Christmas War is Over (If You Want It)

Now that the annual “War on Christmas” has died down we plunge head-first into New Years celebrations. Will there be any invented friction here? Bill Wangemann, writing for The Sheboygan Press lays out the pagan history of our New-Year festivities.

“There are many traditions related to the New Year. One of the common symbols of the holiday is a newborn baby, which represents a new beginning or a rebirth of the New Year. The tradition of a baby to signifying the celebration actually dates back to Greece in about 600 B.C. The celebration of a New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4,000 years ago. In those distant times, New Year’s began with the first new moon after the vernal equinox (the first day of spring). To people in those long ago days, it made perfect sense to celebrate a New Year and a new beginning on the first day of spring. It is the Romans that we have to thank for New Year’s Day being celebrated on Jan. 1; or more correctly, Julius Caesar. In 46 B.C. he rearranged the calendar, which by that time, was way off sync with the sun so that New Year’s Day fell on Jan. 1. To do this, he had to extend the previous year for 455 days. The early Christian Church banned the celebration of ushering in a new year as a pagan custom. Jan. 1 has been celebrated as a holiday by western nations for only about 400 years.”

Of course Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and some protestant sects are in the midst of the twelve days of Christmas. But these are hardly acknowledged by the popular culture outside of the Christmas carol. So perhaps a temporary truce will be drawn. At least till we get to Easter and the other rites of spring.

Jason Pitzl-Waters

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