New year's is one of the oldest and most universal of all pagan traditions, and nearly every culture has its own customs of celebrating it. The rites
and ceremonies expressed mortification, purification, invigoration, and jubilation over life's renewal.
It is to varying degrees in world cultures a remembrance of the creation of the cosmos on the symbolic anniversary of its creation, in order that the
gods, the cosmos, and the community may be strengthened. The earliest known record of a new year's festival dates from about 2000 years before Christ
in ancient Babylonia, in Mesopotamia. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition)
The Romans called it Saturnalia in honor of Saturn. It was very popular among the Romans as a time of frolicking, drinking, orgies, and human
sacrifice. It was Julius Caesar that established January 1st as new year's day in 46 B.C. when he adopted the Julian calendar.
In 1582 Pope Gregory imposed it on the Western world when his Gregorian calendar reforms were accepted. Germany, Sweden,
Denmark, England conceded to the Gregorian calendar in the 1700s.
But God has already set the date of the beginning of the new year, Gods calendar begins in the spring, Exodus 12:2, Leviticus 23:5, Deuteronomy 16:1
in the month of Abib, also called Nisan, which means green ears.
Father Time, the white haired man carrying a scythe, represents the ancient Greek god Cronos (from where we derive the word chronograph which measures
time). This ancient mythical reaper supposedly reaped little children in horrible acts of cannibalism.
NEW YEARS BABE
The New Year's Babe actually pictures the rebirth of the ancient Greek god Dionysus, as the spirit of fertility.
"3rd century, Rome, feast day February 14th" (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Centuries before Christ, the Romans celebrated February 14th and 15th as the festival of Lupercalia, a sensual free-for-all, in honor of Lupercus the
hunter of wolves. (Encyclopedia Americana)
When Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of Rome, he had the sensual observances toned down. By the time of Pope Gelasius's
reign, the festival had become a Christian custom appropriating the name St. Valentine. According to the Encyclopedia Britannia, the name is that of
two legendary martyrs whose lives seem to be historicly based. One was a Roman Priest and Physician who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of
the Christians. The other, the Bishop of Terni Italy, was also Martyred, in Rome.
The word cupid means desire, the bow and arrow symbolize the mighty hunter Lupercus, thus comes the mythology of cupid, depicting a hunter who causes
sensual desire to befall on those he hunts.
Over time Christianity divided into different factions, each with different ideas of belief. The first Christians kept Gods feast of passover, while
the break away factions had added a new concept to passover, that of Christ as the Paschal Lamb. And along with the new conception of Christ as the
Passover Lamb came an established day of observance, which unlike Passover is not confined to any one day of the week. According to the New Catholic
Encyclopedia, "not only was the significance of the Jewish feast changed by Christians, but also the date. The Jewish method of fixing the date of
the 14th of Nisan, did not confine it to one day of the week. The Christians assigned their Pasch to the Sunday following the Jewish feast. By the end
of the 2nd century this was the universal custom, except in Asia Minor."
According to Ecclesiastical History book #5, "There was considerable discussion raised respecting the difference of opinion concerning the observance
of the passover season. The churches of all Asia kept the fourteenth day of the new moon for the festival of the saviour's passover, in which day the
Jews were commanded to kill the passover lamb, it was not the custom to celebrate in this manner in the churches throughout the rest of the world.
Hence there were synods and convocations of the bishops on this question, and all unanimously drew up an ecclesiastical decree, stating to all
churches in all the places, that the mystery of our Lords resurrection should be celebrated on no other day than Sunday." Note the emphasis is not on
commemorating Jesus death, but on a Sunday celebration of his resurrection.
According to Harper's Bible Dictionary, "the Nisan 14th observers were required by Emperor Constantine to conform to the empire wide practice of
observing Easter on Sunday following 14th Nisan, rather than on that date itself."
And according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "The English name Easter is of uncertain origin, but it is believed an Anglo-Saxon Priest in the 8th
century derived it from the Anglo-Saxon spring geodess Eostre."
