Just when you thought you were done with Christmas, here I come with more stuff on it. As we know, it’s a season fraught with anxiety, depression, anger and domestic disharmony, all despite the injunctions of various clergy that it is the season of peace, tranquility and the sharing of joy and of song. The so-called Christians have had a monopoly on the whole shebang since they converted the feast of the sun god into a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Esq.
Prior to that event, the Romans celebrated the festival Saturnalia, a time of big feasts, bellowing bawdy ballads, gift giving and decking ye olde halls with holly, ivy and other green foliages. The idea being that evergreens are symbols of life and fertility and that they would keep out the winter’s dark demons of despair and depression.
Nobody seems to know exactly how St. Nicholas rose to such popularity. The Brits call him “Father Christmas,” as they believe he has a special interest in the wants and needs of the denizens of the United Kingdom. Some say he was a bishop who saved three daughters of an inn keeper from prostitution by giving each a bag of gold for their dowry. Holding three bags of gold also made him the patron saint of pawn-brokers and bankers.
In some European traditions, Santa has a helper who carries a birch rod for beating bad children. In Ireland, we were told to pray for what we wanted for Christmas and, providing we were good boys, Santa would be good to us. If we were bad boys, Santa would fly right over our hovel. We, the brothers Frank, Michael and Alphie, must have been the rottenest little kids in Christendom, ’cause Santa never stopped at our chimney. It makes one wish to have lived in Roman times, when dirty doings were fully rewarded.
Back to Jesus Christ, Esq. The 25th of December is an arbitrary date of birth, and not recorded until 400 years after the event. It says somewhere in the Judaic tradition that a person dies on the same day she is conceived. Now that means the man was conceived March 25, right after St. Patrick’s Day.
I am wondering if we couldn’t recalculate this birthday to the middle of July and leave December free to bring back the Saturnalia orgies. Which reminds me, the next time you get under the mistletoe, take a gander at the little white berries nestling in the greenery. Those berries, according to legend, are said to be the semen of the ancient Celtic gods.
Back to the Brits. Because drinking and dirty doings and debauchery did not cease, the beloved Oliver Cromwell decided to abolish Christmas, which the British Parliament did in 1647, with the result that George Wanker Bush was elected in 2000 A.D. That ban lasted 13 years because the most terrifying thing to a conservative is the thought that somewhere, somehow people are enjoying themselves.
There you have it, random thoughts on Christmas and Jesus. If you are reading this, don’t come back until we have a single payer health plan.
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