Many civilizations throughout history have held festivals near the Winter Solstice (December 21 or 22). The Summer Solstice would be the opposite (June 20 or 21). - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Many civilizations throughout history have held festivals near the Winter Solstice (December 21 or 22). The Summer Solstice would be the opposite (June 20 or 21).

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Many civilizations throughout history have held festivals near the Winter Solstice (December 21 or 22). The Summer Solstice would be the opposite (June 20 or 21). – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Many civilizations throughout history have held festivals near the Winter Solstice (December 21 or 22). The Summer Solstice would be the opposite (June 20 or 21).


1
  • Many civilizations throughout history have held
    festivals near the Winter Solstice (December 21
    or 22). The Summer Solstice would be the
    opposite (June 20 or 21).
  • At the winter solstice, the sun travels the
    shortest path through the sky, and that day
    therefore has the least daylight. 
  • In many cases, the day itself was not the reason
    to hold a festival and for many cultures the date
    was coincidental. The Roman Saturnalia occurred
    in late December and many traditions of the
    ancient Romans and others continue to this day.

2
Saturnalia
3
Saturn
  • The story of the god is that he came to Italy and
    formed a settlement on the Capitoline hill.
    Later, at the foot of that hill, there stood a
    temple dedicated to Saturn. According to the
    legend, Saturn made the people acquainted with
    agriculture, suppressed their savage mode of
    life, and led them to order, peaceful
    occupations, and morality. His wife was Ops, the
    representative of plenty. Saturn, like many other
    mythical kings, suddenly disappeared, being
    removed from earth to the home of the gods.

4
Saturn
  • Saturn is associated with the Titan god
    Cronus/Kronos
  • Saturn is the god of agriculture and the harvest
  • His name is where we get the word Saturday
  • (Dies Saturni Saturns Day)

5
The Festival
  • It was one of the most popular festivals to the
    Romans
  • Took place at the end of December
  • This festival originally only lasted for a day
    and over time it grew to seven days
  • It was a time of merriment and celebration

6
In the Roman calendar, the Saturnalia was
designated a holy day, or holiday, on which
religious rites were performed. This important
holy day was far more than fun and games.
Saturnalia was a time to honor the god of sowing,
Saturn, but it was also a festival day on which a
public banquet was prepared.
7
Celebrating Saturnalia
  • A likeness of the god Saturn was placed outside
    of his temple
  • Reversal of social roles- slaves, masters, rich,
    poor
  • Banquets and gambling
  • Businesses, schools, law courts were closed
  • Gifts- wax candles, clay figures
  • Participants decorated trees with silver and gold
    decorations

8
Traditions from Other Cultures
  • Babylonians and Egyptians

9
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10
Decorating Trees
  • An old Babylonian fable tells of an evergreen
    tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump. The
    old stump bringing forth a new tree symbolizes
    rebirth. Among the Druids the oak was sacred,
    among the Egyptians it was the palm, and in Rome
    it was the fir, which was decorated with red
    berries during the Saturnalia.

11
Traditions From Other Cultures
  • Scandinavians, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Germans
  • (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Finland,
    England)
  • Yule is the celebration of the rebirth of the
    Sun. It was an ancient custom that all farmers
    came to the temple and brought along with them
    the food they were going to eat. At this feast
    all were to take part of the drinking of ale.

12
Sacrifices and Feasts
  • Also, all kinds of livestock and horses were
    killed in connection with Yule. The meat of the
    animals was to be boiled and served as food at
    the banquet.

13
The Yule Goat
14
Deck the halls with.
  • In Ireland and Germany, holly was used as a
    decoration, usually in the form of a wreath, hung
    upon the door. It was widely associated with
    fairies.
  • Yule Logs were brought in to burn for twelve days
    in the Scandinavian cultures, hence the 12 Days
    of Christmas.
  • To the ancient Druids of Britain, mistletoe was a
    sacred symbol with both magical powers and
    medicinal properties.now people just want to
    kiss underneath it!

15
Saint Nicholas
  • The true story of Santa Claus begins with
    Nicholas, who was born in a Greek village off of
    southern coast of Turkey. His parents raised him
    to be a Christian, and Nicholas used his whole
    inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and
    the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving
    and became known throughout the land for his
    generosity to those in need, his love for
    children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
    Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas' feast
    day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his
    goodness and generosity.

16
Christmas
  • Saturnalia continued to be celebrated into the
    Christian era. The festival no longer celebrated
    the return of the sun, but rather the birth of
    Jesus.
  • Constantine was the first Christian Emperor, and
    by the 4th century AD, the birth of Christ was
    celebrated on December 25. The Emperor Justinian
    made Christmas a civic holiday.
  • Today, we find the traditions of gift giving,
    feasting, candle lighting, and merry making still
    survive in the celebrations of Christmas.

17
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