Category Archives: Crazy Holidays

Belated Christmas Post

Yeah, you know I can’t let Christmas just slip past me without making some rant about it. So, here is my rather belated Christmas post. Enjoy!

As much as I rant and rave about not liking Christmas every year, there always seem to be a few people who insist on defying my wishes and end up getting me a gift. Here are a few of the things I received, supposedly from a Saint in a church that I don’t even believe in (Saint Nick, just in case you didn’t know who I’m talking about).

Dal Negro Plastic Poker Cards
These are totally sweet. I’ve been eyeballing a set of these bad boys for about a year now. Problem was, I already had two sets of KEM cards, and simply couldn’t justify the $20+ it would cost me to get what is essentially an inferior set of cards.

Well, it might have been nicer to just receive $20 in cash, but I pretty much would have spent the money eating out at Arby’s or something. So things are better this way. Now if I could just get my hands on some Gemaco cards.

Mini Planetarium
Every year, I tell my wife to not spend money on me. If there’s something that I want, I’ll go out and get it myself. And every year, my wife defies my wishes and gets me something.

I would totally love something like this if it actually worked well, so I’m gonna try real hard to get some use out of this. Now if only I could get my hands on a 30” Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

LED Headlight
This thing is sweet! I wear it all the time. You know, just in case I’m wandering around and find myself in a cave. But seriously, I love it. Now if I could only get my hands on a FN P90 so I can go do some night hunting.

Video iPod
This came from my boss. Yeah, I know, you wish you had a boss as cool as mine. But you DON’T! Yep, sucks for you.

The beauty of this Christmas gift is that my boss is Jewish… that and my gift to him was a couple of peanut butter cookies. I know what you’re thinking: Stu, you gave somebody a Christmas gift?! In my defense, my wife made me do it.

I was actually hoping he would break out the dreidel on me. I need to keep up on my gambling skills.

Kris Kringle DVD
My older brother, who presented this gift to me from him and his family, apparently doesn’t realize my incredible hatred for the symbols, especially Kris Kringle, Santa Clause, St. Nicholas, and so forth that detracts from our Lord and Savior. But I’m sure my kids will love it.

I once read, “I love Santa Claus with all my heart because he represents Christ.”

SAY WHAT?!

Begin rant. Stand tall soldiers!

Hey, whatever makes you feel better about worshipping a jolly fat man in a red suit that practices slave labor and is apparently bigoted against dwarves with pointy ears.

I love my country, not a piece of cloth. I don’t worship my country’s flag. I would not be willing to die for it. For what it represents, yes. For a piece of cloth? No.

If Santa Claus asked you to die for him, would you accept? Personally, if Santa Claus got anywhere near me I’d KICK HIM IN THE CROTCH!

Furthermore, since when does Santa Clause symbolize Christ? I don’t see the relation. I choose to love Christ, not a jolly fat man that has nothing to do with Him. No offense to my Catholic friends out there, nor to St. Nicholas who I’m sure was a good man. But do you honestly think St. Nicholas would dare claim, after being grossly twisted into what we know as Santa Claus, to be the symbol of Christ?

End rant. Carry on! Umm… and Merry freakin’ Christmas!

Christmas: Not Just for Christians Anymore

Well, not that Christmas really ever had anything to do with Christianity. It should be no surprise that atheists around the world celebrate the birth of required gift exchanges.

Birth of Christ? Oh, is that what we’re supposed to pretend it’s about? I didn’t realize it had anything to with that amongst the 10 million Christmas Specials I’ve seen with no mention of Jesus, his birth or life, but are rather about a jolly fat man named after an anagram of satan, based on a Catholic saint and modeled after Odin.

Though once outlawed in America, Christmas itself has become quite an ecclectic celebration, incorporating traditions and ceremonies from many different civilizations throughout history.

Well, rather than repeat my rant of last year, here’s a link to it.

Enjoy!

I did learn something new this year though. From the Pagan Claus site:

 

Mithra, by the way, was born on December 25, of a virgin. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and magicians [magi]. Mithra raised the dead and healed the sick and cast out demons. He returned to heaven at the spring equinox and before doing so had a last supper with his 12 disciples (representing the 12 signs of the zodiac), eating mizd, a piece of bread marked with a cross (an almost universal symbol of the sun). Any of that sound familiar?

What the Heck is Halloween?

Ok, anybody who knows me understands that I am not particularly big on traditions, holidays, birthdays, and the like. Halloween is no different, though I will admit to hating it much less than Christmas and Easter.

As a hater of the holidays, it is my duty to inform the world of its origins, and trash the holiday if at all possible on my blog. So here we go.

It is generally accepted by historians that Halloween dates back to the Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced sow-in, meaning the end of summer). For the Celts, October 31 was actually New Year’s Eve, the end of summer and coming of long nights and very cold days. People tended to die more often during these cold months, and this day it was thought that the lines between the living and the dead became blurred.

Furthermore, the prophetic powers of a Druid became more powerful on this day, resulting in more accurate predictions of what was to come. Druids would often build huge bonfires where Celts could sacrifice animals and crops to their gods. Celts would also wear costumes, typically made from the heads of animals.

