It’s that time of year again, the totally secular ‘Winter Break’ which for some odd reason always happens to fall just in time for Christmas.
Nah, but seriously, Winter break is great. After all, there’s also Hannukah to look forward to!
Wait… Hannukah ended on the 14th…
Well, at least there’s Kwanzaa, happening on the 26th to January 1st. Kwanzaa’s just like Hannukah, only instead of nine candles, there are seven, and instead of ornate golden decorations and letters from that weird friend of yours who tries to be hipster by acknowledging the existence of Hannukah, you have traditional African food and dress!
Of course, I’m hearing that one disgruntled student reading this, saying “What about Ramadan? It occurs in December, and nobody’s talking about it!” I can simultaneously hear all the Muslim students groan, as Ramadan happened between June and July. Ramadan can happen in December, and it has many times. In fact, Muslims love it when it’s in December, as Ramadan involves not eating when the Sun is up. You know what time of year it gets dark a lot, and thus Muslims can eat more during Ramadan?
That’s right, Winter.
And then, of course, there’s the big boy Winter holiday, the one that everyone in our corner of the world cares about so much, we’re willing to spend nearly half a trillion dollars (465 billion) in the USA alone.
So, not to go all Jerry Seinfeld, but What is The Deeeeaaaaallllll with Christmas?
Well, Christmas is based on the Christian Saint, Nicholas.
Nicholas was a Greek Turk, doing Saint stuff in Anatolia (modern day Turkey) way back in the 3rd and 4th centuries CE (or AD, or OMG, or WTF, depending on which system you use).
One day, the Roman Emperor Constantine had Nick and a bunch of other Christians brought before him to talk about Christian stuff. Legend has it that one dude called Arius was a complete and utter jerk, that Nick did the one thing which only a Saint can do.
He punched him in the face.
Saint Nick supposedly performed many miracles, including decapitating children (as one does) and then sewing their heads back on their bodies, bringing them back to life to prove the power of God.
He became famous for giving money to people who did what he said. And that is how, on the first Christmas, Santa Claus turned bribery into gift-giving.
It’s a Christmas miracle!
Christmas as we know it today didn’t really get big until Charlie Dick (or Charles Dickens) wrote about it in A Christmas Carol (1843), After this book, many people started sending the first Christmas postcards, Christmas trees became popular and Christmas carols were sung for the first time.
Santa Claus as we know him didn’t come to fruition until the creation of the USA. There, many Dutch immigrants merged their idea of Sinterklaas (the Dutch name for Saint Nick) with the English idea of Father Christmas, creating the figure of Santa Claus.
Santa didn’t always have red and white. For the longest time, Santa had no official colours. Eventually, however, red and white became popular. These became the official colours of Santa after Coca-Cola used them in Christmas ads in the 1930s. This spread rumours that modern day Santa was created by the Coca-Cola company, due to Coke’s colours being red and white.
This is preposterous, everyone knows Santa is red and white because he’s a proud Canadian.
What do you mean he’s not? Canada officially listed Santa Claus as a citizen in 2013.
Of course, how could we talk about Santa and not mention his reindeer, Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. Furthermore, do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer? He had a very shiny nose (and people say it glows).
Yes, well, Rudolf wasn’t initially going to be his name. Lots of consideration was put forth to the names Rollo the Red-nosed Reindeer, and even Reginald the Red-nosed reindeer.
Reginald the Red-nosed reindeer. Now that’s a reindeer I’d like to meet. He sounds hella classy.
There are other forms of Christmas too. Like in the Netherlands! Who doesn’t like the Dutch?
The Dutch believe that Sinterklaas, instead of having reindeer and elves, has Zwarte Piet. Or, Black Peter.
Black Peter is an adorable little hate crime. He’s Santa’s slave. He’s a black Muslim (because in the Netherlands, Santa made a wise decision to live in Spain instead of the North Pole). And if kids are naughty, in the original tales, Black Peter kidnapped you and forced you to be one of Santa’s slaves!
Like I said, who doesn’t like the Dutch?
Of course, there are other holidays, such as Hannukah. Hannukah represents how, after a brutal attack, the Jews got together and lit a Menorah (that’s that weird, deformed candle-holder with nine holes in it). They only had enough oil for one day, but by a miracle, that oil lasted for eight days.
Your God, if he can’t make oil last long, is he divine?
Then there’s Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa was created in the black power movement in America, to celebrate African heritage. It’s like Hannukah, considering it also has a candle holder, but with seven candles instead of eight for some facacta reason.
Anyway, The Update would like to wish all peoples a very Merry Christmas or Happy Hannukah or Kwazy Kwanzaa or whatever holiday you celebrate. We love you, and wish you the best over this winter break.