The Other Names Of Christmas
It is now even closer to Christmas. Tomorrow it is Christmas Eve. The day after is Christmas day. So what is Christmas really about this year? Well, this year is another year where we have had less contact with family than many of us would probably like, although it has been a lot easier than the year before. Perhaps now we miss family more than before because we are becoming more and more aware of how these people that we love are to our lives. So this year Christmas is becoming more and more special because of the time that we are going to be able to spend it together with the ones we love. But where does this holiday we love actually come from?
It is fairly common knowledge now a days that the birth of Jesus Christ did not actually occur during December. But there has always been a celebration during the month of December, to celebrate light and birth in the darkest points of the year. One of the many celebrations that happened around that time was the celebration of Yule that started the celebrations at around the time that Christmas is now, with the celebrations of Yule beginning on the 21st of December. This is a celebration of the winter solstice, the turning point of the seasons. Often, winter would be when people would have the largest quantities of fresh meat as much of the cattle would be killed so that they did not have to be fed for the winter. It was a time of abundance of meat and it was also a time of great celebration. Sometimes this would be the only time of year that people had any fresh meat at all. Yule is not the only holiday that Christmas can be linked to.
Another holiday that can be linked to Christmas is Saturnalia. Once again, another holiday that is celebrated in December, it was a Roman holiday that is related to the farming holidays, wherein they would make sacrifices to the Gods during the winter sowing seasons. The holiday was originally only a day long, but developed to be a week-long holiday that began on the 17th of December. All business stopped during Saturnalia, much like it does on Christmas day. Homes became decorated with greenery and ornaments and bright colours, and instead of their traditional togas they wore a sort of fashion known as synthesis. Even slaves did not work on Saturnalia, instead Romans would spend the day gambling, singing and trading gifts amongst each other. This much like how we celebrate Christmas now.
While Christmas has had many different names at this point, it has always been a time of celebration and joy. A time for getting together with the ones that we love and showing our appreciation for them in ways of gift giving and the great amount of time that we spend together over the holidays. Every day, I become more and more grateful for any opportunity to show those that I love how I really feel, and well, isn’t Christmas a great excuse?