Historical context for the War on Saturnalia

Here’s an article from National Geographic which attempts to put some historical context on the debate over holiday celebrations: “War on Christmas” Charge Echoes Past Debates, Expert Says

Christmas was outlawed within the history of the early republic, within the colonies, as part of the religious legislation by the puritans. The puritans, apparently, were upset about the pagan season being co-opted by the Catholic church.

The article doesn’t specifically talk about the notion of broad consumer appeal as a motivation behind the decoupling of the specific religious observance and the purchasing of goods. But, it does cite the use of the term “holiday” as belnding the religious and consumer aspects of the season.

It does talk about Target’s policy change, which I didn’t know about. However, I did notice that Safeway and Target in Olympia were both saying “Merry Christmas” at the checkout counters.

It is interesting that the article draws a parallel between the puritans then and the conservative groups now both working to “impose their beliefs.” And this reflects a distinctly non-post-modern view of the world. The notion that the world can be any way it wants as long as it is like oneself seems to me to be significantly immature and complex in it’s speciousness.

The article also re-iterates an argument that I have heard before that the proper place for a birthday mass for a biblical Jesus would have to be in March, not December. Therefore, from this one could continue with the corollary, any rabidly textual bible reader that defends a December holiday as Christmas is in violation of their own professed beliefs.

The War on Saturnalia

It seems to me that it is neither the progressives nor the pluralists who are the reason that “Christmas” has become a “Holiday” but rather it’s the capitalists. In an effort to extend the season, business has had to work to make the season less specific to a religion and appeal to as many people as possible.

Politics and economics get conflated and confused. It just happens that the agenda of business appears to be the same as progressive or pluralist agendas, but the purpose and desired end are completely divergent.

So, the “Christmas Warriors” should really think about taking steps to rescue Saturnalia from the capitalists who have secularized it in order to appeal to the widest possible audience of consumers for the greatest period of the calendar possible.

But, if you want to get down to it, the romans stole from the etruscans or somebody the holiday that became Saturnalia fair and square centuries before it became associated with what has become modern Christianity.

On a serious note, this is one of those places where it seems to me that the conservative political agenda appears to be contradictory in it’s support of both crass commercialism / corporatism and conservative / fundimentalist religion, two things I do not think mix and I’m inclined to disagree with independently anyway. This would be something that I would have to sit down and discuss with someone that held those views.