Since ancient Egypt, the rabbit, hare, or bunny have been associated with symbols of fertility during the spring season.
The egg is part of the Indo-European fertility lore associated with spring.
Both the egg and the hare were part of the ancient pagan spring festivals, and as time went by, became embraced and combined in Christian
Lent is a forty day period of abstinence from certain foods, its observance began when Priests started losing their apostolical fervour of devotion,
they were then recalled from their secular cares by a canonical indiction of fasting, according to Antiquities of the Christian Church.
Eating eggs where formerly forbidden during lent, but now have become prominent as symbols of new life and resurrection.
All Hallow's Eve or Halloween stems from the centuries old Celtic and Anglo-Saxon rites performed by the ancient Druids to
honor the dead, the belief being, that your soul was immortal and lived on elsewhere, and supposedly revisiting their homes on this day. It was the
only day in which the help of Hurn was invoked for marriage, luck, health, and death. (Encyclopedia Britannica) This celebration helped to preserve
the false doctrine of the soul being immortal.
Halloween was the evening celebration in anticipation of November 1st, celebrated among the pagans in honor of Samhain the lord of the dead.
The first of November was later adopted to honor all saints, known and unknown, this according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. A single day was
appointed so that none of the saints that were supposedly alive in heaven would be left out, it being a church policy of incorporating pagan folk
ideas into the church.
TRICK OR TREAT
"Mischief making was introduced in the United States by immigrants in the 19th century, when young men, and boys, would overturn sheds and outhouses,
breaking windows, and causing other property damage. Years later it became observed mainly by small children in costume demanding a treat, to avoid
having a trick played (property damage) by them on the property owner."
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of religious knowledge explains, "Christmas, the date of the festival depended on the pagan Brumalia (December 25)
following the Saturnalia (December 17-24), celebrating the shortest day of the year and the new sun.
The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were to deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence. The pagan festival was so
popular that Christians were glad to continue its celebration. It was a festival of merry making and they did not want to give it up. When Emperor
Constantine professed to be a Christian, Christianity became very popular. Constantine looking for a way to bring Christians and sun worshipers
together renamed the festival Brumalia (birthday of the sun god) to the birthday of the son of god, so that both sides could come together in
celebration of the festival."
The origin of the Christmas tree goes back to ancient babylon, with the death of Nimrod, founder of babylon. When Nimrod died his wife, Semiramis,
claimed that a full grown evergreen tree grew overnight from a dead tree stump, and that it symbolized Nimrods rebirth into a spirit being. She also
claimed that Nimrods spirit would visit the tree and leave gifts upon it each December. Through this claim, Nimrod came to be known as the son of
Baal, or son of the son god. This started the ritual use of evergreens, and was so prevalent that Jeremiah makes mention of it in JER 10:2-6.
SANTA CLAUS AND GIFT GIVING
"The name Santa Claus is derived from the name Saint Nicholis, a Roman Catholic Bishop who lived in the 4th century, the Bishop of Myra, who was
honored by the Greeks and Latins on the 6th of December. The legend is of his secret bestowal of dowries on three daughters of an impoverished
citizen, and thus originating the custom of giving secret presents on the eve of St. Nicholas. It was later moved to December 25th, and thus the
association of Santa Claus with Christmas, and the giving of gifts in secret."
MISTLETOE, HOLLY WREATH, AND YULE LOG
Mistletoe was used during the festival of the winter solstic because it was considered sacred to the sun, and it was believed to have healing power.
Kissing under the mistletoe was one of several customs to be observed during the night, celebrating the death of the old sun and the birth of the new
winter sun, or winter solstic.
The holly wreath was also considered sacred to the sun god, and its use was that of decorating places of worship during the festival.
The yule log is a symbol of the sun, or sun log. Lighting of fires or candles was meant to encourage the sun god during the winter season, yule tide
season, sun tide season.
[Edited on 7-12-2002 by Toltec]