Rome Hotels Articles

April 29, 2010

More stress than sincerity: Should we reconsider the way we celebrate holidays

With every holiday that approaches and passes, people complain about the stress level, the pressure to “perform” even when their hearts are not in it. “If Grandma Fartnoid buys me a Christmas gift and I haven’t gotten something for her, she’ll hate me.” “It’s my turn to provide the Thanksgiving dinner this year, and cousin Bubba is allergic to turkey!…”

This type of stress effectively dampens the enthusiasm of most people, while conversely, it seems to ratchet up the energy levels of others. Human nature is a quirky thing – one person’s adrenaline rush is another person’s worst nightmare. Holidays seem to polarize the human population into two distinct groups – one that loathes and/or dreads them because of the anxiety and the demands, and one that thrives on the excitement and festivity of them despite the negative aspects.

Perhaps considering how each holiday began might help to alleviate the stress and emphasize the intended purpose of various days of mention. The book “Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things” devotes Chapter 3 to the origins of holidays. For instance, Mother’s Day was actually started a century ago. On May 10, 1908, the first Mother’s Day service was held in Grafton, West Virginia. Ironically, Anna Jarvis, the woman who initiated the idea of celebrating an annual day for mothers, was never a mother herself.

The origin of Christmas, as well as its customs, goes back much further. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states: “The date of Christ’s birth is not known. The Gospels indicate neither the day nor the month…According to the hypothesis suggested by H. Usener…and accepted by most scholars today, the birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian calendar, January 6 in the Egyptian), because on this day, as the sun began its return to northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated the “dies natalis Solis Invicti” (birthday of the invincible sun). On December 25, 274, Aurelian had proclaimed the sun-god principal patron of the empire and dedicated a temple to him in the Campus Martius. Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was particularly strong at Rome.”-(1967), Vol. III, p. 656.

M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopdia says: “The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of N[ew] T[estament] origin. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the N[ew] T[estament], or, indeed, from any other source.”-(New

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