Then along came the Romans.

The Romans just so happened to have a celebration that nearly coincided with Samhain called Feralia, a commemoration of those who had died. When the Romans conquered the Celtic lands, Feralia and Samhain occurred so near to each other that they couldn’t help but incorporate each others traditions.

And of course, what would any holiday be without the corruption of Christianity? As usual, the Catholic Church attempted to gain converts by absorbing the traditions of heathens.

By the late 1st century, the Pope had declared November 1 All Saint’s Day in commemoration of saints and martyrs (ie: dead people). The Middle English term for All Saint’s Day was Alholowmesse, and so Christians often referred to Saint’s Day as All-hallowmas. Thus, October 31 became All-hallows Eve. Can you see where this is going?

So how did Halloween become what it is today? Most of the traditions come from the area in which it originated: Ireland. As I mentioned in a previous post regarding St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish have a tendency to exaggerate their stories, and I believe that the tendency to exaggerate also tends to result in changing traditions from generation to generation.

The Irish managed to twist Samhain into a celebration of dressing up and going door to door to collect treats. The costumes protect you from the dead, who cross over on this night.

Traditions also tend to incorporate traditions of the cultures they come into. By the time Halloween made its way to America, we were incorporating stories of witches and warlocks, scaring away evil spirits with scary costumes, and so forth.

The pumpkin is has always been a symbol of the harvest season in America, and it somehow got integrated into Halloween. There is also a legend of a man named Jack who tricked the Devil into keeping him out of Hell.

When Jack died the Devil, true to his word, refused to let Jack into Hell. Thus Jack carved out a turnip to use as a candle holder for light and left to wander the earth. He is known as “Jack of the Lantern”.

As a young boy, I was told the story of pilgrims that carved out a scary face into a pumpkin. At night they placed a candle in the pumpkin. This was used as a method to scare off Native Americans that were stealing from them. The Native Americans, believing it was a ghost, never returned. Whether that story has any validity at all is unknown to me.

In some parts of England there is a festival on November 4, called Mischief Night, in which children play tricks on adults. Thus the “trick” in “trick or treat”. Essentially, give me a treat or I’ll play a very bad trick on you!

Sadly, Halloween in America today has nearly become a sex fest, with costumes becoming more revealing and taking on a sexual tone (which can get pretty scary when the wrong body wears the wrong costume (or lack thereof)) as adults more and more celebrate with wild Halloween parties.

It becomes increasingly more difficult to find costumes that are “decent.” Hey, I like scantily clad women as much as the next guy, but Halloween is supposed to be a celebration for the kids. What sane parent is going to sex up their 10-year-old daughter? Just another sign of the times I suppose.

Now if you think I’m bad, check out this article by Kim Harrington, who seems to hate Halloween far more than I.

We Are a Free Nation!

I have to tell you, I love my country. Today, more than any other, when I see the patriotism of this great nation it makes me… well, soft in the heart.

There are a certain kind of people that we had to call upon to gain our freedom. These people were soldiers and warriors. This post is for those who did and do serve their country’s military with honor (if some images don’t show, try refreshing):


Iraqi Soldiers Raising the Flag of a Free Nation


British Sniper


Iraqi Soldiers Serving Alongside Americans


Taking Care of Business in Fallujah


Once a Marine, Always a Marine

Thank you to all members of the U.S. military who fight to keep our nation free, and to help those who cannot help themselves. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

Happy Independence Day!


May She Forever Fly Free

The Green “Holiday”

What’s up with St. Patrick’s day? And what makes this one saint so special that he gets his very own day?

Patrick was actually British, and a wealthy Brit at that… or, at least, he was born into a wealthy family. During his youth, he appeared to be far from religious even though his father was a deacon.

As a teenager he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. During his six years in captivity, he began to have dreams of converting the Irish to Christianity. He escaped captivity when he thought he heard God’s voice instructing him to leave Ireland.

Later, he was visited by an angel instructing him to return to Ireland to serve as a missionary. Patrick then spent 15 years studying his faith he was ordained a priest and sent off to Ireland.

As is often the case with Catholicism, Patrick integrated the native pagan beliefs and rituals into Catholic teachings. At this time in Ireland, the Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth, which probably are to blame for the highly exaggerated stories of St. Patrick’s life.

So why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s day? There are a lot of Irish in America, whose ancestors migrated here from their native land. Those first Irishmen brought with them their crazy tales and near-worship of St. Patrick.

The reality is St. Patrick is another Catholic saint who’s life we celebrate without even knowing why. But at least we can say we haven’t supplanted the celebration of a Catholic saint in place of celebrating the birth of our Savior (as is the case with St. Nicholas).

Yes, I’m a grouch about St. Patrick’s day. Not only because I disagree with the celebration of his life (where the hell is Joseph Smith’s day?), but also because I don’t even get a paid day off because of it!

BAH!!!

What is Christmas, Really?

Well, someday I just may write a book on all this crap. But for now, you’ll have to be satisfied with what little I provide here. I’ll try to keep it short.

