“The modern joys of Christmas past”

That’s the title of an article in the Telegraph, illustrating how medieval Christmas traditions have carried over into our modern celebrations of the season.  Here’s a brief excerpt.

The western Church adopted December 25 as the official date for Christ’s birth in the fourth century and the term “Cristes Messe” crops up in Old English two decades before 1066.

By the high Middle Ages it is very clear that Christmas was a thriving popular holiday, which had sucked up plenty of pagan, pre-Christian traditions, bound them together with the story of the Nativity and come up with a festival of hymns and games, worship and gluttony, which still endures today, when virtually every other Christian feast day except Easter has slipped into obscurity.

If we want to get back to our roots, therefore, and be rid of modern abomination, then we should look to the Middle Ages, where much of the ritual seems remarkably familiar.

There’s more at the link.  Interesting and sometimes amusing reading.


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