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

  • Pacific Ministers meet to discuss regional economic priorities
    The Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) begins today and will focus on the major economic and social impacts of COVID-19 on the Pacific.  FEMM is an important congregation of Economic Ministers and senior officials from around the region, and for the first time, the annual meeting will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 mins ago
  • Report into Iain Lees-Galloway’s expenditure
    A report undertaken by Ministerial Services into Iain Lees-Galloway’s ministerial expenditure has found no evidence of any inappropriate transactions or spending. Ministerial Services undertook a line by line review of all his expenditure, including staff and spouse expenses for the period 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2020.  “I commissioned ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Managed isolation charges to start 11 August
    Managed isolation charges for returnees will come into force from 12.01am Tuesday 11th August, after they passed their last cabinet milestone today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. “The new charging system balances the rights of New Zealanders to return home and helps reduce pressure on the managed isolation and quarantine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Update on New Zealand and the Cook Islands travel bubble
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Henry Puna have welcomed the completion of phase one in the establishment of a travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Island. Negotiations on the text of an ‘Arrangement to Facilitate Quarantine-Free Travel ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • One-stop ‘jobs and training’ shop goes live
    The Government has launched a new online, phone and onsite service to help New Zealanders connect to a range of employment support and products for workers and businesses affected by COVID-19, announced Minister of Education Chris Hipkins and Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. Connected.govt.nz is a one-stop-shop for jobseekers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • MSD security guards to be paid Living Wage
    Security guards contracted to the Ministry of Social Development will be paid at least the Living Wage from next month supporting the Government’s commitment towards fair pay and employment conditions, announced Minister for  Social Development Carmel Sepuloni.   “MSD was  among the first government agencies to pay its employees the living ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New strategy to ensure nature thrives
    The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today launched Te Mana o te Taiao, the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy - a way forward that envisions Aotearoa New Zealand as a place where ecosystems are healthy and resilient, and people embrace the natural world. “Many of New Zealand’s plants and wildlife species ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Provider Languages Fund will support Pacific Wellbeing approach
    “Pacific languages, cultures and identity are essential to the health, wellbeing and lifetime success of our Pacific peoples and their communities in Aotearoa. The strength and resilience of Pacific Aotearoa is not only vital to their own prosperity but integral to the prosperity of all New Zealanders, and is particularly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • COVID-19: More funding for schools and boost to construction sector
    ·       $38 million to help schools cover unexpected costs related to COVID-19 ·       $69 million upgrade for online learning ·       $107 million contingency funding to support school construction suppliers facing additional costs due to the lockdown. The Government is releasing $214 million from the COVID-19 response and recovery fund to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Stay safe on the tracks – Rail Safety Week
    Despite the Government installing safety upgrades around the country, people should still take care around rail crossings, said Transport Minister Phil Twyford launching Rail Safety Week. Phil Twyford said installing safety infrastructure is crucial, but we are encouraging people to be more careful around trains too. “We’re making good progress ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government backs Manawatū social housing project
    The Government is providing a cash injection to help Palmerston North City Council complete a programme to provide 78 social housing units for vulnerable tenants. The $4.7 million to build 28 units in the Papaioea Place redevelopment comes from the $3 billion set aside for infrastructure in the Government’s COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Major funding boost for Predator Free Banks Peninsula
    A pest free Banks Peninsula/Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū is one step closer with a $5.11 million boost to accelerate this project and create jobs, announced Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage in Canterbury today. “This is a game changer for this ambitious project to restore the native wildlife and plants on Ōtautahi/Christchurch’s doorstep ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major investment for indoor sports in Hawke’s Bay
    A Government grant of $6.4 million will expand the Pettigrew Arena in Taradale with new indoor courts of national standard. “The project is likely to take 18 months with approximately 300 people employed through the process,” Grant Robertson said. “The expansion will increase the indoor court space up to 11 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New infrastructure for Far North tourist town
    The Far North tourist destination of Mangonui is to receive Government funding to improve waterfront infrastructure, open up access to the harbour and improve water quality, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced. A total of $6.5 million from the $3 billion set aside in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government remains committed to Women’s Cricket World Cup
    The Government has re-affirmed its commitment to supporting the hosting of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, which the ICC has delayed from 2021 to 2022. “This is obviously a disappointing decision for cricket players and fans around the world and for the White Ferns and their supporters here at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Green light for Te Awa River Ride in $220m nationwide cycleways investment
    Cyclists and walkers will now have a safer way to get around Taupō, Tūrangi, and between Hamilton and Cambridge, with funding for shared paths and Te Awa River Ride, Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today. “The Te Awa River Ride is the latest part of massive growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Six major ‘shovel-ready’ cycleways funded in Christchurch
    Six major cycle routes will be completed in Christchurch thanks to funding from the Government’s investment in shovel-ready infrastructure as part of the COVID-19 recovery Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today. $125 million will be invested to kick-start construction and fund the completion of the following cycleway ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Police facilities for Whanganui
    Plans are underway for a brand new state-of-the-art hub for Whanganui’s justice and social agencies, following confirmation the ageing Whanganui Central Police Station is to be replaced. Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced $25 million in new infrastructure spending to improve facilities for the wider community, and for staff who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Relativity adjustment for Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu
    An adjustment payment has been made to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu under the relativity mechanisms in their 1995 and 1997 Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little announced today. The latest payments to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu are $2,700,000 and $2,600,000 respectively to ensure the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Auckland rail upgrades pick up steam
