Friday December 24th, 2021 --
Merry Christmas to you and your family this season. This Christmas I hope that your home is filled with joy, laughter, and good food. While today Christmas is a time of spiritual reflection on our Christian faith, the roots of Christmas have not always been filled with Joy.
Centuries before the birth of Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many people rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them. They could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.
In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrate Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.
In Germany, people honored the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday. Germans believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.
In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell took over England in 1645, he vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of his effort, canceled Christmas. Eventually, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.
The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.
The ways in which we celebrate Christmas have changed drastically over the years, even being outlawed entirely. While Governor Walz puts on his best grinch costume, don’t let him ruin your Christmas spirit. May this Christmas be filled with joyous laughter, and great food in the company of family and friends.
Thank you for being engaged in your government,
State Representative, 23B
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office or me. If you have other needs, please email my Legislative Assistant, Grayson, at Grayson.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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