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For all of you feeling your Christmas is being usurped by others...


bassman1956

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We actually celebrate Saturnalia, just usurped it for Christmas so as not to get noticed by those nasty Romans.

 

I didn't find the tune catchy, I found the whole thing stupid and offensive, frankly.

 

I don't think it has a valid point.

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We actually celebrate Saturnalia, just usurped it for Christmas so as not to get noticed by those nasty Romans.


I didn't find the tune catchy, I found the whole thing stupid and offensive, frankly.


I don't think it has a valid point.

 

It has a valid point from the stand point that it is, in fact, called Christmas and many of the traditions, including the Christmas tree, have been inspired or directly taken from Christianity. If you want to celebrate Saturnalia, put up lots of holly and don't get a tree.

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It has a valid point from the stand point that it is, in fact, called
Christ
mas and many of the traditions, including the Christmas tree, have been inspired or directly taken from Christianity. If you want to celebrate Saturnalia, put up lots of holly and don't get a tree.

 

 

How is the tree inspired by or taken directly from Christianity? In fact, other than the name, I can't think of anything about Christmas that wasn't taken from some other, previously existing tradition.

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How is the tree inspired by or taken directly from Christianity? In fact, other than the name, I can't think of anything about Christmas that wasn't taken from some other, previously existing tradition.

 

It's rumored that the first tree was of German orgin. Legend has it that a small boy was being sacrificed in front of an oak tree (a sacred "Oak of Odin", it's a druid thing), and an English missionary to Germany stopped the sacrifice by cutting down the oak with an ax. A fir tree grew out of the oak stump and the missionary declared it the tree of life, claiming that it stood for Christ. BTW, candles were supposed to be first put on trees by Martin Luther.

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It's rumored that the first tree was of German orgin. Legend has it that a small boy was being sacrificed in front of an oak tree (a sacred "Oak of Odin", it's a druid thing), and an English missionary to Germany stopped the sacrifice by cutting down the oak with an ax. A fir tree grew out of the oak stump and the missionary declared it the tree of life, claiming that it stood for Christ. BTW, candles were supposed to be first put on trees by Martin Luther.

 

 

"It's rumored..." "Legend has it..." Not exactly evidence, is it?

 

I'm much more inclined to go with this:

With likely origins in European pre-Christian cultures, the Christmas tree has gained an extensive history and become a common sight during the winter season in various countries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree

 

There is no sign of anything resembling a Christmas tree in any Christian culture until Christianity moved into the Germanic parts of Europe, in which there was already a tradition of venerating trees. So, at best, it is a case of taking a pagan tradition and Christianizing it. My position is that most, and probably all, Christmas traditions are exactly that.

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"It's rumored..." "Legend has it..." Not exactly evidence, is it?


I'm much more inclined to go with this:


There is no sign of anything resembling a Christmas tree in any Christian culture until Christianity moved into the Germanic parts of Europe, in which there was already a tradition of venerating trees. So, at best, it is a case of taking a pagan tradition and Christianizing it. My position is that most, and probably all, Christmas traditions are exactly that.

 

Nothing that you wrote contradicts anything that I wrote. And, when you're talking about things like this, all you really have to work with are rumors, legends and conjecture.

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Celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25 pre-dates Aurelian's law that Sol Invictus was to be celebrated on the 25th in 275AD. Its possible that the early church chose this date for some other reason but as we don't know exactly when Sol Invictus first was celebrated on Dec 25th, so no one can say for sure if the church chose that date independantly or co-opted the Roman date. Considering the great amount of holidays that the Roman's celebrated it would be hard to pick a day at that time in the empire that didn't have a celebration attached to it.

 

The christmas tree started after the reformation (supposedly by Martin Luther) if it is a pagan hold over the church waited about 1000 years to get it going.

 

Christmas wreaths and using evergreen boughs started in either the late first century or early second. The wreath symbolizing Jesus' victory over death and the evergreen symbolizing eternal life. Laurel wreaths were a very common motif in the Roman Empire (and ancient Greek) and pre-date the birth of Jesus, but wreaths used for many different reasons and were not a specific pagan religious icon.

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Celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25 pre-dates Aurelian's law that Sol Invictus was to be celebrated on the 25th in 275AD. Its possible that the early church chose this date for some other reason but as we don't know exactly when Sol Invictus first was celebrated on Dec 25th, so no one can say for sure if the church chose that date independantly or co-opted the Roman date. Considering the great amount of holidays that the Roman's celebrated it would be hard to pick a day at that time in the empire that didn't have a celebration attached to it.


The christmas tree started after the reformation (supposedly by Martin Luther) if it is a pagan hold over the church waited about 1000 years to get it going.


