10 COMMANDMENTS BACK IN SCHOOL – where is this going?

Louisiana requires Ten Commandments in schools

USA Today
3 days ago — Every public classroom in Louisiana, from elementary schools to colleges, will be required to display the Ten Commandments starting in .
Aug 3, 2018 — … 10 Commandments at courthouses, and having “In God We Trust” prominently displayed in public schools are the same kinds of people who like …

Ten Commandments coming to Utah public school curricula

ABC4 Utah
Mar 20, 2024 — One of the bills signed on Wednesday was Public School History Curricula Amendments, which aims to add the Ten Commandments and Magna Carta …
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Brother Sun, Sister Moon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli
Written by Suso Cecchi d’Amico
Lina Wertmüller
Kenneth Ross
Franco Zeffirelli
Starring Graham Faulkner
Judi Bowker
Cinematography Ennio Guarnieri
Edited by Reginald Mills
Music by Riz Ortolani
Donovan (songs)
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (through Cinema International Corporation)
Release date
  • 2 December 1972
Running time
135 /122 min.
Country Italy
Language English
Box office $1,200,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Brother Sun, Sister Moon (ItalianFratello sole, sorella luna) is a 1972 film directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starring Graham Faulkner and Judi Bowker. The film is an examination of the life of Saint Francis of Assisi.


Francesco, spoiled son of wealthy textile merchant Pietro Bernardone, returns from fighting in the war between Assisi and Perugia. Illness has forced him to leave the war. Francesco is tormented by visions of his past when he was a boisterous, arrogant youth. During a long recovery, he finds God in poverty, chastity and obedience, experiencing a physical and spiritual renewal.

Francesco recovers. However, to his parents’ consternation, he spends most of his time surrounded by nature, flowers, trees, animals and poetry as he becomes reluctant to resume his previous lifestyle. Pietro’s obsession with gold now fills Francesco with revulsion, creating an open confrontation between them.

One day Francesco wanders into the basement and feels the heat and humidity of the dye vats, seeing the workers with their families laboring in the heat without rest. Rejecting his father’s offer to let him take over the business, he instead pulls the laborers out of the building to enjoy the daylight. Then he throws the textiles stored by his father out of the window to the poor gathered below. Francesco invites his father to join in. Pietro beats Francesco, drags him to the bishop’s palace and humiliates his son. Lovingly, Francesco renounces all worldly possessions and his middle-class family including the name “Bernardone”, removes his clothing and leaves Assisi, naked and free from his past, to live in the beauties of nature as an ascetic and to enjoy a simple life as a man of God.

Francesco goes to the ruins of the chapel of San Damiano, where he hears God’s voice asking him to “restore my church.” Believing that God means San Damiano, Francesco begins to beg for rocks to rebuild the church. Much to the dismay of his family, some of Francesco’s friends join him. He gradually gains a following from the sons of the wealthy, who begin to minister among the poor.

The bishop refuses to stop Francesco, since he is rebuilding a church and performing the works of mercy Christ demands of His followers. Francesco’s friend Bernardo joins him after returning from the Fourth Crusade.

Clare, a young woman also from a wealthy family, serves and cares for lepers living near the town. She joins the brothers. Meanwhile, in Assisi, the nobility and wealthy merchants protest against Francesco and his group, worried about them corrupting the town’s youth. They command Francesco’s friend Paolo to stop the so-called “minor brothers.”

One day the rebuilt church is set on fire, and one of Francesco’s followers is killed. Francesco blames himself, but cannot understand what he has done wrong. He decides to walk to Rome and to seek answers from Pope Innocent III.

In Rome, Francesco is stunned by the wealth and power of the papal court. In front of the Pope, Francesco breaks from reciting Paolo’s carefully prepared script and calmly protests against pomp and worldliness, reciting some of Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount to show that Christ’s teachings are totally opposite to Rome’s obsession with wealth. The cardinals, bishops and abbots of the papal court feel insulted. Francesco and his friends are expelled. Accepting his admiration for Francesco, Paolo decides to join them. Francesco tries to protect Paolo, saying that he is not one of them, but his friend insists on joining the friars, convincing Francesco of the sincerity of his conversion. They are put out with the others.

Pope Innocent, seemingly waking from a dream, orders Francesco and his friends to be brought back. The Pope addresses Francesco: “In our obsession with original sin we have forgotten original innocence.” The Pope admits that when he was a young curate, he thought with the same idealism as Francis “until he became caught in the entrapments of Church Government. He confesses that with the centuries, the church had acquired a lot of wealth and power and that seeing the extreme poverty of Francis and his companions, Pope Innocent remarks “has brought us (the established church) all to shame”. In language from one of the Psalms, Innocent prays that Francesco’s order may “flourish like the palm.”

Then to everyone’s astonishment, Pope Innocent kneels, kisses Francesco’s feet and blesses him, his companions and grants them permission to establish their holy order of friars. One of the final lines places the sincerity of the Pope’s response in question when a cardinal, observing what the Pope has done, comments to a bishop: “Don’t be alarmed, His Holiness knows what he is doing. This is the man who will speak to the poor, and bring them back to us.”

The film finishes with Francesco walking alone into the countryside to the sound of the title song “Brother Sun and Sister Moon.”


St. Francis and the Story of the First Nativity Scene

St. Francis’ meditations on the life of Christ led him to create the first-ever Nativity scene in Greccio, Italy, in 1223.

Fresco by Giotto of St. Francis of Assisi embracing the Child Jesus at Christmas Mass in Greccio in 1223, located in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy. (photo: Public domain)

It’s a well-known origin story: how the young and wealthy Francis of Assisifreely abandoned his noble patrimony to serve Christ’s Church as a poor, itinerant preacher.

Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone (c. 1181 – 3 October 1226), known as Francis of Assisi,[b] was an Italian mystic, poet, and Catholic friar who founded the religious order of the Franciscans.
In 1219, he went to Egypt in an attempt to convert the sultan al-Kamil and put an end to the conflict of the Fifth Crusade.[9] In 1223, he arranged for the first live nativity scene as part of the annual Christmas celebration in Greccio.[c][10][11] According to Christian tradition, in 1224 Francis received the stigmataduring the apparition of a Seraphic angel in a religious ecstasy(the word saraph means “burning”, and is used seven times throughout the text of the Hebrew Bible as a noun, usually to denote a “a serpent” or fiery flying serpent“)
Francis is associated with patronage of animals and the environment.It became customary for churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of the fourth of October, which became World Animal Day. He is known for devotion to the Eucharist.[13] Along with Catherine of Siena, he was designated patron saint of Italy. He is also the namesake of the American city of San Francisco.
Francis of Assisi was born c. 1181,[15][16] one of the children of an Italian father, Pietro di Bernardone dei Moriconi, a prosperous silk merchant, and a French mother, Pica di Bourlemont, a noblewoman originally from Provence
His father Pietro took to calling his son Francesco (“Free man” or “Frenchman”), possibly in honour of his commercial success and enthusiasm for all things French


First-ever mechanical clock | THE SEIKO MUSEUM GINZA

The world’s first mechanical clocks are thought to have been tower clocks built in the region spanning northern Italy to southern Germany from around 1270 to 1300 during the renaissance period. These clocks did not yet have dials or hands, but told the time by striking bells.  Source

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A machine society

The Middle Ages introduced machinery into Europe on a scale no civilisation had previously known. This was to be one of the main factors that led to the dominance of the Western hemisphere over the rest of the world (p.1).

The cogs and gears that had been in toys and curiosities in Classical antiquity became working, productive machineryin the medieval period. In other words, the medieval period was one where what economists would call ‘capital substitution’ occurred, substituting capital (machines) for labour.

The medieval period was one of institutional innovation and technological dynamism. Yes, the collapse of literacy (and population) after the fall of the Western Roman Empire meant much loss of knowledge and skills.But that also led to casting around for new ways to do things to deal with the new circumstances (notably a shortage of people in general, a shortage of literacy skills in particular and serious public order issues).    SOURCE

 So, Francis was a mystic who spent time in Egypt.  He got his stigmata from a “fiery Serpent” during ecstatic ecstasy.  He came into his “ministry” during the Industrial Revolution following the fall of ROME.  He began is “brotherhood” of monks who lived in poverty. Which is a practice of Egyptian origin.

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The Ancient Mystery Religion – The MAGI(CIANS)


One of the world’s most beloved saints, the founder of the Franciscan order cared deeply for God’s creation. He also loved Christmas, the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord.

St. Francis’ meditations on the life of Christ led him to create the first-ever Nativity scene in Greccio, Italy, in 1223.

It is believed Francis’ inspiration to do a live representation of the birth of Jesuscame from his time in the Holy Land in the years 1219 and 1220.

Seeing the holy sites of Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection made them feel all the more real — and he wanted to recreate that experience.

In November 1223, three years before his death, St. Francis was in Rome to await the pope’s approval of the final rule of his friars.

The friar and deacon was already very familiar with the hilltown of Greccio, about 50 miles north of Rome. He had first arrived there over a decade prior and would frequently return to preach to the people of the surrounding countryside.

Eventually, a hermitage was built for St. Francis a short distance outside the town.

hermitage (n.)

late 13c., “dwelling place of a hermit,”from Old French hermitage/ermitage “hermitage, solitude,” from hermit (see hermit). Earlier in the same sense in English was hermitorie (c. 1200), from Medieval Latin hermitorium. Transferred sense of“solitary or secluded dwelling place” is from 1640s.

hermit (n.)

early 12c., “religious recluse, one who dwells apart in a solitary place for religious meditation,” from Old French hermitermit “hermit, recluse,” from Late Latin eremita, from Greek eremites, literally “person of the desert,” from eremia “a solitude, an uninhabited region, a waste,” from erēmos  “uninhabited, empty, desolate, bereft,” from PIE *erem- “to rest, be quiet” (source also of Sanskrit ramate “to rest;”Lithuanian rimti “to be quiet,” Gothic rimis “rest,” Old Irish fo-rimim “to set, lay”). The unetymological h- first appeared in Medieval Latin heremite
religious exercise,” from Latinized form of Greek asketikos “rigorously self-disciplined, laborious,” from asketēs “monk, hermit…


Pope Francis visits the place where St. Francis created the first Nativity scene outside of Greccio, Italy, on Dec. 1, 2019.
Credit: Vatican Media

Ahead of his return to the hermitage, two weeks before Christmas, Francis asked his friend, Lord of Greccio Giovanni Velita, to prepare a cave with live animals and a hay-filled manger.

The friar had, during his audience with the pope, already received permission to stage the scene of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.

According to the first biographer of St. Francis, Brother Thomas of Celano, the friar desired to “represent the birth of that Child in Bethlehem in such a way that with our bodily eyes we may see what he suffered for lack of the necessities of a newborn babe and how he lay in manger between the ox and ass.”

That was how, in December 1223, in the rocky crags a short distance outside Greccio, people flocked to see the simple scene during Christmas Mass.

St. Francis, who was a deacon, proclaimed the Gospel and preached the homily.

According to accounts of the moment, fires lit the dark scene while crowds arrived at the spot carrying candles and torches.

An eyewitness says a miracle happened at Mass that night.

Giovanni Veleti asserted that he saw a real infant appear in the empty manger and that St. Francis took the beautiful child into his arms, holding him to his chest in an embrace.

In the period that followed, other miracles were reported, brought about by touching the straw of the manger where the Child Jesus had appeared.

Miraculous healings took place after pieces of hay were placed on sick animals or laboring women in difficulty.

Pope Francis signs his apostolic letter Admirabile Signum at the place where St. Francis created the first Nativity scene outside of Greccio, Italy, on Dec. 1, 2019.
Credit: Vatican Media

The place where the first Nativity was staged can still be seen today in the Franciscan hermitage and sanctuary outside the main town.The rock is topped by an altar for celebrating Mass and adorned with frescoes depicting Jesus’ birth.

