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"Jesus is the reason for the season..."

To be honest, that phrase has always bugged me - but then, Christmas has never been religious as far as I'm concerned - rather, completely secular. I mean, sure, for some people it *is* religious, but the whole tree/stockings/Santa thing has nothing at all to do with Jesus. People are nicer to each other (unless they're in retail, or *shopping*). People are more tolerant. People are more considerate. (Look at Scrooge!) And more people celebrate that than go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

For one thing, Santa is European folklore, not biblical excerpt. The "Saint" Nicholas thing was retconned into it later on. Santa's from the Laplands, for crying out loud. Reindeers!
And the tree - the tree's all about Yule, which is a *Pagan* holiday. But every church I've ever peeked into around Xmas is bedecked with dead trees (uck, but that's another story) and shiny things. I'm amused by the irony of a Catholic church decorating with Pagan symbolism. ;)

...I admit ignorance about the origin of the stockings.

"Jesus is the reason for the season", huh? Apparently not, if they're no longer allowed to sing The Twelve Days of Christmas on Canada Post commercials anymore (it's The Twelve Days of *Giving* now). Yeesh. Political corectness *can* go too far.
For example, if you buy a Christmas tree now, they call it a "Seasonal" tree, instead. Because they don't want to offend any prospective customers who don't celebrate Christmas (Don't even *try* to reason that one out...).
Now if only they would tell me which season they meant... o.O


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2002 02:27 am (UTC)
probably mangling this...
Christmas trees themselves were German, iirc.

And, yah. Pagan traditions. A lot. Because those early Christians were like, "Dude, we're so cool, we'll steal your traditions, so you believe we're just like you!"

Or something like that. Really. The Catholic church, etc, sort of looked the other way, 'cause it was more paritioners who were paying tithe/taxes and such. I think.

But then, I'm probably bastardizing a lot. And, well. I have no memory of why the whole stockings thing.
Dec. 6th, 2002 10:09 am (UTC)
I thought the stocking thing related to the legend of some guy (Santa?) throwing money down a poor guy's chiminy and it landed in the socks hung by the fireplace. But why would you throw money down a chiminy that had a fire in in the fireplace? And if it didn't, why would you be hanging your socks by it? I would assume the reason for hanging them was to dry them...Ah, that's all I know.

I'm a Christian and I celebrate Christmas as the time of Christ's birth (Funny thing, yes it was a pagan holiday that was stolen, Christ's real B-Day would be in Septmeber, iirc.) and I don't have a Christmas tree (not for any reason, I just don't.) and I don't believe in Santa. When I have kids they won't believe in Santa either, but they will know the nice story about him and all and get pics taken and all that.

Sorry Chandri if I'm coming across at all badly, I was just commenting, not trying to push my views or argue or anything.
Dec. 9th, 2002 02:58 pm (UTC)
"According to legend, the custom of hanging up stockings during Christmas began all the way back in the 4th century with St. Nicholas. The story told is about a nobleman who was once rich and powerful, but then came into hard times. Whether rich or poor, he was always kindly and generous to his fellow man.

His wife had passed away and he was left with a daughter who he loved very much, but could not provide her with a dowry. Without the dowry, she could not marry, which made them both very sad.

Nicholas heard of the troubles of the nobleman and one night, during the Christmas season, Nicholas threw a bag of gold through the man's window. The bag of gold landed in one of the girl's stockings that had been hung up to dry. The gold was just enough to be used as her dowry.

Since then, Children have hung their stockings up each Christmas Eve in the hope of finding treasure in them in the morning...

Another variation of the origin of this custom is related to Santa Claus. One Christmas Night, after visiting a house he was going back up the chimney when several gold coins fell out of his pocket and landed inside the children's stockings which been placed by the fire to dry."


At least that's what the Internet says. The Internet is never wrong.
Dec. 10th, 2002 08:15 pm (UTC)
About the christmas tree:
More of a practical tradition, really. For the cold climat in which this tradition started, winter was the approx 3-5 month period in which no outside air was to circulate inside one's household. The evergreen was brought into use as a primitive air-freshener...

About the giving of presents:
Not entirely sure who started this one (the Germans, I think - through it probably would have been the Prussians at the time seeing as Germany didn't exist yet)...

The gist of it is that, every year after summer, the sun would start to rise lower and lower in the sky. What would stop it from lowering so far that it never rose again? Not much in the eyes of the people who started this tradition. Miraculously, towards the end of winter, people would notice that the sun had started to rise higher in the sky meaning that, yet again, they been spared some appochalyptic level event...Joy, joy...Hurrah, hurrah...let's celebrate and give everyone gifts. (Later the date of this giving would have been standardized to the current day of giving)

A couple issues related to the post by morbidmachine...
1)The majority of legends are twisted (romanticized) to make nobles look good and honorable...A good example of this being the concept of a 'knight in shining armor' putting their own life at stake to save a damsel in distress without alterior motives.

2)It seems unlikely that the noble of a particular area would fall on hard times without the entire area falling into financial crisis as the said noble reached further into the common people's pockets to support their own lifestyle (common people were regarded by nobles as sub-human, so they paid little heed to their well being). A generous noble, at the time, was the kind that didn't kill you for looking at them funny. Having said all this, it seems rater hard to believe that anyone would have the means or motivation to throw a entire sac of gold through the window of their noble. (by far the richest person in the area)

More believable are the folk tales I have heard regarding the said honorary saint throwing a couple coins through the windows of random common people's houses to help them through a lifetime of financial difficulty brought on by their noble. Somewhat like Robin Hood except that I have heard no mention of Nicholas taking from the rich. Mind you, if Nicholas were a bonified member of the clergy, it *is* possible that, to resist the greed and corruption that had consumed the church, he was re-distributing money taken by the church. (Did you know that if people didn't give their money to the church, they were excommunicated from their area? Aside from the local nobles, the clergy were often the richest people in the area)

2) Since marriges were arranged political manuevers, I doubt the daughter could have cared less. Ahh, dowry...the church's way of saying, "Your daughter's in love, you say! Then pay us lots of money!"...Similar to that period in I-don't-remember-which-century wherein people had to pay for the right to go to the mythical divine location they call 'heaven'...like buying tickets to an ACDC concert (crudeness intended)

I could include more in this post (I really kinda wrote it on the fly) but I have pressing matters to attend to...

I would sign this post but none of you know who I am...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Chandri MacLeod

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