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off the start of the Auckland NZ Upgrade Programme rail projects which will support over 400 jobs and help unlock our biggest city. Both ministers marked the start of enabling works on the third main rail line project ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • PGF support for Wairoa creates jobs
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $3.78 million in Wairoa will create much needed economic stimulus and jobs, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. PGF projects announced today include: $200,000 loan to Nuhaka Kiwifruit Holdings Ltd (operated by Pine Valley Orchard Ltd) to increase the productivity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Public and Māori housing to trial renewable energy technology
    Tenants in public and Māori housing may be benefiting from their own affordable renewable energy in future – a fund to trial renewable energy technology for public and Māori housing has today been announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Nanaia Mahuta. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $2.7m for Hokianga infrastructure
    Hokianga will receive $2.7 million to redevelop four of its wharves and upgrade its water supply, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. Far North District Council will receive $1.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for the work on the wharves. “The work will include the construction of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New fund to support housing and construction sector
    A $350 million Residential Development Response Fund is being established to support the residential construction sector and to minimise the economic impact from COVID-19, the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced. “The Residential Development Response Fund will help to progress stalled or at-risk developments that support our broader housing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government investment to boost Auckland’s community recycling network
    As part of a broader plan to divert waste from landfill, the Government today announced $10.67 million for new infrastructure as part of the Resource Recovery Network across the Auckland region. “This key investment in Auckland’s community recycling network is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group ‘shovel ready’ projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Te Papa transformation starts at Cameron Road
    The Government is investing $45 million in the first stage of an ambitious urban development project for Tauranga that will employ up to 250 people and help the region grow, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the funding has been allocated out of the $3 billion ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer
    Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New training centre to upskill workers
    A new trades training centre to upskill the local workforce will be built in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa through funding from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Government will contribute $10.84 million from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Subsequent children legislation to change
    The Government has agreed to repeal part of the Oranga Tamariki Act subsequent children provisions, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced today. “There are times when children need to go into care for their safety – the safety and care of children must always be paramount,” Minister Martin said. “But ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding to expand mental health support for Pacific peoples
    A $1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury will lead to better outcomes for Pacific communities, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says.  Pasifika Futures has received funding to expand services through The Fono, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding boost for sustainable food and fibre production
    Twenty-two projects to boost the sustainability and climate resilience of New Zealand’s food and fibres sector have been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The $18m funding will deliver practical knowledge to help farmers and growers use their land more sustainably, meet environmental targets, remain prosperous, and better understand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Mature Workers Toolkit launched on business.govt.nz
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson welcomes an initiative that assists employers to get mature workers into New Zealand small businesses. The disadvantages that older people face in the workplace was highlighted in the whole of Government Employment Strategy.  In order to address this, a Mature Workers Toolkit has been developed and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Trans-Tasman cooperation in a COVID-19 world
    New Zealand and Australia reaffirmed today the need for the closest possible collaboration as they tackle a global environment shaped by COVID-19, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said. “In these challenging times, our close collaboration with Australia is more vital than ever,” said Mr Peters. Mr Peters and his Australian ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pike recovery efforts now in unexplored territory
    The recovery and forensic examination of the loader driven by survivor Russell Smith means the underground team are now moving into an area of the Pike River Mine that has not been seen since the explosion, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little said. “The fifth and last robot ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government confirms CovidCard trial to go ahead
    The Government has confirmed a community-wide trial of CovidCard technology as it explores options for COVID-19 contact tracing. “Effective contact tracing is a vital part of the COVID-19 response,” Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said. “While manual processes remain the critical component for contact tracing, we know digital solutions can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Enhanced process for iwi aquaculture assets
    The government is proposing changes to aquaculture legislation to improve the process for allocating and transferring aquaculture assets to iwi. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has introduced the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Bill to Parliament. It proposes a limited new discretionary power for Te Ohu Kaimoana Trustee Limited (ToKM). ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bill introduced to fix National’s Family Court reform failures
    The Minister of Justice has today introduced the Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill – the next step in the ongoing programme of work to fix the failed 2014 Family Court reforms led by then Justice Minister Judith Collins.  The Bill arises from the report of the Independent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • DOC takes action to adapt to climate change
    A new Department of Conservation (DOC) action plan tackles the impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s biodiversity and DOC managed infrastructure including tracks, huts and cultural heritage. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says extreme weather events around the country have really brought home our vulnerability to changing weather patterns. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Reduced international Antarctic season commences
    A heavily scaled back international Antarctic season will commence this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods have confirmed. “Antarctica is the only continent that is COVID-19 free,” Mr Peters said. “Throughout the global pandemic, essential operations and long-term science have continued at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New high performance sports hub for Upper Hutt
    The Government is providing up to $30 million to help fund the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport in Upper Hutt - an investment that will create 244 jobs. “The sports hub is designed to be a world-leading shared service for a range of sports, offering the level of facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago