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Thread: Looking for the missing link please

  1. #1

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    Default Looking for the missing link please

    If anyone can help me please please give me somewhere to go or to the answers I am seeking.

    Christmas - I know the church took over a celebration of something but what? What other aspects of Christmas were "borrowed/stolen/whatever" from the origins of the celebration before they were what they are today.

    Other symbolisims etc used - so fir trees, wreaths, candles, oils (Frankinsense and Myrrh, sp?) Stars .... anything??

    I believe that there is no actual record of jesus being born ON 25th Dec, I have been told recently that nowhere in the bible does it actually mention this date as being significant in any way shape or form. I heard recently that the classic songs about sheppards watching their flocks etc would indicate a different time of year because the farmers would herd their sheep into or down from the hills (cannot remember the specifics) by the end of October before the onset of their winter?...

    I could be wrong about that, it was just something that was said in passing but its really got me wondering about the origins if what was actually celebrated/ how and why it was celebrated - away from Christianity so much of this sort of stuff has been weighing on my mind as I find my path.

    I am waffling now. I just want to ensure I am teaching my child truth, and to know that while vast majority celebrate "CHristmas" as a Christian celebration that before there was Christianity there were other celebrations for other reasons ... which I think is important to recognise .....


    Just as Halloween - but thats a whole other thread ( I like the idea of a feast to honour the dead)

    Hoping someone out there can make some sense of this thread LOL

    Nae x

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    Yule, is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider.

    Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun, the boughs were symbolic of immortality, the wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly, mistletoe, and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes. It was to extend invitation to Nature Sprites to come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to pay visit to the residents.

    The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder's land, or given as a gift... it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smoulder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out (12 days of christmas). Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.

    A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be the type that is used as a base to hold three candles. Find a smaller branch of oak or pine, and flatten one side so it sets upright. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season), green, gold, and black (the Sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Continue to decorate with greenery, red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour.

    Deities of Yule are all Newborn Gods, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Triple Goddesses. The best known would be the Dagda, and Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda. Brighid taught the smiths the arts of fire tending and the secrets of metal work. Brighid's flame, like the flame of the new light, pierces the darkness of the spirit and mind, while the Dagda's cauldron assures that Nature will always provide for all the children.

    Symbolism of Yule:
    Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.

    Symbols of Yule:
    Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.

    Herbs of Yule:
    Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.

    Foods of Yule:
    Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb's wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).

    Incense of Yule:
    Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

    Colours of Yule:
    Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.

    Stones of Yule:
    Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.

    Activities of Yule:
    Carolling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honouring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule

    Spellworkings of Yule:
    Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.

    Deities of Yule:
    Goddesses: Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother.
    Gods: Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon.
    Last edited by Sopdet; October 28th, 2011 at 07:07 PM.

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    Winter Solstice the time when the Sun returns after the winter's cold and darkness.

    In pre-Christian Northern Europe this festival was called Yule. The celebration of Yule predates the Christian holiday by thousands of years.

    The etymology of the word Yule has been the object of much debate. Some believe it to be derived from the old Anglo-Saxon word Iul, which means wheel, and connected to the Celtic concept of the Wheel of the Year. Other linguists say that this interpretation is unlikely, since the word for Yule, which they spell Yehwla, predates the invention of the wheel by more than a thousand years. Still others have attempted to trace the word to Julius Caesar, or to Jolnir, which is another name for the Norse god Odin.

    In the Northern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 or 22, and practitioners of neo-pagan religions there celebrate Yule at the same time as the Christians celebrate Christmas.

    In the Southern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs on June 22 or 23.

    Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25 when historical and biblical evidence indicate that Jesus Christ was not born on December 25, but in the Spring? A common theory is that the Christian church designated this date as the day of Christ's birth to coincide with the Roman Saturnalia festival and the Northern European pagan midvinter solstice celebrations, in order to "facilitate" the conversion of "heathens."

    Most so-called Christmas traditions are rooted deep in ancient Yule rituals.

