As some of you may remember, I had written a post back in 2012 titled, “What’s All the Fuss All About Anyway?” In it, I spoke a little about the origins of some of our contemporary holiday traditions and how they relate to our modern culture.
As of late, I have taken notice of the fact that there appears to be quite a lot of controversy surrounding the use of the phrase, “Happy Holidays” as many seem to feel that it is only appropriately acceptable to wish someone, be they Christian or not, “Merry Christmas!” Now, first let me begin by saying that although I am Wiccan/Pagan and as such personally choose to only celebrate/acknowledge Yule and the Winter Solstice, I have never been offended by someone of the Christian faith wishing me a "Merry Christmas."
Why not? Well, to be perfectly honest, there is no need. As far as I am concerned, unless that individual’s intent is malicious or purposely meant to be offensive, I see no reason to get all bent out of shape about it. After all, we all come from the same Universal “creator” so to speak regardless of exactly what faith/religion we choose to follow on this Earthly plane. Therefore; for the purposes of this post, I will try to cover a bit of history which I hope you all will find, at the very least, interesting.
For instance the Christmas tree, perhaps one of the most popular symbols known to embrace the season, has pre-Christian roots. Though trees indeed represented the connection between heaven and Earth, similar ideas are found in the Old Testament as well as trees also symbolized wisdom and life. However, it wasn’t until the middle of the 18th century that the tree gained popularity in the United States.
And what about the practice of gift-giving and the lore behind the mistletoe? The exchanging of gifts which we know to be commonplace today, was actually banned in the Middle Ages by the Catholic Church due to its' "Pagan" origins, but it was later rationalized by the church because of its' association with St. Nicholas and Christmas, and that gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were given to the infant Jesus.
A pic of one of our holly bushes in the front yard ~ another symbol of the season.
These are only a few simple examples of how history has a way of connecting us to everyone, everything, and every culture. And so, it seems to me that getting too caught up in the "mine is the only right way" game is just down right silly!