Mudcat Café message #2206275 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #106626   Message #2206275
Posted By: Anne Lister
01-Dec-07 - 11:12 AM
Thread Name: Songs for the Winter Solstice
Subject: RE: Songs for the Winter Solstice
Dear Les and Sedayne

For you, Frazer. For me, nothing to do with "current pagan belief" but a representative from a family which, whatever your opinion of the matter might be, has preserved traditions for as many generations back as they can trace. You're still dependent on a written source while I'm very happy that there are indeed people alive today who have preserved a tradition. And I know one such. She would be amused to hear herself described as merely following current pagan belief but probably quite irritated to be patronised with the term "quaint" and I don't think she's ever read Frazer. I'll say again - because something doesn't exist in written form doesn't mean it doesn't and didn't exist. Because you've never met someone with this tradition doesn't mean no one exists who has it.

In terms of history, if only it was as simple as the difference between fact and fiction - any study of history will show you there are many shades of grey involved. For one example, the work currently being done by archaeologists like Francis Pryor who are discovering that the early history of these islands has been misunderstood for years.

Whether or not people in these islands considered themselves Christians or pagans has very little to do with all of this - I was referring specifically to the date of Christmas, which only a little research shows to be anything but historically factual. I'd be interested to see "hard factual evidence" that the use of greenery in the home, the use of holly and the use of the yule log came from any Christian teachings. As the birth of Jesus was almost certainly not in December and the date for Christmas was chosen because of the various festivities it could be associated with there is a lot about our current Christmas holiday which has anything but Christian roots. And yes, this was what the Puritans both in the UK and in the US were reacting to .... the jollity and general merriment were not necessarily connected with the birth of Jesus. So where did they come from?   Please supply historical facts to let me know, as there's nothing in the Gospels to explain much of it.

Again, the factual nature (or not) of King Arthur has very little to do with anything. I'm not sure what facts there are surrounding Mithras as an actual historical character, or Perseus. However I think most people would agree that the Mithraic cult and the tales of Perseus predate the Gospels. King Arthur probably doesn't, (who knows for sure?) but the stories pick up on similar themes.

As to the existence of traditional songs from the solstice, my whole point is that it's very difficult to know where one tradition begins and another ends. There aren't too many traditional Christmas carols, when it comes down to it, either.