Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Is it January yet.....and today's history Lesson.

Seriously I have started my own countdown right now.... 34 days until the day after Epiphany (Three kings day) on the Western Calendar, which is the last day for traditonal gift giving in some Christain cultures. I'm not sure if the Orthodox still Celebrate Christmas on the Julian Calendar which would be January 7 So for me Jan. 7 marks a return to sanity. Because it seems to me that from the day after Thanksgiving until the kiddos go back to school, someone has flipped some imaginary light switch that has caused people to go from being normal and "pleasant" or the very least tolerable to pyscho, egg nog guzzling,candy cane munching, sales rep cussing out, debt racking lunatics. so yes I'm am holding out hope for 1/7/2008 and the return to somewhat normallacy. Okay rant done.

History lesson from the history Major:
In one of my Post Cranky responded about my rant on the top ten reasons I hate Christmas.
Cranky actually had the the right time period and month for the Birth of one hippie carpenter from northern Israel. Yes, the big JC was born in the spring time, but for the leaders of the Early Church ( which would later fraction into the Catholic Church in the West and the Orthodox in the East in 1054, and then fraction even futher in the 1400's), in order to help the average Roman convert to monotheism, (especially helpful after Theodosius made Christanity the State Religion in the 400's so if you had office or wished to attain political office, you sort of had to convert...religion and politics mixing not good.) so in essence Christmas replaced the old Polytheistic rituals for the Winter Solstace, the Feasts of Satints replaced days of devotions to Polytheistic dieties, Patron Saints replaced Patron Gods...etc... Also the date for Easter was determined by the Jewish Date for Passover, ( the Same night as Holy Thursday, or the Night or the Last Supper.) which is in the having Christmas and Easter within a month of each other doesn't make for a good liturgical calendar.

The other tidpit he picked up on was The JC was not born in 0 AD of CE as most now refer to it. ( AD stands for the Latin Annio Domini or year of our Lord so CE or Common Era is considered more PC ) but rather between 4 and 2 BC/BCE. when Pope Gregory decided to Change the calandar as one of his many "reforms" in the 12th Century, ( another big one was not allowing Priests to marry.) One of the Monks transcribing dates forgot to read his Herrodatus, and his whole bio of Heriod the Great....the same Heriod from Matt's gospel with the whole 3 wise men thing and the slaughter of infants...also killed relatives who threatended his power , his bath tub....according to Herrodatus (or however its spelt) Heriod interests, other than bathing and killing, was "spreading the ol' royal bloodline." well this third passion would ultimately lead to his dimise in the Julian Calendar's eqivialent of 4 BC/BCE. so a monk's refrence error ultimately rendered the calendar fubar....(somewhere Julius Ceasar and the Maya are laughing.)

So yes I have now proved how uselful the subject I'm studying actually is....the sad thing is sombody actually got paid to find all this out.

The Hungover Historian


rocketpants said...

Quite the history lesson! Thanks for the info, always good to know.

I agree about the holidays. They are a bit insane and I don't really get it. it is sorta counter to what it's all supposed to be about so it baffles me a bit.

Speed Racer said...

I didn't know that stuff about Heroditus (spelling?) and the threats to the royal bathtub. Veeeeery interesting. And to answer your question, yes, Europeans (or the western ones anyway) still give gifts and celebrate what most nearly resembles American Christmas on January 6.

PS Don't trip about donations, especially until AFTER NZ is over!!! Have you gotten any word from the ALS people? A visor perhaps?