Christmas wreaths and using evergreen boughs started in either the late first century or early second. The wreath symbolizing Jesus' victory over death and the evergreen symbolizing eternal life. Laurel wreaths were a very common motif in the Roman Empire (and ancient Greek) and pre-date the birth of Jesus, but wreaths used for many different reasons and were not a specific pagan religious icon.

 

 

Wreaths long predate Christianity. This is much more obviously an adapted tradition. I've long thought that the circular form of the wreath represented the wheel of time, either of the year (the Yule) or the Hindu concept, but I have no evidence to support that.

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Wreaths long predate Christianity. This is much more obviously an adapted tradition. I've long thought that the circular form of the wreath represented the wheel of time, either of the year (the Yule) or the
, but I have no evidence to support that.

 

Even in some Christian circles, the roundness of the wreath signifies the eternity -- no beginning, no end. As far as I know, it's said in those groups to be reminiscent of God, the eternal one. Guess a culture or group can apply it to anything they want. After all, it's just a symbol, a man made thing used to remind them of something.

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The christmas tree started after the reformation (supposedly by Martin Luther) if it is a pagan hold over the church waited about 1000 years to get it going.

 

 

Martin Luther put candles on the tree in attempt to replicate or demonstrate the beauty of the stars in the sky. It's said that he was so moved by the skies on a particular night that he came home and decorated the tree with candles in attempt to show his wife and child how incredible the sky looked. The tree then burned, causing a chain reaction that burned down the entire village, killing everyone. Uhmmm, ok, maybe not the last part, but still....

 

Until Boniface (the missionary), oaks were the primary tree for celebration during that particular season. he ushered in the era of the fir.

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Very little in there about Christmas, and all of it of the "You can't
prove
we adapted it from earlier traditions" type.

 

 

They cover the virgin birth and the magi which is what most people would consider the "traditional" Christmas story. But the simple fact is:

1. We don't the exact date of the birth of Jesus or the year that Sol Invictus was first celebrated on Dec 25th.

2. We don't know what might be actual syncretism or just what I call the "hey that looks cool lets use it" factor. An example of this would be the Hindu swasika and the Nazi swasika. Its the same symbol but with much much different meanings. What the symbol represents is always more important than the symbol

3. Are holiday decorations really so important as to warrent all of this scholarship and discussion?

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Wreaths long predate Christianity. This is much more obviously an adapted tradition. I've long thought that the circular form of the wreath represented the wheel of time, either of the year (the Yule) or the
, but I have no evidence to support that.

 

 

Ha! I always thought the wreath was round because that shape sat on the head better;)

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Even in some Christian circles, the roundness of the wreath signifies the eternity -- no beginning, no end. As far as I know, it's said in those groups to be reminiscent of God, the eternal one. Guess a culture or group can apply it to anything they want. After all, it's just a symbol, a man made thing used to remind them of something.

 

 

True. My point is that there is nothing inherently Christian about it.

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Martin Luther put candles on the tree in attempt to replicate or demonstrate the beauty of the stars in the sky. It's said that he was so moved by the skies on a particular night that he came home and decorated the tree with candles in attempt to show his wife and child how incredible the sky looked. The tree then burned, causing a chain reaction that burned down the entire village, killing everyone. Uhmmm, ok, maybe not the last part, but still....


Until Boniface (the missionary), oaks were the primary tree for celebration during that particular season. he ushered in the era of the fir.

 

 

Why didn't he just take them outside?

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They cover the virgin birth and the magi which is what most people would consider the "traditional" Christmas story. But the simple fact is:

1. We don't the exact date of the birth of Jesus or the year that Sol Invictus was first celebrated on Dec 25th.

2. We don't know what might be actual syncretism or just what I call the "hey that looks cool lets use it" factor. An example of this would be the Hindu swasika and the Nazi swasika. Its the same symbol but with much much different meanings. What the symbol represents is always more important than the symbol

3. Are holiday decorations really so important as to warrent all of this scholarship and discussion?

 

 

I find knowledge interesting for its own sake. Additionally, this time of year, there are some who make a big deal about "the reason for the season" [hint: it's the 23

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True. My point is that there is nothing inherently Christian about it.

 

I guess it depends on whether you're talking about the origins or the symbolism. You'd be hard pressed to find out who made the first wreath -- I'm guessing it was some 14 year old girl who was dragged into a cave by some Cavedude. She was probably just trying to dress up the place with some twigs that were laying by the fire. I think that all we can do is to look at the symbolism and, at that point, I'm not sure that you'll find an absolute right or wrong, just a bunch of guys arguing about which symbolism is best or came first.

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