult.

 

December 20, 2013

What truly is the “true” meaning of 25th December?

by eirenehogan

Christians haven’t quite got a handle on ‘multiculturalism’ as yet, have they?

 

I received some messages on my Facebook page from relatives and sometimes friends, who speak of the “true meaning of Christmas”.  Now I have a lot of respect for these relatives and friends, but I do get irritated by those statements, such as:

 

Jesus is the reason for the season.

 

Keep the Christ in Christmas

 

Christ is the true meaning of Christmas

 

And such.  Yuck!

 

It irritates me because I am not a believer in the religion of Christians.  In fact I don’t believe in any god and so therefore I do believe that Christianity is just one religion among many.  You choose, for whatever reason, to believe in a god and so choose a religion.  No religion is better than any other religion.

 

As I said, Christians haven’t got a handle on multiculturalism as yet.  Or rather, they don’t have a handle on secularism.  And Australia is secular, it is in our constitution and was an aim of the place from its original colonisation.  Thanks to the Age of Enlightenment in 18th century England.

 

Secularism means even if you believe your God is the one true God, you don’t force it onto others.  If others don’t believe it, they are entitled to NOT believe.

 

So this returns to the idea of the true meaning of Christmas.  Christians seem to want to refuse to allow us to celebrate the end of the year with a party and being nice to each other and happy and maybe giving gifts to others as a token of our love and generosity.  They seem to think that if we are NOT Christian, we aren’t allowed to do that.  Well, you know, if Jesus and his Dad ARE real, then I’d think they would see us secularists acting like that as rather nice and kind and maybe we’d get a good tick next to our name.  And even if he doesn’t, who cares?  Only those who believe care.  Those of us who don’t are happy being nice and kind to our community, regardless.

 

 

Do Christians have it right when they claim Christmas as theirs and theirs alone?

 

OK, the word ‘Christmas’ presumably means ‘Christ’s Mass’ so I guess the actual festivity of  “Christmas” does belong to Christ and the his followers.

 

But does that mean we non-believers are not allowed to have an end of year celebration where we relax and give gifts etc?

 

By non-believers I mean all of those who worship a different god and all of those who worship no god, ie, everyone else who is not Christian.

 

The so-called Christmas tree, the candles, the Christmas dinner, the hymns, Santa Claus and even the gift giving are not actually part of the original Christmas festival.

 

A mid-winter festival is a common festival in many, if not most, if not all, human societies through out history.

OK, we don’t concern ourselves these days over whether the sun will return or not, but we still enjoy an end of year celebration; in fact I would say we NEED to have an end of year celebration.  We need time to relax, to chill out, to take stock, to make resolutions and plans for the new year, to assess what we achieved in this year, or what we did not, to spend time with our family, to mark the passing of time, to just have a rest. Imagine life without it.  Imagine trudging off to work endlessly with no break.

 

So I guess for many the day is really a new year celebration, but for historical reasons it is the Christians holy day.  Maybe we should stop calling it “Christmas” and recognise it for what it is, an end of year celebration.   Maybe we should transfer it to New Year?  Or maybe the whole week from 25th Dec to Jan 1st is an end of year/beginning of year celebration.  Maybe we could call it the Close of the Year and Jan 1st the Opening of the year?

 

So I will accept that “Christmas” is a Christian festival, but the end of year celebration is not.  Christians can celebrate their day how they wish, but the rest of society is allowed to have its end of year party too.

 

 

 

December 2, 2013

Finding the Anglo-Saxon Pantheon

by eirenehogan

Fascinating addition to family history, it is quite exciting to be reading about the original gods of the English, because they are like ‘our’ gods, ‘my’ gods, the original gods of my ancestry.

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