Comic Talk and General Discussion *

[Rant] Oh the Holiday season...
xerjester at 3:51PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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So. It can be construed that my comic, 9SS, is a bit blasphemous. Sure. I'll grant that. With that in mind, I wanted to extend my thoughts to the people in particular whom, for whatever reason, find that saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” is not only blasphemous, but an “attack on Christianity”. It stems from a run in I had with someone in a store, who took offense to the greeting while they were pushing a shopping cart piled to the brim with items to decorate their place up for the Holiday. Items which, frankly, have nothing to do with the religion they were defending.

If you're not hip to some knowledge, skip to the bottom of the post, where the whole point is spelled out.

I won't even go into the origins of the word Holiday. You can look them up. I assure you that “Happy Holidays” is not only more appropriate, as to cover all the myriad holidays of this season, but it's actually more accurate. Don't believe me? Ok, I'll break it down for those of your playing along at home. Mind these bits, because there will be a quiz with the Almighty later on.

Xero's Handy Guide to a purely Christian Christmas:

1. Change the date. I hate to break it to you, folks, but Jesus wasn't born on the 25th. Ask some scholars in the upper echelons of whatever Church you follow. I'll wait. You've probably been answered that most believe that the saviour was either born in September (about six months after Passover) or sometime in Spring. That debate's not going to be settled anytime soon. But, what can be agreed upon is that the date isn't the de-facto birth of Jesus. That credit goes to Pope Julius I in the year 350. Why? Because at the time roman pagans still outnumbered Christians. The pagans were living it up with “Dies Natalis Solis Invicti”, which translates out to “the birth of the unconquered sun”. Winter was a fine time for sun-worshipers, and Mithra in particular held favor with the heathen Romans of the time. So, aside from culling competition, ol' Julius employed a tried-and-true tactic for easing conversion: take the pagan holiday/festival, alter it a bit, and allow them to still have their party with one or two new rules. It's an old tool or religion, folks, and history's the best teacher.

2. Lose the Tree. Are you a Christian? Celebrating Christmas, are we? Yeah, you might want to do away with that lovely-smelling blasphemy you've got in your house. While it's granted that the act of decorating the tree up to the nines was started by Christians (namely Germans), and that bringing it indoors to liven up the joint was right on with the faith, the origin of the Tree itself (all variants of the trees you can now find on sale at a Christmas tree farm) dates back to- you guessed it - pagan rituals. Bringing it indoors? That started back with winter festivals. It's a green living thing in winter, and a reminder that spring is on its way. Boughs were carried as totems of good luck, and you could find them scenting up weddings as signs of fertility. Hell, druids would go find large specimens of the trees out in the woods and have themselves a merry ceremony around the base of it. The Tree as we know it today didn't even crop up over stateside until the 1820's. Yet another thing you can thank Germans for, mind.

3. Trim back that Holly. Holly and it's berries are old hat for pagans. Greenery in various forms is attributed to the ancient Roman New Year and the berries were quick snacks for the Gods. And speaking of greenery…

4. Miss the Mistletoe. Druids used the plant as part of celebrating the coming of winter. So, what about the kissing? Blame Frigga. Scandinavians equated the festive little plant with their goddess of love. it represented peace, love, harmony and fertility. Sounds like a hippie-fest, sure, but bear with me. Kissing beneath the mistletoe was a nod to ol' Frigga, and probably more appropriate. You see, shagging beneath any plant at a public function would probably make the other guests uncomfortable. Or jealous. Though I've heard of some wild office parties…

5. Leave the Yule Log be. Yule is a word meaning “wheel”. Hey, lookit! More sun worship! It's the name of a winter festival. You see, Scandinavians were the last to get the memo on Christianity. In fact, you'll still find the Christmas holiday referred to as “Jul”.

6. Fruitcake. Yeah…do I really need to say anything? History be damned- that's a tool of Devil-worship if ever a baked good could be one.

