Well, I’ve been so focused on business lately that I have not given you a dose of my life. My husband and I recently went to Pakistan to visit his family. When we came home, we brought his parents with us. They are lovely people and we are enjoying their visit immensely.
However…I am not one who plays well with other children. I am quite selfish, and I prefer things to be my way…always my way! There have been lots of compromises and I am also not very good at that. Why is this important? Well, for you it really isn’t, but for me it is very important. You see, a couple years ago I converted from Christianity to Islam. It was a wonderful decision and one I don’t have any regrets about. It has made a huge positive impact on my life. The point…
I miss Christmas. I made a choice to stop celebrating Christmas because of the religious implications. Then I started doing some research and discovered some things about this particular holiday that I had always suspected, but never took the time to investigate. So, armed with a small bit of information, I concluded what I had actually known for years. Christmas isn’t, nor has it been, a religious holiday for me.
Missing Christmas has made me quite irritable and sad. It also makes me difficult to get along with. So, I think the safest thing for me to do is to go to a happy place. But since that is not possible, I have made a decision.
What is Christmas? For me it is Santa Claus, holiday parties, twinkling decorations, and presents. Lots of presents. SO what am I basing thins on?
So where did it begin?
Over 4000 years ago, the Mesopotamians celebrated each new year with a 12-day festival, called Zagmuth. The Mesopotamians, who believed in many gods, held this festival in support of their chief god, Marduk, because they believed that he battled the monsters of chaos at the beginning of each winter. It is from this festival that the 12 days of Christmas is believed to have originated.
So how did they celebrate?
The ancient Romans held a celebration each year in honor of their god Saturn. The festival, which they called Saturnalia, began in the middle of December and lasted until the first of January. The Romans decorated their homes with garlands, as well as trees upon which they hung candles. During the festival the citizens of Rome would visit each other’s homes and hold great feasts. One of the theories of how the tradition of the giving of Christmas gifts came about was from the Roman practice of exchanging gifts between family and neighbors during the festival of Saturnalia to promote good luck.
What does it have to do with Jesus?
One theory about the evolution of the winter celebrations to the celebration of the birth of Jesus is that the Roman emperor Constantine, who converted to Christianity, wanted to incorporate the pagan winter rituals together with the celebration of Jesus’ birth. In this way, Constantine hoped to help both pagans and Christians celebrate together. Many believe that this is the reason for celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25th.
With all of this in mind, I am returning to the old ways and will once again be celebrating Christmas. Not for religious reasons, but…well hell, for the awesome decorations and presents. LOTS of presents.
Most of these celebrations seem to have mixed origins. I like the Winter Solstice and the Druid trees. We should all be free to celebrate in our own way and according to our beliefs–as long as it’s in peace, I’m happy with it. 🙂
You GO, girl! Even Constantine’s machinations were purely political–so why not reclaim the secular side of the season? 🙂
Ain’t nothing wrong with exchanging presents, be ye Christian, Muslim, or none of the above. Whatever one’s religious persuasion or historical view of Christmas, peace on earth, goodwill toward men is a powerful and positive message.
And really, now. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate the birth of Santa Claus?
Aye, don’t get your knickers twisted. I read it, and I had heard the theory on the pagan thing, but never paid it any heed because I was raised a Christian and you just believe. No questions asked. Unfortunately, the no questions thing did not work out so well for me. As you know, I am a question kind of gal and when I began asking, I was actually asked not to return to a church. Yup. True story.
I found another church that was considerably more welcoming, but they also pushed the questions aside and shushed me. I loved the church I grew up in and I made some truly wonderful friends there. I also learned a lot about myself, but I wanted to learn more and even now I have problems with the “just believe,” approach.
I was just using my Blog to share my new decision with everyone, because I am quite certain this has been weighing heavily on all of your minds.
You weren’t aware that it was a snow job by the missionaries to convert the pagans? I thought everyone knew that. The easiest way to convert people is to graft your holidays onto theirs and then get them to forget the original. Rebirth/renewal holidays are everywhere, so it’s easy to graft that festival onto almost anything. If the shepherds were out with their flocks then the birth of Christ wouldn’t have been in the winter somewhere.
It also means you didn’t read my story ‘Bite Deep’, which tells of the really original ceremony, the one the pagans stole from the vampires.
I think I should add something here. I do not begrudge anyone their reason for celebrating Christmas. Everyone has different views of the world and what we do in it, so please don’t think I am belittling the religions reasons people celebrate. I just choose not to. I respect everyone’s freedom to choose.