Improving the Holidays, Saturnalia and Celebrating Paternal Castration

I should probably preface this by stating that I grew up as a fairly “typical” American, assuming there is such a thing.  I spent my childhood making snowmen, using a carrot and walnuts to make genitalia in the hopes that a wandering animal would attack them.  All I knew was that Christmas and Hanukkah were somehow different but that both yielded gifts and good food, so neither were preferential.  Lantern oil and Jesus’ birth may, or may not, have been miracles.  It may, or may not, seem entirely implausible that a morbidly obese geriatric crams himself down your chimney so that he reverse-rob you once a year.  And having dangerously high expectations for the season that will never be met and they may, or may not, leave you a trembling husk of a person by the middle of January.  No matter what camp you’re in, the outcome will be roughly the same.  We need holidays to celebrate in this midst of this wintery gray void so that we can maintain our fleeting sanity.  Worrying about technical details and criticizing each other only hinders to launch that lifeboat of saneness that we are in such desperate need of.   It is too dismal and there is just so much to worry about, especially if you have a family to care for.  I know it is a bit late for some of you, but allow me to briefly present something to those of you who have yet to start a family of your own.

Family, or no, I think that the seasonal festivities attempt to serve a purpose but I’ve got mixed feelings about the holiday spirit when it’s attached to religion.  Sometimes the celebrating goes a bit too far and has a little less to do with the “reason for the season” than we’d like.  I’m convinced that Christmas is evolving into this secular laser light show that encourages extravagance.  I’m fine with this because, for some people it’s already a month long eating and drinking binge rewarded with gifts and ending with your cousin “accidentally” groping you on New Year’s Eve.  Turning water into wine isn’t a particularly useful miracle, so I always figured Jesus for a partier but even he has to draw the line somewhere.

Christmas certainly has come a hell of a long way in the last few thousand years.  Tied directly to the pagan Yule festival and Roman celebration for Saturn, it has gone from a “heathen” soiree to a grand celebration of the Christian lord and back again.  However, this transition was slow to grow as the celebrating in the name of Saturn slowly became Advent and Epiphany as Christianity took hold in Europe.  As the western world expanded into the Americas, Puritans banned Christmas due to it’s tendency to get people drunk and act in a lewd or rowdy manner.  So, instead of getting drunk, having a party and going caroling, people rioted.  The holiday gradually lost popularity and appeared to be dying out until it reestablished itself as an important religious holiday while also gaining secular relevance during the nineteenth century due to pervasive literature.

In 1870, Christmas finally became a national holiday in the United States.  After so much drama to ensure that the winter holiday was cemented into American culture, it seems sort of backward to have this feud over how it should be celebrated.  The holiday has already whored itself out somewhat unconditionally and much of the religious context has been lost already.  Why are people so displeased with being wished a specifically happy vaguely Christian holiday?  I usually stick to secular holidays but I certainly wouldn’t condemn someone who wished me a pleasant Rohatsu, Hanukkah, Ashura, Christmas or Death of the Prophet Zarathustra.  If someone is nice enough to hope you have a good day, you’re kind of an ass for complaining about incidental bits that accompany it.

I, for one, would be perfectly happy going back to celebrating Cronus or Saturn during the winter holidays.  No deity can rival him in castrating their own father and then eating their children to consolidate power while ruling over the only perfect era of mankind.  Often portrayed with a long white beard, he even sort of looks like Santa Claus.  Replacing Saint Nicolas with the god of agriculture would be a snap.  We’d just need to undress every mall Santa and tell them to devour children instead of asking them what they want.  I can foresee no problems and personally guarantee fewer better behaved children.

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16 Responses to Improving the Holidays, Saturnalia and Celebrating Paternal Castration

  1. Matt Ferrett says:

    Santa gets linked to Odin a lot too, which is AWESOME. Like Santa, Odin is jolly looking dude with a long white beard. Unlike Santa, Odin rides an EIGHT LEGGED HORSE THROUGH THE SKY…. Kris Kringle should consider trading up, methinks.