7. Candy Caned. I hate to break it to some authors out there who keep perpetuating this myth, but the candy cane as we know it has nothing to do with Jesus. It's not a Sheppard's crook, and it's not an upside-down “J”. Seriously, if you want to talk symbolism, haven't we learned enough from upside-down crosses? The cane was just a stick back in the day, and while some smart Priests would give the treat out for good behavior, the confection didn't earn its stripes and jaunty curve until around 1900. It wasn't a sign between fellow persecuted Christians, either. By the time it showed up to plague our waistlines, Christianity was already widely spread and believers were far from hunted. You know, until the Inquisition.

8. Forsake all the trimmings. Parties. Gift giving. Lights. Feasts. Charity. If you want the real deal Christian-approved experience, you had better make due without. All of these are examples pulled from Saturnalia, Winter Solstice festivals, Sun Worship holidays of winter, and just general good old fashioned merrymaking with no religious baggage. Don't believe me? Well the British agreed during the English Interregnum. The powers-that-be at the time became so incensed over the trappings that the holiday was banned. They considered it a “popish festival with no biblical justification, and a time of wasteful and immoral behavior”. Man. So much for Christmas tea. Don't look to the colonists, either. Massachusetts banned the holiday for a time too. Then again, they were the Puritans from the same group in England who got all Scrooged up.

9. Pointless Poinsettias. We're talking symbology again. I.e. taking an object and giving it relevance and meaning beyond the object itself. The plants are native to Mexico. Back before rampant electricity and indoor toilets, the denizens thought that the lovely plant represented the Star over Bethlehem. Feliz Navidad to cross-pollination.

10. Last, but not least, if Santa comes, call the cops. Here's the thing folks; St. Nicholas is the patron Saint of sailors, Sicily, Greece, Russia and children. Was he jolly? No idea. Was he generous? Yeah sure- there are stories. But everything else beyond that is coined to a turn-of-the-century poem, and a LOT of Coke ads. Even stripping that away, I'm afraid the fat man with the toys has zilch to do with the Mass of Christ.


Let's bring it all home.

So. You can take offense with the greeting, go to extraordinary lengths to strip away every glittering layer of pomp we've embraced collectively with the holiday, and lock yourself up on the 25th to spend the day only in prayer and thanksgiving to honor the absolute letter of the law of Christmas or; you can relax.

No one is attacking your faith with the greeting. No one can take your faith or your holiday away with words. If you believe, you can't be touched. In the end, does it even really matter where the traditions come from, or WHEN Jesus was born? Does it change the wisdom he imparted? Does it sully the idea of good feelings toward your fellow man, if even just for one month?

In a time where shouting down the other person, party line division, unilateral hate by way of internet anonymity, and general distrust is the norm, you should be pleased if not touched when anyone (especially a complete stranger) wishes you “Happy Holidays”. why? Because they're wishing you personal happiness.

And that, folks, is something we could all use under the tree, around the menorah, laid out on the Kwanzaa table, and in whatever supply and place we can find it.

Happy Holidays.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
Skullbie at 4:00PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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I'm glad i don't have to worry about the specifics of a zombie prophet's birthday or the pagan tree humping rituals preceding it and can just enjoy a fantastic gift-giving holiday with my atheist family :)

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:48PM
seventy2 at 4:19PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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Skullbie
I'm glad i don't have to worry about the specifics of a zombie prophet's birthday or the pagan tree humping rituals preceding it and can just enjoy a fantastic gift-giving holiday with my atheist family :)



you communist.


you forgot to mention the death of a god, as he prepares for rebirth.
facara
Running Anew an exercise blog.
I'm gonna love you till the money comes, half of it's gonna be mine someday.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:30PM
Disgruntledrm at 5:42PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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In my personal experience, I find people are more irritated about not being allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in the workplace, and are only permitted to say ‘happy holidays’. Other than that, I've never heard anyone get upset over being told ‘happy holidays’.

Then again, I'm just a damn Catholic. What do we christian-folk know? The general view anyway is that we're all closed-minded bastards.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
xerjester at 5:45PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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A good thing I don't believe that, nor intimated a whole group- just the ones that feel a greeting is a crusade against their faith ;)

Then again, I live in the Southern Baptist Bible Belt. You say anything other than “Baptist” around here and folks run for the rhetoric pitchforks.

