The sordid underbelly of Christmas past

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Raw Story: When English Puritans outlawed Christmas in 1647, it was not without good reason. When American Puritans, in turn, outlawed Christmas in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681, it too was not without good reason.

Christmas past was anything but innocent. Until the mid-19th century, Christmas was a time for drunkenness and debauchery.

Men dressed like women, women dressed like men, servants dressed like masters, boys dressed like bishops, everyone else either dressed as animals or wore blackface – all to subvert the godly order in the safety of anonymity.

Christmas was a carnival of drink, cross-dressing, violence and lust during which Christians were unshackled from the ethical norms expected of them the rest of the year.



No wonder the Puritans wanted it banned.

The Origins of Christmas Revelry

It was not until the 4th century that the Church of Rome recognised December 25 as the date to celebrate the birth of the messiah. And it did so knowing well that there were no biblical or historical reasons to place Christ’s birth on that day.

There is some evidence the Romans worshipped Sol Invictus, their sun god, on December 25. But what the Romans really celebrated during the month of December was Saturnalia, an end of harvest festival that concluded with the winter solstice.

As historian Stephen Nissenbaum pointed out in his acclaimed The Battle for Christmas, the early Church entered into a compromise: in exchange for widespread celebration of the birth of Christ, it permitted the traditions of Saturnalia to continue in the name of the saviour.

Gambling, as seen here in a fresco from Pompeii, was a hallmark of the Roman celebration of Saturnalia.  Read more…

https://www.rawstory.com/the-sordid-underbelly-of-christmas-past/

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5 COMMENTS

  1. “Men dressed like women, women dressed like men, servants dressed like masters, boys dressed like bishops, everyone else either dressed as animals or wore blackface – all to subvert the godly order in the safety of anonymity.

    Christmas was a carnival of drink, cross-dressing, violence and lust during which Christians were unshackled from the ethical norms expected of them the rest of the year.”

    We need to bring that stuff back.

  2. Most everything Rome had, it grabbed from somewhere else. They should not be consulted about holidays. For much of the world and for at least 7,000 years, the solstice is about the tree, sincere gifting, and lights.
    The christians who converted first, were basically the Trumpers of today. It is no surprise they had no self control.

  3. The present Santa Claus it comes from the hand of artist Fred Mizen that painted a department-store Santa in a crowd drinking a bottle of Coke at 1930’s. Before Mizen drew him as we know today, Santa was a small spooky-looking elf who first appear when cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly in 1862.

    • Modern Santa is a hybrid of Coca Cola advertising, Odin and his eight legged Horse who became the 8 reindeer + Rudolph from the animation, and St Nicholas.

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