Pope Francis has visited the spot two times: in 2016 and then on Dec. 1, 2019, when he signed an apostolic letter on the meaning and importance of Nativity scenes.

“All those present” at St. Francis’ Christmas Mass, Pope Francis wrote in Admirabile Signum, “experienced a new and indescribable joy in the presence of the Christmas scene. The priest then solemnly celebrated the Eucharist over the manger, showing the bond between the Incarnation of the Son of God and the Eucharist. At Greccio there were no statues; the Nativity scene was enacted and experienced by all who were present.”

In Greccio in 2019, Pope Francis meets some of the performers of the historical representation of the first Nativity scene
. Credit: Vatican Media

“In a particular way, from the time of its Franciscan origins, the Nativity scene has invited us to ‘feel’ and ‘touch’ the poverty that God’s Son took upon himself in the Incarnation. Implicitly, it summons us to follow him along the path of humility, poverty, and self-denial that leads from the manger of Bethlehem to the cross,” Pope Francis wrote.

Every year at Christmas, the people of Greccio stage a live, historical reenactment of St. Francis and the first Nativity scene.

The performance, in its 49th year, will take place this year on Dec. 24, 26 and 28 and on Jan. 1, 6, 7, and 8.

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First of all, even the Francis of Assisi did not employ graven images when creating his Nativity.  They say his intent was to make the Nativity MORE REAL.

Secondly, my issue with the Nativity scene is that it makes everyone focus on the birth of Christ rather than the most important part of his time on earth… the salvation of mankind through his death on the cross.

Thirdly, it places the focus on the Madonna and Child which is a pagan religion.

Catholics worship “Mama Mary”

Catholics deny worshipping Mary. But clearly, her idol is the most prominent statue inside the Catholic church and in mass celebrations. There are millions of Marian devotees worldwide, and festivals are held in the name of Mary more than Jesus.

Although God highly favors Mary, she still needs a savior because ALL fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23); no one is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10).


To affirm the Catholic dogmas, the pope had to be declared infallible (preserved from error) and a vicar of Christ. Hence, the authority to express Mary’s divinity.

The history of the papacy is entwined with extra-Biblical sources that are opposed to the teachings of the apostles.For example,MariologypresupposesMary is the Theotokos, which they interpret as Mary sharingChrist’s divinity.      SOURCE

veneration (n.)

early 15c., from Old French veneracion, from Latin venerationem (nominative veneratio) “reverence, profoundest respect,” noun of action from past participle stem of venerarito worship, revere,” from venus (genitive veneris) “beauty, love, desire” (from PIE root *wen- (1) “to desire, strive for”).


God never intended us to focus on the day Christ was born.  The day we should celebrate is the day he lay down his life for us and took it up again.
Some might argue that birthday celebrations are only cultural affairs. But knowing that Satan is the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4), and the whole world lies under his sway (I John 5:19), should we not at least examine their appropriateness to a Christian’s life? At the very least, these biblical examples show that birthday celebrations seem to bring out and reinforce the darker side of human nature.

Obviously, the people of the Bible at least marked their birthdays because Scripture often records their ages. However, there is a wide gulf between marking a day and celebrating it.One acknowledges its passing while the other honors it. The biblical record shows no man or woman of God celebrating a birthday. Thus, birthday celebrations do not have a God-ordained origin.

One could even say a birthday celebration goes against God’s instruction in Ecclesiastes 7:1, where Solomon writes,“The day of death [is better] than the day of one’s birth.”God’s perspective on this matter, as in all things, is far higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). He has morejoywhen we leavethis world, having overcome it, than when we enter it (see Isaiah 57:1-2Philippians 1:21-23). God’s perspective seems to be, “Why celebrate the day all your troubles began? Far better to celebrate the day they ended in victory!”       SOURCE

Some may argue that GOD says heaven celebrates the day we are born again and so do many people.  They mark it and celebrate as their NEW BIRTH.  However,  you must consider that it is really the day that we DIE.  We die to self, and now it is no longer us that lives, but CHRIST THAT LIVES IN US!


It’s About the Cross by the Ball Brothers


The Nativity Scene of St. Francis Reminds Us That the Word Became Flesh — and Food — at Christmas

The 800th anniversary of the Nativity scene, one of the most beloved Christmas traditions, and the truth that attracts even those who know nothing of the Incarnation or the Eucharist... (and even those who do not care about the death, burial and resurrection of our precious Lord, or about God’s wonderful plan of SALVATION!)  Why?  Because it promotes all that is pagan about Christmas.

The 2023 Nativity scene includes depictions of St. Francis and his friars. (photo: Daniel Ibáñez / EWTN)

Pope Francis marked his 87th birthday on Sundaywith a party and cake for children before he kept his weekly appointment for the Sunday Angelus. The children got special attention there too, as many of them had brought the Christ Child figures from their Nativity scenes for the Holy Father to bless. St. John Paul II began the custom of blessing on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) the Baby Jesus figurines that will be placed in crèche scenes at Christmas. Both Benedict XVI and Francis have continued the custom, and it has also spread around the world.

Children in St. Peter’s Square may have paused to look at the Vatican’s Nativity scene, set up at the foot of the obeliskand awaiting its own Baby Jesus at Christmas. Some may have wondered why the depictions of the “Three Kings” were dressed so plainly. In fact, they are not kings, but Franciscan friars.And there is a fourth, directly alongside the (still-empty) manger, looking on in wonder — St. Francis of Assisi himself.

This year marks the 800th anniversary of the Nativity scene, one of the most beloved Christmas traditions. In 1223, St. Francis had the idea,after previously visiting the Holy Land, to recreate the scene at Bethlehem for the instruction and devotion of the people. He asked three of his friars to make the arrangements in the small town of Greccio. It’s quite possible that the Nativity scene tradition is the greatest impact St. Francis had on the Christian faithful, despite his many other significant achievements.   I will definitely agree that it has had an enormous impact.  Nativity scenes are everywhere… an icon of the pagan holiday of Christ mass.

 The True Meaning Of Christ-Mass
They tell us that it is the season to be jolly. It is a time of ornaments, red and green decorations, silver bells, holly, mistletoe and colored lights. It is also a time of department store Santas calling out their universal mantra, “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas.” Nearly all of the realm of so-called “Christianity” join in and repeat this same greeting, “Merry Christmas!”Although we hear these words constantly as they resonate millions of times throughout the land, almost nobody understands what they are really saying. It is the purpose of this tract to take the words, “Merry Christmas” and examine the true meaning and essence of those words.

A true Christian would want to examine everything they say, because Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” We will now set aside all of the customs, glitter and traditions of Christmas, which were taken from pagan witchcraft and popularized by the Roman Catholic Church, and we will focus on the true meaning of the words, “Merry Christmas!”

The word “Merry” is simple to define. It unquestionably means to be happy, joyful and light-hearted. The word “merry” fits into the ambience of laughter and frivolity. This word “merry” by itself is innocent and innocuous enough, but as we will now see, it becomes heinously blasphemous when used with the word “Christmas.”

Here let it be noted that most people think that the word, “Christmas” means “the birth of Christ.”By definition, it means “death of Christ”, and I will prove it by using the World Book Encyclopedia, the Catholic Encyclopedia, and a book entitled, The Mass In Slow Motion.

If you are an honest, sincere and discerning Christian, please read on; if not, you might as well stop right here. The World Book Encyclopedia defines “Christmas” as follows: “The word Christmas comes from “Cristes Maesse”, an early English phrase that means “Mass of Christ.” (1) It is interesting to note that the word “Mass”, as used by the Roman Catholics, has traditionally been rejected by the so-called Protestants, such as Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals and so on. The word “Mass” is strictly a Catholic word and thus, so is “Christ-Mass.”

It would stand to reason, that since all of these denominations love and embrace “Christ-Mass”, that December 25th is the great homecoming day, when all of the Protestants become Catholic for a day. It would seem that all of the so-called “wayward daughters” of the Romish church return to their mother, the scarlet harlot. Thus, all of the so-called Protestant churches could sing to the Pope that popular song “I’ll be home for Christmas.”

As previously stated, the word “Mass” in religious usage means a “death sacrifice.” The impact of this fact is horrifying and shocking; for when the millions of people are saying, “Merry Christmas”, they are literally saying “Merry death of Christ!” Furthermore, when the fat man in the red suit laughs boisterously and says, “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas”, he is mocking and laughing at the suffering and bleeding Saviour, who died for our sins. He does this while parents place their little children into his waiting arms to hear his false promises of gifts that he says he will give them. Consider what you are saying when you say “Merry Christmas.”

What is so amusing about our Saviour’s painful death? What is so funny? Why is Santa laughing? Why are you going along with it? Your words do count and Satan knows it. Yes, the word “Mass” does mean “death sacrifice”, and to cement that fact, we will consider the definition of the inventors of the religious application of the word “Mass.” I am looking at page 537 of the Catholic Encyclopedia, which says, “In the Christian law, the supreme sacrifice is that of the Mass.”It goes on to say, “The supreme act of worship consists essentially in an offering of a worthy victim to God, the offering made by a proper person, as a priest, the destruction of the victim.” (2) Please note carefully the word, “victim” of the Mass. The Latin word for victim is “Hostia” from which the word “host” is derived. The Mass, by definition of those who coined the word, is a sacrifice involving a victim.There is no other meaning for the word “Mass” or “Christ-Mass.” On page 110 of a book entitled “The Mass In Slow Motion”, we find the following words:It is only with the consecration that the sacrifice of the Mass is achieved. I have represented the Mass to you, more than once, as a kind of ritual dance.”(3)

In essence, the Mass is the ceremonial slaying of Jesus Christ over and over again, followed by the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood. The Mass is the death sacrifice, and the “Host” is the victim. This is official Roman Catholic doctrine, and “Christmas” is a word that they invented.Again, I ask, what is so merry about the pain, bleeding, suffering and death of Jesus Christ?Satan has done quite a job of getting millions of so-called “Christians” to blaspheme. What a deceiver he is.
Now you know the true meaning of the word “Christmas” or Mass of Christ.There is much more to know about this pagan holiday, and we will be glad to provide you with plenty of evidence that Jesus was not born on December 25th, and that Christmas is not only a lie, but is actually a witches’ sabbat called “Yule” in clever disguise. Please contact us at the address below, and for the sake of your soul, flee from idolatry!

David J. Meyer


|Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — His toes curl in pain, his veins bulge from exertion, his bony chest heaves in the last throes of death.

The newly restored 14th-century wooden crucified Christ “has been resurrected” from obscurity — once caked over with dark paint and left forgotten behind an elevator shaft, said Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The oldest crucifix in the basilica’s possession, it was made by an unknown sculptor of “exceptional artistic talent” and technical skill sometime in the early 1300s, and hung in the original fourth-century basilica of St. Peter, built by the Emperor Constantine, said Bishop Vittorio Lanzani, secretary of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the office responsible for physical care and maintenance of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The 7-foot-long torso and legs were made in one piece from a solid trunk of seasoned walnut, he said. The arms — spanning nearly 6 and a half feetand head were carved separately but came from the same already centuries old tree.

Antique prints and a rich trail of archival material track the crucifix’s condition and its various locations inside the old basilica and its transfer to the new basilica when it was completed in 1620. The documents show that no matter where it was positioned, it was a popular and much-venerated piece of work, the bishop said.

It even managed to survive the Sack of Rome in 1527 and desecration when the basilica was turned into a “horse stable” and the Christ figure was dressed in the uniform of the invading mercenaries, he said.

Though made of strong solid wood, he said, termites feasting on it for 700 years caused considerable damage, leaving bore holes peppering the face and body and excavating large areas by the armpits.

Early restorers filled the gaping holes with wads of cloth, reinforced weakened areas with canvas wrappings and stucco, and hid dirt, discoloration and black termite burrows with dark “bronze-colored” paint, the bishop said.

Moved in 1749 to make way for Michelangelo’s marble masterpiece, the Pieta, the progressively darkening statue was gradually moved further and further away from the main area of the basilica, eventually ending up in a closed chapel.

