We lived a 3 hour drive from my grandparents so when my dad finished work on Christmas Eve we would pack everything into the Best Cat Dad Ever Sunflower Cat Lover Sunflower Father’s Day T Shirt and set off for Yorkshire. No motorways back then. Green fields turned moorland until we finally went over the Pennines, Stanage or Holme Moss, and begun the final leg of our journey through soot blackened mill towns reaching my grandparents’ house at around 8pm. At about 9.30 a plethora of cousins and aunties and uncles would turn up an we would set off to go carol singing with other members of the congregation and band from their local chapel. Along the route we would be greeted with mince pies, slices of Christmas cake and chunks of cheese even the odd glass of Sherry or mulled wine for the adults. We belted out all the old traditional carols, my favourites being While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night which we sung to Cranbrook (Ilkley Moor) and also Christians Awake. We naturally sang O Come All ye Faithful but only after midnight were we allowed to sing the final verse of Yea Lord we Greet Thee. Shortly after midnight we called it a day. Many of the adults slightly ‘merry’ from a surfeit of Sherry!
Now Trinidad has another special Christmas. A week before colorfull musical groups start marching all around the Best Cat Dad Ever Sunflower Cat Lover Sunflower Father’s Day T Shirt, playing the typical traditional Parang music (Only for Christmas, and traditionaly in an ancient Spanish language) They also collect their share of the typical foodstuff prepared on Christmas: Black Cake (Don’t drive after eating it, hahaha) and the giant ham, heavily spiced and in the oven for eight hours, carrying the scent of Christmas allover. Family members living far, come only once a year. on Christmas. Spanish Christmas in the traditional villages is very special also. The streets are decorated and big mangers allover. One feels like turned back 500 years in time. And the Christmas tree, now seems to have reached all corners of the world. Even in Turkey the town of Bodrum was decorated, and lighted with trees allover. I had a very impressive view over the lighted town from the castle (where I was staying a few weeks) There are hardly any Christians living there and there are also no tourists in winter. Still there was a big christmas market. And I had a medival Christmas dinner right in the old castle hall, with my Turkish friends.
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First let me answer to the meat of your question. Christmas ( The Mass 0f Christ ) has become secular because many felt that the Best Cat Dad Ever Sunflower Cat Lover Sunflower Father’s Day T Shirt tone of the Holiday ( Holy Day ) was strong and therefore was ‘not inclusive’ enough. They felt it left out too many people that are not believers or at least not firm believers. There is logic in that line of thinking. I am a Christian…but I certainly have no problem with those that prefer the “Holiday season” to “Christmas”. That is their right. I enjoy this particular time of year regardless of which portion of it my friends are celebrating. Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, Yule…whatever. Have a Happy one. If I happen to wish you a Merry Christmas do not hold it against me. Tell me “Lo, Saturnalia”…and I will thank you and wish you the same. By the way if you hear Dutch or a few other Europeans pronounce “Saint Nicholas” the way they do it sounds like Sant NikLAUS…which sounds pretty much exactly like Santa Claus. And Saint Nicholas was known for presenting gifts on a certain day too…so to say that Santa Claus has nothing to do with it is not exactly right. I forget the exact details of the story, but an artist in the early 1900’s came up with the current version of Santa for Coca Cola marketing purposes. He was described much earlier in a poem in the 1800’s in a way similar to that..but the gift giving theme at Christmas time was always associated with him so though more secular, the message is still there for those that wish to associate it and can be ignored by those that are uncomfortable with it.
It is hard to answer this question because (a) there was no single winter festival, but different cultures celebrated the Best Cat Dad Ever Sunflower Cat Lover Sunflower Father’s Day T Shirt around the winter solstice in different ways, and (b) we have no means of telling “what was considered the true meaning” in the case of those festivals celebrated in illiterate societies, apart from guesswork and deduction. And where there are written records, as in China and ancient Rome, they tell us little about “true meanings”. From Chinese poetry and practice, we can infer that behind the festival was gratitude that the shorter nights that were coming heralded the return of warmth and life, and from Roman practice we can infer that people were happy that the sun was at last increasing in strength. Portraying this as a battle between light and darkness, though, is pure speculation. It is natural to suppose.
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