Happy Saturnalia

December 25, 2016

At work there’s a sign-up sheet for the Holiday party where somebody crossed out the word “Holiday” and wrote “Christmas” next to it.  Noting that the party is on January 14th, somebody–wink, wink–took it upon themselves to list around the word Christmas “New Years, Festivus, Hanukah, Saturnalia, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Yule” party.  Regardless, the 14th of January is a ridiculous time for a Holiday party.  But it does remind of the obtuse nature of the supposed “War on Christmas.”

I have several issues with the “War on Christmas” as a whole.  Primarily, there is a fair amount of uncertainty as to when Christ was actually born.  I believe the 25th of December was established primarily to supplant a variety of Solstice Festivals (Saturnalia, Yule, etc.) replacing or coopting them in the Christian structure.  There might actually be some pseudo-science that was used to determine the date, but I’m a bit more hazy on that.  Point is, the belief that Christmas is Christ’s actual birthday is at best a guess.

Two, the idea that “Happy Holidays” is somehow an insult misses the point.  It is all intended to bring forth goodwill and well wishes.  Ancient Romans would serve their slaves at the table during Saturnalia–there was other stuff going on and I’m not going to get into the slavery aspect, but the general message of goodwill there was something to be admired.  It was ancient Rome after all.  This spirit of this time of year should not be confused and overwhelmed such arrogant notions of superiority.

Basically I just think it devalues the values that Christmas should associated with to get hung up on somebody saying “Happy Holidays.”  And there’s a cynical bastard rant for today.

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