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Celebrate the Return of the Sun Winter Solstice 2009 21 December 9:47 AM PST Best Wishes for a Sunny New Year Roger Bailey.

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Presentation on theme: "Celebrate the Return of the Sun Winter Solstice 2009 21 December 9:47 AM PST Best Wishes for a Sunny New Year Roger Bailey."— Presentation transcript:


2 Celebrate the Return of the Sun Winter Solstice December 9:47 AM PST Best Wishes for a Sunny New Year Roger Bailey

3 Winter Solstice The energy from the sun is the basis for life The First Big Question for Civilization: The Cycle of the Seasons When will the sun stop sinking and start to return with life-giving light and heat? People need to predict, mark, and confirm the solstice –Alignments like Stonehenge or Maeshowe Ceremonies instituted to cause and to celebrate the return of the sun

4 Winter Solstice Winter Sun is low 18º max at noon at Latitude 48.5º Summer Sun is high 65º max at noon at Latitude 48.5 Solstice means the sun stops and reverses direction A turning point in the seasons Noon altitude = Colatitude + Declination

5 Winter Solstice Celebrations Theme: Light, salvation, rebirth, renewal Saturnalia -Sol Invictus - 25 December Christmas – Birth of Messiah – 25 December Yuletide - Pre-Christian, Northern European– Christmas tree, Yule log, red & green, mistletoe St Nicholas –Sinterklass - Santa Claus New Years Day, Halcyon Days Santa Lucia – Crown of Candles Hanukkah – rededication – Festival of Lights the Menorah

6 Winter Solstice Alignments Maeshow Tumulus Orkney Islands Entrance aligned to winter solstice sunset Only on the winter solstice does the sun shine through the tunnel into the inner chamber

7 Sol Invictus: Roman Saturnalia Sol Invictus Deus, the unconquerable sun god Solstice Feast 25 Dec, climax of Saturnalia, a 12 day festive period Aeurulian Romanized Mithras cult ~274 Deposed ~337 when Pope Julian I and Constantine established 25 Dec as Christmas Day Abolished 390 Theodosius

8 Christmas: Birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah Luke and Matthews Bible Stories confirm the prophesies, like Isaiah 7: of the Messiahs virgin birth in the house of David Magi with gifts, led by heliacal rising of Star of Bethlehem Shepherds, angels Renewal, salvation theme Historically not Bethlehem, 25 December or solstice. Feast of Sol Invictus co-opted

9 Rings of the Magi ? The armillary sphere was used by the ancient astronomers as a model of the universe and to track the path of the planets, sun and moon and to cast horoscopes Did the Magi, Zoroastrian astrologers, use armillary spheres to track the Star of Bethlehem? Heliacal rising of conjunction? Precession to age of Pisces?

10 Northern European Traditions Yule was the pre- Christian (Pagan) winter solstice festival in Nordic, Germanic and Celtic regions Yuletide is one of eight solar festivals or sabbats in the Wheel of the Year Yule log, Christmas tree, holly, mistletoe, red & green, ham etc maintain the traditions Wheel of the Year

11 Firedance Bonfires prior to the solstice are an ancient Celtic tradition Predates Guy Fawkes, Gunpowder Plot and Halloween fireworks Firedance Tradition

12 Co-opting Pagan Traditions Venerable Bede noted Christian conversion tactics for the heathen Anglo Saxons Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (731) Gregory I to St Mellitus Retain outward forms of traditional pagan practices, recast them to one true God Sanctioned as biblically acceptable

13 Christmas Tree German tradition of a decorated oak was co- opted in 7 th century by St Boniface. He introduced the fir tree as a sign of the trinity Upside down Christmas trees common in central Europe in 12 th Century Candle lit tree introduced in 16 th century by Martin Luther

14 Christmas Tree Introduced to England by Prince Albert of Saxony, Prince Consort Popularized in England in Victorian Times German immigrants to Pennsylvania brought Christmas trees to America.

15 Santa Claus: Father Christmas Father Christmas, a Druidic spirit in medieval mummers' plays in long robes and holly sprigs in his long, white hair.

16 Santa Claus: St Nicholas St Nicholas, Bishop of Myrna, Turkey Renowned for kindness to children Gave to the poor, including bags of gold coins as dowries for indigent maidens Brought back by Crusaders Provided Christian justification for Pagan gift giving traditions

17 Santa Claus: Sinterklaas St Nicholas morphed to Sinterklaas in Netherlands and Scandinavia Turkey morphed to Spain Feast 6 Dec, Bishops miter and crook, white horse and naughty/ nice accounts Gold bags down the chimney became gifts and treats Black Peter whipped the naughty kids and left lumps of coal

18 Sinterklaas Companions Sinterklaas had bad companions, Black Peter and evil clones Was he the Devil delivering punishment? Or Knecht Ruprecht? Or the evil butcher Pere Fouettard? Or black mischievious golliwog Zwarte Piet dispensing treats? Knecht Ruprecht Zwarte Piet Pere Fouettard

19 American Santa Claus Twas theNight Before Christmas In the Night Before Christmas (1822) Clement Moore invented American Santa Claus Fat, pipe smoking, jolly old elf down the chimney Miniature sled and eight tiny reindeer

20 Norman Rockwell 1920 Coca Cola Santa Claus Santa humanized by Norman Rockwell, 1920 Saturday Evening Post Haddon Sundblom redesigned Santa Claus in Coca Cola's corporate colours, red and white, in 1931 advertising campaign A plump and white- bearded retired Coca Cola salesman was his model Coca Cola image is the modern Santa

21 Santa Lucia: Queen of Lights Sicilian saint 13 Dec 304 virgin & martyr Patron saint of light and blindness Why a Scandinavian solstice celebration? Many light and fire traditions shifted to her feast day Candles in lingonberry wreath, white dress red sash Date shift with Julian to Gregorian calendar

22 Hanukkah Jewish Festival of Lights Commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem by Judah Maccabee in 165 BC Temple profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, king of Syria and Palestine Miracle of Lights: menorah kept burning for 8 days with fuel for only one 25th of lunar month Kislev, Nov or Dec Gregorian Sufganiyot jelly doughnut

23 Halcyon Days Two week period of calm sunny weather at the winter solstice The storms of Fall are over Halcyon breed on floating nests Kingfisher family Mythical bird described by Pliny

24 Cogito, Ergo Sum The unique ability of humans to think is the basis of civilization and the development of cultures Cycle of cultural development: –Observation –Concept: Explanation, model, story, myth, –Prediction: Code, ceremony, celebration –Confirmation reinforcement, empowerment This is a universal cross-cultural phenomenon

25 Knowledge is Power Predictions prove the concept Predictor is empowered Concept becomes a Credo, a code of culture Civilization evolves based on Three Estates –Bellatores: Nobility, Kings, War Lords, Land Owners –Orators: Clergy, Prophets, Wise Men, Priests, Shamans –Laboratores: Commoners, workers, serfs, soldiers Cycle starts with observations and explanations Observation sites are evidence of Civilization

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