Even worse, Lanzani said, Pope Pius XI had an elevator put in the closed chapel to connect the basilica with the papal residence above in the apostolic palace.

“Darkened and confined in a neglected spot and nearly unreachable, it was forgotten by many and was in some way taken away from the devotion of the faithful,” he said.

When Pope Francis called the Year of Mercy, the basilica accelerated plans to have the crucifix studied and restored, which took 15 months of difficult and delicate work, Comastri said. Because moving it too far from where it had been abandoned was too risky, the canon’s sacristy nearby was turned into a makeshift restoration studio.

With funding from the Knights of Columbus, restorers used thermal lasers to blast off one layer of paint at a time and “cutting-edge” solvents that dissolve specific substances like oils, lacquers and grime, leaving desired colors unaltered, said one of the lead restorers, Lorenza D’Alessandro.

Knights Templar (Freemasonry)

The Knights Templar, full name The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, …

Among other projects, the Knights are the primary partner of Crux.

Experts monitored their progress with stereo microscopes — which are often used in microsurgery — to make sure they removed only selected areas and layers. She said they identified nine successive layers of paints, varnishes and protective coatings on the body and 15 layers on the white, gold-bordered loincloth.

They filled the gaps, she said, by mixing the sawdust left behind by the termites with a binding material that was then shaped to the body. They replaced a thick painted rope that had been wrapped around Christ’s head with a crown of real thorn branches from a species known as Christ’s Thorn found near the Mediterranean.

The original cross the Christ had been nailed to was lost long ago,she said, so workers at the Fabbrica crafted a new one from seasoned walnut wood that had grown near an ancient Marian sanctuary in central Italy.

Comastri said the newly restored crucifix will be shown to the public for the first time Nov. 6 (11616 or 11×6=66 + 1×6-6  or 666) during Pope Francis’s jubilee for prisonersto be “a beautiful sign of hope and a message of mercy.”

It will then be placed back in the main part of the basilica in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacramentand dedicated in “perpetual memory of the Jubilee of Mercy.”

“a sacrament of the Church, one of the religious ceremonies enjoined by Christ or the Church,” and later specifically “the sacrament of the Eucharist” (c. 1300), from Old French sacrament“consecration; mystery”(12c., Modern French sacrement) and directly from Latin sacramentum, “a solemn oath” (source also of Spanish sacramento, German Sakrament, etc.), from sacrare “to consecrate” (see sacred).A Church Latin loan-translation of Greek mysterion (see mystery). The Latin word sacramentum in its secular aspect was used of any engagement or ceremony that binds or imposes obligation, specifically“oath of obedience and fidelity taken by Roman soldiers on enlistment; sum which two parties to a suit first deposit,” hence also, “a cause, a civil suit,” thus either “a result of consecration” or “a means of consecration.”The meaning“arcane knowledge; a secret; a mystery; a divine mystery”
As in mystery Babylon, the Great WHORE of Revelation. 
in English is from late 14c. (Wycliffe); from mid-14c. as “a solemn oath, pledge, covenant; a ceremony accompanying the taking of an oath or the making of a pledge.”

It will be hung on the wall to the left of the entrance, so when people enter, they will immediately be met by Christ’s gaze at the very moment he readies himself to give his life for all of humanity, he said.

The Knights provided the funding for its restorationto show “solidarity with the Holy Father” for the Year of Mercy, said Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus.

In a written statement, he said, “We hope that this remarkable image of Christ’s sufferingwill serve as a reminder to all who see it of the great love our savior has for each of us, and of the depths of his mercy, always ready to embrace and forgive us.”

The Article continues

This year’s Vatican scene commemorates the 800th anniversary by including Francis and the three friars, as well as the then-mayor of Greccio, Giovanni Velita, with his wife, Alticama.

The Holy Father’s devotion to Francis of Assisiwas evident from the beginning of his pontificate. He took his papal name in honor of thePoverello. He has published three encyclicals, the first of which was written by Pope Benedict XVI (Lumen Fidei). His own two take their titles from the writings of St. Francis: Laudato Si and Fratelli Tutti.

poverello‎ (Italian): meaning, translation

Poverello in Italian is a poor person or homeless person that does not have enough to survive for themself 

He wrote a beautiful apostolic letterAdmirabile Signum, on the “meaning and importance of the Nativity scene” intended to encourage “the custom of setting it up in the workplace, in schools, hospitals, prisons and town squares.”

Dated Dec. 1, 2019, Pope Francis traveled to Greccio himself to sign the letter.

As Pope Francis blessed the bambinelli on his birthday this year, a suitable birthday gift to him would be a reading of Admirabile Signum.

Admirabile Signum (“Enchanting Sign, in the official Vatican translation), holds up the Nativity scene as an laudable example of piety and biblical culture. The apostolic letter treats the crèche, “which encapsulates a wealth of popular piety,” as a particularly effective means of making the Scriptures come alive, especially for children but not only for them.

enchant (v.)

late 14c., literal (“practice sorcery or witchcraft on”) and figurative (“delight in a high degree, charm, fascinate”), from Old French enchanter “bewitch, charm, cast a spell”(12c.), from Latin incantare “to enchant, fix a spell upon,” from in- “upon, into” (from PIE root *en “in”) + cantare “to sing” (from PIE root *kan- “to sing”). Or perhaps a back-formation from enchantment.

enchantment (n.)

c. 1300, enchauntement, “act of magic or witchcraft; use of magic; magic power,”from Old French encantement “magical spell; song, concert, chorus,” from enchanter “bewitch, charm,” from Latin incantare“enchant, cast a (magic) spell upon,” from in- “upon, into” (from PIE root *en “in”) + cantare “to sing” (from PIE root *kan- “to sing”). Figurative sense of “allurement” is from 1670s. Compare Old English galdor “song,” also “spell, enchantment,” from galan “to sing,” which also is the source of the second element in nightingale.

enchanting (adj.)

1590s, “having magical power,”present-participle adjective from enchant (v.). Meaning “delightful to the mind or sense” is from 1712. Related: Enchantingly.

enchanter (n.)

“one who enchants or practices enchantment, a sorcerer or magician;”also “one who charms or delights,” c. 1300, enchauntour, agent noun from enchant, or from Old French enchanteor“magician; singer; mountebank,” from Latin incantator.
You better believe the Roman pope chose that Latin word very poignantly and specifically!

“Children — but adults too! — often love to add to the Nativity scene other figures that have no apparent connection with the Gospel accounts,” writes the Holy Father. “Yet, each in its own way, these fanciful additions show that in the new world inaugurated by Jesus there is room for whatever is truly human and for all God’s creatures. From the shepherd to the blacksmith, from the baker to the musicians, from the women carrying jugs of water to the children at play: [A]ll this speaks of the everyday holiness, the joy of doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way, born whenever Jesus shares his divine life with us.”

Throughout 2023, the Holy Father has repeatedly exclaimed todos, todos, todos or tutti, tutti, tutti  (“Tutti”, meaning “together”). , emphasizing the Jesus came for all and invites all into his Church. The Nativity scene’s inclusion of all the various characters Pope Francis mentions is a vivid example of just that.

In addition to artistic creativity, the Nativity scene of Greccio was a profound expression of deep biblical culture. Francis insisted upon including live animals, but not only the sheep — as one might have expected. He wanted an ox and a donkey. Why? We read about the manger (Luke 2:7), but there is nothing about the ox and donkey.

For that, Francis reached back to Isaiah, which we read often in Advent. At the beginning of the prophetic book, it is written, “The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master’s crib; but Israel does not know; my people does not understand” (Isaiah 1:3). By putting these animals near the manger, Francis was teaching that the Christ Child is the fulfillment of the prophecies, but we often don’t recognize him when he comes.

The ox and donkey suggest another 13th-century connection, though one unknown in 1223. St. Thomas Aquinas — born the year after the first Nativity scene — was large and lumbering, and thus given the nickname the “dumb ox.”St. Francis, legend has it, on his deathbed, thanked his donkey for the services it had given him, and the donkey apparently wept.The ox and the donkey perhaps can stand in for the saints, St. Thomas and St. Francis, the friends of the Lord.

That first Nativity scene at Greccio did not have statues.There was no statue of the Christ Childand, of course, no prior blessing of the bambinelli ! — to place in the manger.

Bambinelli is an Italian word that means “little baby” or “baby dolls”. It’s also the name of a Christmas tradition that involves people bringing baby Jesus figurines to be blessed. The tradition is also known as the Blessing of the Bambinelli

On 25 December, friars came to Greccio from various parts, together with people from the farmsteads in the area, who brought flowers and torches to light up that holy night,” explains Pope Francis in Admirabile Signum. “When Francis arrived, he found a manger full of hay, an ox and a donkey. All those present experienced a new and indescribable joy in the presence of the Christmas scene. The priest then solemnly celebrated the Eucharist over the manger, showing the bond between the Incarnation of the Son of God and the Eucharist.”

At Christmas Mass, which is often preceded or followed by a procession to the Nativity scene, the Baby Jesus is placed in the manger. But it remains only a statue. At the Holy Mass itself, Jesus becomes real food, his Body placed not in the manger, but in the mouths of the faithful.

That the Word became flesh is taught by St. John’s Gospel (1:14). That the Word became food is indicated by the manger of St. Luke’s Gospel (2:7). The Nativity scene with its feeding box reminds us vividly of this. It’s a truth that attracts even those who know nothing of the Incarnation or the Eucharist.

Eight centuries after Greccio, the Franciscan friars have rejoined the Nativity scene themselves. It’s a good year to include St. Francis in those Christmas scenes set up in parishes, schools and at home.


17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.

21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.


Pope: Eucharist is bread of sinners, not reward of saints

Pope Francis celebrates the Eucharist during Mass on the feast of Corpus Christi in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican June 6, 2021. (CNS/Reuters pool/Giuseppe Lami)


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People’s hearts and the entire church must be wide open to wonder and devotion to Christ and ready to embrace everyone — sinner and saint alike,Pope Francis said.

“The church of the perfect and pure is a room where there isn’t a place for anyone; the church with open doors that celebrates around Christ is, on the other hand, a large hall where everyone — the righteous and sinners — can enter,” the pope said in his homily during Mass June 6 (66), to mark the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.

“The Eucharist is meant to nourishthose who are tired and hungry along the journey, let’s not forget this!” he said during the early evening Mass, which was celebrated at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica with about 200 people, who wore masks and maintained social distance.

It was the second year the Mass was held with a reduced congregation and without the traditional outdoor Corpus Christi processionafterward as part of the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The ceremony instead concluded with a long moment of silent eucharistic adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ celebrates the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Adoration – Definition, Meaning & Synonyms – Vocabulary.com

The noun adoration comes from the Latin word adorationem, which means “worship,” particularly in a religious way.

The Catholic Church states that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christunder the species of bread and wine. It maintains that by the consecration, the substances of the bread and wine actually become the substances of the body and blood of Jesus Christ (transubstantiation) while the appearances of the bread and wine remain unaltered (e.g. colour, taste, feel, and smell)

host (n.3)

“body of Christ, consecrated bread,”c. 1300, from Latin hostia “sacrifice,” also “the animal sacrificed, victim,”


In his homily, Francis looked at the meaning of the images presented in the reading from the Gospel of St. Mark which detailed Jesus’ instructions for preparing and finding a place for Passover and the Lord’s Supper.

Francis said the image of a man carrying a jar of water reminds people that humanity is thirsty, “always seeking a source of water that satisfies and restores.”

“All of us journey through life with a jar in our hands” as “each one of us is thirsty for love, joy, a successful life in a more humane world,”he said, adding that only God can satisfy that real thirst for something more — that hope in an eternal life that sustains people in life.

Because that thirst is often not acknowledged, with fewer people seeking or asking about God, Christians must evangelize, the pope said.

