23 December 2013

Christmas? I do Xmas

One of the traditions of the holiday season is lamenting about the corruption of Christmas by commercialization or by foreign cultures that have invaded our pristine Christian shores. I have always been amused by these complaints, first because in my family's tradition, Christianity has never intruded on our celebration and second, Christmas has scrounged most of its traditions from a variety of quite unChristian cultures.

Before Christianity existed, festivals celebrating the winter solstice were common among European pagans. Merry-making helped pass the long, cold nights and the solstice, the resurrection of the sun, promised brighter days and warmer weather to come. Many of our customs came from festivals such as the Roman's Saturnalia—lights, greenery, feasting and drinking, singing, gift-giving, yule logs, and others. Christmas, you might say, is much older than Christianity.

More customs will no doubt be added from diverse sources as Christmas is increasingly celebrated globally, including in countries not of the Christian faith. The holiday has a strong secular past and a strong secular future—a festival for everyone. Thus has my family always enjoyed it and its traditions, whether derived from pagans or Christians, a secular holiday better identified as Xmas than Christmas.

Regardless of how or what you celebrate, I wish you a Merry Whatever and the best of prospects in the New Year.

No comments:

Post a Comment