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June 05 , 2010

Christmas In Ritual And Tradition


Christmas In Ritual And Tradition
by Clement A. Miles

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This is a study of the origin of modern Christmas in ancient pagan traditions, how the festival was adopted by Christianity, and its evolution through history. Miles includes descriptions of folk-lore related to the Christmas season from a wide range of European countries, including an extensive collection of folk songs. It is important to learn about these traditions to remind ourselves that before Christmas became a hyper-commercialized festival of consumption, it was a joyous celebration of renewal and friendship.

It has been an instinct in nearly all peoples, savage or civilized, to set aside certain days for special ceremonial observances, attended by outward rejoicing. This tendency to concentrate on special times answers to man's need to lift himself above the commonplace and the everyday, to escape from the leaden weight of monotony that oppresses him. “We tend to tire of the most eternal splendours, and a mark on our calendar, or a crash of bells at midnight maybe, reminds us that we have only recently been created.”

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