It is not enough for the church to be a small group “of the usual people who gather to celebrate the Eucharist. We have to go into the city, encounter people, learn to recognize and reawaken the thirst for God and yearning for the Gospel,” he said. It will be that renewed thirst that brings people to the altar to encounter God in the Eucharist, he added.

The other important image is the grand upper room they find for the Passover meal, he said, a meal that will be significant because of a tiny morsel of bread.

“Instead, if our heart is less like a large room and more like storage closet where we regretfully keep old things, like an attic where we have long stored away our enthusiasm and dreams, like a cramped and dark room where we live alone, with ourselves, our problems and bitterness,” he said, “then it will be impossible to recognize this silent and humble presence of God.”

The church also must be a large, welcoming space, “not a small exclusive club, but a community with its arms wide open, welcoming to everyone,” and willing to lead to Christ the wounded, the wayward and those who have done wrong, he said.

“To celebrate and live the Eucharist,” he said, “we, too, are called to live this love, because you cannot break Sunday’s bread if your heart is closed to others, you cannot eat this bread if you do not give the bread to the hungry, you cannot share this bread if you do not share the sufferings of those in need.”

Earlier in the day, the pope greeted hundreds of people spread out in St. Peter’s Square for the noon recitation of the Angelus prayer.

The Angeles Prayer


V/.The Angelof the Lord declared unto Mary,

R/. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary,full of grace, the Lord is with you;

HAIL | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary

Cambridge Dictionary
to publicly praise or show approval for a person or an achievement:

The Bible’s answer

No, the Bible does not teach that Mary is the mother of God, nor does it suggest that Christians should either worship or venerate Mary.a Consider:

  • Mary never claimed that she was the mother of God. The Bible explains that she gave birth to “the Son of God,”not God himself.​—Mark 1:1; Luke 1:​32.

  • Jesus Christ never said that Mary was God’s mother or that she was worthy of special devotion.In fact, he corrected a woman who gave special attention to Mary’s happy role as his mother, saying: “No, rather, happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!”​Luke 11:27, 28.

  • The terms “Mother of God” and “Theotokos” (God-bearer) are not found in the Bible.

  • The expression “Queen of Heaven” in the Bible refers, not to Mary, but to a false goddess worshipped by apostate Israelites. (Jeremiah 44:15-​19) The “Queen of Heaven” may have been Ishtar (Astarte), a Babylonian goddess.

  • Early Christians did not worship Mary,nor did they give her any special honor. One historian states that early Christians “would have rejected cults and probably feared that undue attention to Mary might evoke a suspicion of goddess worship.”​In Quest of the Jewish Mary.

  • The Bible says that God has always existed. (Psalm 90:​1, 2; Isaiah 40:28) Since he had no beginning, he cannot have a mother. Furthermore, Mary could not have held God in her womb; the Bible makes clear that even the heavens cannot contain him.​1 Kings 8:​27.

Mary​—Mother of Jesus not “Mother of God”

Mary was Jewish by birth, and she was a direct descendant of King David. (Luke 3:​23-​31) She was highly favored by God for her faith and devotion. (Luke 1:​28) God chose her to become the mother of Jesus. (Luke 1:​31, 35) Along with her husband, Joseph, Mary had other children.​—Mark 6:3 (she did not remain a Virgin all her life as the Catholic Church teaches)

Although the Bible shows that Mary became a disciple of Jesus, not much additional information is given about her.​—Acts 1:​14.

blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.

V/. Behold the handmaid of the Lord,
R/. Be it done unto me according to your Word.
Hail Mary…

V/. And the Word was made flesh,
R/. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary…

V/. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,

R/. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts: that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Excerpted from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayersrevised edition © 2007 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved.

 This is called the ANGELS PRAYER.  It must be from the FALLEN ANGELS!

The Eucharist, he said, shows “the strength to love those who make mistakes”
because Jesus gave the world the bread of life on the night he was betrayed.

Jesus reacts to the evil of Judas’ betrayal with a greater good, responding to Judas’ “no” with the “yes” of mercy, he said. “He does not punish the sinner, but rather gives his life for him, he pays for him.”

“When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus does the same with us: he knows us; he knows we are sinners; he knows we make many mistakes, but he does not give up on joining his life to ours,” the pope said. “He knows that we need it, because the Eucharist is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners. This is why he exhorts us: ‘Do not be afraid! Take and eat.'”



Lady of the Nations? /Mankind and Hope

Gift ID: UNNY086G.02
This wooden sculpture was carved for the Trusteeship Council Chamber and was donated by the Danish Government. Created by Danish sculptor Henrik Starcke (1899 – 1973) of Copenhagen

On 25 April 2013, the renovated Trusteeship Council Chamber was inaugurated in the presence of Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, along with members from Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations and others.

Lady of all Nations Statue
Catholic StatuaryThis statue is based on the incredible messages from the Blessed Virgin Mary that include important prophecies about the Vatican, different Popes, a 5th Marian dogma, and general moral decline of humanity. Hand-painted resin figure.

The devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary as “The Lady of All Nations” originated in Amsterdam, as the fruit of apparitions from Our Lady to a young Dutch woman at the end of World War II.   SOURCE

Our Lady of Fatima. | Ricardo Perna / Shutterstock.

One day before the May 13 celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, a statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be visiting the United Nations.

Each year on May 13th, Catholics celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary by honoring her message of peace and by reflecting on her apparitions in Fátima, Portugal.

  • The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary is a spectacular neoclassical Church containing the tombs of St. Francisco, St. Jacinta, and Sister Lucia. Here you can view the monument that commemorates the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In homage to Our Lady’s consistency in Her messages to pray the Rosary, the Basilica features fifteen altars that are dedicated to the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
  • The Via Sacra or “Sacred Way” marks the path taken by the children to the first apparition. Pilgrims can walk along this path and pray the Stations of the Cross at fifteen small Chapels
  • Pilgrimages to Mary Some pilgrims crawl to the shrine on their knees as an act of penance, 600 feet (182 meters) from the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity to the Chapel of Apparitions, and then they circle around the Chapel on their knees too, praying the rosary.  Many pilgrims make pilgrimage walking from all over Portugal, as far away as Lisbon – 80 miles away

As we remember and honor Our Lady of Fátima, her message to pray for peace is just as significant now as it was in 1917. May we all reflect on Our Lady’s messages and honor her through our lives.


Millions venerate (worship) Mary, Jesus’ mother, with such titles as “Mother of God” and “Queen of Heaven” without realizing that these are pre-Christian titles, condemned by Scripture. Why do so many treat Mary with the same veneration once given to pagan mother goddess figures? Scripture reveals the startling truth!

What is the true origin and significance of the “Madonna”? You may be surprised!

Every day, hundreds of millions of people pray to Mary, the mother of Jesus, whom they honor as the “Mother of God” and “Queen of Heaven.” Every year, millions embark on pilgrimages to Marian shrines that dot the world—from Ireland to Portugal and Poland, from Bosnia and Gibraltar to Mexico and Sri Lanka. Pope John Paul II dedicated his pontificate to Mary, and “consecrated the world” to the “Blessed Virgin.” On Catholic World Youth Days, he has urged millions of young people: “Do not be afraid to open the doors of your life to Mary!”

In recent years, Mary’s devotees have reported apparitions with increasing frequency. With such titles as “Mother of the World,” “Lady of All Nations” and “Queen of Peace,” her appearance has been alleged in the United States, Australia, Chile and Japan. Palestinian Arabs and African Muslims report having seen her. In Bombay, India, hundreds of thousands paid homage to a supposed Marian image. But it is from Europe that devotees report her most urgent messages, insisting that people must say the rosary and become more spiritual, that Russia will be converted and that the religions of the world must unite if there is to be peace.

While the focus on Mary is a global phenomenon that is gaining momentum, it is not really new. Roman Catholic rulers in Europe have consecrated nations to Mary for a thousand years. Yet what is seldom mentioned is that religious practices associated with the worship of Mary originated long before the days of Jesus and His mother. Surprisingly, few ever question why so many adhere to beliefs and practices that Christ never taughtand the Bible does not mention. No prayers to Mary are found in the Bible, and no miracles are accorded to her in Scripture. And, amazingly, Mary is routinely given titles that—in the Bible and in history—clearly refer to someone else!

How did Mary, a humble Jewish girl, acquire such titles and such honor? What is behind the growing emphasis on the “Blessed Virgin,” and just where is this emphasis leading?


Remarkable as it may seem, scholarly sources plainly acknowledge that this focus on Mary was totally absent in the early Church. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: “This doctrine is not contained, at least explicitly, in the earlier forms of the Apostles’ Creed, there is perhaps no ground for surprise if we do not meet with any clear traces of the cultus of the Blessed Virgin in the first Christian centuries” (article: “Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary”). Mary was not given the titles “Mother of God” or “Queen of Heaven” until centuries after she had lived. There is no mention in the teachings of Christ or the Apostles of worship, adoration or prayers to Mary, and there is no biblical reference for saying the rosary. Jesus taught His disciples to pray to God the Father (Luke 11:1–2), and to petition in the name of Jesus Christ (John 14:13–14). The Bible lists no festivals devoted to Mary, and offers no examples of anyone praying before a statue of Mary. In the Bible—and the early Church—such practices were condemned as idolatry (see Exodus 20:4–5).

The Bible never refers to Mary’s “Immaculate Conception”—the doctrine that she was born without sin. Nor does it teach the “Assumption”the doctrine that Mary was bodily transported to heaven. Rather, Scripture clearly states that “no one has ascended to heaven” except Jesus (John 3:13). In the last century, apparitions and their supporters have promoted Mary as the “Mediatrix of All Mercies” (thus diminishing Jesus Christ’s true role as revealed in the Bible), and as the “Queen of Peace,” though the Bible never refers to her this way. If these beliefs and practices are not found in the Bible, where did they come from, and how did they become associated with what many today call Christianity?


To understand how worship of the Madonna developed, we must look at the early centuries of the Church. Jesus came into a world dominated by Greek and Roman culture. Pagan religions flourished, and people worshiped a variety of gods and goddesses that were known by different names in different regions. These deities were housed in magnificent shrines and temples, and were worshiped with elaborate ceremonies that sometimes included secret rites and temple prostitution. Festivals of the gods were public holidays that dominated the social calendar. In cities with major shrines and temples—such as Ephesus, location of the temple of Diana (Acts 19:21–40)—craftsmen prospered by making and selling images of the deities. The worship of pagan deities was popular in the Roman Empire, and continued well into the fifth century ad.

The pagan world tolerated the worship of different gods and goddesses, but true Christians stood out because they would not participate in pagan rituals. The early Christians followed the biblical admonitions “do not learn the way of the Gentiles\ (Jeremiah 10:2) and \do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2) and “come out from among them and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Christians were pressured to conform, and persecuted when they did not participate in pagan customs. Yet between 300–400ad, dramatic changes occurred. The Roman Empire not only accepted what it called Christianity, but through its official endorsement made its form of Christianity the dominant religious force in the Roman Empire. It was during this era that worship of Mary first flourished.


The so-called “conversion” of Constantine was a crucial period in the transformation of “popular Christianity.” The young emperor, a sun-worshiper, was attracted to the growing apostate Christian church. Although Constantine stopped persecutions and granted favor to professing Christians, he continued to approve of and follow pagan practices. He apparently “found it convenient to pay his respects to both Christ and Apollo” (A Chronicle of the Last Pagans, Chuvin, p. 26). Constantine’s embrace of “Christianity,” and promotion of his newly adopted faith, brought the church phenomenal growth—which changed its character. Imperial patronage colossally increased the wealth and status of the churches. Privileges and exemptions granted to the clergy precipitated a stampede into the priesthood (see The Conversion of Europe, Fletcher, p. 38). Yet many new “converts” were only nominal Christians who still retained and followed pagan ideas.

