Merry Christmas

You may deem it crazy to start a blog on Christmas Day. But why not? Christmas is a day to do unusual things, and for me, it means creating a blog.

I will not be writing my thoughts as if this was a personal journal, but I thought an introduction would be welcome. I have been planning – for a while now – on creating a blog in which I would publish articles about topics that interest me. For instance, this blog will deal with high-tech and gadgets, fashion, music, cinema, and maybe other stuff, even politics – although I will not take sides on this theme.

This blog is also a way for me to write in English. As you may have read on my profile, I am half French and half Mexican, and languages are my thing. So here I am, writing in English – or trying. And while writing I will – hopefully – discover new stuff to write about. But let’s go back to today’s topic: Christmas. Merry Christmas! Today is the day many kids wait for to get presents and the magic that surrounds this period of the year. So, Christmas… What is it, exactly? Why does it exist?

For most people, Christmas is a synonym for Christ’s birthday. But as many of you may already know, this has been proved false; JC was not born in december, but rather earlier in the year. Just like many religious events, Christmas was put in december to match the winter solstice. This is also the case for many so-called pagan feasts, later embedded into the Roman calendar. By doing this, Christians got a warranty that former “pagans” would celebrate the new religion. Syncretism, or the process of mixing elements of a religion into another one, was the most common way of establishing the new religion.

The name derived from “Christ mass”, and the “Xmas” abbreviation comes from Greek, in which X is Christ’s initial. And since we are talking about etymology, “pagan” only means “non-Christian”.

The winter solstice is also the period of light feasts. Hannukah, the Jewish feast, is a good example, during which eight candles are lit – one each day. The Festival des Lumières in Lyon, France, can also be cited.

Santa Claus is also a result of many mashups. Originally, “Claus” comes from the German name “Niklaus” or the Dutch “Klaas”, also known as Saint Nicolas in France. This Generous Saint later became the fat red Santa we know today, thanks to Coca Cola – yes, Niklaus was formerly green and slim. But the Coca Cola Company did not, in fact, invent the red Santa, although it has contributed to his worldwide celebity. And what about the tree? Where does this come from? Well, again, “pagan” stuff. In fact, it was a way of celebrating nature. And the tree was integrated into Christmas – or rather Christmas was integrated into “pagan” feasts – as a way to ensure that “pagans” would accept Chritianism. Academic floklorist Jack Santino, Ph. D., even said in a conference in Montpellier III University that one of his friends now called the Christmas tree “Solstice tree”.

After this short explanation, merry Xmas and welcome to The Y.

Sources:
Rue 89 – De Nicolas le Turc a Coca: la véritable histoire du Père Noël (French)
Livius.org – Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Santa Claus

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