Saturday, 28 November 2009

Pagan Origins of "Christian" Festivals

I have to doff the Archdruidical pointy hat towards Clayboy for his kind detailing of the way in which Easter was originally a Christianisation of the North American Maple Syrup Harvest.
It is a little known fact that almost all Christian festivals are importations or transmutations of earlier pre-Christian fertility festivals and nature celebrations.  As a group dedicated to finding the deeper truths of earlier times, we are able to shed a great deal of light on the current "Christian" festivals and whence they came.

January 1 - "The Feast of the Holy Name" was originally a feast dedicated to the Norse god of headaches, Bleindin.  Believers would stay in their houses, with the blinds down and the lights off.  A day of fasting and silence - the fast only broken by special ceremonial food such as raw egg yolks with Worcestershire sauce, and fry-ups.

February 2 - Celebrated as "Candlemass" by Roman Catholics, but known to Celts and Beaker Folk as Imbolc.  Imbolc marks the point in the year when you realise how much of the credit card bill you still have to pay off after Christmas.  The Beaker Folk would mark this season by giving up drink, take-aways and pay TV channels, living on nothing but porridge and water until scurvy set in.  They would borrow as much as they could from neighbours to avoid putting any more on plastic.  This aspect of widespread borrowing is the reason that the time up to Easter became known as "Lent".

Palm Sunday - The people of the ancient Bletchley Culture would on this day walk in procession around the Leys, the ancient park just north of Bletchley Park, waving the ears of their enemies in the air.  All year, they would cut the ears off their defeated rivals in battle, drying them in the clay kilns of Newton Longville.  But on this day, timed to be the Gibbous Moon after the Spring Equinox, they would display the year's victories in this way.  Afterwards they would nail the ears to the trees down Buckingham Road. The rest of the year was spent making the same appalling "what's this ear?" pun.
Coincidentally, the Compo People of Yorkshire also celebrated this day.  A member of the young ladies of the village would be chosen, by drawing of lots, to be "Anna" for a day.  The purpose of the young men of the village was to find out which girl had been so honoured.  The ritual part of the day mostly consisted of people walking round the villages shouting "Who's Anna?  Who's Anna"?  The rest is history.

Easter - The Badass People of Nottingham knew this as the Long Good Friday.  They would spend the weekend in an orgy of drinking, wandering around in worn out clothing and threatening passers-by.  This is one of the few traditions to have been handed down, in its original form, for over 6,000 years.

May Day - was originally named after the goddess of screaming and running around with your hands in the air.    Her consort, "Jonesy" was conventionally portrayed as an old man with a fixed bayonet.  Worshippers would hang from bridges over rivers, while taking part in the ritual chant "Don't panic!  Don't panic!"  The shortest man in the community would be chosen to be the "Miz-Dam-Annering" - a position of great responsibility but very little real power.  However he was regarded as a sage - the upper classes of the clan would come to the "Miz-Dam-Annering" and ask him whether he thought things were wise.

Lammas - 1 August - Oddly enough, named after the French word for the West Ham Utd team, "L'Hammers" (the "h" is silent in French).  The Gaulish tribes suffered under the pillaging of the city of Marseilles by Brithonic invaders during the 55BC World Cup.  In particular, the tribe of the West Hams, a fearsome group under the leadership of the warrior Earwigoh, sacked Lyons.  The Hams pillaged a great deal of purple cloth which, worn over their traditional druidic woad body art, was the origins of West Ham FC's modern home strip.

Harvest Home - this older name for Harvest Festival in turn derives its name from a pub in Houghton Regis. The people of Houghton Regis (an offshoot of those great enemies of the West Hams, the Gunnaz), would gather at the Harvest Home to exchange things that had - in their quaint world-view - fallen off the back of their goddess, Ae-lorri.    Presumably we are to imagine Ae-lorri as a pre-Celtic version of Father Christmas, flying across South Bedfordshire with blessings falling off her back into the paths of her worshippers.

Halloween - Before being overtaken by the great evil gods Commerz and Ripov, the Beaker Folk celebrated this as a time of joy and generosity.  They would build a giant Wicka Man, fill it with marshmallows, and set it on fire.  A folk memory of this happy and innocent ceremony survives, albeit in a degraded form, in the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in the film Ghostbusters.  The evil Celts took the marshmallow out and replaced in with criminals, presumably lamenting that "I bet they're warmer in there than my poor old Nan is in her flat", and saying that criminals knew they'd get off with being roasted alive if they were caught, so where was the deterrent in that?

Advent - a corruption of the East Saxon deity Avon, the goddess of cosmetics.  In Advent the women of the East Saxons would cover themselves with face paints in honour of Avon and wander around Chelmsford looking for men with whom to indulge in mating rituals.  They did the same the rest of the year as well.

Christmas  - We now know that the Germanic celebration of Yule, and the Roman Saturnalia, were invented in an attempt to take over from the celebration of Christmas.  The pagans of the 3rd Century were jealous that the Christians were having a good time while they were still worshipping a bunch of gods who sat on mountains dressed in togas.  So they thought that if they renamed the celebration and kept it on the same day, everybody would think they had thought of it first.  Ironically, the Christians had chosen the day because it coincided with the ancient Birmingham* festival of "Winterval", in which people would have a good time, eat drink and be merry and hang coloured lights on their houses, with no idea why.

* Yes, we know.  Birmingham's had an unfairly bad press on this one.  But let's face it - it's still Birmingham.

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