Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
By Nithin Sridhar
‘Christmas’ is one of the most widely celebrated festivals among the Christians across the world. It is a time to enjoy and make merry with family. Children also look forward to getting presents from ‘Santa Claus’. More than anything, it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who is considered as the Son of God in Christianity.
Yet, a deeper look into the origins of Christmas celebrations as well as its various elements reveals that Christmas has almost nothing to do with Christianity! The celebration and various practices associated with it are all rooted in pre-Christian pagan religions, which were then appropriated, digested, and Christianized as part of the Christianity’s early attempts to establish monopoly over Europe.
Writing about Pagan origins of Christmas practices, George W. Curtis notes: “Christmas looks out at us from the shadow of the groves of the Druids who knew not Christ, and it is dear to those who now renounce the name of Christ. The Christmas log, is but the Saxon Yule-log burning on the English hearth, and the blazing holiday temples of Saturn shine again in the illuminated Christian churches. It is the pagan mistletoe under which the Christian youth kisses the Christian maid. It is the holly of the old Roman Saturnalia which decorates Bracebridge Hall on Christmas Eve. The huge smoking baron of beef, the flowing oceans of ale, are but survivals of the tremendous eating and drinking of the Scandinavian Walhalla. The Christian and anti-Christian feeling blend in the happy season and the Christian observance mingles at every point with the pagan rites. It is not easy to say where the paganism ends and the Christianity begins.”
Thus, various elements of Christmas celebrations, be it the use of Christmas tree, holly, ivy, and mistletoe, or the ceremony of gift giving and merriment, all trace back to Pagan religious practices. But, more interesting is the fact that December 25th was not adopted as the birthday of Jesus Christ till many centuries after his death. In fact, there is no consensus among traditional Christian accounts regarding the date, year, or the place of the birth of Jesus Christ. Hence, we can find at least half a dozen different dates, which have been put forward as the birthday of Jesus Christ, including May 20, April 19, November17, March 28, March 25, and January 6.
On the other hand, strong arguments based on Christian Gospels have been made against the possibility of December 25 being the day of Jesus’s birth. Hence, it is quite clear that December 25 is not the birthday of Jesus Christ- the Christian Son of God. In fact, before the adoption of December 25 as his date of birth, January 6 was widely accepted date among early Christians. So, naturally the question arises: Why did the early Christians change their preference and adopt December 25 for celebrating the birth of Jesus? What was the significance of the day?
The answer to this lies in the Pagan lore of ‘Mithraism’– the religion of the Sun God. The worship of the Sun God, Mithra quite clearly can be traced to Persia and India. In India, the solar deity is one of the Vedic Gods and one of his names is ‘Mitra’. The religion of Mithras appears to have spread from Persia to Europe, where the people began to worship the Sun God as ‘Sol Invictus’ (Unconquered Sun) or as ‘Sol Invictus Mithras’. It is the birth of this ‘Unconquered Sun’ which his devotees began to celebrate on December 25- the day of Winter Solstice. The celebration is further traced back to the Roman Emperor Aurelian, who officially instituted the festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (the birthday of Unconquered Sun) to be celebrated on December 25 in 274 CE. This winter solstice occasion was further adopted by the Romans as the festival of Saturn called ‘Saturnalia’.
Raymond Kilduff in ‘The Christian Tradition: The Birthday of the Sun’ writes: “The present custom of celebrating the Nativity on December 25th was not instituted by the Church until 353 or 354. December 25th coincided with both the birth date of Mithra (the Persian god of light and truth) and the beginning of the winter solstice. So the birthday of the Son of God came to be celebrated on the Birthday of the Sun.”
It must be noted here that it was the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity in 313 AD and the subsequent Roman patronage of Christianity that actually led to the appropriation of Mithra’s birthday into the birthday of Jesus Christ.
