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Winter Solstice Celebrations. Theme: Light, salvation, rebirth, renewal ... Entrance aligned to winter solstice sunset. Only on the winter solstice does the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Celebrate%20the%20Return%20of%20the%20Sun

Celebrate the Return of the Sun
Winter Solstice 2009 21 December 947 AM PST
Best Wishes for a Sunny New Year Roger Bailey
Winter Solstice
  • The energy from the sun is the basis for life
  • The First Big Question for Civilization
  • The Cycle of the Seasons
  • When will the sun stop sinking and start to
    return with life-giving light and heat?
  • People need to predict, mark, and confirm the
  • Alignments like Stonehenge or Maeshowe
  • Ceremonies instituted to cause and to celebrate
    the return of the sun

Winter Solstice
Earth's Orbit
Summer Sun is high 65º max at noon at Latitude
Winter Sun is low 18º max at noon at Latitude
Solstice means the sun stops and reverses
direction A turning point in the seasons
Noon altitude Colatitude Declination
Winter Solstice Celebrations
  • Theme Light, salvation, rebirth, renewal
  • Saturnalia -Sol Invictus - 25 December
  • Christmas Birth of Messiah 25 December
  • Yuletide - Pre-Christian, Northern European
    Christmas tree, Yule log, red green, mistletoe
  • St Nicholas Sinterklass - Santa Claus
  • New Years Day, Halcyon Days
  • Santa Lucia Crown of Candles
  • Hanukkah rededication Festival of Lights the

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

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

Christmas Birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah
  • Luke and Matthews Bible Stories confirm the
    prophesies, like Isaiah 713-14 of the Messiahs
    virgin birth in the house of David
  • Magi with gifts, led by heliacal rising of Star
    of Bethlehem
  • Shepherds, angels
  • Renewal, salvation theme
  • Historically not Bethlehem, 25 December or
  • Feast of Sol Invictus co-opted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Santa Claus St Nicholas
  • St Nicholas, Bishop of Myrna, Turkey 270-310
  • Renowned for kindness to children
  • Gave to the poor, including bags of gold coins as
    dowries for indigent maidens
  • Brought back by Crusaders
  • Provided Christian justification for Pagan gift
    giving traditions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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