A Brief History of the Holidays

Can you believe it? Black Friday is here again (be careful out there!), Christmas jingles fill the airways, and our flagging economy gears up for another festive orgasm of high sales figures and disappointing profit-margins to honor material fixations in the cellophane guise of spiritual devotion.

Lest we forget the humbler origins of religious reverence amid the frenetic frenzy of instant need-gratification, here are some little-known facts about the history of the holiday season:

Did you know?

That our traditional Thanksgiving dinner actually dates back to Julius Caesar? Shakespeare immortalized his famous plea to Brutus, “Et tu…?”, though this is an historical inaccuracy. It was actually Brutus’ query to his slave, Wimpy, who not having et all day upon entering the senate cafeteria, responded: “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Many historians believe this to be the basis of the modern pay-by-installment system whereby one signs one’s life over to the one percent for the privilege of sharing and maintaining its bounty.

At the time, hamburgers were a symbol of wealth and prosperity enjoyed only by a powerful minority; but they soon became so plentiful during the Pax Romana that rotting surfeits accrued. The putrid meat was tossed to crowds of starving citizens in annual celebrations in which they gave thanks to a violent and self-serving elite which allowed many of them to survive.

Did You Know?

That in an epicurean gala of “all the hamburgers you can eat”, Roman senators purged their spirits on specially reserved stone couches in great stadiums (the prototype of today’s luxury sky-boxes) to watch Lions eat Christians amid the dull, half-dozing revelry of inflated stomachs, mead-guzzling, and rude, noisome bodily emissions? The Lions still symbolize the old tradition, though somewhat less competitively today, and soda pop now eases the dispepsia of over-ingestion.

According to primary sources, as a result of crude meat preservation, bacteria-laden overages, and the unrestrained excesses of the senators: “There were not a bare spote of grounde in the near propinquity of the spirit-purge the size of a denarius wherein the Senators had not expunged some foule and variouse forme of excretium.

Did you know?

That the tradition later re-emerged in the New World in more civilized form as Christian compensation spread its new gospel of love to a primitive, animal-like heathenry? Annual banquets were held — but this time, in accordance with the selfless creed devoted to the service of religious life. The copious bounties were shared freely with the rude race of primitives (once a year) in joyful anticipation of converting/exterminating them to relieve them of their natural dignity along with whatever else the emissaries deemed proper return for the divine sacrifice of having to depend on savages in the name of God.

Did you know?

That our modern Christmas began as a pagan ritual marking the winter solstice? The shortest day and the longest night of the year translated to the ancient mind as a symbol of bitter hardship and deep depression, and this primitive heritage underlies the high suicide rates which, for many, only add to the festivities of the holiday season (compensation for the fantastic history of a divine ego which is yet subject to natural law).

Outbursts of consumerism now replace the orgiastic sexual excesses of old; boozy office parties and the suggestive lure of kisses under the mistletoe stand today only as fading silhouettes of the naked debauchery of our ancestors and convince us that the lowest forms of sensual greed have been magically transformed into lofty intellectual pursuits through repression and the pretense of belief.

Did you know?

That the jolly old St. Nick our children dream so wistfully of on Christmas Eve evolved from the ancient Norse god, Nikolai of the Twelve Engorgements? The terrible gifts he proffered were enslavement, abuse, and exploitation in return for only the barest physical sustenance. He presided over the fate of humanity’s forgotten children whose self-serving progenitors’ nurturing instincts had been overcome by the blind pursuit of immediate personal gain. Fortunately, they only ever comprised about one percent of the population.

His tragic, innocent victims were later euphemized as cute helper “dwarfs” by a wise ruling elite determined to improve humanity’s condition whatever the cost to itself; though a small handful of backward-oriented, bitter, and disgruntled naysayers of contemporary culture propose that unconscious aspects of the original image have now morphed into the modern form of “managed mass deception” for the purposes of maintaining the run-away avarice of a wealthy, dissociated, and unregulated one percent.

Did You Know?

That no poor, pitiful unwitting beast of lower intelligence, human or animal, is off limits to the usury and exploitation beneath the carefully staged benign, even pleasant, subliminally-induced commercial images of corporate media-interests which trigger the Pavlov-like responses of sensual self-indulgence we’ve been conditioned to like automatons through the merest suggestion of the most transparent, pre-packaged advertisements?

Click here for a serious look at our modern predicament.

2 Comments

Filed under Psychology

2 Responses to A Brief History of the Holidays

  1. Some things never change, except perhaps the quality of today’s serfdom vs. that of yesteryear.

    Perhaps the universal repetition of the same characters in similar dramas, whether it be the serfs, slaves or the ruling elite might be a clue. And although I envy neither end of the spectrum, I cannot take it nearly as seriously as I did in my youth.

    Our individual lifespans are far too short to do much more than reach a point of awareness of which role we find ourselves playing, but the only response I can muster is a deepening compassion for those who suffer, either from enhanced awareness or the lack of any insight at all.

    Great post Evan!
    Wishing you a happy holiday and all the best in the coming year.

    • Hi Deb!
      I think you’re right. One of the problems I see as basic is that neither end of the spectrum seems able to detach itself from the object-worship that has dominated consciousness since its beginning. The glory and the ugliness of our history, I think, is embedded in those spiritual projections.

      I hope you have a good year, too! Thanks!

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