Monday, December 10, 2012

Stitcher's Advent - December 10th

A Collection of Designs - Pretty Packages Series from Chandail

Mag Friends Present

Gift giving is a time honored tradition at this time of year.  Long before the Hanukkah and Christmas presents we think of today.

The web - wikipedia and other googled sites:
The Encyclopedia Americana explained: "Most of the customs now associated with Christmas were not originally Christmas customs but rather were pre-Christian and non-Christian customs taken up by the Christian church. Saturnalia, a Roman feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry-making customs of Christmas. From this celebration, for example, were derived the elaborate feasting, the giving of gifts, and the burning of candles."

Regarding the custom of gift giving, the journal History Today noted: "The giving of presents at the midwinter feast almost certainly began as a magical more than as merely a social custom. Saturnalia presents included wax dolls, given to children. A charming custom, no doubt, by times of record, but with a macabre past: even contemporaries thought this probably a vestige of human sacrifice, of children, to aid the sowing."
The New York Times of December 24, 1991, featured an article on the origins of Christmas customs, including gift giving. Simon Schama, professor of history at Harvard University, wrote: "Christmas itself was superimposed over the ancient festivals that celebrated the winter solstice . . . In the third century, when sun cults like the Mithraic religion of Persia found their way to Rome, days in December were given over to celebrate the rebirth of Sol Invictus: the invincible sun. . . .

The only tradition of gift giving associated with the festival is the exchange of gelt. Since Hanukkah falls on the same time as Christmas, the Jews expanded the gelt-giving tradition to gift giving tradition. With time, the gift giving tradition on Hanukkah became very popular. Gifts serve both for the traditional aspect and the fun part. The gift-giving tradition is no longer restricted to children. Adults too participate in it whole-heartedly. This tradition brings people close to each other an enables them to spend precious moments with each other.