Well, okay, it wasn’t as bad as last year, but I’d be shocked if I could have gotten through a whole Christmas seasons without conservative morons ranting about the War on Christmas. I was even caused to sit through a Paul Harvey (I liked the guy a lot better when Reagan was in office for some reason…) editorial on how the “religious significance of Christmas has survived.”
Well, yeah, ’cause to get rid of said “signficance,” we’d have to change the name, dump most of the old carols, and somehow enlist the help of the people who constitute the religion that spawned that significance.
Exactly as Christians did when they corrupted Yule in the first place.
I think it’s time again to remember the Reason for the Season. That is, of course, that Earth isn’t exactly rotating about a parallel axis to the one it’s revolving around. In other words, it’s tilted, a fact which results in some days being longer and hotter than others.
The resulting phenomenon is known as “seasons.” We recognize four of them: winter, spring, summer, and fall. These seasons are naturally defined by the shortest day, the longest day (solstices), and the two days of the year that take up exactly half a rotation (equinoxes).
Primitive people were pretty proud of themselves when they figured out what these were, and they decided to have annual parties to celebrate. One of these parties (a Winter Solstice Party, as it turns out) got corrupted by Christendom to celebrate the biirth of their Savior. It was later corrupted by mercantile interests looking to make a buck.
But in all this time, the real significance of Christmas/Yule/Whatever hasn’t changed. It isn’t about anybody’s dear and fluffy lord (who certainly wasn’t born at Midwinter) It isn’t about Santa Claus. It’s about thriving in the middle of Winter and renewing our relationships with our families. As such, it remains a worthwhile tradition.
Oddly, I notice the solsitces and equinoxes are not the middle of the seasons, but the demarcations of the seasons. Seen in that light, the winter solstice bash would be more along the lines of one more party before turning in for the winter. Oh, and celebrating that the days are finally getting longer. It’s still turning dark before 5 up here.
When one season ends and another begins is a matter of opinion, despite being clearly marked on the calendar.
The Winter Solstice is traditionally referred to as “Midwinter,” denoting its position in the middle of said season.
From an astronomical and global climactic perspective, the solstices and equinoxes should be seen as being in the middle of their respective seasons. The idea that Fall lasts into December is ludicrous, as is the idea that Winter lasts into March, Spring lasts into June, or Summer lasts into September.