web analytics

A Christmas Rabbit-hole.

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, December 23rd, 2017 - 26 comments
Categories: culture, making shit up, religion, Social issues - Tags:

It’s that time of year yet again when yes,  I’ve been known to don a humbug hat and mention, just in the passing of course, that Christmas celebrations in the middle of summer make no sense whatsoever. We all know that Christmas replaced celebrations that were based on seasons and astronomy. And that’s fine. But due to some persistence of older underlying traditions in the Northern Hemisphere, at least the somewhat meaningless metronomic monotony of simply taking a date and sticking with it through thick and thin and regardless is avoided somewhat. Turns out Jesus was probably born in June anyway. June 17th for those addicted to dates.

Funnily enough, that more or less coincides with Matariki and would recapture the original or traditional seasonal or astronomical roots of such celebrations. Meanwhile, our summers would be free to do with, whatever we choose or wish. Oh. And New Zealand (besides other settler colonies in the Southern Hemisphere) would get to be “ahead of the game” as it were. Not that Northern Hemisphere countries would switch their Christmas celebrations to June. They value the carefree nature of their summer too much, and anyway, would probably baulk at the idea of sticking their hands up for the double financial whammy to be incurred by such a move.  What’s with the expectation that parents, many solo and piss poor these days, splash out for Christmas and (is this proof of miracles or something?) conjure up a summer holiday on the side? Plus. Shifting everything to summer leaves those those dragged out winter nights and short cold days drudging on with no prospect of a celebratory break!? Who’d choose that?

So this idea that Jesus was born on December 25th. That was the brainchild of Pope Julius I apparently. According to the same article that mentions Pope Julius I, and that’s even more poorly written than this one, Bacchanlia had been celebrated in Italy around late December. And like Christmas, there was wine and…well, women only. Until the guys gatecrashed the whole affair, made it a night time celebration, and the wine (allegedly) married up with hormones to give us the pre-cursor of that rollicking Christmas tradition of “having sex you might regret having had”.

And this is where this scattered post ends. Because time’s getting on and I’ve got stuff needs organising.

So Merry Christmas or Summer Solstice, or whatever your bag is.



26 comments on “A Christmas Rabbit-hole. ”

  1. Keepcalmcarryon 1

    It’s all pretend but the sentiment doesn’t have to be.
    Merry Christmas

  2. gsays 2

    Hey cheers Bill, good wishes to you and yours.
    I enjoy your contributions, shifting Christmas to may be the most radical one yet!
    Please keep up the good work, planting seeds.

  3. ropata 3

    A new midwinter holiday at Matariki is a bloody good idea.

    Agreed Christmas in summer is a pain in the arse, our family does a big hangi afterwards, and to me that feels more special.

    I’m so goddamned burned out I have been useless at work for the last couple of weeks. Looking forward to a break.

  4. The Fairy Godmother 4

    I think the saddest thing is the way it has been commercialised. It’s all about buying things. Children are being trained to be little consumers expecting lots of often rubbish plastic toys, these break or are discarded within days and land up in landfill. . I wouldn’t mind if the old traditions were there be they the Christian story of the birth of Jesus or the St Nicholas tradtion of giving practical useful gifts such as warm boots to poor children or the bacchanalian tradition of feasting and being merry.

    • Stephen Doyle 4.1

      True, I’ve asked a class of Year 8s why we celebrate Christmas, and usually less than a quarter can tell me. Easter is even worse.

  5. KJT 5

    So. The “office party” is obviously a continuation of Bacchanalia.

    Unfortunately the tradition of “tell no tales” was, not continued. 🙁

  6. Shona 6

    As a foodie I would love to be able to eat hot rich food at the right time of the year. When it’s cold and everyone is miserable and in need of a big feed. Compliments of the season.

  7. weka 7

    Totally on board with this. I see lots of stressed people at the end of the year then having to get even more stressed buying lots of stuff they often can’t afford, and spend time with people they may or may not want to spend time with when burnout or needing a break. The pressure to have a good time is strong too. I like some of the ritual around Christmas, but it is totally something designed for midwinter. We should be doing something at this time of year that helps people relax and unwind.

  8. I think we should have a weeks holiday at both times. Celebrate both Matariki and the Summer Solstice.

    • Incognito 8.1

      I second that motion. Those in favour of the motion, say “aye”.

      Edit: and all shops closed, of course.

      • weka 8.1.1

        Hang on, no-one’s suggesting we don’t have summer holidays! Just that we don’t do the big feast thing in mid summer, but in mid winter where it belongs.

  9. Peter 9

    I do not care what they call it Jewish Muslam Christian Hindu the more the merrier so long as we get of work.

