It is the time of year that our social media streams start to show signs of the familiar “It’s not Happy Holidays” memes.
Bah humbug! I’m going to wish happy Christmas where appropriate, happy Hanukkah when that is fitting, in some cases it will be happy Kwanzaa, and for others it will be happy Festivus.
It is amusing that the majority of the “I’m going to say merry Christmas” memes all use secular icons or re-appropriated imagery from other faiths (the candles and mistletoe motifs above are a nod to Saturnalia) reinforcing the fact that many of the season’s festivities are already interlinked. In fact, most Christmas customs are based on old pagan festivals, the Roman Saturnalia and the Scandinavian and Teutonic Yule.
🎄 Christmas Tree? During the Roman celebration of the feast of Saturnalia, Pagans decorated their houses with clippings of evergreen shrubs.
🌿 Wreaths, holly, mistletoe? The “traditional Christmas colours” of red and green, being complementary colours, represent male and female, fertility and incubation.
🎅🏻 Santa/Father Christmas? A mixture of the of both St. Nicholas and Odin, who has worn the colours of Coca Cola the past eighty plus years (and we tend to forget all about the Krampus, switches and a lump of coal).
🕯 Turkey, candles, pudding? all symbols from the Winter Solstice.
Perhaps it is an appropriate time of the year for tolerance and further interfaith understanding?