    The Vikings decorated the yulelog, usually a large oak log with sprigs of fir, holly, or yew. They carved runes on it to call on the Gods to protect from misfortune in the coming year. A piece of the previous year's Yule log was used to light the new log, and a piece of the log was always saved to protect the home during the coming year, and to use to light next year's fire. Today, most know the Yulelog as a sweet edible.

    Even the Christmas tree also goes back to pre-Christian times. The Vikings decorated evergreen trees with pieces of food and clothes, small statues of the Gods, carved runes, etc., to entice the tree spirits to come back in the spring. The Romans also decorated trees with trinkets and candles at the Saturnalia festival.

    Ancient myths also surround the mistletoe. The Vikings believed it could resurrect the dead, a belief connected to a legend about the resurrection of Balder, the Sun God.

    The Druids considered holly a sacred plant and believed that woodland spirits lived in it during winter time.

    In ancient Rome, holly was the sacred plant of the Saturn, the god of sowing and harvest, and during the Saturnalia festival, holly was used to decorate homes, palaces and marketplaces in honour of Saturn. Romans also sent gifts of holly boughs to friends during the Saturnalia time.

    Santa Claus is a combination of several pre-Christian legends. His origins have been traced back to Odin, who was depicted as a wise old man with a beard, riding on his eight-legged horse Sleipner. Another pre-Christian Santa forebear appeared at British, and later Saxon, pagan midwinder festivals. The Saxons called him Father Time, King Frost or King Winter and he was represented by an actor dressed in a green hooded cloak, wearing a wreath of holly, ivy or mistletoe.

    The Yule Goat is an old Scandinavian Christmas symbol, whose origins may go back to the legend about Thundergod Thor who rode in the sky in a wagon pulled by two goats. In the 19th century, the goat became the giver of gifts, with a person dressing up as a goat, a character later replaced with "jultomten" (Santa Claus). Today, Yule Goats made of straw are common Christmas decorations in Scandinavian homes.

    The European Christmas ham is a heritage from Viking times, when a wild boar was killed and sacrificed to the god Frey to assure a good spring. The meat was cooked and eaten at the mid-winter festival. This was accompanied by the burning of a giant Sunwheel, which was put on fire and rolled down a hill, to entice the Sun to return.

    Today, neo-pagan, or Earth religions, are bringing many of the old customs back to life.

    From ancient times to the present day, the sun and its light has been celebrated by people all over the Planet.

    In ancient Egypt, the Feast of the Burning Lamps honored the gods Isis and Osiris.

    In ancient Rome, the Solstice Celebration was called Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the Roman god of harvest.

    The Hindu holiday Diwali, meaning Rows of Lighted Lamps, is celebrated like Christmas with decorating of homes, eating of sweets, etc., and is the most important festival in India. Different regions attach different legends to it, telling about deities winning victory over demons, symbolizing the victory of good over evil.

    At the Jewish Hanukkah in December, one candle is lit for each day of an eight-day Feast of Lights.

    The Chinese new year, usually celebrated in January or February, is based on a legend where fireworks and lanterns were used to chase away a dragon that came out of the Yellow River.

    In Thailand, Loy Krathong, which means "Festival of Floating Leaf Cups", has been celebrated for over 6,000 years. Leaf shaped boats with candles burning on them are launched into rivers to take away sins and grant good wishes for the new year.

    The ancient Incas celebrated Inti Raymi, where the Sun god Wiracocha, was honoured. The festival was banned by the Catholic church in the 16th century. Quecia Indians in Cusco, Peru, revived the festival about 1950, and it is now a major festival.

    Native North Americans have celebrated both Solstices and equinoxes from ancient times, as shown by many stone structures aligned with the position of the Sun. The Pueblo tribes celebrate the Winter Solstice with rites focusing on Spring and rebirth. The Hopi Indians' Soyal ceremony lasts for 20 days and includes purification rituals, blessings and feasting. Other Native American winter celebrations include the Bear Dance, the Feather Dance and the Navajo Night Chant.
    Last edited by Sopdet; October 28th, 2011 at 07:11 PM.