Some early church leaders, seeing the popularity of pagan customs, followed a “strategy of adoption” in their attempts to convert the heathen “into some semblance of Christian belief” (Fletcher, pp. 99, 354). Instead of requiring people to repent and give up their ancient customs, church leaders urged “the replacement of these pagan practices with Christian ones” (ibid., p. 54). Churches were built on or near pagan shrines, and ancient festivals were given a “Christian” name and content. Where the pagan “habit of popular attachment to a holy place was too great to break, it was sometimes possible for the church to disinfect the old site and to invest it with some Christian significance” (The Early Church, Chadwick, p. 168). A prime example was Ephesus, with its great temple of Diana—one of the wonders of the ancient world. In 431ad, the third ecumenical council met in Ephesus and proclaimed Mary the “Mother of God” and the object of prayers and devotions. But why was Mary given this title—and many others? Why was Ephesus chosen for this announcement?


The Diana of Ephesus was a goddess “whom all Asia and the world worship” (Acts 19:27). Diana was the Roman name for the Greek deity Artemis, the “goddess of the moon and the chaste and sister of the sun-god, Apollo (Colliers Encyclopedia). Artemis was also the “protectress of chastity and patroness of childbirth” and the goddess of seafarers, who brought good weather and profitable voyages (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition). She is often portrayed as a virgin and mother goddess and the “Mistress of Animals.” Her statues depict a multi-breasted figure wearing a turreted crown. Artemis incorporates many features of the great mother goddess who was worshiped under a variety of names in the ancient world (see The Oxford Companion to the Bible).

We also learn that “Artemis is a deity of very ancient origins who survived and attracted great popularity in Asia Minor and Greece into Christian times when… much of her ethos [beliefs & practices] was transferred to the Virgin Mary. Both figures enjoyed major sanctuaries at Ephesus” (Encyclopedia of Gods, Jordan, p. 26). By building a church for Mary in Ephesus and declaring her “Mother of God” near the great temple of the mother goddess Diana, the Catholic church simply borrowed and adapted ancient traditions that allowed new converts to continue pagan practices in a “Christian” context!

But where did the titles “Mother of God” and “Queen of Heaven” come from?

In central Asia Minor, more than a thousand years before the Romans, the Hittites also worshiped a great mother goddess. On the side of a hill near Sardis is a giant rock carving of a mother goddess that the ancient poets Homer, Ovid and Sophocles describe as the “Mother of the Gods, the oldest goddess of all” (The Hittite Empire, Garstang, pp. 176–177). On statues and carvings, this Hittite deity “assumes the aspect of a goddess of the skies, or Queen of Heaven, a familiar aspect of Astarte” (ibid., pp. 114, 204–205). Astarte was the Phoenician goddess of war, the evening star, sexual love and fertility. Temple prostitution was part of her worship. She was often depicted naked, “wearing a crown of cow’s horns enclosing a solar disc”—similar to the Egyptian goddess Isis (Encyclopedia of Gods, p. 33). The Roman army spread the worship of this ancient Hittite goddess across Europe from Germany to Britain because her cult “found great favor among the soldiers” (Garstang, p. 302).

But what about the Madonna and child?

In Egypt, Isis was worshiped as one of the greatest deities. She was usually depicted seated on a throne “holding the child Horus… both official theology and popular belief proclaimed… Isis and Horus the perfect mother and son (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed.). From Egypt, the worship of Isis spread to Greece and Rome, where she was called Stella Maris (star of the sea), the patroness of seafarers and the ‘queen of heaven‘” (The Gods of the Egyptians, Budge, p. 218). A shrine of Isis once “stood on Vatican Hill where now stands St. Peter’s” (The Paganism in Our Christianity, Weigall, pp. 128–129). Numerous scholars note that “the Isis cult influenced the portrayal of the Christian Virgin Mary” (Jordan, p. 137), and that “it is clear that the early Christians bestowed some of her [Isis’] attributes upon the Virgin Mary… pictures and sculptures wherein she is represented in the act of suckling her child Horus formed the foundation for the Christian figures and paintings of the Madonna and Child” (Budge, p. 220).

This author continues: “Many of the heresies of the early Christian Church in Egypt were caused by the survival of ideas and beliefs connected with the old native gods which the converts to Christianity wished to adapt to their new creed” (ibid.). In parts of Egypt, by 400ad, “Mary the Virgin and Christ had taken the places of Isis and Horus, and the God-mother, or mother of the god, was no longer Isis, but Mary” (ibid., p. 221). This is how the worship of Mary became part of so-called Christianity. It entered the early church with the influx of nominal converts who brought their devotion to a mother goddess—and her titles—with them!


But what is behind the current emphasis on the Virgin Mary? Why is it growing, and where is it leading? Bible prophecies reveal that just before the return of Jesus Christ, a “beast power” composed of ten nations will emerge in Europe from the ashes of the old Roman (and “Holy Roman”) Empire (see Daniel 2, 7; Revelation 13, 17–18). This confederation will be ridden by a woman—a rich and powerful church—described as a queen whose roots go back to ancient Babylon, and as a mother of harlots (other misguided churches) who has made the world drunk with her false doctrines (see Revelation 18:717:1–6). This woman—called “daughter of Babylon” and the “Lady of Kingdoms”will claim to be the one true church, saying: “I am, and there is no one else besides me.” She will lead an end-time movement to bring her “separated children” back to the “mother” church (Isaiah 47:8–9Revelation 18:7–8).

Worship of the “Queen of Heaven” would provide a “common ground” to unite nations and religions of the world, in an attempt to bring peace to mankind. Many nations in Old Europe have been consecrated to Mary: the Ukrainian and Hungarian peoples shortly after 1000ad, and England as Mary’s “Dowry” in 1381. In the 1600s, Austria, France, Poland, Spain and Portugal and their colonies were dedicated to Mary (see A Woman Rides the Beast, Hunt, p. 457). In 1996, Pope John Paul II designated the shrine of Our Lady of Europe (set up in Gibraltar in 1309 by King Ferdinand IV of Spain) as a “potent symbol” for the unification of Europe and “a place where, under the patronage of Mary, the human family will be drawn ever more closely into fraternal unity and peaceful coexistence.” This shrine is not far from a cave on Gibraltar where Phoenician seafarers set up a shrine to Astarte, the Queen of Heaven, seven centuries before Christ.

But the New Europe is also awash with Marian symbolism. The flag of the European Union—a ring of 12 gold stars on blue background—is drawn from pictures of the Madonna with 12 stars in halo around her head. In the cathedral at Strasbourg, France (site of the European Parliament), a stained glass window—designated the “window of Europe”—depicts the Madonna and child with a halo of 12 stars and crescent moons along the edges. May 5 has been designated “Europe Day”—it is also the feast day of Our Lady of Europe in Gibraltar.

Catholic leaders recognize the ecumenical potential of a mother goddess. Nearly 40 years ago, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen predicted the conversion of Islam to Christianity “through summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God” (see Hunt, p. 458). Sheen pointed out that Mohammed had a daughter named Fatima, that the Blessed Virgin appeared in the Portuguese village of Fatima and that, when a statue of Our Lady of Fatima is displayed in Muslim countries, thousands turn out to venerate her image. A shrine to Our Lady of Fatima is also being constructed in Russia—a stronghold of the Orthodox Church and home of a large Muslim population—to facilitate the return of many Russians to the “true” faith.

The female Madonna also appeals to feminists who reject the patriarchal flavor of traditional Christianity, and to New Agers who worship an “Earth Mother.” The increasingly frequent reports of apparitions of one calling herself the “Lady of All Nations,” and the growing Catholic emphasis on Mary as the “Queen of Heaven” fit well with an effort to pull the religions of the world together.

The worship of the Madonna is a significant thread that connects the ancient worship of Semiramis in Babylon, and the mother goddesses of Egypt, Greece and Rome, to the modern veneration of the Virgin Mary. It is an unbiblical practice that is actually condemned in Scripture. Worship of the mother goddess dominated the ancient world and played a key role in attracting pagans to the early church. The Bible reveals that devotion to the “Blessed Virgin,” the “Lady of All Nations,” the “Queen of Heaven” and the “Queen of the Universe” will play a significant role in key events that will fulfill end-time prophecies. We are watching those events take shape today!


By ,The Conversation
For most of the 19th century, the celebration of Christmas with Christmas trees and gift-giving remained a marginal phenomenon in American society. Most Americans remained skeptical about this new custom. Some felt that they had to choose between older English customs such as hanging stockings for presents on the fireplace and the Christmas tree as proper space for the placing of gifts.
For most of the 19th century, the celebration of Christmas with Christmas trees and gift-giving remained a marginal phenomenon in American society. Most Americans remained skeptical about this new custom. Some felt that they had to choose between older English customs such as hanging stockings for presents on the fireplace and the Christmas tree as proper space for the placing of gifts.Getty Images

Each season, the celebration of Christmas has religious leaders and conservatives publicly complaining about the commercialization of the holiday and the growing lack of Christian sentiment.

Many people seem to believe that there was once a way to celebrate the birth of Christ in a more spiritual way. Such perceptions about Christmas celebrations have, however, little basis in history.

As a scholar of transnational and global history, I have studied the emergence of Christmas celebrations in German towns around 1800 and the global spread of this holiday ritual.

Millions of historical employment records show the British workforce turned sharply towards manufacturing jobs during the 1600s – suggesting the birth of the industrial age has much deeper roots.   

Britain was well on its way to an industrialised economy under the reign of the Stuarts in the 17th century – over 100 years before textbooks mark the start of the Industrial Revolution – according to the most detailed occupational history of a nation ever created.

Built from more than 160 million records and spanning over three centuries, the University of Cambridge’s Economies Past website uses census data, parish registers, probate records and more to track changes to the British labour force from the Elizabethan era to the eve of World War One.

The research shows that 17th century Britain saw a steep decline in agricultural peasantry, and a surge in people who manufactured goods: from local artisans like blacksmiths, shoemakers and wheelwrights, to an explosion in networks of home-based weavers producing cloth for wholesale.

Historians say the data suggests that Britain was emerging as the world’s first industrial powerhouse several generations before the mills and steam engines of the late 18th century – long credited as the birth of global industry and economic growth.    SOURCE

The Industrial Revolution was a period of scientific and technological development that began in Great Britain in the 18th century and spread to Europe and North America by the 19th century. It transformed agrarian societies into industrialized and urban ones, and led to the invention of many machines, new energy sources, and improved transportation and communication:  SOURCE: AI
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was introduced in 1859 when he published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. The book was a summary of Darwin’s ideas about evolution, which he had been developing for decades. Darwin’s theory challenged religious and scientific beliefs, such as the idea that God created all species and that nature was in harmony. It also implied that all life on Earth has a common ancestor.   SOURCE 
The Machination and Industrialization of the world was designed to pull us from our Faith in GOD and place it on “SCIENCE” which of course is Rebellion/Witchcraft/Magick straight from the pit of HELL.


While Europeans participated in church services and religious ceremonies to celebrate the birth of Jesus for centuries, they did not commemorate it as we do today. Christmas trees and gift-giving on Dec. 24 in Germany did not spread to other European Christian cultures until the end of the 18th century and did not come to North America until the 1830s.

Charles Haswell, an engineer and chronicler of everyday life in New York City, wrote in his “Reminiscences of an Octoganarian” that in the 1830s German families living in Brooklyn dressed up Christmas trees with lights and ornaments. Haswell was so curious about this custom that he went to Brooklyn in a stormy and wet night just to see these Christmas trees through the windows of private homes.

The first Christmas trees

Only in the late 1790s did the new custom of putting up a Christmas tree decorated with wax candles and ornaments and exchanging gifts emerge in Germany.

This new holiday practice was completely outside and independent of Christian religious practices. The idea of putting wax candles on an evergreen was inspired by the pagan tradition of celebrating the winter solstice with bonfires on Dec. 21. These bonfires on the darkest day of the year were intended to recall the sun and show her the way home.

The lit Christmas tree was essentially a domesticated version of these bonfires.