Before I start, let it be known that I have nothing against tradition. I love tradition. The great thing about tradition is that there’s no need to know why you do it, just that it has always been done. But in the case of Christmas, you might be better off not knowing.

Christmas is a “Christian” holiday. If it weren’t for the fact that Christmas celebration was originally instituted to celebrate the birth of Christ on Earth, I would laugh that claim right down the toilet. What has become of Christians, and what have they done to mar what should be a very straightforward celebration? Let’s get started shall we?

Who the Heck is Santa Claus?

Most of us know that Santa Claus is a variation of the catholic monk Saint Nicholas. St. Nicholas’ feast day is December 6th, the day of his death. He is the protector of children and sailors. Go figure, huh?

The transformation to Santa Claus began as a result of St. Nicholas’ Dutch name, Sinter Klaas. In the early 1770’s, a New York newspaper reported the gathering of Dutch families to honor Sinter Klaas on the anniversary of his death.

The New York Historical Society began distributing woodcut images of the now familiar Santa Claus with hanging stockings filled with toys. The popularity of St. Nicholas grew in America with the 1809 publication of The History of New York, in which author Washington Irving referred to St. Nicholas as “The Patron Saint of New York”.

Modern Traditions Begin

Irving later penned The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon in 1819, spreading his idea of an ideal Christmas celebration as it took place in an English manor house. American readers took Irving’s idea of Christmas being a peaceful holiday that brought the rich and poor together, crossing class lines, as a factual description of a typical English celebration, though it was a completely fictional. Up to this point, Christmas was actually a very raucous, drunken celebration in most parts of the world.

It should be noted that during this time of America’s early years, Christmas was primarily an English celebration, frowned upon by Separatists (and later, Americans). In fact, Christmas was even outlawed in parts of America (most notably in Boston), and the American Congress was actually in session on Christmas day, 1789. It would be nearly 100 years later that Christmas was declared a federal holiday.

Santa Claus Flies through the Night Sky with Eight Magical Reindeer, Delivering Toys to Good Boys & Girls

This idea seems to have originally appeared in the story ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, written by the Episcopal Minister Clement Clark Moore. Modern ideas of Santa Claus in America come from Moore’s poem. Moore appears to have borrowed from many ancient beliefs and traditions to create his vision of a flying fat man driven by magical reindeer.

You’re probably familiar with the Norse god Odin. If your memory needs a refresher, Odin is the father of Thor.

In Germany, people honored Odin (typically spelled Oden in Germany, also Woden, which is where we get the name for the day Wednesday (Woden Day or woods day) during mid-winter, believing that he made nocturnal flights through the sky to keep an eye on his people, rewarding the deserving and causing others to perish. It’s likely the idea of Santa flying through the sky and rewarding good children came from stories and beliefs about Odin.

Furthermore, Odin – who was also a shape shifter – often appeared as a grey-bearded old man. In Iceland, Odin is known as “The Father of All”.

Some scholars believe that parts of Odin’s life is a garbled version of Christ’s crucifixion (particularly the story that has Odin hanging himself and piercing himself with his own spear in order to gain wisdom… essentially offering himself up as a sacrifice to himself (since there was no higher god, he could only sacrifice to himself). Many Christians believe that Christ is the same as the Father, or the “highest” god).

Why December 25th?

The Catholic Church ordered the celebration of Christ’s birth on Earth during the 4th century. But they had no idea when this grand event happened. Logically, his birth probably happened in the spring (note shepherds tending their flocks at the time of Christ’s birth).

December was probably chosen because of its universal significance around the world with so many different societies. This midwinter time was celebrated around the world as a time for new beginnings. In Rome, December 25th was the birthday celebration of the sun god Mithra.

The huge Roman festival of Saturnalia also happened in December, and it is commonly believed that Pope Julius I selected a December date for just this reason. By incorporating or absorbing the traditions of Saturnalia, the Catholic Church hoped the gain converts.

However, Saturnalia was only one of many midwinter celebrations. The mutation of Christmas, I believe, is to be blamed on the placement of its date. By coinciding with worldly midwinter celebrations, the church lost the ability to dictate how Christmas is celebrated. This was also done purposely on occasion, as is mentioned in the next section.

Yuletide

Perhaps the biggest influence on Christmas tradition, Yule is the ancient Scandinavian celebration which begins on December 21st in which people danced, feasted, and celebrated for days on end (for as long as a log would burn (thus the Yule log), typically taking about 12 days) to ensure that the sun would return.

Holly represents the old year. The Holly King was sacrificed by his son and successor, the Oak King (representing the new sun).

Yule celebrations also included the sacrifice of a pig, which is why we typically feast on ham. Other “inherited” traditions include the pine tree and the mistletoe.

Why have we incorporated so much of the Yule celebration in Christian holidays (not just Christmas, but Easter as well)?

When the first Christian missionaries began showing up in Scandinavia to convert the Anglo-Saxon heathens, the Pope suggested, “…that converting heathens is easier if they are allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditional pagan practices and traditions, while recasting those traditions spiritually towards the one true God instead of to their pagan gods…”

This is supposedly acceptable according to the Bible, as God did the same with the ancient Israelites.