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Holidays

  1. The History of Christmas
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    • When did Christmas trees become part of the Christmas celebration in America?
      1. The early 19th century
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    • Centuries before Jesus was born, early Europeans were celebrating light and birth in the middle of winter
      1. Known as yule
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    • During the winter solstice, fathers and sons brought home the biggest log they could find and set it on fire
      1. Hence the yule log
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    • What else was dragged inside?
      1. Evergreens; they prove that life can persist during the tough times of winter
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    • For the 12 days that the yule log burned, the people celebrated and feasted
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    • In Germany, the pagan god Odin gave his name to the holiday
      1. People were afraid of him; he flew around at night and determined who would prosper or perish in the coming year
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    • What is Saturnalia?
      1. A month long orgy of food and drink in Rome; happens during the winter solstice
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    • Saturnalia became a time to celebrate and feast; Juvenalia celebrated the children of Rome during Saturnalia
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    • Solstice celebrations in the upper classes of Rome were more sober
      1. Birthday of Mythra is the holiest day of the year; Mythra was born from a rock, shepherd's king, etc. Lots of the stories about him have come into Christian tradition
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    • At first, Christians only celebrated the resurrection of Christ, not his birth
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    • The bible doesn't mention exactly WHEN Christ was born, but what does it suggest?
      1. Probably born in the Spring; shepherds were out tending to their flocks, so it wouldn't be winter
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    • Why did the Church start celebrating Christ's birth in the winter?
      1. To coincide with the celebration of the sun god; December 25th became the feast day of the nativity
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    • Church could not outlaw the pagan traditions, so it adopted them
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    • What were the trees decorated with, and why?
      1. Apples, to represent the Garden of Eden; eventually became Christmas ornaments
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    • What was holly meant to represent?
      1. Christ's crown of thorns
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    • Where was the holiday done away with, and why?
      1. Puritan England; the holiday was considered completely UN-Christian because of the adoption of pagan traditions
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