Let’s clear the air here. When it comes to our American traditions we have nothing that belongs to us. Everything is a sick and twisted version of the truth that has been so distorted that we don’t believe the truth when it’s pointed directly at us.

For a quick and easy example: A Quick Google Search of “where do wedding traditions come from” This comes up with a page full of lore and tradition. Lets for The sake of just curiosity and example, click the top link. Which ends up being this one right here. http://www.bridallinks.com/articles.asp?artID=14

Now as you go through this you see that nothing as far as you thought you knew as far as wedding traditions are concerned are actually accurate. Everything is distorted from the truth.

Holidays are no exception to the rule.

Halloween starts what I call “5 months of hell” Between Oct 31st and March 15th we have 5 pretty significant holidays. Now let’s look at the root of two of the most significant holidays. Halloween and Christmas.  I skip Thanksgiving because the American public at large also skip this holiday when it comes to this season. Skip it as in “it’s minor and doesn’t matter as much.”  Well. True or not, the premise is the same. It is about time spend with your family to give thanks for what you have. Supposedly, this hasn’t changed short of wither or not we’re thankful for our family. Which for many years I wasn’t, and I didn’t care. This has changed some recently but it doesn’t change the fact that millions of households have their Christmas trees and lights up WELL before Thanksgiving. Because it’s the MORE important holiday… obviously. You know, birth of a fictional god and that stuff. (insert eye roll here.) Just as a side note, I had my Christmas lights up before Thanksgiving this year. And honestly it’ll be the first, and last year that will *EVER* happen. I  did my husbandly duty and kept a promise to my wife. The rest is moot.

Now Halloween, Commonly known has “All hallows eve” But.. Seeing that it’s called “Hallows eve” it would seem to suggest that the real attention should be on the following day November 1st. Which in some religions and countries is the new year and the celebrated “day of the dead”

So the attention is cleary on the wrong day. The correct day is Nov 1th. The 30th of October  In Detroit this Is known as devils night, the city used to have a tradition of being lit up on fire. Pyromaniacs would start the old warehouses out of protest and ignite the city.

The origins of Halloween is from the celts who lived some 2,000 years ago in an area now called Ireland, UK, north part of France. They celebrated their new year on November 1st. (Day of the dead) This day marked as the last day of summer and their harvest and the beginning of their new year.  It also marked as the beginning of the dark cold winter in a time of year that was often associated with Human death. The Celts believed that on the night before the new year the ethereal lines between the world of the living and the world of the dead became blurred. On Oct 31st they celebrated a holiday called “Samhain” it was believed that ghosts of the dead rose from the earth from the graves from which they were buried. They believed that often they just caused trouble. Celts believed that due to the sheer amount of presence of the ghostly presences would make it easier for druids and Celtic priests to make predictions about the future.  For a people who lived in a very wild world these prediction were their only comfort during the long winter months.

To celebrate they would build huge bonfires where people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to Celtic gods.  During this celebration they wore costumes make of animal skins, then they would re-lit their hearth fires in their homes from flames from the sacred fires thinking that it would protect them from the coming winter.  Having your fire go out in your home was a bad omen.

It remained this way until the Romans came and took the vast majority of the Celtic Territory, in the course of the hundreds of years that the Romans had control of the lands the Roman traditions were merged with the Celtic tradition. The First day of the now two day festival was the Roman festival of Feralia day. The day where the Romans celebrated the passing of the season. The second day was Pomona the Roman Goddess of Fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona  is the apple and Incorporation of the this celebration into the Samhain tradition would go far to explain the current tradition of bobbing for apples.

Before too long the Influence of Christianity had spread into the Celtic lands, And the Catholic church declared it as a day to honor saints and Martys. This was done to replace the tradition of the Celtic festival of the dead with the related but now “Church sanctioned” Holiday. The holiday was renamed to All-hallows or all-hallowmas. The night before the Traditional Samhain tradition, would be referred to All hallows eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas. Therefore Changing the face of this tradition to as we know it.

Again, was this ours to begin with? No, it was the Celts, Distorted by time and repeated take-overs from hostile countries seeking power.

