Well Then...

Re: I'm wishing a generic non-religious happy holidays season's greetings to you all.. -- Iron Worker
Posted by CPMariner , Mon, Dec 25, 2017, 11:10:02 Post ReplyTop of ThreadReviews by CPMarinerFirst Amendment Message BoardMain BigDoggie.net site

Felix Saturnalia!

It's just a theory among historians - but a sound one, I think - that it's no coincidence that the celebration of Christmas coincides with the ancient Roman holiday of the Saturnalia.

The Saturnalia was a celebration of the winter solstice, and also a convenient way to correct the Roman Lunar calendar so that it wouldn't eventually snow in July and the first robin of spring wouldn't arrive in November.

Depending on how many days were lost during the year by use of the Lunar calendar, the Saturnalia could last for anywhere from 10 to 25 days, during which everyone was expected to party, and no business was to be conducted. (The Saturnalian days didn't even have names.)

And those Romans knew how to party! (See attached statuary photo for the general idea)

The ancient Christians, on the other hand, took a more somber view of things. There appears to have come a time when one or more of them decided it would be nice to celebrate the birth of their Savior. There was a problem, however, respecting the date of that birth, or even the season of it. Nobody knew, and the Scriptures were silent about it.

Most histories have it that it was St. Ambrose who first wrote Si Feuris Romae, Romano vivito more (When in Rome, do as the Romans do) applicable to an unrelated matter, but it seems reasonable to at least consider the possibility that the Saturnalia was chosen for the Christian "nativity celebration" so as to, well, "do as the Romans do"... but without the orgies, gladiatorial displays, excessive imbibing of ardent sprits, wife swapping and so forth.

In other words, the ancient "Chretians" chose the Saturnalia so as to "fit in" with the general celebrations already occurring.

(The time of Easter, by the way, fits nicely into the Saxon celebration of "Eoster", a rite of spring that generally resulted in a minor population explosion during the ensuing January, or thereabouts ;-)

So there you have it. Merry Christmas. Feliz Navidad. Felix Saturnalia. (The "Santa" part of it is, however, pure pagan... the Nordic celebration of Yule.)

CP, with a kindly wink to all ;-)

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