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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


December 24, 1999

Not the center of the world

I truly appreciate Ms. Shashaani's earnest attempt to demonstrate yet another "borrowed idea" taken from good old Persia and enacted in the West ["Borrowed ideas"]. But her idea of Christmas being a borrowed Persian concept is at best questionable.

May I suggest that Persians were not the only ancient civilization that worshipped the sun and celebrated the winter solstice. Most ancient civilizations did! As they worshiped the sun, there was common fear among people that the shorter days during the winter solstice meant that the sun was about to abandon them or punish them with bad harvest. Hence, there were consequent attempts to appease the sun or the god(s) that controlled its light, and there were great rejoice and festivities as the sun returned.

For instance:

- Celebration of the start of the winter season was held by the ancient Egyptians in honor of Isis, mother of the sun god Horus.

- The Norse held winter festivals called Yule which celebrated Odin, the god of ecstasy.

- Ancient Romans celebrated winter by holding festivities in honor of Saturn, the Roman god of harvesting, reportedly from December 17th until December 25th.

- Also, the Jewish month of Kislev (December) and the Feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah, sometimes called the Feast of Lights) also harbors scary resemblance to Christmas traditions.

Ancient Persian civilization was rich in tradition and festivities, but may we all accept that we are not the center of the world and never were.

Btw, I am not an expert in Christian traditions, or any tradition for that matter; I simply ran a search for the origin of Christmas in AltaVista.

Merry Christmas.

Ramin Tabib

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