Monday, December 26, 2011

Rafa says WHAT? Christmas

I was perusing a blog that is written by a friend of mine, Tim, when I came across a comment regarding Christmas. I had partially forgotten a few of the facts that he mentioned and, in reading it, made me think: what the heck is Christmas, anyway? This might be because I was busy having my birthday overshadowed by the biggest holiday of the year and was seeking sweet revenge, but that is beside the point. What he had written unlocked doors in my mind to things I had read previously about the origins of the holiday. That, coupled with an episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” made my thoughts on the matter solidify—I will break Christmas! Ok, maybe not so, but I will at least enlighten those who celebrate without knowledge. Read on…

Many equate Christmas to the fresh smell of a pine tree, being with family around a hearty meal at the table, kissing under the mistletoe (unless you’re me), and presents! Yay! Sadly, most of the nice people in this world are mistaken; Christmas isn’t about any of those things. Well, it is, but it viciously (or maybe not so much) stole all of those traditions from a myriad of places throughout time. The Christmas we have now is but a far-cry from the original version of the holiday. Very true. Now, whether you like it or not, you’re about to get a little history lesson. It all started with the Pagans…oh, those heathenish Pagans.

Back in the good ol’ days, there was a fantastic holiday by the name of Saturnalia. It was meant to celebrate the Winter Solstice by honoring the Roman deity (hint: the clue is in the name)…you guessed it, Saturn. During this period, essentially all hell broke loose. I’ll elaborate. The period of amazing partying took place between December 17th and December 25th, with the latter being the last day of the celebrations. Sound familiar? Oh, I’m only getting started.

This entire festival was grounded on the idea of lawlessness. Essentially, all roman courts were closed and no one could be held accountable for anything they did during this time. Sounds great, right? Well because we’re people and essentially jackasses, everything boiled down to drinking yourself into a stupor, rape, other sexual things (obviously), and moving house to house to sing to your fellow friends…naked (can anyone say “caroling”?). Oh it was a grand time, indeed. Not only this, but amidst the flaming libidos and lack of basic human rights when it came to women, there was also private gift giving between families and close friends. The gifts obviously made every other heinous crime that was committed O.K. But, I digress…

Looks like some people were having fun!

Flash backwards a little bit to the Germanic people and Asheira cults (Pagans, for sure). The former had been celebrating religious festivals around midwinter for a long time. They called this winter period the Yuletide (or Yule-time) holidays. It may have incorporated beliefs surrounding the supernatural, Norse mythology, or the Wild Hunt, but records are scarce since it is such an old tradition. As for the Asheira cults, they participated in a long-standing tradition of felling trees they worshiped in the forests and bringing them into their households to decorate during the long nights of winter. This was partly because they felt that, in doing so, they were preserving and protecting the inherent magic of life held within the trees until the springtime. Noting any similarities yet? Here’s where the fledgling Christian religion comes in…

If you are just beginning and want to take over the vast majority of the existent populace, to assert yourself as the dominant religion, what would you do? If you said “send a messiah down at that exact same time to later celebrate his birth,” then you were right about one of those things. What ended up occurring was that the church decided it would be a great idea to place their holiday directly on top of the convergence of the vast majority of other religious holidays: the Winter Solstice. The date chosen was December 25th. It marked the end of Saturnalia, was close to the Winter Solstice, and was also in the depths of mid-winter when, above all, people just wanted hope for the coming year. In placing the new celebration of Christmas on top of an already popular holiday, they managed to make it easier for people to convert. The catchphrase: Celebrate our Savior’s birthday and still get wickedly drunk and have sex! It all went horribly wrong…

How can this ever go wrong?

The first few celebrations were devastating with riots and more death than ever. Originally, nothing changed when the holiday went from Saturnalia to Christmas. People were still getting wasted beyond belief, rape was prominent, murder was the norm, but, hey, they still gave each other gifts, yay! Everything wasn’t so bad, I suppose. Slowly, the church began to realize that traditions would have to be created that fulfilled two purposes: made people calm the f*ck down and allowed for others to seamlessly convert to Christianity. Oh, hey, look, those blasphemers have a tree in their house! Score!

And, so, the celebrations were made more indoors-y by this addition. In keeping the people off the streets more, they allowed for remembrance of the Lord and Savior instead of sex and other fun-I MEAN-sinful and terrible things. This, combining with the Yuletide celebrations of the Germanic people allowed for Christmas to grow and grow and for people to chill out (Ha! Because it’s winter, it’s funny). The celebration became more about family and love. The decorated tree was beautiful at night and provided a light in the darkness of winter. With presents added in, who wouldn’t want to celebrate this holiday in a calm and orderly manner?

So, this is the story of Christmas. Slowly, more things were added to the holiday, like the mistletoe and Santa. Mistletoes are based on how the Norse god Hoder killed the god Balder in a fight for a woman named Nanna by using a mistletoe arrow (freaking sweet, right?! Norse mythology is the best…), thus creating an ultimate sign of love. We just kiss under it. Lame! Santa came from Saint Nicholas of Turkey (who only became a saint in the 1800s) when he replaced Pasqua Epiphania, or “The Grandmother,” who filled children’s stockings with gifts. In the end, Christmas is just a conglomeration of other traditions and rituals that fulfills the purpose of kicking some major holiday A and getting people to convert throughout history. Jesus wasn’t really born during this time…he was most likely born sometime around summer, if biblical historians are correct. So, even though this won’t sway many believers, it is still nice to know the true story of Christmas and be glad that we don’t sacrifice people like the Romans did on December 25th (FACT. Totally forgot to mention it before). You’re welcome, and enjoy the holiday season, no matter what you celebrate!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Put Some Speed Into Your Life Legally

Do you find your life to be hectic and uninteresting? Do I have the solution for you! The following video will show you how to shave seconds, minutes, days, and even weeks off your everyday tasks so you have room for more exciting things! In the video they discuss everything from parking to folding clothes and making sorbets. I’ve already done quite a few of these and they work great. One of my friends even used the folding clothes one to impress some lady-friends. Hell yeah, these things can be used to pick up chicks. No guarantees they work better than a puppy, but one can hope. What awesome stuff you do with all this extra time is up to you, but if you do something highly illegal or stupid, please don’t mention my blog to the police.

Oh, and in case you wanted more speed, here is a clip of an Asian guy proving yet again that their race is infinitely better than ours. I won’t spoil what he does, but get ready to have your mind blown…

Via YouTube and VideoBash