Thursday, December 01, 2005

Save the Festive Season

It has come to my attention that the upcoming season of Holy Days of Winter Solstice is under severe threat from cultural extremists and needs a concerted effort to save it.

As we all know, the Winter Solstice Festival, in its various incarnations, was not just a calendar alignment trick, it was essential in completing the year and moving the Sun on. This was serious business back when before we knew about angular momentum conservation.
Further, any excuse to party and eat the food about to spoil, so as to ride out the lean few weeks before Þorrablót offered an excuse to pig out on the pickled foods and other winter stores.

Let's Keep our Festive Yule and make sure we keep wishing all and sundry a wholehearted Gleðileg Jól

The threat comes from many corners, as extremists try to hijack the holy season.

It is perfectly acceptable that other cultures try to assimilate their mid-winter festival into the Yule, and it is in the nature of the Yule itself to be inclusive to all, but let us keep the traditions as they should be.

First of all, it is perfectly proper to wish people Happy HolyDays.

Secondly, Christians: back off.
It is nice that some Pope made the smart move to shift Christ's Mass on the calendar to co-opt Yule and Saturnalia both, but even cursory glances at the Bible shows that there is no friggin' way Jesu ab Joseph Yeshua ben Yosef was born in late december. By all means wish everyone Merry Christmas, but remember this is a secondary and borderline pagan holy day for you, and stick with the primary festival of Easter. Just remember that Passover came first; and that the spring festival of Eostre blends nicely in with Páska - eggs, bunnies and chicks are pagan celebreations of spring, think fertility rites. All Hail the Goddess.
Solemn fasting is what goes with the actual Good Friday and ensuing solemnities. Just give the chocolate to your less devout friends.

Ok, ground rules: Saint Nicklaus's day is December 6th. He rides a white horse and his red cape is ankle length. He has a side kick, gifts go in shoes, not socks, and naughty kids get coal. You need to leave out carrots as well as cookies and imbibing fluids (milk/cocoa/brandy, whatever works).

Father Christmas is mythical, and he doesn't drink Coca Cola. If you want to be literal, he'd be Yehovah in some incarnation, so keep the beard and lose the red suit.

If you want Winter Solstice Gift Givers to wear red & white short fur coats, have reindeer and come down chimneys, you're talking about Finnish shamen. Don't fuck with them either. Jólapúkinn (Joulupukki) lives in Lapland, which is only approximately the North Pole, if you're far enough away.

Elves are good; but there are (variously) 9 or 13 Jólasveinar (christmas elves or "Nisser" if you prefer) and they are not Good, they are at best Agents of Chaos. Remember, their mother eats bad children, and the christmas cat is evil.
But, hey, if they were good enough for St Birgitta, they're good enough for you.

Jól has 13 days, pivoting on 25th Dec (ok, so their astronomy sucked in the Dark Ages, but you wanna wait a few days after winter solstice anyway, just to make sure).
If you want elves, the first one comes 12 days before christmas and they leave in order starting on christmas.

The proper way to dispose of a christmas tree is to burn it, like a flag, reverently and with ceremony, on the 13th day of christmas (that'd be Jan 6th, another day co-opted by Christianity, please do join in).
How else are we to make sure the Sun will complete its circuit for the next year?
This is great neighbourhoodactivity, pile them all together, suitably far from houses etc, they'll be perfectly dry by then.

For obvious reasons, plastic christmas trees are an abomination.
I don't care if they are convenient.
Talk about missing the point!

Christmas trees are not a Christian symbol, though you're welcome to stick a star or angel on top if it makes you feel better.
An elegant spire will work just as well though.

If zoning, fire risk (californians note) or air quality (ditto) are an issue, then reverently dispose of you evergreen in an ecological manner. Chippers are good. Phoebe was an idiot.

Bah, humbug.

Oh, and Happy Holidays All!
Remember to eat your Putrid Skate on the Feast of St Thorlacius!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Not to lecture you at a culturally sensitive moment,
but unless the Christian messiah had a son named
Joseph he would certainly not be referred to
Jesu ab Joseph. Yeshua ben Yosef would be closest,
or Jesu ben Joseph if you insist on latinizing the

Happy Chanukah.


10:40 AM  
Blogger Steinn said...

I stand humbly corrected. Although, you never know what he got up to with Mary of Magdalena...
Clearly another cultural thing where the Scandihoovian way of doing things is intrinsically superior.

I'd say that lecturing people at culturally sensitive moments is in fact optimal, as it often represents a tipping point; but I don't want to get called to the Harrisburg Star Chamber for interrogations about possible insensitivity to the oppressed, so therefore I will not say that. (Hey, if it works for Cheney, it should work for me).

Have a Quality Kwanzaa.

PS I just become consciously aware (as opposed to having known it all my life but never made the connection) of the fact that the "advent" lights that are traditional in Iceland are 7 candles in a V shaped candleholder (as distinct to the other tradition 4 candles in a circle lit on successive sundays). That sounds real familiar... almost like a tradition adopted from some other culture.

PPS Looks like I really confused Google's adsense now. Although it was interesting to see that the highest click-through is on the winter gear advertisers. Looks like everybody likes North Face this year.
I can never decide whether I should wish that people would click on the ubiquitious crackpot ads advertising physics breakthroughs and theories of everything, morally ambiguous issue.

10:54 AM  

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