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Saturnalia



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I’m getting lots and lots of email from folks who agree everyone should lighten up about Christmas. I don’t necessarily agree with this guy’s argument that Christmas today should really be considered a pagan holiday, but I really did like his subject header: “O! Rosenbaum, O! Rosenbaum! My lovely internist!” Anyway, his email:

Yeah… like you, I come from a mixed family. And like you we celebrated
all holidays. But I’m coming to disagree with the practice. Not because
of the religious dogma associated, but the number of holidays which seem
to require my presence at my parents’ house. “What do you MEAN you’re not
coming home for Christmas?” This from my Jewish mother, who also lords
over me Rosh Hoshanah, Yom Kippur, Easter, Passover and Divali, the Indian
festival of lights. All right, no. But I hope to never do this to my
children.

I also consider it a fallacy to call Christmas a Christian holiday. As a
matter of fact, we’re now the caretakers of the original Christmas, the
festival of Zagmuk in Mesopotamia. This lasted for the 12 Days of
Christmas, and unlike the tame celebrations of today, ended with the death
of a criminal, which is nice.

But it also stems from the Roman Saturnalia, and the Greek Sacacea, all
involving a lot of nice drinking (good for your Episcopalian side) and a
lot of lovely eating (good for the Yid within us). It wasn’t until 350CE
that Julius I changed the celebration of Jesus’ birth to December 25… in
an attempt to dampen down the drunken loons with a more somber occasion.

It didn’t work. It gave us the office party. Cheers! Now where’s my
Manhattan?!



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