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Merry whatever to you all

Although Christmas is the principle Christian festival it is, in fact, a lot older than Christianity and was appropriated by the early Christians from their pagan rivals. At the time Christianity was a feeble creed and needed to promote some sort of festival to attract new adherents—rather like the Young Tories laying on dances in a recruitment drive. Their most threatening competitors—the Mithraists— not unreasonably considering their time and place, worshipped the sun which was so vital to their existence and celebrated December 25 as the winter solstice the passing of the shortest day and the awakening of the life-giving sun.

In opposition, the Christians fixed on January 6 and it was not until the fourth century that they adopted December 25. By the Middle Ages, the Christian takeover of Christmas was complete, along with many heathen rites and symbols like the virgin birth and decoration with seasonable greenery. For some centuries the festival was a twelve day holiday, running until Epiphany, but the Industrial Revolution finished that, for as wage slavery became the dominant mode of exploitation labour time represented riches to the employers and such lavish periods of leisure were outlawed by capitalism’s morality of employment.


 The Socialist Courier blog does not wish its visitors a Merry Christmas. Instead, we send them the fraternal hope that they will learn that the world does not have to be as it is. Once again we who refuse to celebrate the festive season will be called kill-joys, even though all that we want to see is a society decent and co-operative and sociable enough for there to be no need to put aside one day for joy and happiness to prevail.

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