I know, you all are probably sick of reading Christmas related posts by now. It seems like nearly half of the posts from atheist blogs I read are about Christmas in some way or another, and it’s starting to get old. But I just read this great summary of the history of Christmas, and I wanted to pass it along. I think the author does an excellent job documenting Christmas’s pagan history, how various traditions came about, and how only recently it became a holiday about Jesus’s birth. Hearing “put the Christ back in Christmas” is driving me crazy, and this is a nice post to forward to anyone who needs a history lesson. Just a snippet:
Christmas spent the best part of 800 years as a holiday of misrule. It was the time of year to subvert natural order. Servants were crowned and lords played fools. You were allowed to kiss and cavort and roll in the hay. Drunkenness, promiscuity, and gambling weren’t just permitted, they were encouraged. You went wassailing — what we would call caroling — where the objective was to get someone to give you ale and bread in exchange for your song. If you got ale at every house, I imagine this tradition looking something like a medieval pub crawl.
Hmmm…I think we need to preserve Christmas’s true roots!