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    YOU ARE A LEGEND!!

    You should make this sticky somehow ... and do one for all the celebrations like you have nothing else to do with your time

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    I'm working on them

    With Beltane coming up on Monday (nthrn hemisphere it would be Samhain) will do one on the weekend for that

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    wow Sopdet, that is soooo interesting.

    Good question Nae, glad you asked it.

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    In Celtic traditions, it is said that when they were "conquered" by the Christians they were allowed to keep 2 holidays, Yule and Ostara which then were borrowed by the Christians to make their religion more palatable for the Pagans. As a result we have Christmas & Easter.
    Last edited by Sopdet; October 28th, 2011 at 07:58 PM. Reason: Thanks Nae :)

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    Would that then be Christmas and Easter as we know them today?

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    How did the church not wipe out Halloween ?? was it not considered special enough to destroy with something else? OR does that where the origins of all things spooky and devil related come from?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NaeNae View Post
    Would that then be Christmas and Easter as we know them today?
    Yes fixed it (sorry was being distracted by LL Cool J on NCIS while posting on here )

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    Quote Originally Posted by NaeNae View Post
    How did the church not wipe out Halloween ?? was it not considered special enough to destroy with something else? OR does that where the origins of all things spooky and devil related come from?
    Will post a Samhain thread tomorrow as well as a Beltane one (look at my wheel of the year thread http://www.bellybelly.com.au/forums/...l-year-171650/)

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    This is really interesting.

    My understanding is that Christianity also adopted Samheim as the night of the dead and renamed it Allhallows/ feast of all saints. Halloween is Hallow's e'en or evening, the night before All Hallows. All Saints Day and All Souls Day are times to honour the dead, pray for their souls etc. Different versions of Christianity and different nationalities have their own ways of observing these days. It was/is believed that the souls of the dead can reach earth at midnight on All Saints Day. Hence, the tradition of fearing/observing ghosts etc. which is how halloween started.

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    With regard to Christ's birthday, my understanding was one of the reasons the fish is predominant in Christianity was because Jesus was a Pisces. That is, he was born late February-late March.

    I have no idea about the validity of that theory. I dont know if that astroloical system was in use 2000 years ago. Obviously the calendar is different, but the stars still turn in their season, whatever name we give each time of year.

    One thing I'm curious about is why the Immaculate Conception is celebrated 8 Dec. the maths doesnt work. I might ask a Christian about it some time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LionsandBears View Post

    One thing I'm curious about is why the Immaculate Conception is celebrated 8 Dec. the maths doesnt work. I might ask a Christian about it some time.
    I think it might be because the Immaculate Conception is not actually the conception of Christ. The Catholic Church believes that Mary had to be born without sin to be able to be the mother of Christ (because everyone is born with original sin because of Eve) so this is the festival of her conception as a soul born 'immaculate' of sin. Catholics refer to the conception of Jesus as the Virgin Birth. It is a very common misconception (excuse the pun!!!) even amongst CAtholics!


    Oh and the fish reference is the Fisher of men and I think from memory a couple of his disciples were fishermen. There was also the miracle of the fish, where Jesus told the fishermen (his disciples I think...long time since Sunday School!!!) to cast their nets out when they thought there would be no catch and they caught alot of fish....or something.
    Last edited by Loveinamist; October 29th, 2011 at 08:14 AM. Reason: forgot something!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LionsandBears View Post
    With regard to Christ's birthday, my understanding was one of the reasons the fish is predominant in Christianity was because Jesus was a Pisces. That is, he was born late February-late March.
    .
    That actually makes some logical sense in regards to the timing of the year in relation to the shepards watching their flocks by night ... they would be in open exposed fields during the spring and summer months not the winter period in December (nothern hemisphere)


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