[+/-] The war on Winter Solstice
For thousands of years humanity had celebrated the beginning of days getting longer in a peaceful and celebratory manner:
The Romans honored Saturn, the ancient god of agriculture, each year beginning on December 17 in a festival called the Saturnalia. This festival lasted for seven days and included the winter solstice, which at that time fell on December 25 (today, following calendar reform, it falls on December 21). During Saturnalia the Romans feasted, postponed all business and warfare, exchanged gifts, and temporarily freed their slaves. With the lengthening of daylight, these and other winter festivities continued through January 1, the festival of Kalends, when Romans marked the day of the new moon and the first day of the month and religious year (the secular year began in March).
By the 4th century another factor was also at work. Many Romans also celebrated the solstice on December 25 with festivities in honor of the rebirth of Sol Invictus, the "Invincible Sun God," or with rituals to glorify Mithra, the ancient Persian god of light...
No longer. There is a war on.
Historians generally agree that the Cult of Christ started the War on Solstice. They began by coopting the symbols of this most ancient of celebrations: holly, evergreen trees and the Yule log. Those cultists even moved the date of their god's birth from summer to winter! Moreover, they outright plagarized the story of how the greek god Dionysus was born in a cave in the presence of three shepherds.
You might think humanity would be pissed, but you know what? Nobody really gave a damn. Oh, those silly christers would have you think otherwise, but Winter Solstice was a time of diverse celebration all over the planet. What did the rest of us care if one more faith was participating? A Roman might shout "Io, Saturnalia!" [io, pronounced "yo"] to another Roman, while all over Persia cheerful greetings of "Merry Mithras" rang out. Jewish peoples could wish each other a "Happy Hannaukah," and Christians could say, "Merry Christmas" to one another.
Of course, once large migrations and interminglings of various faiths began, such greetings had their limits. Wishing a Merry Christmas in 1950s Brooklyn was bound to get you as many strange looks as wishing the ancient Persians a Happy Saturnalia.
No matter: customs quickly evolved to convey Winter Solstice greetings. For example, while it remained customary for one Christian to say Merry Christmas to another, to a stranger it was considered more thoughtful to say "Season's Greetings," or "Happy Holidays." Such was the beauty of tolerance: all faiths were able to be true to their origins while respecting their fellow humans' right to do the same.
We thought the War on Winter Solstice had ended in the fourth century. How wrong we were: it was merely dozing. Once again, it was those Christ Cultists that attacked. No longer content to share in this ancient celebration, they wanted to own it.
Now we once again find ourselves in the midst of battle. Seemeingly overnight, "Merry Christmas" has transformed from a genuine greeting of goodwill to a public proclamation of faith. Even in the most religiously diverse country on Earth, the Unites States, Christians are screaming for the elimination of all alternative celebrations. Indeed, they seem to be advocating the elimination of all differences.
Hey Christians! This time, their will be no assimilation. Let the war rage on. Humanity is tired of you and your destructive belief that love of your god is best expressed by purchasing more stuff you don't need as others go hungry. And you know something else? We outnumber you two-to-one. This is a war you cannot win.
Happy Winter Solstice! Express your thoughts on the season right here on December 25th when Nanovirus hosts the Carnival of the Godless Christmas Extravaganza!
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