Mudcat Café message #2206520 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #106626   Message #2206520
Posted By: Anne Lister
01-Dec-07 - 07:15 PM
Thread Name: Songs for the Winter Solstice
Subject: RE: Songs for the Winter Solstice
I've been checking ... bringing greenery into the church and into the home was encouraged by Pope Gregory, as a way of getting people into the churches who would otherwise have been doing their own celebrations (of whatever kind) in the countryside.

You've lost your way, Les? There is a lot about Christmas that has nothing to do with the Bible or Christians, yes. Why do you assume that the pagans were "rolled flat"? Time passes, yes, but some traditions get passed on. Your own family may not have carried the old stuff forward, but why assume that no families did? I know one family that did, which encourages me to assume there may well be others. I don't suppose for a minute they're members of Mudcat, though, nor do I suppose they care a lot whether you believe in their existence or not.

Jollity is indeed part of human nature, Sedayne, but a little study of the Puritans will tell you that they were basing their view of Christianity on a stricter reading of the Bible. They were the "fundamentalists" of their time, and keen to eradicate any form of sedition, perceived or actual. They weren't popular, but for a short period of our history they were powerful. Bringing greenery into a church or a house and burning a Yule log aren't really in the same order of sedition as drunken stag parties, so if they stomped on those aspects of the winter celebrations it seems less likely that this was because of rioting in the streets and more likely that they were trying to get back to a more rigid view of Christian teachings. Did they manage to stop it all over the country? Highly doubtful. Was everyone in the country a committed and devout Christian? Highly doubtful too, although over the centuries there has been an insistence on church going, which might make you think that everyone was therefore a Christian and had given up on any other practice.

Both of you continue to drag in red herrings. I'm not talking about the Green Man, nor am I talking about nursery rhymes. All I've been saying, from the start, is that if you're looking for English traditional songs about the winter solstice it will be difficult, if not impossible to find them because such songs as might have existed will almost certainly have been transferred to the bigger, more generally accepted celebration of Christmas. Songs which we do have which bring in elements which are not part of the Bible story of the birth of Jesus (such as holly and ivy) may well be preserving elements of an older view of the midwinter festival. It is all supposition, but it seems to me that if you're trying to knock down any idea that there could be any such thing as a traditional English song for the winter solstice, I don't think you can make that assumption from the lack of printed sources. I'm puzzled about why both Les and Sedayne feel they have to belittle what I'm saying. Absence of printed evidence does not mean absence of existence.