I toss out Merry Christmas on the day. Otherwise? I holiday it up. Too many friends spread across too many faiths for me to pick and choose beyond the day of, or the day a holiday starts.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
Pineapple at 6:20PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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Yeah, I did a big ol' Christmas comic last year when Jesus leans that God put his birthday on Christmas so he would only have to buy the one present. Also, you know Santa use to wear green before Coke got to him?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:43PM
Ozoneocean at 7:14PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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Pineapple
before Coke got to him?
:P Urban myth.

Green, red etc. he's always worn them all, before and since, coke has nothing to do with anything, but those ads were popular. :)

With “Santa” as we know him in the West, he's a conflation with the English “father Christmas” who is a bit more complex and interesting… He's also related to old father time and possibly Odin originally. He came from the old mummars plays for mid winter. It's a fascinating history.

A lot of the discrediting of the older origins of Christmas occurred in the 1800s when British Christians really made a effort to go all the way with it… But even then even the clergy was quite aware the the “Christmas story” was an invention and openly regarded it as a fable: more something for the children, even though the symbolism and attendant ceremonies were quite serious.

And if you'll recall, back in the 1600's the British puritans had sought to actively get RID of Christmas because of its “pagan” connections.

Still, if it wasn't for the Christians taking it over, it would surely have died out along ago. Thankfully commerce has taken it over now and is giving it a new and different lease on life.

You know what they say: Change or die. ;)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
xerjester at 9:04PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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Yeah mentioned the English and Massachusetts Puritan bit about banning the Holiday. Wacky stuff.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
usedbooks at 9:27PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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I'm glad Christianity managed to assimilate most old holidays into Christian culture. Actually, it's pretty standard practice for Christians to work with old traditions (after failing the hating and banning and whatnot). That's how they were able to convert people to Christianity after all. Don't tell people “No, that's wrong.” Say “Okay, that's fine, but now it means something else/more.” It is sort of a dirty trick, but it's peaceful and effective (unlike an inquisition…). Plus, we get vacation time.

I really like messages of love, charity, and giving. That should be a basic human moral, imo, not necessarily a religious one. (Although it is the part of the message Jesus lived, despite some of the so-called Christians who spread hatred and selfishness.) I am a sentimental sap year-round. At Christmas time, I get to share those sentiments a little more.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:38PM
bravo1102 at 10:40PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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It's all the fault of that disappointed literary critic who wrote that stupid poem for his kids. Raindeer! Pulling a sleigh! named for Pagan gods yet! It was the Nast illustrations for that poem that set up the current image of Santa Claus (the name from Dutch and German settlers in New York, damn them and their Christmas trees)

It's all the fault of those damn Victorians yet again. Heck they even invented Christmas cards with all that sap and mythologizing.

But it took until the 1940s to finally get some really good Christmas songs. Thank you Irving Berlin, Johnny Marks and so on.

And Rudolf the red nosed raindeer was created for a major (1940s) retailer? just likeMiracle on 34th Street revolving around Macy*s and Gimbols. lol!

Just throw that Rankin Bass special in the DVD player, put on on some Bing Crosby as you put the Lionel Train around that aluminum Xmas tree… hung with all your Hallmark decorations…
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
Ozoneocean at 10:54PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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usedbooks
I'm glad Christianity managed to assimilate most old holidays into Christian culture.
So Am I :)

@Bravo-
Three of my fave Christmas songs are Good King Wenceslas, Jingle Bells and We wish you a merry Christmas.
The first two are from the early and mid 19th Century, from Britain (Wenceslas has older roots) and We wish you a merry Christmas is from the 16th century…
In my opinion there are no better Christmas songs ever! …But that's just me. ^__^
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
bravo1102 at 10:59PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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I was being facetious along with the theme of my post being that everything we know about Christmas is recent and has little to do with the child born in the manger.

