Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Comparative religion with mom

"Do you know what Epiphany is all about?"
"No idea. Not sure if all the Christians know it either."
"They must know, it's their holiday."
"Well - do you know what Tisha B'Av is all about?"
"Huh? Tissue what?"

In other religious news, my relatives visited Nazareth on Christmas, and their photos show what appears to be Santa Clauses on motorcycles camouflaged as sheep. Either it's a local tradition, or the locals' attempt at reindeer costumes for motorcycles went horribly wrong.


Anonymous said...

Of course every Christian knows that Epiphany is celebrated in honour for the Three Wise Men (three kings, whatever) who brought gold, incense and myrrh (chrism) as a gift for the new born king of the Jews.

Well, very few Finnish Christians know that Midsummer Eve is celebrated because of John the Babtist.

Actually Juhannus (Midsummer Eve) Joulu (Christmas, Yule) are old heathen festivals for the longest and shortest day of the year. The chruch simply hijacked them.

Ironmistress said...

Actually it appears the hijacking has happened in the other way. The Germanic Heathens hijacked the Christian holidays from their Latin neighbours.

The first certain documentation of Yule is from AD 890. At that time the Latin world had been Christian for quite a many centuries. Few people realize Christianity is older at the British Isles than the English language and Germanic Anglo-Saxon habitation.

Ironmistress said...

Tisha B'Av. The saddest day in the Jewish Calendar.

Vera said...

Ironmistress: I know. Just don't tell my mom. :)

Ironmistress said...

Actually the Epiphany is about - yup, you guessed it right - brith milah.

The eight day after the birth and the actual circumcision of Jesus would have happened on New Year's Day - that is eight days after Christmas. The actual celebration occurred on 6th January as the Three Wise Men picked up a visit and brought presents to the newly mutilated boy.

1st January - the brith milah of Jesus - was picked up as the beginning date of a new year by Emperor Constantine in 337 AD - before it the year changed at 1st March (the month of the war god).

So the celebration of the New Year is actually the brith of Jesus and Epiphany the day to celebrate it with relatives and friends near and far. VERY few people except Messianic Jews realize that. Certain crackpot rabbis in Israel do - and they usually are very quiet about it.

Anonymous said...

Ironmistress: the Roman year began on 1 March _before_ the Christians messed it up. Evidence: the seventh month is called September, the eighth October, the 9th November and the 10th December. Originally, July and August were also called Quintilis and Sextilis before Caesar and Augustus overtook those months. (And Augustus made his month one day longer to match Caesar's.) Someone later suggested that September be named after Tiberius, to which he replied: "What will you do after the 12th emperor?"

Hiski, not getting through this ID system again