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Christmas Trivia..

Tom Sito's Christmas Trivia

        As you sit back in your chair this Christmas (the biggest
holiday of the Ancient Roman World called Saturnalia and the birth of the
Persian Sun God Mithras was named the birth festival of Jesus by Pope Leo
the Great in 885 A.D. December 25th was also the Feast of Sol Invictus,
the Invincible Sun, a cult popular to Romans like Constantine, the first
Christian emperor. Modern estimates based on the census records of
Augustus calculate Jesus' actual birth in July although Christians had
started to use the Saturnalia as the birthday feast as early as the 300's
A.D.) by your yule log (pagan German custom), wrapping your presents in
pretty paper (Roman Saturnalia custom) with your house all decorated with
lights (Roman New Year custom) under your mistletoe (Druid custom),
drinking from your Wassel Bowl (Anglo-German hot beer with toast floating
in which is why we "toast" with the words "was-heil" -- here's to ya).
        You're looking at your Christmas tree (besides the Celtic tree
worship, the 24th of December was the feast day of Saints Adam and Eve
when Medieval Churches act out the Genesis story and set up a tree
representing the "tree of life" with glass balls representing the fruit.
This custom was later associated with Christmas and was taken from Germany
to England by Prince Albert and to America by Hessian soldiers and later
German immigrants) (In an 1883 editorial about the newfangled custom the
New York Times called the Christmas Tree -- "A rootless, lifeless corpse
 -- unworthy of the Day..."),
        And you dream of a visit from Santa Claus (a hybrid of anglo-dutch
customs appearing in it's modern form in New York in the late 1850's.
The English form was St. Nicholas, a big jolly Bishop in a red suit and
the Dutch had Kris Kringle, the elf who dropped down your chimney and was
also known as "Klaus-in-the-Cinders" or "Cinder-Klaus'". The first image
of him was drawn in 1859 in the New York Sun by cartoonist Thomas Nast
for the Clement Moore poem (Nast also created the Democratic Donkey and
Republican elephant).  The modern image was created for a 1930's ad
campaign for Coca-Cola by illustrator Haddon Sundblom.)
        {A Welsh friend told me the Druid priest who distributed magic
mushrooms wore a red robe with white fur trim. The reindeer had a habit
of eating these mushrooms which gave you a high when you drank their
        So here's wishing you hopes for a "White Christmas" (song written
by Russian-Jewish composer Irving Berlin) and a very Happy New Year
(courtesy of the 12 month calendar reformed by the Hellenic-Egyptian
Sosigenes for Julius Caesar and modified by Pope Gregory in 1582, else
we'd be celebrating in March.)
        Merry Christmas, Freylich Chaunnakah, Happy Solstice, Happy Birth
of Mithras, Io, Saturnalia, Joyeux Noel, Bozego Narodzenia, Frohe
Weinacht, Happy Birth of Sol Invictus the Sungod, Happy death and rebirth
of Baldur son of Odin, Happy beginning of the rise of Porsephone back from
Hades to her mother Demeter, and pass the reindeer pee!
        -- Enjoy!  Tom Sito