Tis The Season – Solstice Celebration in Roman Times

Christmas time and Christmas traditions: there is more to be said for this season than the birth of one individual over 2000 years ago. The Christmas season is one of celebration, a time of gifts, merriment, and delicious foods seen only during these festive times.

“Let’s dance and sing, and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year”.

This festive time of year brings together religious homage and the age-old tradition of celebrating the winter solstice, a tradition recognized in most nations in both ancient and modern days. For the sake and the sanity of the hard-working population during the progressively darkened days of this winter season, the winter solstice was in itself a time of hope and renewal. It was the turning point that the warmth and light would return.

Even in Roman days the season of Saturnalia was celebrated. Arguments were suspended, and a spirit of universal good-will took hold. No executions took place during this time, no wars were declared. Even the lowest in the social order regained a moment of freedom for self expression. Hymns of praise were sung, songs that could be paralleled to our modern Christmas carol. Gifts were passed from friend to friend, as well as offerings to the poor.

Where do we find mention of said times? In the book of Esther it was said, “the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, ad the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day; they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor”.

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