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Import: 5 Pagan Origins of Christmas

By Journalism, PaganismNo Comments

Christmas is a Christian festival, but a lot of its traditions originate from the older pagan festival of Yule. Yule or the Winter Solstice is on 21st December; it is the shortest day and longest night in year. From this point on days will begin to get longer. Pagans come together celebrate the return of the sun or re-birth of the sun God.

Lets have a look at 5 Christmas traditions and discover their pagan origins:


Norbert Christmas Tree 2012 Decorated
1. The Christmas tree

The evergreen Christmas tree started with the pagans. They saw evergreen as symbolic of the eternal cycles of nature: birth, life, death and re-birth. The re-birth always being seen as a result of the sun’s return.

I remember decorating the Christmas tree when I was little. My mum would let me and my brothers decorate one side of the tree and then put that side against the wall. Or she’d let us decorate it and then strategically move all of the decorations to where she wanted them to be, before visitors began to arrive. As we got older, she simply refused to let us decorate the tree at all. Did anybody else’s mum do that, or was it just mine?

The decorations, like the round babuls in colours of red and yellow and the lights (before electricity candles were used) are all seen by pagans as representations of the sun God.


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Christmas Presents

2. The Presents

Pagans gave presents long before Christian’s came along, but on New Years Day rather than at Yule. The presents were often small and symbolic of a blessing for the year ahead.

Christian’s didn’t start giving presents until relatively recently. In Britain due to poverty and culture, Christmas presents didn’t commonplace until around the Victorian Era. There are records of wealthy people giving presents before then, but it was only some people and these were the upper classes of society.


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(Image Credit: Paula McManus @ Flickr)

3. Father Christmas

Father Christmas or Santa goes back to the Christian Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift giving to children and for valuing children greatly.

But what show his pagan roots are the colours of his archetypal dress. When I think of Father Christmas, I think of Miracle on 34th Street. I imagine the scene in which Kris is putting on his suit for the first time. His red suit with white trim, black belt with golden buckle, his black boots and of course his red hat. These colours: red, white and gold are all associated with the pagan sun god, who is believed to be re-born on Yule.

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(Image Credit: Sandlewood19 @ Flickr)

4. Kissing Under The Mistletoe

This time of year, mistletoe always seems to find it’s way to the office Christmas party. Hung in some precarious doorway, it can lead to an awkward moment of avoiding eye contact and pretending you’ve not seen it or to a drunken Christmas snog with the hottie from the IT Department.

Mistletoe’s pagan origins are as a symbol of fertility. Yule was a festival of fertility, by the very nature of it being the festival were the life-giving sun God is re-born. Often pagan’s would give mistletoe to those wanting to conceive.


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(Image Credit: Steve Bird @ Flickr)

5. The Humble Robin

Every year I receive at least one Christmas card with the humble robin on. His pagan associations come from his striking reddy orange chest, a symbol of the sun and also in his ability to fly. His ability to fly means that he can leave and then return, very much like the sun God.

There you have it, 5 Christmas Christian traditions that originated from paganism. It’s not just Christmas that has pagan roots, Christian festivals throughout the year have pagan traditions and elements integrated into them.

Have a great Christmas or Yule, whichever you choose to call it and whatever religious belief system (or not) is.

Published by: The Gay UK on Tuesday 24th December 2013.



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Levitation

By Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, PaganismNo Comments

On a cold, dark Friday night in October a few weeks ago, Simon and I headed to Chrys’ for a psychic party. From the outside the glow of the house looked warm and inviting, as it always does. Chrys put on a spread and guests were already chatting with one another as we entered, greeted by a massive hug and kiss from the lovely lady herself.

The psychic who was suppose to be giving a few people readings had to cancel last minute due to a family emergency; but with three pagans in the room we did a few activities amongst the socialising, story telling and the general relaxing. Activities included Numerology, Dowsing Rods and Levitation.

I’ve never done Levitation before but we got our victim…ahem…volunteer to sit in an armless chair and began. Four of us took positions two at each side of the volunteer.

We started with each of us joining our own hands together with the two index fingers sticking out and trying to lift the volunteer. The two nearest the back of the chair trying to lift under the armpits and the two nearest the volunteers legs lifting under the bend. Unsurprisingly, even attempting to lift the volunteer with our coordinated efforts was unsuccessful. That was just to prove we couldn’t lift the volunteer.

Then the four of us put our left hand over the volunteers head; hovering the hands slightly so that we weren’t touching the volunteers head or others hands. One each us had put their left hand into position, we did the same with the right. We closed our eyes and visualised what we were about to do and then took a few deep breaths.

We quickly removed our hands in the order we’d put them above the volunteers head and put them (joined together index fingers sticking out) back under the armpits and the bend under the leg; lightly touching the volunteer before she rose up and levitated for a few seconds. Then her body seemed to regain weight and her bum came crashing down on to the chair.

It was an amazing sight to see and I bet we could have levitated the volunteer for much longer if we had wanted too. So that’s how I learned to levitate. Thank you Chrys for the fantastic evening (as always) and for teaching me something new.

Write soon,

Antony



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Solstice Pagans have hippie time According to the Sun News Paper

By PaganismNo Comments

Now I don’t like the Sun News Paper. And I see with an article entitled “Solstice Pagans have hippie time”. Here’s the link: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2492806/Solstice-Pagans-have-hippie-time.html.

The article starts off ok:

The ancient stone circle was awash with Druids, Pagans, healers, sun-worshippers and hippies beating drums, chanting in celebration.

“It’s the most magical place on the planet,” said antique salesman Frank Somers, 43, dressed in the robes of his Druid faith.

“Inside when you touch the stones you feel a warmth like you’re touching a tree, not a stone. There’s a genuine love, you feel called to it,” he said.
(from: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2492806/Solstice-Pagans-have-hippie-time.html, Accessed online: 21st June 09)

However the balanced view doesn’t take long to become unbalanced, making pagan’s, druids and the like sound like a group of party-mad drugies:

…is the site of an annual night-long party …
(from: same source as above)

Police arrested about 30 people on charges including drug offenses, assault and drunk and disorderly conduct….
(from:same source as above)

I guess as The Sun didn’t report that they were ritually scaraficing children, we got off lightly. What do you think?

I would quite like to go next year and see the solstice in at Stonehenge (as I’ve never been).

Take Care,

Antony

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