The War on Solstice
The war on Solstice began centuries ago when the Catholic Church began flooding the world with emissaries sent to promote its false doctrines. Wherever they went, local practices and beliefs were condemned, and its own dogma promoted. Most heinous was the effective practice whereby it usurped local holy days by moving its own holy days around to replace those it condemned. Formerly happy Pagans, Wiccans, Druids and others became miserable Catholics or burned alive as a result of such pogroms.
The Dark Age ended, the world settled down, and Catholics became mostly nice, thoughtful people. A breakaway group known as Protestants took over the stirring of the pot against Solstice. They carried the war into new lands, where they displaced the Solstice-loving natives by proclaiming the land as their own, after which they busied themselves with repopulating the land with their own kind.
The war against Solstice has seen renewed attacks in recent years as some American politicians have violated the Constitution’s first amendment to renew favoring the Christian religion by continuing its war against Nature under a new banner, The War on Christmas. It’s a one-sided war for sure, designed to lay all the blame on their intended victims. Most people pay little attention or express boredom with such shenanigans, but I would not discount their rabble-rousing abilities by much, as their history shows them to pose a potential of grave danger to our country.
The Christian religion is rather young, as religions go (only about 300 years older than Islam) as Constantine gave it official recognition in the fourth century CE. Good examples of the dangers posed by monotheism, Islam and Christianity vie with each other for which has the bloodiest history. The Christmas tree was borrowed from Pagan tradition. The Protestant church I attended as a youth rejected the tree as an idol, a practice that apparently ended with the hiring of a younger preacher.
Celebration of the Winter Solstice, also known as Yuletide, may be as old as mankind. Winter Solstice (around 21–22 December in the northern hemisphere and 21–22 June in the southern hemisphere) denotes the returning sun and the implied promise of life’s renewal. Thus, celebrations of the longest night and shortest day of the year are traditionally decorated with anything that symbolizes or encourages life. Celebrations often include decorations of evergreens, bright objects and lights; singing, gifts, feasts, and visiting friends and relatives.
Winter Solstice has other identities around the world: (gathered from Wikipedia)
- Mōdraniht: or Mothers’ Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival.
- The Inti Raymi (“Festival of the Sun”) was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the god Inti, one of the most venerated deities in Inca religion. It was the celebration of the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year in terms of the time between sunrise and sunset and the Inca New Year. In territories south of the equator the Gregorian months of June and July are winter months.
- Saturnalia: the Roman winter solstice festival.
- Yalda: 21 December– The turning point, Winter Solstice, as the longest night of the year and the beginning of longer days.
- Shabe Yaldāor Shabe Chelle is an Iranian festival celebrating the victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil. Shabe yalda means ‘birthday eve.’ According to Persian mythology, Mithra was born at dawn on the 22nd of December to a virgin mother. He symbolizes light, truth, goodness, strength, and friendship. Herodotus reports that this was the most important holiday of the year for contemporary Persians. In modern times Persians celebrate Yalda by staying up late or all night, a practice known as Shab Chera (‘night gazing’). Fruits and nuts are eaten, especially pomegranates and watermelons, whose red color invokes the crimson hues of dawn and symbolize Mithra.
- For Neopagansthis is the celebration of the death and rebirth of the sun and is one of the eight sabbats on the wheel of the year.
- Native Americans: Anthropologist Al Knight has described the importance of the winter solstice to the local Chumash as follows: “The entire local Native American Indian religious ritual cycle is centered on the moment of winter solstice. It’s like rolling together Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebration in one event.”
- Yule was an indigenousmidwinter festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples. The earliest references to it are in the form of month names, where the Yule-tide period lasts somewhere around two months in length, falling along the end of the modern calendar year between what is now mid-November and early January.
- TheSaga of Hákon the Good credits King Haakon I of Norway with the Christianization of Norway as well as rescheduling the date of Yule to coincide with Christian celebrations.
- Soyal: 21 December– Zuni and Hopi
- HumanLight: 23 December– Humanist holiday originated by the New Jersey Humanist Network in celebration of “a Humanist’s vision of a good future.”
- Newtonmas: 25 December – As an alternative to celebrating the religious holiday Christmas, some atheists and skeptics have chosen to celebrate December 25 as Newtonmas, due to it being Isaac Newton’s birthday on the old style
- Kwanzaa: 26 December–1 January– Pan-African festival celebrated in the US
- Chalica: first week of December– A holiday created in 2005, celebrated by some Unitarian Universalists.
- Sadeh: A mid-winter feast to honor fire and to “defeat the forces of darkness, frost and cold”. Sadéor Sada is an ancient Iranian tradition celebrated 50 days before Nowruz. Sadeh in Persian means “hundred” and refers to one hundred days and nights left to the beginning of the new year celebrated at the first day of spring on March 21 each year. Sadeh is a midwinter festival that was celebrated with grandeur and magnificence in ancient Iran. It was a festivity to honor fire and to defeat the forces of darkness, frost, and cold.
- Chahar Shanbeh Suri: Festival of Fire, Last Wednesday of the Iranian Calendar year. It marks the importance of the light over the darkness, and arrival of spring and revival of nature. Chahārshanbe–Sūri is the ancient Iranian festival dating at least back to 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era. The festival of fire is a prelude to the ancient Norouz festival, which marks the arrival of spring and revival of nature. Chahrshanbeh Soori, is celebrated the last Tuesday night of the year.
- TheDōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival (pinyin:Dōngzhì; literally: “the extreme of Winter”) is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around December 21-22.
From Wikipedia: The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In some languages they are considered to start or separate the seasons; in others they are considered to be center points (in England, in the Northern Hemisphere, for example, the period around the northern solstice is known as midsummer, and Midsummer’s Day is 24 June, about three days after the solstice itself). Similarly 25 December is the start of the Christmas celebration, and is the day the Sun begins to return to the Northern Hemisphere. (Accent added LHW)
a further solar connection has been suggested because of a biblical verse[a] identifying Jesus as the “Sun of righteousness”. Some churches celebrate on the December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to January 7 in the modern-day Gregorian calendar.
The prevailing atmosphere of Christmas has also continually evolved since the holiday’s inception, ranging from a sometimes raucous, drunken, carnival-like state in the Middle Ages, to a tamer family-oriented and children-centered theme introduced in a 19th-century reformation.
Prior to and through the early Christian centuries, winter festivals—especially those centered on the winter solstice—were the most popular of the year in many European pagan cultures. Reasons included the fact that less agricultural work needs to be done during the winter, as well as an expectation of better weather as spring approached. Many modern Christmas customs have been directly influenced by such festivals, including gift-giving and merrymaking from the Roman Saturnalia, greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year, and Yule logs and various foods from Germanic feasts.
In conclusion, the winter solstice season has a millenniums-long history of celebration and joy that deserves to continue unmolested. Hate-inspired dogma only poisons the spirit of joyful exuberance this season served to restore. Humans seek balance to ease the winter doldrums. Such dogma smothers the human spirit and stifles all attempts at revival. The weight of it crushes hope, joy and love and besmirches the true reason for the season with evil, falsehood, myth, and misdirected aggression.