Thus, O M Spencer in ‘Christmas Throughout Christendom’ writes: “When, however, Constantine proclaimed the Christian faith as the predominating religion of the Roman empire, the Christian Church, relieved from persecution throughout both Orient and Occident, began to solemnize, under the aegis of imperial authority, Christmas as the birthday of Christ. One prominent feature, however, of Constantine’s political propaganda of Christianity was the adoption under Christian forms, not only of pagan rites and ceremonies, but also of pagan festivals. In order to reconcile heathen converts to the new faith, these relics of paganism, like antique columns transferred from ancient temples to adorn Christian churches, were freely incorporated into the Christian ceremonial. Thus it was that Christmas, though formerly observed on the 6th of January, was transferred to the 25th of December, the time of the Roman Saturnalia, and became invested with much of the paraphernalia of the heathen festival.”
In other words, Christianity digested various religious symbols and practices of Pagan religions present in Europe and in the process gave them new Christian meanings, thus ultimately causing the death of those Pagan religions. And ‘Christmas’ serves as the best example of this Christian process of ‘inculturation’ by which it uprooted numerous Pagan cultures and successfully evangelized Pagan people across the world. This inculturation strategy continues to be adopted by the Church even today especially in countries like India.
The usage of inculturation by Christianity against Mithraism is further reinforced by the presence of many similarities between Christianity and Mithraism. The birth of Mithra from a virgin mother, Mithra’s association with shepherds, Mithra having 12 disciples and performing miracles, his association with Lion and Lamb and his connection to Sunday, all became included into the life story of Jesus Christ. More importantly, Jesus is associated with Light similar to Mithra, who is the Lord of Light. These similarities clearly point towards the digestion of Mithratic symbols and practices into Christianity, which ultimately resulted in the spread of Christianity and the death of Mithraism. Thus, through inculturation, the original festival of the Sun God was transformed into Christmas-the festival of the Son of God.
Heinz has just rolled out a new product that the condiment company says is the "biggest innovation in sauce since the packet itself." Earlier this month, the world's largest producer of ketchup announced the Packet Roller, a ketchup bottle-shaped gadget that allows users to squeeze the most out of a condiment packet, CNN reported.
"Do not click 'purchase' unless you are prepared to change everything about the way you sauce," the Heinz Packet Roller website says. The roller goes for $5.70. The roller is pocket-sized, can be added to a keychain, and features a packet corner cutter.
Heinz has just rolled out a new product that the condiment company says is the "biggest innovation in sauce since the packet itself | Flickr
This announcement could be part of the fast-tracked, "future-focused culinary and packaging innovations" that Steve Cornell, president of Kraft Heinz's US grocery business unit, hinted at earlier this year amid a shortage of ketchup. A surge in takeout and delivery food orders during the pandemic led to a scarcity of ketchup packets, the report said.
In April, Heinz pledged to increase production of ketchup by 25 per cent to 12 billion packets annually. "Gone are the days of fumbling with ketchup packets, pants ruined by mustard disasters, and minutes taken off your life trying to get to the bottom of that mayo packet. With the patent-pending Heinz Packet Roller, what was once taxing becomes simple -- just snip and roll to squeeze out every drop of your sauce of choice," the website says
Keywords: Heinz, Packet roller, sauce, company, ketchup
Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer, who is recovering from a right-knee surgery he underwent last month, said on Sunday that it was a difficult process to decide whether to undergo a third right-knee surgery after having two last year. But following Wimbledon, where he was "really unhappy" with his performance in reaching the quarterfinals, Federer opted to go through with it.
Federer, who made a late decision to attend this year's Laver Cup in Boston -- a tournament held between teams from Europe and the rest of the world -- said on the sidelines of the event that the recovery and rehabilitation are "going to take me a few more months and then we'll see how things are at some point next year". "The reception I've received, everybody is so upbeat that I'm here. They wish me all the best and they don't even see the crutches. They just want me to be good again and enjoy the weekend," Federer said in an interview for the event with former world No. 1 Jim Courier.