  2. Yes early church made birth to be cross-over to Saturnalia. Yes, they heathenized it to draw in pagans. The thing most people don’t know is that they also paganized or re edited New Testament to appeal to heathen or pagan mentality. First and Second Century Christians did not believe most of the sketchy stuff like virgin birth as do today’s Christians.

    • I always love the pre-Christmas specials on Discovery etc, where experts hotly debate the exact locations of The Birth and all the other lore surrounding it. Humans are so creative. We spend thousands of years in activity, surrounding something that we simply made up.

  3. Cindy says:

    Whatever, for me it’s a two week ordeal to be endured. Would love to be able to take a sleeping draught and wake up on the 4th of Jan.
    Happy holidays, Mister Posky.
    (Wear a condom!)

  4. nursemyra says:

    Posky, you’re hilarious ;-)

  5. HP Comic says:

    This is great. So glad to have found more quality stuff to follow and I soooo agree on returning to the Saturnalia, it would seem more honest since I can’t think of a time where people act more horribly towards each other. I was raised without christmas and never missed it, and now I’m getting dragged into it… so maybe I just don’t get it.

  6. Well done. Enjoyed much. Thanks for the smiles … and the truth. Good stuff here.

  7. Interesting history…I’ve gathered from reading a few posts that ‘Happy Christmas’ is not the universally acceptable greeting I thought it was! I’m not sure why some find it offensive. How people get carried away by minutiae is silly at times. It reminds me of certain political parties here in India causing riots on Valentine’s Day coz it’s not an ‘Indian’ festival!! Apparently the fact that Love is universal, is a fact that escaped their narrow-minded myopic selves!

    Hapy Christmas and all the rest then Posky! And that Cronus guy…he’s something else :)

  8. subWOW says:

    I personally agree with what you wrote here and the questions you posed. And I LOVE the comics esp. the first one. It is nice that I can blame my fat ass on my kids. ;-) Kind of a benefit that comes with being parent. LOL.

    I think the reason why we taught our children to say happy holidays and instead of merry Christmas is because we want them to NOT assume that everybody in the US is Christian and that Christmas is foremost a religious holiday in this country, still. Whereas in some Asian countries, we just wish each other a Merry Christmas even though I would say Christians are the minority there (except in Korea, naturally) because it is treated as a “Western” (exotic) holiday, a time to get together with your friends and party.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas day yesterday. The next holiday is the easiest to handle: everybody celebrates New Year right??!!

  9. David says:

    Brilliant! Let’s hope this helps the people who are offended by pretty much anything we can think of saying to them, including Happy Holidays. Perhaps they need some sort of generic ‘I’m offended’ reply like “Sorry, but I’m so gosh-darned polarized now that your lukewarm pleasantness nauseates me”.

    I’m totally on board with this new Saturn-based holiday. It might make up for the fact that we wrecked that planet so long before we got to this one. Or so I’ve read. There’s nothing like cannibalism to simultaneously solve two huge problems: world hunger and over-population. Right?

  10. Happy Boxing Day Posky and all that good stuff (leftovers, alms, bonuses, gift returns, etc., etc., etc.). :)

    …you went in several entertaining directions (as usual). Loved your post. Hey, you’re sticking around in 2011…. right? Got plans?

    T

  11. Expressmom says:

    I wish I’d sent this out to all my relatives instead of our traditional (boasting & obnoxious) Christmas letter!

    Too funny……Oh and
    HAPPY DEATH OF THE PROPHET ZARATHUSTRA!

  12. Kullervo says:

    No deity can rival him in castrating their own father and then eating their children to consolidate power while ruling over the only perfect era of mankind.

    Titan hype.

  13. Pingback: A Brief Reminder That Christmas Is Indeed Still Coming | You Monsters Are People.

  14. This blog won’t show up correctly on my iphone 4 – you may wanna try and fix that

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