The War on Saturnalia
During this traditional winter festival, one hears whining about “the war on Christmas”. Imagine how painful it must be for Fundies when someone smiles and wishes them Happy Holidays. I am sure some of them would rather be kicked in the nuts. I consider this more sensitive course of action, when they spurn my good wishes.
But then I Remember they started the war, and pull back my willing leg at the last moment.
Saturn was the God of Agriculture and had the oldest temple in Rome. Gifts of candles (to symbolize the return of the light), and fruit (an industry grew up making items that looked like fruit) were exchanged. Doorways were decorated with pine boughs and pine trees decorated with sun and star symbols. The list of customs we still observe is a long one.
The winter festival is about the solstice and always has been. Saturnalia was so wildly popular in the Roman world, it seriously hampered Christian recruitment for folks to be asked to give it up. In the year 350 Pope Julius I appropriated Saturnalia by declaring December 25th to be Jesus Birthday and pretty much promised the celebration would continue in the old ways. This was brilliant marketing and you gotta love a Pope who was not above whoring for Jesus.
Then the Church started the War on Saturnalia; a revisionist smear campaign exaggerating the whole festival into one long drunken sex orgy punctuated with projectile vomiting and human sacrifice.
Christians have been loud since the get go. All that running, yelling and screaming at the coliseum over a few oversized kitties… I suppose that was understandable, but they haven’t shut up since. One thing I have learned: if you have known someone for a year or two and wonder about their spiritual beliefs, be confident they are not Christian. Christians have had a few thousand years now to mellow and mature. Ain’t happened yet. Perhaps spiritual evolution is an individual process?
No war was ever fought in the name of Saturn.
Io saturnalia, shed your toga and dance in the streets. The days will now grow longer and warm our homes, our bodies and our fields.