"I've seen some incredible tennis, some great matches and it's been wonderful. I'm really happy I made the trip," the winner of 20 majors was quoted as saying by atptour.com. On why he opted for a third surgery, the tennis ace said, "I was just nowhere near where I wanted to be to play at the top, top level. But I tried my best and at the end... too much is too much. Now I've just got to take it step by step," Federer said.
Federer received thunderous ovations inside Boston's TD Garden, where he has often been sitting in the front row watching the action or behind the scenes visiting with the players. | Wikimedia Commons
"I've got to first walk again properly, run properly and then do the sidesteps and all the agility work and then eventually I've got to be back on the tennis court. But it's going to take me a few more months and then we'll see how things are at some point next year. "I've got to take my time. I don't want to rush into anything at this point. This is also for my life. I want to make sure I can do everything I want to do later on. There's no rush with anything, so I'm actually in a really good place. I think the worst is behind me. I took the time and, I don't know, I'm just really in a good place. I'm really happy."
Federer received thunderous ovations inside Boston's TD Garden, where he has often been sitting in the front row watching the action or behind the scenes visiting with the players. The former world No. 1 has played in the first three editions of the Laver Cup. "I think Boston is a great city. The stadium is wonderful, the crowds have been incredible. Both teams are stacked with absolute quality and top players," Federer said. "That's what the idea was behind it: that everybody could come together, have the most incredible weekend, learn from one another and then hopefully that's going to inspire them, motivate them and get them going for the rest of this year, next year." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Roger Federer, tennish, player, sports, knee, surgery
By Hitesh Rathi
Cleopatra, was regarded as a great beauty, to preserve her skin, she took her daily bath in donkey milk. Besides, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed donkey milk for various diseases including fever, wounds, etc. To add to these benefits, donkey milk has four times the amount of Vitamin C than cow's milk has. So, it's no secret that donkey milk is a powerhouse of nutrients for both the skin and body.
Used for Anti-Ageing and Healing
The milk contains essential fatty acids that work as powerful anti-ageing and healing properties. These fatty acids blur the wrinkles on the skin and help to regenerate damaged skin. Plus, donkey milk also contains anti-bacterial properties which are effective in healing skin irritation and redness.
The milk contains essential fatty acids that work as powerful anti-ageing and healing properties.| Flickr
Antioxidant and Nutrient-Rich
Known as a "natural elixir of youth", donkey milk is packed with antioxidants and nutrients. It contains vitamin E, amino acids, vitamins A, B1, B6, C, E, Omega 3, and 6. These properties together make it a rich ingredient when it comes to skin treatment. Moreover, vitamin D is another important ingredient for human skin, and the primary source to get it is through UV exposure. At the same time, too much of that leaves an adverse effect on the skin. Here is when donkey milk acts as a great substitute as it naturally contains vitamin D. All in all, if this milk is applied frequently, it brings a glowing effect while making the skin look brighter.
Known as a "natural elixir of youth", donkey milk is packed with antioxidants and nutrients.| Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash
Moisturizer and Softener
By now it's a well-known fact that this milk works as a powerful moisturizer for the skin. Besides, if donkey milk is used consistently, it acts as a great cleanser as well as helps in keeping the skin healthy, hydrated, and soft.
If donkey milk is used consistently, it acts as a great cleanser as well as helps in keeping the skin healthy, hydrated, and soft. | Photo by febri sym on Unsplash
Therefore, donkey milk with its healing, nutritional and rejuvenating properties for the skin is rapidly emerging as a key ingredient for skincare. These are also driving several leading players to roll out personal care products such as soap, cream, etc. manufactured using donkey milk. Moreover, the global donkey milk market is expanding rapidly with the market value projected to reach $68,139.0 thousand by 2027, registering a CAGR of 9.4 per cent from 2021 to 2027. And the growing use of donkey milk as an ingredient in cosmetic and personal care products will significantly contribute toward the growth of this market in the years to come. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Skin, donkey milk, skincare, anti-ageing, soft skin, hydrate, antioxidant, healing