The English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge gave the first description of a decorated Christmas tree in a German household when he reported in 1799 about having seen such a tree in a private home in Ratzeburg in northwestern Germany. In 1816, German poet E.T.A. Hoffmann published his famous story “Nutcracker and Mouse King.” This story contains the first literary record of a Christmas tree decorated with apples, sweets and lights.

From the onset, all family members, including children, were expected to participate in the gift-giving. Gifts were not brought by a mystical figure, but openly exchanged among family members symbolizing the new middle-class culture of egalitarianism.

From Germany to America

American visitors to Germany in the first half of the 19th century realized the potential of this celebration for nation building.

In 1835, Harvard professor George Ticknor was the first American to observe and participate in this type of Christmas celebration and to praise its usefulness for creating a national culture. That year, Ticknor and his 12-year-old daughter, Anna, joined the family of Count von Ungern-Sternberg in Dresden for a memorable Christmas celebration.

Other American visitors to Germany – such as Charles Loring Brace, who witnessed a Christmas celebration in Berlin nearly 20 years later – considered it a specific German festival with the potential to pull people together.

For both Ticknor and Brace, this holiday tradition provided the emotional glue that could bring families and members of a nation together. (as in COMMUNISM)  In 1843, Ticknor invited several prominent friends to join him in a Christmas celebration with a Christmas tree and gift-giving in his Boston home.

Ticknor’s holiday party was not the first Christmas celebration in the United States that featured a Christmas tree.

German-American families had brought the custom with them and put up Christmas trees before. However, it was Ticknor’s social influence that secured the spread and social acceptance of the alien custom to put up a Christmas tree and to exchange gifts in American society.

Santa Claus joins

For most of the 19th century, the celebration of Christmas with Christmas trees and gift-giving remained a marginal phenomenon in American society. Most Americans remained skeptical about this new custom. Some felt that they had to choose between older English customs such as hanging stockings for presents on the fireplace and the Christmas tree as proper space for the placing of gifts.

It was also hard to find the necessary ingredients for this German custom. Christmas tree farms had first to be created. And ornaments needed to be produced.

The most significant steps toward integrating Christmas into popular American culture came in the context of the American Civil War. In January 1863, Harper’s Weekly published on its front page an image of Santa Claus visiting the Union Army in 1862. This image, which was produced by the German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast, represents the first printed image of Santa Claus.

In the following years, the jolly old man with a big belly and long white beard became more an more known, often seen with a sledge drawn by reindeer.

Declaring Christmas a federal holiday and putting up the first Christmas tree in the White House marked the final steps in making Christmas an American holiday.

On June 28, 1870, Congress passed the law that turned Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day into holidays for federal employees. And in December 1889, President Benjamin Harrison began the tradition of setting up a Christmas tree at the White House.

Christmas had finally become an American holiday tradition.

Dec 11, 2021

The holiday, which (purportedly) commemorates the birth of Jesus, is observed on Dec. 25 in the Gregorian calendar, but no one knows which date Jesus was actually born, according to Britannica. The Bible does not mention Jesus’ exact birthday, so there are only clues to go off of.  (That is because it was never intended to be celebrated.  God considered the date of Christ’s birth to be irrellevant.  He after all was not a human that was born, he merely took on flesh for the purpose of paying the price.  He existed before the Earth was created.)

One possible theory? The Roman Empire, before it recognized Christianity, celebrated the rebirth of Sol Invictus (Roman god of the sun) on Dec. 25, a date which coincided with the Roman festival Saturnalia, when people feasted and exchanged gifts. Many believe Christmas celebrations on Dec. 25 were intended to concur with these festivities.

Under Emperor Constantine, the Church in Rome began celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 in 336. Some say the date was chosen to outshine the Sol Invictus and pagan celebrations. But there’s much doubt around whether Christians had been trying to steal Sol Invictus’ thunder.

No matter what the official reason was, (Roman Catholic) church officials ultimately settled on Dec. 25 at the end of the third century.

The world will likely never know how Christmas arrived to its selected date, but one thing’s for sure: It remains popular as ever.

Scratch that, there was once a time in the U.S. when Christmas was unpopular.


Who Waged the Very First ‘War on Christmas’?

Arguing over how to observe the holiday is as old as the Reformation, with traditions shaped by Pagan ritual, Martin Luther, popular authors, and more

Illustration of Puritans Leaving Enbland/Gettyimages/TonyBaggett

Long before the Grinch stole Christmas or “Bah! Humbug!” captured Scrooge’s bitterness, the Puritans sought to put a permanent end to Yuletide merriment. For them, the acts of toasting (especially with alcohol), gift giving, and even neighborly caroling had no place in honoring the birth of Jesus Christ.

Why were the Puritans so opposed to these celebrations? In short, it came down to scripture and a Protestant desire to scrub Christian life of Catholic influence. If it wasn’t referenced in the bible, it shouldn’t be observed. And because many of the 17th-century Christmas traditions in question had ties to both Roman Catholicism and to an older pagan winter solstice festival, the Puritans said they had to go. Christmas celebrations in England ended up being outlawed for 13 years, and across the Atlantic, similar practices were deemed illegal for more than two decades in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, marking America’s very first “War on Christmas.”

NYU News spoke to Visiting Associate Professor Charles Ludington, a food and cultural historian specializing in British and Irish history in the 17th and 18th centuries, for insight into the evolution of the modern holiday and how two authors played an outsized role in both sentimentalizing and monetizing the “Christmas spirit” we’ve come to know.

How did Christmas celebrations of the past differ from those of today? 

That’s a great question, because many people assume that Christmas traditions are as old as Christianity itself, but gift-giving, for example, is a relatively recent Christmas invention within the history of Christianity. It is sometimes attributed to Martin Luther, the man who started the Protestant Reformation, who sought to end the gift-giving celebration of St. Nicholas’s Day and transfer the focus to Christmas and Jesus. But the custom of giving small gifts—often baked-goods, roasted meat, or candy—to friends and family on Christmas day did not extend much beyond Lutheran Northern Europe until the mid-19th century. In the English-speaking world, this custom began to pick up when Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a German and a Lutheran, arrived in Great Britain in 1840 to marry Queen Victoria. Along with establishing gift giving as an obligatory Christmas practice within his family, Albert also introduced the British to the Christmas tree, which gradually replaced the more traditional English Yule log as the required Christmas decor in the English-speaking world.

But note that both the Yule log and the Christmas tree are both of pagan origin, and they’re both meant to symbolize everlasting light and life, which is an important spiritual idea, but also an existential desire when the days are getting shorter and you really don’t know for certain if the sun will ever come back and the seasonal cycle will recommence. Logs that burn for days, trees that don’t lose their green color… these are symbols of hope in a world that’s getting darker. (For pagans who are without hope.  Our hope is in Christ and our faith in Almighty GOD who created and upholds everything.  Our peace and security comes from knowing HE is in control)

What were some of the Christmas traditions that the Puritans found particularly offensive?

Essentially, the Puritans—which is what the Plymouth Pilgrims were—wanted to “purify” the Anglican Church of its Roman Catholic vestiges, and in particular, things that could not be found in the Bible. Christmas was outlawed because it was never mentioned in scripture. In fact, the Christian celebration of Christmas was invented by Romans as a way to co-opt and tame the raucous pagan holiday of Saturnalia, which was itself essentially a celebration of the days getting longer after the winter solstice. Candle-lighting, caroling, and wassailing—toasting and drinking to someone’s health, repeatedly—were all common practices that survived the transition from Saturnalia to Christmas.

So, when Puritans looked at Christmastide, all 12 days from Christmas until Epiphany, they saw nothing but Papist idolatry. In 1647, the radically Puritan English Parliament outlawed Christmas services and the celebrations that went along with them; seven years prior, the Calvinist Presbyterians who ran the church in Scotland, and who were Puritan in all but name, had banned these things as well. Across the Atlantic, the Puritan settlers in Massachusetts had long done their best to prevent Christmas services and celebrations, and in 1659 the Massachusetts Bay Colony made such practices officially illegal. So, there you have it, radical Protestants fought an actual war on Christmas, and for some time it looked like they won.

When did the oppression of Christmas celebrations end, and what led to the Christmas traditions that so many Americans currently practice?

In England, Christmas celebrations were restored along with the monarchy and the Anglican Church in 1660, but the Massachusetts ban on Christmas wasn’t repealed until 1681. Nevertheless, Christmas remained an unpopular “Popish” holiday throughout colonial New England. Indeed, even in the early years of the American republic, Christmas was almost exclusively celebrated by Anglicans—that is, Episcopalians—as well as Methodists, Lutherans, and Catholics, and regionally, Southern states, which were mostly Anglican and Methodist, celebrated it more than Northern ones. But throughout the United States, self-proclaimed “Bible-based” Christians avoided it as best they could for much of the nineteenth century. In fact, Christmas did not become a federal holiday until 1870, but many Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and obscure sects continued to shun Christmas on principle.

In terms of current Christmas traditions, the “spirit of Christmas” really came to us from England, because despite our origins as a country, we have a long history of Anglophilia, and in the mid-nineteenth century it was perhaps best exemplified by the popularity of the writers Washington Irving and Charles Dickens. Irving was America’s first best-selling author and is now most famous as the author of short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow;” however, the vast majority of stories from his most popular collection, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., are set in England. Of the 34 stories in the book, no fewer than five express Irving’s fondness for a “traditional” English Christmas, in other words, the type of Christmas celebration he witnessed among the English gentry in the early-19th century. Irving’s depiction of Christmas as a celebration of gentle paternalism and social harmony in The Sketch Book was in turn one of many influences upon his friend, Charles Dickens, whose books were widely pirated and read in the United States.

For Dickens, Christmas was a celebration of domesticity and the nuclear family, which he, like many early Victorians in Britain and America, saw as the bulwark of stability, warmth, and love against the cold indifference of the marketplace. This is essentially the moral of A Christmas Carol. What else are the Cratchits if not Dickens’s ideal, loving family and the one he wished he had had? And what is Ebenezer Scrooge if not the embodiment of callous capitalism? It is Christmas, and all that it symbolizes for Dickens, that eventually transforms Scrooge from a stingy taskmaster into a warm and generous patriarch. But Dickens’s argument that there are or at least should be higher values than profit-maximization was hardly a blow to commercial capitalism. After all, how does Scrooge respond to his own spiritual self-awakening? By giving gifts, of course! So, while Dickens’s idea of Christmas is a rebuke to the values of the marketplace, it simultaneously helped to lay the foundation for making Christmas the most commercial of all Christian holidays.

The American Civil War sent American manufacturing into overdrive, producing and consuming manufactured goods like never before. In this environment, the American retail industry could hardly fail to see the opportunity to profit by taking Dickens’s belief that the joy of Christmas is found in giving small gifts to family, especially children, and expanding it into the belief that the joy of Christmas is found in buying and giving gifts to family and friends of all ages. Add to this the fact that by 1890 every US state or territory had made Christmas a holiday, and shopping for gifts now had a “season” with a clear denouement.

So, while the English via Irving and Dickens were largely responsible for inventing the sentimental aspects of modern Christmas, it was American retailers who gave us “Christmas Parades,” “Christmas Sales,” and all the anticipation of the “Big Day.” Not surprisingly, it was retailers who also invented so many “traditional” American Christmas icons and images, including Santa’s image as a portly, white-haired, white man or Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.


When did the idea of a “War on Christmas” as we currently know it begin and why has it endured?

