Thursday, December 22, 2011

Axial Tilt is the Reason for the Season

Happy Winter Solstice everybody! Last night was the longest night of the year and today begins the season of Winter. It's easy to see how so many ancient civilizations worshipped the sun, from the pagans to the egyptians. The sun is quite obviously the reason we all exist, why we have nourishment, the source of all the energy that makes this planet, and thus life, run. December 22nd marks the date the sun is in its lowest position in the sky (in the northern hemisphere); December 25th marks the day the sun begins noticeably rising again in the sky, signaling rebirth and the spring, and thus life, to come. December 25th has been celebrated for millennia, and even in ancient Rome, one day a week was devoted to the sun (hence "sun"day). Sol Invictus, Saturnalia, Yuletide festivals and the birth of Mithra, the Zoroastrian God, are all celebrated in or around 21-25 of December.

Various pagan traditions have been co-opted by christmas over the years, from gift-giving and feasts and caroling, to decorating fir trees and putting up celebratory lights, even the story of Mithra has been compared to that of jesus and other stories from the bible, which were written much later. Most scholars actually agree that if Jesus had been a real person and the story of the nativity were accurate calendar-wise, then jesus would have been born most likely sometime in the spring or summer. So, when people tell you that Jesus is the reason for the season, he has only been forced that way, the original reason for the season is the celebrations of the return of the sun rising in the sky, warmth, sustenance, leading towards spring and planting of crops and new life. Christianity, in efforts to woo the pagans to switch religions, began co-opting their traditions and holidays to make the conversion easier and much more palatable to the masses.

What is interesting to note, is how the jesus story itself is a play on the sun's resurrection in the sky. For 3 days the sun seems to hover in the lowest position in the sky, marking death, then three days later shows signs that it is rising again to bring new life. Easter, is the culminating celebration of new life, but celebrated in spring when the evidence of it is much more apparent, with flowers and suckling animals, etc. In fact, christianity has a history of marking its "holy days" on or near the same holidays as the people they are trying to convert. Halloween, all hallows eve, all saints day, all souls day is another example. So, remember, the real reason for the season (no matter what traditions you take part in) is the earth's axial tilt, without it we would have no seasons, no winter, no solstice, no "christmas" to celebrate the rising of the sun and the coming warmth and life of spring and summer.

Sol Invictus - Wikipedia

Saturnalia - Wikipedia

Yule - Wikipedia

Mithra - Wikipedia

Zoroastrianism - Wikipedia

Winter Solstice - Wikipedia

Axial Tilt - Wikipedia

Solar Deity - Wikipedia

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