  10. Its the best perhaps only time to buy turkey .As lovers of turkey we buy a couple get
    the butcher to cut them into four put them in the freezer ,Result hot turkey in
    winter ,the correct time to eat turkey.

  11. Rosemary McDonald 11

    Don’t do christmas, never have….have no sympathy for those who put themselves through it. Saying that as she recovers from a mis timed trip to pak ‘n spend….

    But, any excuse to play a bit of Tull….

  12. mary_a 12

    Celebrating Matariki makes far more sense and besides, it has some spiritual, as well as cultural bearing for NZ.

    Those who want to celebrate Christmas can do so, without involving the whole country. Also, stop making it so damn commercialised. Same goes for Matariki, keep it personal and spiritual. No need to promote either as commercial festivals.

    • Anne 12.1

      …it has some spiritual, as well as cultural bearing for NZ.

      So true. I don’t recognise it as a religious sentiment but rather something that comes from deep within. More and more Pakeha – including me – have come to regard Maori heritage as part of our heritage too. My English parents brought up 5 children in NZ and now we have as much Maori blood in the family as we do English.

      We have evolved enough to make Matariki an annual official celebration.

  13. SPC 13

    Nothing wrong with having a (the summer) holiday at this time of year, a population wide respite within the annual school/university break.

    A little unconvinced by the expert opine mentioned.

    “Generally accepted research has placed the nativity to somewhere between 3BC and 1AD. Using the St Matthew’s Gospel as a reference point, Mr Reneke pinpointed the planetary conjunction, which appeared in the constellation of Leo, to the exact date of June 17 in the year 2BC.”

    If one ignores a birth during King Herod’s reign (37-4BCE), and regards a planetary conjunction as a star. Why not the sun, it is at least a star, or a full moon – specifically the term standing star does not refer to a planet at all, and never has. Any Matariki tradition waka navigator could tell you that.

  14. Robert Guyton 14

    Thanks, Rosemary.

  15. Paul Campbell 15

    In our house we celebrate xmas, the capitalist holiday of buying things for small children, our family tradition includes putting up a decorated xmas tree and tying a $20 to the top to remind us what the holiday is really about … Years ago when we lived in the US we would put the tree out with the $20 still in place for a homeless person to find

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government boosts fund for Auckland flooding
    The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today. “Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • New Cabinet focused on bread and butter issues
    The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “We need a greater focus on what’s in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Prime Minister to meet with PM Albanese
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. “The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand’s closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Government makes first payment to Auckland Flooding fund
    The Government is providing establishment funding of $100,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “We moved quickly to make available this funding to support Aucklanders while the full extent of the damage is being assessed,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government steps up to assist Auckland during flooding
    As the Mayor of Auckland has announced a state of emergency, the Government, through NEMA, is able to step up support for those affected by flooding in Auckland. “I’d urge people to follow the advice of authorities and check Auckland Emergency Management for the latest information. As always, the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira
    Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira, wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved following Cyclone Hale
    Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to flooding and damaged caused by Cyclone Hale in the Tairāwhiti region. Up to $500,000 will be made available to employ job seekers to support the clean-up. We are still investigating whether other parts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • General Election to be held on 14 October 2023
    The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “Announcing the election date early in the year provides New Zealanders with certainty and has become the practice of this Government and the previous one, and I believe is best practice,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces resignation
    Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister. A caucus vote to elect a new Party Leader will occur in 3 days’ time on Sunday the 22nd of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Trade and Agriculture Minister to attend World Economic Forum and Global Forum for Food and Agricult...
    The Government is maintaining its strong trade focus in 2023 with Trade and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor visiting Europe this week to discuss the role of agricultural trade in climate change and food security, WTO reform and New Zealand agricultural innovation. Damien O’Connor will travel tomorrow to Switzerland to attend the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government funding relief for flood-affected Wairarapa farmers and growers
    The Government has extended its medium-scale classification of Cyclone Hale to the Wairarapa after assessing storm damage to the eastern coastline of the region. “We’re making up to $80,000 available to the East Coast Rural Support Trust to help farmers and growers recover from the significant damage in the region,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government provides support to flooded Tairāwhiti communities
    The Government is making an initial contribution of $150,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Tairāwhiti following ex-Tropical Cyclone Hale, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “While Cyclone Hale has caused widespread heavy rain, flooding and high winds across many parts of the North Island, Tairāwhiti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Government support for flood-affected Gisborne Tairāwhiti farmers and growers
    Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor has classified this week’s Cyclone Hale that caused significant flood damage across the Tairāwhiti/Gisborne District as a medium-scale adverse event, unlocking Government support for farmers and growers. “We’re making up to $100,000 available to help coordinate efforts as farmers and growers recover from the heavy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago