The 25th of December was, is, and will always be the day that all people in the world gain ten pounds or so (yes, even you anorexics and bulimics). Rewinding the world’s timeline, things were pretty much the same one thousand or so years ago as well.
Well not really…
Christmas then was not a time for solemnity. It was a time for orgy.
Yes, Dan Brown haters and Roman mythology critics. Christmas then was not about Christ. It was all about the god of what they call in chemistry is ethanol – Bacchus. Gift-giving, hollies, wreaths, shining stars were then attributed to this Roman deity (Dionysus in Greek) who never fails to flood his followers’ livers. Christmas was then called Brumalia by the city which-would-one-day-be-the-most-Catholic/Christian, Rome. It was a festival (or for Dionysus, a bacchanalia, to be specific) which included drinking and merriment, with the latter latter denoting orgasm. So after all, our Noche Buenas here in the Pearl of the Orient are not original, aren’t they?
And to celebrate the blessings from the sun, the Brumalia was later changed to the Sol Invictus which means Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (“the birthday of the unconquered Sun”). Given this name, several solar dieties were then worshipped by the Pagans collectively, including the the Syrian sun-god Elah-Gabal, Sol the god of the Aurelian emperor (notice the name), and Mithras, the Persian god of soldiers.
It is no wonder then, that when the avid fans of the Apostles of Jesus Christ started doing their supposed-to-be-heavenly work and eventually reached Rome, they purged everything Pagan by dictating that Christ’s birth be scheduled on the 25th of December. Only Sir Isaac Newton (who was himself born on December 25) and some scholars were bold enough to point out that the Nazarene was actually born on a summer. They claim that if He were truly born on the cold nights of December 25, the sheep and shepherds who were supposed-to-be Jesus’ first visitors, would have perished of due to the ungodly Antarctic-like temperatures.
No wonder Jesus is referred to as “The Rising Sun” and “The Root of Jesse.” And if I be allowed to play with words, this may also be the reason why Jesus is called the “Son of God” – to purge the former “Sun-god(s)” of their essence.
Well, Happy Brumalia, I mean Christmas everyone! May you all be stuffed with wine and good food today, like our ancestors one thousand years ago. Hope Pope Benedict XVI is stuffed as well.