The “War on Christmas” as we currently know it began in the 1920s by the auto-maker Henry Ford, who reacted angrily to Jewish organizations that had the gall, in Ford’s belief, to ask that the Establishment Clause of the Constitution be enforced by disallowing Bible readings and Christmas pageants in public schools, a common practice at the time. The forces of the Depression and World War II silenced the “War on Christmas” for a generation, but the “war” recommenced in the 1950s when the John Birch Society accused Communists—and the United Nations—of conspiring to secularize Christmas for the purpose of socializing America.


holiday Written by  Hans J. Hillerbrand

History of the Yule Log: Ancient Pagan Ritual to Modern Christmas Tradition FOX Weather 717K subscribers Subscribe 121 Share 9,359 views Dec 20, 2021 #Yule #YuleLog The burning of a Yule log is a beloved Christmas tradition today, but its origins trace back through history to the ancient Viking celebrations of the winter solstice. #YuleLog #Yule #YuleHistory For more on Yuletide and the Norse rituals it originates from, click here: https://www.foxweather.com/lifestyle/…

ChristmasChristian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. The English term Christmas (“mass on Christ’s day”) is of fairly recent origin. The earlier term Yule may have derived from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, which referred to the feast of the winter solstice. The corresponding terms in other languagesNavidad in SpanishNatale in ItalianNoël in Frenchall probably denote nativity. The German word Weihnachten denotes “hallowed night.” Since the early 20th century, Christmas has also been a secular family holiday, observed by Christians and non-Christians alike, devoid of Christian elements, and marked by an increasingly elaborate exchange of gifts. In this secular Christmas celebration, a mythical figure named Santa Claus plays the pivotal role.

Origin and development

The early Christian community distinguished between the identification of the date of Jesus’ birth and the liturgical celebration of that event. The actual observance of the day of Jesus’ birth was long in coming. In particular, during the first two centuries of Christianity there was strong opposition to recognizing birthdays of martyrs or, for that matter, of Jesus. Numerous Church Fathers offered sarcastic comments about the pagan custom of celebrating birthdays when, in fact, saints and martyrs should be honoured on the days of their martyrdom—their true “birthdays,” from the church’s perspective.

The precise origin of assigning December 25 as the birth date of Jesus is unclear. The New Testament provides no clues in this regard. December 25 was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by Sextus Julius Africanus in 221 and later became the universally accepted date. One widespread explanation of the origin of this date is that December 25 was the Christianizing of the dies solis invicti nati (“day of the birth of the unconquered sun”), a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that celebrated the winter solstice as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the heralding of the rebirth of spring and summer. Indeed, after December 25 had become widely accepted as the date of Jesus’ birth, Christian writers frequently made the connection between the rebirth of the sun and the birth of the Son. One of the difficulties with this view is that it suggests a nonchalant willingness on the part of the Christian church to appropriate a pagan festival when the early church was so intent on distinguishing itself categorically from pagan beliefs and practices.  But under Roman Rule Christians were happy to keep their lives. The Romans took over Christianity.

A second view suggests that December 25 became the date of Jesus’ birth by a priori reasoning that identified the spring equinox as the date of the creation of the world and the fourth day of creation, when the light was created, as the day of Jesus’ conception (i.e., March 25). December 25, nine months later, then became the date of Jesus’ birth. For a long time the celebration of Jesus’ birth was observed in conjunction with his baptism, celebrated January 6  This theory is a huge stretch

Christmas began to be widely celebrated with a specific liturgy in the 9th century but did not attain the liturgical importance of either Good Friday or Easter, the other two major Christian holidaysRoman Catholic churches celebrate the first Christmas mass at midnight, and Protestant churches have increasingly held Christmas candlelight services late on the evening of December 24. A special service of “lessons and carols” intertwines Christmas carols with Scripture readings narrating salvation history from the Fall in the Garden of Eden to the coming of Christ. The service, inaugurated by E.W. Benson and adopted at the University of Cambridge, has become widely popular.


Contemporary customs in the West

None of the contemporary Christmas customs have their origin in theological or liturgical affirmations, and most are of fairly recent date. The Renaissance humanist Sebastian Brant recorded, in Das Narrenschiff (1494; The Ship of Fools), the custom of placing branches of fir trees in houses. Even though there is some uncertainty about the precise date and origin of the tradition of the Christmas tree, it appears that fir trees decorated with apples were first known in Strasbourg in 1605. The first use of candles on such trees is recorded by a Silesian duchess in 1611. The Advent wreath—made of fir branches, with four candles denoting the four Sundays of the Advent season—is of even more recent origin, especially in North America. The custom, which began in the 19th century but had roots in the 16th, originally involved a fir wreath with 24 candles (the 24 days before Christmas, starting December 1), but the awkwardness of having so many candles on the wreath reduced the number to four. An analogous custom is the Advent calendar, which provides 24 openings, one to be opened each day beginning December 1. According to tradition, the calendar was created in the 19th century by a Munich housewife who tired of having to answer endlessly when Christmas would come. The first commercial calendars were printed in Germany in 1851. The intense preparation for Christmas that is part of the commercialization of the holiday has blurred the traditional liturgical distinction between Advent and the Christmas season, as can be seen by the placement of Christmas trees in sanctuaries well before December 25.

Toward the end of the 18th century the practice of giving gifts to family members became well established. Theologically, the feast day reminded Christians of God’s gift of Jesus to humankind even as the coming of the Wise Men, or Magi, to Bethlehem suggested that Christmas was somehow related to giving gifts. The practice of giving gifts, which goes back to the 15th century, contributed to the view that Christmas was a secular holiday focused on family and friends. This was one reason why Puritans in Old and New England opposed the celebration of Christmas and in both England and America succeeded in banning its observance.

The tradition of celebrating Christmas as a secular family holiday is splendidly illustrated by a number of English “Christmas” carols such as “Here We Come A-Wassailing” or “Deck the Halls.It can also be seen in the practice of sending Christmas cards, which began in England in the 19th century. Moreover, in countries such as Austria and Germany, the connection between the Christian festival and the family holiday is made by identifying the Christ Child as the giver of gifts to the family. In some European countries, St. Nicholas appears on his feast day (December 6) bringing modest gifts of candy and other gifts to children. In North America the pre-Christmas role of the Christian saint Nicholas was transformed, under the influence of the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (or “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas”), into the increasingly central role of Santa Claus as the source of Christmas gifts for the family. While both name and attire—a version of the traditional dress of bishop—of Santa Claus reveal his Christian roots, and his role of querying children about their past behaviour replicates that of St. Nicholas, he is seen as a secular figure.In Australia, where people attend open-air concerts of Christmas carols and have their Christmas dinner on the beach, Santa Claus wears red swimming trunks as well as a white beard.

Why do people give gifts at Christmas?
The Christmas tradition of gift giving.

In most European countries, gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve, December 24, in keeping with the notion that the baby Jesus was born on the night of the 24th. The morning of December 25, however, has become the time for the exchange of gifts in North America. In 17th- and 18th-century Europe the modest exchange of gifts took place in the early hours of the 25th when the family returned home from the Christmas mass. When the evening of the 24th became the time for the exchange of gifts, the Christmas mass was set into the late afternoon of that day. In North America the centrality of the morning of the 25th of December as the time for the family to open presents has led, with the exception of Catholic and some Lutheran and Episcopal churches, to the virtual end of holding church services on that day, a striking illustration of the way societal customs influence liturgical practices.

Given the importance of Christmas as one of the major Christian feast days, most European countries observe, under Christian influence, December 26 as a second Christmas holiday. This practice recalls the ancient Christian (Catholic) liturgical notion that the celebration of Christmas, as well as that of Easter and of Pentecost, should last the entire week. The weeklong observance, however, was successively reduced to Christmas day and a single additional holiday on December 26.

With Yuletide just around the corner, it is worthwhile to pause and look into the history of this monumental holiday, one of the few celebrated almost all over the world. Everywhere has different traditions, but it is most commonly known as a holiday for giving gifts. Christmas has not always been linked to Christ or his birthday, though.

The winter solstice was originally a Pagan holiday that was celebrated on the day of the shortest daylight and longest night.The pagan holiday was called Yule in Scandinavia, lasted twelve days and created the custom of burning a yule log to celebrate the rebirth of the sun since after the winter solstice the days gradually get longer again. In Rome, the festival was called the Feast of Saturnalia and was far less wholesome than we know Christmas to be now. This ancient Roman celebration is what eventually gave us the tradition of gift-giving, though.

Once Christianity began taking hold in Rome, they reimagined the gift-giving tradition so that it would align with Jesus’ birthday which took place on December 25. The gifts became symbolic of the gifts that the three wise men brought to Jesus. In some countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, traditional celebrations include things like leaving a shoe out for Saint Nick to fill with candy or small toys.

No one knows the real birthday of Jesus! No date is given in the Bible,

The Winter Solstice is the day where there is the shortest time between the sun rising and the sun setting. It happens on December 21st or 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere. (In the Southern Hemisphere, this time is the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice happens in late June.)To pre-Christians/pagans this meant that they knew that the days would start getting lighter and longer and the nights would become shorter – marking a change in the seasons. To celebrate people had a mid-winter festival to celebrate the sun ‘winning’ over the darkness of winter.  (SUN WORSHIP)
The first ‘official’ recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. The Roman Empire, before it recognized Christianity, celebrated the rebirth of Sol Invictus (Roman god of the sun) on Dec. 25,a date which coincided with the Roman festival Saturnalia, when people feasted and exchanged gifts.Many believe Christmas celebrations on Dec. 25 were intended to concur with these festivities.Under Emperor Constantine, the Church in Rome began celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 in 336. Some say the date was chosen to outshine the Sol Invictus and pagan celebrations(Source)
The Roman Festival of Saturnalia took place between December 17th and 23rd and honoured the Roman god Saturn. The Romans also thought that the Solstice took place on December 24th/25th. It’s also thought that in 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian created ‘Dies Natalis Solis Invicti’ (meaning ‘birthday of the unconquered sun’) also called ‘Sol Invictus’ and it was held on December 25th.  (SOURCE)
In some countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, traditional celebrations include things like leaving a shoe out for Saint Nick to fill with candy or small toys.Originally they would leave food for Odin’s flying horse to eat and Odin would reward them for their sharing with gifts or candy in their shoes. Eventually, this became a tradition associated with Saint Nicholas due to Christianization.  SOURCE

Old Nick

This humorous nickname for the Devilis first recorded in the 17th century. Its origins are uncertain, but it may be related to certain German and Scandinavian words beginning in nik-, used for various dangerous supernatural creatures.  SOURCE

nick (v.)

1520s, “to make a notch or notches in,” from nick (n.). The sense of “to steal” is from 1734, probably from earlier slang senses of “to catch, take unawares, arrest” (1620s) or “to cheat, to win a game by cheating” (1540s.) The precise sense connection is unclear; Green’s Dictionary of Slang suggests this sense represents a Romany word or else a metaphoric use of nick in the “notch” sense (compare score.) Middle Dutch has nicken, “to bend, to bow” (compare the sense evolution in crook (n.)). Related: Nickednicking.
masc. proper name, familiar form of NicholasSaint Nick, for Saint Nicholas, is by 1811 in a nautical context (he is patron saint of sailors among others.) As “the devil,” especially in the phrase Old Nick, by 1640s, but the reason for that is obscure; perhaps connected with nick (v.)in sense of “catch, seize” (compare Thief as an epithet of Satan, recorded c. 1500) or a shortening of Old Iniquity, a name for the Vice character in old morality plays sometimes used as an insult. It may also simply be a name: other evasive appellations for the devil from Scots dialect include Harry, Sandy, Carl, Smith, Neil, Wally and Bubba. Also compare nickel.

Contemporary customs in Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy

Eastern Orthodox churches honour Christmas on December 25. However, for those that continue to use the Julian calendar for their liturgical observances, this date corresponds to January 7 on the Gregorian calendar. The churches of the Oriental Orthodox communion celebrate Christmas variously. For example, in Armenia, the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion, the church uses its own calendar; the Armenian Apostolic Church honours January 6 as Christmas. In Ethiopia, where Christianity has had a home ever since the 4th century, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church celebrates Christmas on January 7. Most of the churches of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East celebrate Christmas on December 25; at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, however, the Syriac Orthodox celebrate Christmas on January 6 with the Armenian Apostolic Church. Congregations of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria follow the date of December 25 on the Julian calendar, which corresponds to Khiak 29 on the ancient Coptic calendar.

