One City

One City


Happy Babylonian Holiday!

posted by Ethan Nichtern

So apparently December 25 started out as a holiday to worship the son of Isis. Then in Roman times it was Saturnalia, then later a Northern European pagan holiday, until in 350AD Pope Julius decreed that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25, in an apparent move to ease the transition of European pagans to his church. Jesus may’ve been born in September, but definitely not in December.
Now, why does historical deconstruction matter? It doesn’t really. Except when you want to know how the process of rest and celebration can be co-opted to fit a political agenda. Now Christmas is the past-peak fuel for a cheesepuff economy. Kind of makes you miss Saturnalia. Come back, Caesar.
And by the way, if anyone wanted to begin a new holiday in September to reflect upon and rejoice in the life example of the man known as Jesus, I would be into that very much. No presents allowed. Except DIY, like the man himself.
Okay, nuff with the bah humbug. After you deconstruct, you have to reconstruct. Otherwise you’re just an asshole (speaking personally). If there’s one thing interdependence has taught me, it’s that any confused form can be contextualized,  reinterpreted and returned to it’s Buddha nature. So if you’re caught up in this season, enjoy it. Or not it, but the people you’re with. If you’re Jewish, enjoy the Chinese food (Order me some bean curd szechuan style). And if you can tell someone you love them…sounds like a plan.
BTW The best Christmas Movie of all time is Scrooged starring Bill Murray. What Would Jesus Buy is a good one too.



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Blake

posted December 24, 2007 at 7:35 pm


Well put.



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Ellen Scordato

posted December 24, 2007 at 7:37 pm


I love deconstructing Xmas. And most other culture-wide celebrations, too for that matter. I find that when I check out the causes and conditions the world kinds makes more sense.
it’s fascinating to track the celebration of the holiday thru history. A great book, Land of Desire, which talks about how vendors to consumers had to entice Americans to buy up the prodigious amounts of manufactured goods produced by the Industrial Rev . . . Kinda says it all. That said Xmas is also a HUGE day for volunteering in new York. My nubby are doing ” god’s love we deliver”– an org that brings meals to homebound Nuer’s. And they have more volunteers than they can handle. I bet they wish every day were Xmas, eh?



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Ellen Scordato

posted December 24, 2007 at 7:39 pm


O, the dangers of the tiny keyboard and auto-spell or whatever that thing is— that’s “my hubby and I” and “NYer’s”. . .



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Erg

posted December 24, 2007 at 10:09 pm


More than a few Roman authors bitched about the commercialization of Saturnalia, so I would suggest the cheese puff economy bit was built into the festival.



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