in the spirit of Bill Nye

DID YOU KNOW…

this actually has nothing to do with the discussion danielle and I had earlier today about something not entirely unrelated but not really the same. also, don’t forget, it’s chad’s fault for interfering with natural selection.

DID YOU KNOW…

Marcus Aurelius is credited as establishing the festival to celebrate the birth of the sun, otherwise known as the Syrian god Sol, on the winter solstice.

DID YOU KNOW…

early christian writers up and decided “hey! the ‘birth of the unconquered sun’ as celebrated by the Romans on the solstice seems like a good day to say jesus was born”.

DID YOU KNOW…

early christians in Egypt celebrated the nativity on the day of the Egyptian calendar that corresponds to May 20. conversely, a later christian calendar of feasts points to the nativity being celebrated on march 28.

DID YOU KNOW…

in the early years of 300 BCE christian writers ridiculed the idea of celebrating the birthday of gods. in the mid 300s BCE jesus decided to be born on january 6th.

DID YOU KNOW…

christmas was not an important christian or catholic holiday or feast for another 500 years. it took another 200 years for the semblance of celebration and gluttony we are now so familiar with to show up. during this time the acts of gift giving (stolen from the roman celebration of Saturnalia), greenery and lights (stolen from the Roman new year), and making copious amounts of food and yule logs (stolen from germanic solstice festivals) became prominent.

DID YOU KNOW…

in the middle ages caroling was initially seen as lewd behaviour.

DID YOU KNOW…

in the mid 1600s Puritanical Christians began a parliamentary campaign to stop the celebration of christmas because it held too many roots in pagan festivals. Christmas was successfully banned in 1647. and not reinstated until 1660. In the american colonies, celebration of christmas was banned from 1659 to 1681.

DID YOU KNOW…

the practice of decorating a christmas tree was condemned in the mid 1800s in many parts of america because of its roots in pagan Germanic celebration.

DID YOU KNOW…

not until 1843 when Dickens wrote  A Christmas Carol was the holiday popularly seen as a holiday celebrating family, goodwill and compassion.

DID YOU KNOW…

presently, christmas is the largest economically stimulating part of the year because somehow what started as a roman solstice holiday has been interpreted, change, and manipulated into the most commercialized annual celebration of a religious holiday that basically contains no original celebrations save for saying someone was born that many people can think of.

DID YOU KNOW…

that this was brought about by watching the Good Eats christmas special. so if you decide you are unreasonably annoyed by historical fact go blame Alton Brown, who I might point out, is a born again Christian.

so just to recap, when you’re opening up your presents this year, you might want to cast your gaze skyward in the general direction of Saturn (it’s thataway…no, more to the left. yeah there ya go) and thank it for being worshipped by the Romans who had enough sense to create a gift-giving ceremony to boost morale after military defeat.

I wonder what Bill O’Reilly would say if he could go back in time to meet all the Christians who condemned aspects of christmas as pagan celebrations.

AND NOW YOU KNOW.

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