Though nothing compares to White Christmas and I'll be Home for Christmas :P
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
Lonnehart at 11:05PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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eh… I celebrate Christmas… or is that the Holidays? For me it's a day to give presents and see the looks on the faces of the recipients. I always try to think of the most suitable presents possible as I want them to be used (though I expect them to be broken too).

It's also a day when I get to arm my house with the latest in Anti-Santa Claus weaponry. After all, nothing ruins my winter (we don't get winters here, but anyways…) holiday like a lump of coal in my stocking.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
Ozoneocean at 11:06PM, Dec. 2, 2009
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Ugh, I'm not a fan of either. >.<
Very soppy.

I do like Bing though, in spite of the song.
…on another note, I really, really hate Jingle Bell Rock. There aren't many modern Christmas song I like.

Taken all in all, Christmas is older and Christ, but like many things it's changed it's name and changed its form and added new things to itself.

It's a great model of evolution ^_____^
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
Pineapple at 3:49AM, Dec. 3, 2009
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All I want for Christmas is you-ooooo-ooo, baby. Oh!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:43PM
kyupol at 12:21PM, Dec. 3, 2009
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If Christmas offends you, just go to work then. And get paid 1.5x your normal salary. :)

NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:26PM
xerjester at 5:53PM, Dec. 3, 2009
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Seem to have gone far afield. Point of post:

DO: Wish whatever you want. Enjoy whatever holiday you embrace. Take a holiday wish from others for what it is: a wish for your happiness.

DO NOT: Get bent out of shape over someone wishing you a happy whatever-you-do-not-celebrate. Blindly assume certain aspects of the holiday to be the sole balliwick of Christianity and therefore in need of your defense. Be a dick.


Season's greetings. Horns up.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
lothar at 2:26AM, Dec. 4, 2009
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this all goes to prove the theory that jesus was actually a fourth dimensional prankster who got tired of trying to create a religion and just started skrewing with humans.
he (it) is prolly sitting here laughing his azz off
right before he sez “ i wundr wut els iz on ?”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Ironscarf at 4:21AM, Dec. 4, 2009
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Live and let live I say: the midwinter feast is many things to many people.
I know who's coming down my chimney:

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:02PM
xerjester at 7:00AM, Dec. 4, 2009
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Funkiest. Christmas. Ever.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
Insizwa at 6:23PM, Dec. 8, 2009
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xerjester
Funkiest. Christmas. Ever.

If you want a funky Christmas you should listen to the Bootsy Collins Christmas album. Anyway back on topic - IMO the guy who was offended by “Happy Holidays” is a shithead.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:01PM
Puff_Of_Smoke at 7:41AM, Dec. 10, 2009
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Y'know why I'm glad that I haven't joined any sect of Christianity? I can do things my way.
I
I have a gun. It's really powerful. Especially against living things.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:56PM
Niccea at 8:46AM, Dec. 10, 2009
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A local school in my area a few years ago strictly banned the colors red and green for decoration of the “Winter Party” because those were Christmas colors
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:14PM
shirkersama at 9:07AM, Dec. 10, 2009
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Since everyone seems to take offense to both “happy holidays” and “merry christmas” I have taken to saying “good December” people can't be offended by me wishing them an entire month of goodness, right?
Meh
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:34PM
Niccea at 3:56PM, Dec. 10, 2009
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Can't go wrong with Happy Christmahanakwanzaka.

Also. I view it differently. When I say Merry Christmas, I refer to the day rather than the religous celerbration. It is just December 25. It is my saying good day.

I just find the whole politiically correct thing a bunch of crap.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:14PM
Jemelis at 4:34PM, Dec. 10, 2009
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Well since you're interested in ancient festivals and how they've ended up with a Christian title, I find this tidbit very interesting and it has very early roots.

I've come to the conclusion that the festival known as Christmas has nothing to do with 1st century Christanity….go figure.

Quote from:http://bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/CGG/ID/504

Two key figures in the origin of Christmas are Nimrod, a great grandson of Noah, and his mother and wife, Semiramis, also known as Ishtar and Isis. Nimrod, known in Egypt as Osiris, was the founder of the first world empire at Babel, later known as Babylon (Genesis 10:8-12; 11:1-9). From ancient sources such as the “Epic of Gilgamesh” and records unearthed by archeologists from long-ruined Mesopotamian and Egyptian cities, we can reconstruct subsequent events.

