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A Holiday of Contradictions

One of the the Madison.com forums this week was about how atheists who celebrated Christmas were a bunch of hypocrites. As a bad (as in bad catholic) atheist and Marxist there are even more contradictions for me. While I do not participate in the opiates of the holiday, I do play a role in the exploitation of the proletariat.

The message to an atheist leaning Marxist, or is it a Marxist leaning atheist, was loud and clear, quit participating in my capitalism to celebrate my Christian holiday. Genesis does say in the beginning God created Christmas, and on the second day capitalism.

It turns out there is no mention of Christmas in the bible, and Jesus’ birth was in the spring anyway. Christmas was a Pagan holiday before it was by Catholics to celebrate the seasonably challenged birth of Jesus. But I agree the day has changed from its authentically religious observance.

By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solsticefestivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would bepopularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it wascelebrated. By the Middle Ages, Christianity had, for the most part,replaced pagan religion. On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar totoday’s Mardi Gras. Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the”lord of misrule” and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects.The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best foodand drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would most likelyterrorize them with mischief. Christmas became the time of year whenthe upper classes could repay their real or imagined “debt” to societyby entertaining less fortunate citizens.

No, the Christmas, with all its contradiction, which we celebrate today would come later in a land called America.

The early 19th century was a period of class conflict and turmoil. During this time, unemployment was high and gang rioting by the disenchanted classes often occurred during the Christmas season. In 1828, the New York city council instituted the city’s first police force in response to a Christmas riot. This catalyzed certain members of the upper classes to begin to change the way Christmas was celebrated in America.

Yes, that authentically religious celebration expressed through class rage had to be tamed through capitalism. I say hell yea, lets put religion back in Christmas. You go to the Christmas night service and I’ll join you for the riots afterwards.

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