This is just one holiday.

Christmas isn’t much of a different story to be honest.

It’s a time known for shopping, and for Christian people, The Birth of Jesus. However History proves to us that this in fact incorrect. This holiday has been around long before Jesus’ Birth. The earilst form of Christmas was from the Norse, who moved evergreens in doors as reminders of life and set logs on fire as a promise of good fortune. The romans tradition was A week before the Winter solcitce (December 21th ) began celebrating,  with food and drink in honor of Saturn the god of agriculture.  People would go caroling in the streets for money, Decorate their homes with evergreens. This day was often feared through mythical means due to it being the longest night time period of the year. However, there is some differing opinions on this. As some Romans seems to be particularly segmented to Solders and Political figures would honor Mithras the sun god. Who’s birthday was to be believed to be on December 25th and was to be the holiest day of the year. As the time went on the pagan traditions were challenged, as Christianity took hold throughout the empire. Now the bible date of when Christ was actually born isn’t actually known as the bible does not specify a timeline.  Since Pagan Rome  already celebrated the Birth of the sun god believed to be the holiest of all gods on December 25th The catholic Church adopted the birth of the Christ child on that day. To incorporate their beliefs onto the pagan Romans traditions. In the 4th Century the Catholic Church made it official declaring it as it fest day of the nativity. The church new that it could not completely outlaw the festivals of the Romans traditions of Christmas so it came to attempt to alter it to their own. They would allow the Roman Traditions to continue up to the 21st of December, so long as the Birth of Jesus on December 25th was observed. The Evergreens that were brought indoors were decorated with apples. Signifying the garden of Eden.

The story of Santa clause begins in that same time period (sometime in the 4th century.) with the death of St. Nicholas. A Turkish bishop, the anniversary of his death became known as Saint Nicholas day Dec 6th. Where good children would wake up to Gifts, and bad children received nothing.  In the early 1800’s in America a poem was written. The Night before Christmas. This seemed to solidify the holiday for what it was. There was no description of what Santa Clause and his image was highly debated. This was to be settled by a cartoonist who drew a rendition of the man he envisioned to be Santa Clause with a full white beard a jolly face and a sack full of toys. And a new American icon was created.  This became essential to link Santa Clause to shopping.

However, The biblical Connection between the Day of Christ Birth, and the pagan traditions, and the Christian traditions incorporated into the already existing pagan holidays, makes for fuzzy logic in celebration a day that some religions have promised to have happened. When there is in fact no direct connection Scientists and scholars have come up with an estimate that Christs birth was actually in September.

Now the thing that fascinates me, is before “Christ’s birth “ was noted In the old testament. there is a passage from the prophet Jeremiah Condemned the Tradition.  (Jeremiah 10:2-4)  of decorating Christmas trees.

Do we really have any traditions of our own? Not really, we steal what most people have and borrow it and then alter it to our own thoughts. Me.. I’m pagan by choice, I always had a really difficult time with the stories and the reasons for celebrating these holidays. I grew up in a very Christian home. But being different I questioned everything I was taught, and as I got older I found that many things I thought I knew, were wrong. They didn’t make sense.

Christmas is a holiday celebrated for different reasons by different people, my reason is for my wife and kids. They like the holiday, so I participate. It is only for them that I do so. I however have found that learning new things about the origins of where things have come from has created in me a low tolerance for those who want to force their beliefs on me and my family. Sure Christain beliefs has it’s benefits, but with that we need to learn tolerance for others. We can’t just expect others to have our beliefs because of where we live or how we were raised. It’s one thing to ask if they want to participate in a Christian event, it’s another entirely it have an expectation that we will because we were raised in it. We grow we learn, if we do not adapt our lives to what we learn then we become hypocrites of ourselves and hate in others what we hate in ourselves. A a life full of self loathing an hate, brings only self created misery.
(Footnote credit:  I found a lot of this information on www.religioustolerance.org and www.history.com, so giving credit where credit is due they did the initial research I just read it and expanded my mind.)
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