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.
- 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
- 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
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.