After Nimrod's death (c. 2167 BC), Semiramis promoted the belief that he was a god. She claimed that she saw a full-grown evergreen tree spring out of the roots of a dead tree stump, symbolizing the springing forth of new life for Nimrod. On the anniversary of his birth, she said, Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts under it. His birthday fell on the winter solstice at the end of December.

A few years later, Semiramis bore a son, Horus or Gilgamesh. She declared that she had been visited by the spirit of Nimrod, who left her pregnant with the boy. Horus, she maintained, was Nimrod reincarnated. With a father, mother, and son deified, a deceptive, perverted trinity was formed.

Semiramis and Horus were worshipped as “Madonna and child.” As the generations passed, they were worshipped under other names in different countries and languages. Many of these are recognizable: Fortuna and Jupiter in Rome; Aphrodite and Adonis in Greece; and Ashtoreth/Astarte and Molech/Baal in Canaan.

During the time between Babel and Christ, pagans developed the belief that the days grew shorter in early winter because their sun-god was leaving them. When they saw the length of the day increasing, they celebrated by riotous, unrestrained feasting and orgies. This celebration, known as Saturnalia, was named after Saturn, another name for Nimrod.

P.S I'm happy generally any time of year and take no offense at merry and happy….

Laura Melis

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:07PM
shirkersama at 4:38PM, Dec. 10, 2009
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Niccea
Can't go wrong with Happy Christmahanakwanzaka.

Also. I view it differently. When I say Merry Christmas, I refer to the day rather than the religous celerbration. It is just December 25. It is my saying good day.

I just find the whole politiically correct thing a bunch of crap.
Actually I said happy christmahanakwanza last year and an atheist got genuinly angry about it -_-.
And yeah the politically corect thing is total shite, but I like to mock it with my obviously fake concern about it lol.
Meh
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:34PM
HippieVan at 6:51PM, Dec. 10, 2009
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shirkersama
Niccea
Can't go wrong with Happy Christmahanakwanzaka.

Also. I view it differently. When I say Merry Christmas, I refer to the day rather than the religous celerbration. It is just December 25. It is my saying good day.

I just find the whole politiically correct thing a bunch of crap.
Actually I said happy christmahanakwanza last year and an atheist got genuinly angry about it -_-.

That's pretty crazy! Happy Christmahanakwanzarandomgiftday maybe?

I celebrate Christmas, but not for religious reasons. For me it's basically a nice day where Santa brings my family presents. And I wouldn't be offended if someone wished me a happy Hanukkah or joyous Ramadan or whatnot.
Duchess of Friday Newsposts and the holy Top Ten
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:49PM
bravo1102 at 9:52PM, Dec. 10, 2009
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kyupol
If Christmas offends you, just go to work then. And get paid 1.5x your normal salary. :)



That's what I do. No elf hats, no santa beards just a bored looking security guard listening to soppy Christmas songs (and hating Jungle Bell Rock too)

And thinking of a bunch of guys in the snow clustered around a fire in a cut open Jerry fuel can, clutching their M1s and rubbing their hands, singing “I'll be home for Christmas… if only in my dreams” or a group in digital camo somewhere in Southwest Asia with A-rat Turkey dinners rapidly getting cold on the sandbag next to them…

Arguing over Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas is the least of problems…
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
The Gravekeeper at 11:09PM, Dec. 16, 2009
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I don't get offended when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas. I usually just reply with a simple “back at ya” because I celebrate a holiday that very few people have ever heard of and don't want to have to explain both the holiday and my spirituality.

The fact that it falls within a few days of Christmas is nice because I get to spend time with my family and still partake in the same traditions we've always had since those are mostly secular. Come on, the making and consumption of a giant meat pie is completely non-religious. It is just delicious.

So yeah, whatever you do around the 25th, have a good one.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:14PM

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