Contemporary customs in other areas

With the spread of Christianity beyond Europe and North America, the celebration of Christmas was transferred to societies throughout the non-Western world. In many of these countries, Christians are not the majority population, and, therefore, the religious holiday has not become a cultural holiday. Christmas customs in these societies thus often echo Western traditions because the people were exposed to Christianity as a religion and cultural artifact of the West.

In South and Central America, unique religious and secular traditions mark the Christmas celebration. In Mexico, on days leading up to Christmas, the search of Mary and Joseph for a place to stay is reenacted, and children try to break a piñata filled with toys and candy. Christmas is a great summer festival in Brazil, including picnics, fireworks, and other festivities as well as a solemn procession of priests to the church to celebrate midnight mass.

In some parts of India the evergreen Christmas tree is replaced by the mango tree or the bamboo tree, and houses are decorated with mango leaves and paper stars. Christmas largely remains a Christian holiday and is otherwise not widely observed.

Japan serves as illustration of a different sort. In that predominantly Shintō and Buddhist country, the secular aspects of the holiday—Christmas trees and decorations, even the singing of Christmas songs such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “White Christmas”—are widely observed instead of the religious aspects.

Hans J. HillerbrandThe Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

St. Nicholas
St. Nicholas Dayfeast day (December 6) of St. Nicholas, the 4th-century bishop of Myra. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Russia and Greece, of a number of cities, and of sailors and children, among many other groups, and was noted for his generosity. Some countries celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 5.


After the Reformation, St. Nicholas was largely forgotten in Protestant Europe, although his memory was kept alive in Holland as Sinterklaas. There St. Nicholas is said to arrive on horseback on his feast day, dressed in a bishop’s red robe and mitre and accompanied by Black Peter (Zwarte Piet), variously described as a freed slave or Moor, to help him distribute sweets and presents to good children or lumps of coalpotatoes, or switches to bad ones. The Dutch took the tradition to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in the American colonies, where he was transformed into Santa Claus by the English-speaking majority. His legend of a kindly old man was united with old Nordic folktales of a magician who punished naughty children and rewarded good children with presents. The resulting image of Santa Claus in the United States crystallized in the 19th century, and he has ever since remained the patron of the gift-giving festival of Christmas. In Britain he was largely replaced with Father Christmas.


In parts of northern Europe, particularly the Low Countries and some German-speaking areas, St. Nicholas Day has remained a time when children are given special cookies, candies, and gifts. In many places, children leave letters for St. Nicholas and carrots or grass for his donkey or horse. In the morning, they find small presents under their pillows or in the shoes, stockings, or plates they have set out for him. Oranges and chocolate coins are common treats that represent St. Nicholas’s legendary rescue of three impoverished girls by paying their marriage dowries with gold. Candy canes, which have the shape of a bishop’s crosier, are also given.

It is thought that over the centuries the legendary St. Nicholas was merged with similar cultural and religious figures. Significant among these were the pagan Knecht Ruprecht and the Roman figure of Befana, as well as the Christ Child (Christkind, or Kris Kringle). A number of countries have traditions in which a malevolent character accompanies St. Nicholas. In France, Père Fouettard, who legend holds tried to cook three boys in a barrel of brine, is said to whip naughty children or give them coal. In Germany, Knecht Ruprecht serves as St. Nicholas’s servant and gives children who do not know their prayers sticks, stones, or coal. The terrifying devil-like Krampus is common in many central European counties and carries chains, bells, and sometimes a large basket with which to threaten naughty children.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen.

Michaelmas  Christian festival

German tapestry

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Michaelmas, Christian feast of St. Michael the Archangel, celebrated in the Western churches on September 29. Given St. Michael’s traditional position as leader of the heavenly armies, veneration of all angels was eventually incorporated into his feast day. In the Roman Catholic Church, Michaelmas is now more commonly celebrated as the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the archangels; in the Anglican Church, its proper name is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. The Eastern (Orthodox) Church does not observe Michaelmas and celebrates the archangels on November 8.

The veneration of St. Michaeltypically regarded as the greatest of the archangels and a mighty defender of the church against Satanbegan in the Eastern Church in the 4th century and had spread to Western Christianity by the 5th century. The feast date of May 8 commemorates the dedication of a sanctuary to St. Michael at Monte Gargano in Italy in the 6th century. Michaelmas was originally celebrated as a Holy Day of Obligation, but that requirement was gradually abolished.

During the Middle Ages, Michaelmas was a great religious feast and many popular traditions grew up around the day, which coincided with the harvest in much of western Europe. In England it was the custom to eat goose on Michaelmas, which was supposed to protect against financial need for the next year. In Ireland, finding a ring hidden in a Michaelmas pie meant that one would soon be married.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Melissa Petruzzello.

Also known as: Childermas, Innocents’ Day
Also called:
Childermas or Innocents’ Day
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boy bishop

Feast of the Holy Innocents, Christian feast in remembrance of the massacre of young children in Bethlehem by King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:16–18). The feast is observed by Western churches on December 28 and in the Eastern churches on December 29.The slain children were regarded by the early church as the first martyrs, but it is uncertain when the day was first kept as a saint’s day. It may have been celebrated with Epiphany, but by the 5th century it was kept as a separate festival. In Rome it was a day of fasting and mourning.

It was one of a series of days known as the Feast of Fools, and the last day of authority for boy bishops. Parents temporarily abdicated authority. In convents and monasteries the youngest nuns and monks were allowed to act as abbess and abbot for the day. These customs, which were thought to mock religion, were condemned by the Council of Basel (1431).

In  medieval  England children were reminded of the mournfulness of the day by being whipped in bed in the morning; this custom survived into the 17th century.

The day is still observed as a religious feast day and, in Roman Catholic countries, as a day of merrymaking for children. Some churches omit both the Gloria and the Alleluia of the mass in honour of the grieving mothers of Bethlehem, unless the feast falls on a Sunday.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia BritannicaThis article was most recently revised and updated by Melissa Petruzzello.


St. Stephen’s Day

holiday Also known as: Boxing Day, Constitution Day, Wren Day

St. Stephen
Also called: Boxing Day, Wren Day, or Constitution Day
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Boxing Day

St. Stephen’s Day, one of two holidays widely observed in honour of two Christian saints. In many countries December 26 commemorates the life of St. Stephen, a Christian deacon in Jerusalem who was known for his service to the poor and his status as the first Christian martyr (he was stoned to death in AD 36). In Hungary August 20 is observed in honour of King Stephen of Hungary, who united the country under Christianity in AD 1000 and was canonized in 1083 for his accomplishment.

In the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth countries, the December 26holiday is commonly known as Boxing Day, which takes its name from the practice of giving small gifts to household servants on that day for their work throughout the year. In Irelandthe holiday is sometimes called Wren Day, because in the past a wren would be killed and taken door-to-door by children asking for money in exchange for a wren’s feather, which people believed brought good luck. The tradition of going house-to-house on St. Stephen’s Day survives in many countries, especially in Scandinavia, where the day is observed by visiting friends and going to parties.

In Hungary August 20 is celebrated as St. Stephen’s Day in commemoration of when the saint’s relics—held sacred by Hungarian Catholics—were transferred to Buda (now part of Budapest). In 1949 the country’s communist regime promulgated a new constitution on that day with the intent of transforming the Christian-themed holiday into a politically inspired one, which they renamed Constitution Day. Following the collapse of the communist state in Hungary, however, the holiday was again celebrated as St. Stephen’s Day. One ritual entails carrying the case containing the relics of St. Stephen’s right hand in processions throughout the streets of Budapest. More modern festivities include fireworks and parades.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia BritannicaThis article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn.

festival Written by 
children hauling a Yule log

Yule, festival observed historically by Germanic peoples and in modern times primarily by Neo-Pagans, coinciding with the winter solstice(December 21–22 in the Northern Hemisphere; June 20–21 in the Southern Hemisphere). The pre-Christian festival originated in Scandinaviaand was later subsumed, along with other pagan celebrations, into the Christian holiday of Christmas.Some modern celebrations of Yule attempt to re-create ancient traditions, while others have been adapted or reimagined to suit contemporary personal and religious practices.

Yule is one of the oldest winter solstice festivals, with origins among the ancient Norse thousands of years ago. Its roots are complicated and difficult to trace, although there are several theories about how and why the festival was celebrated. It is generally agreed that Yule celebrations began as a Norse festival called jol, although assessments of the purpose and traditions vary. Like most winter solstice festivals, themes of light, fire, and feasting are common threads.Some historians think that sacrifices were an important part of the observance, either to the gods and other supernatural beings (such as elves) or to the dead or both. In the harsh climate of northern Europe, most cattle were slaughtered because they could not be fed during the winter. Meat, therefore, was plentiful for a midwinter feast or to leave out as an offering. Some contend that the original festival was a sort of Norse Day of the Dead, with the god Odin as a major player; among Odin’s many names was Jolnir, and among his many duties was acting as a god of the dead. However, this has been disputed in recent years, at least one historian positing that jol was a new year festival intended to set the tone for the months ahead.


English word jolly comes from Proto-Germanic *jehwlą, and later Old Norse jól (Yule, midwinter season.)

Detailed word origin of jolly

Dictionary entry Language Definition
*jehwlą Proto-Germanic (gem-pro) (plural) Yule (literally “the festivities”). Festivity, celebration.
jól Old Norse (non) Yule, midwinter season.
jolif Old French (fro) (early Old French) pretty; attractive.
jolif Middle English (enm)
jolly English (en) (British, dated) very, extremely (British, dated) A pleasure trip or excursion.. (slang, dated) A marine in the English navy. (transitive) To amuse or divert. Full of merriment and high spirits; jovial.

One of the earliest known references to Yule is from English monk and historian Bede, who wrote in the early 8th century about “giuli,” a period in the old pagan calendar used by Germanic groups such as the Norse and the Anglo-Saxons. Giuli was a two-month span that marked the time when sunlight began to increase again at the winter solstice. It was not a festival per se but a marking of the passage of time.

“Yule” became a name for Christmas about the 9th century, and in many languages yule and its cognates are still used to describe that holidayjul in NorwegianSwedish, and Danish; jouludin Estonian; joulu in Finnish; and jolin Icelandic. The Christmas holiday is still referred to as Yule in the Scots language. According to the saga of King Haakon Haraldsson (also known as Haakon I Adalsteinsfostre or Haakon the Good) of Norway, who ruled in the 10th century, the Norse Yule celebration and Christian Christmas celebration were merged during his reign. Haakon became Christian after a visit to England, and after his return to Norway he put into law that Yule should be celebrated at the same time as Christmas.Everyone was required to have alefrom a measure of grain and keep the holiday while the ale lasted or else be subject to a fine.

From this point Christmas continued to overtake Yule,although some vestiges of the original celebration remain. One of these is the Yule log, still popular today although usually in altered form. It is thought that the original Yule log was a large log that burned throughout the entire multiday festival, for as many as 12 days. A popular modern take on the Yule log is a roulade-style cake decorated to look like a log.

Another remaining tradition is that of the Yule goat. In towns and cities throughout  Sweden  during the Christmas season, large goats are constructed out of straw. It is thought that the tradition originated in ancient times, perhaps as a tribute to the god Thor, who was said to ride in a chariot pulled by goats. In Sweden the goat came to be associated with the Christmas celebration, and the Yule goat is now considered by many to be a companion or counterpart to Santa Claus.

In modern times Yule as a solstice celebration is observed by many Neo-Pagans, both as individuals and as groups. For Wiccans, Yule is the second sabbat of the Wheel of the Year, marked with rituals to welcome the return of the Sun. Some mark the holiday with reenactments of the battle between the Holly King (representing darkness) and the Oak King (representing light) of Celtic legend. Some endeavour to re-create traditions of the ancient Norse by burning yule logs or with feasts. Some simply stay awake until dawn to observe the cycles of nature.


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