Saturday, December 31, 2016

The History Of New Year's Celebration

New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome. With most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, New Year's Day is the closest thing to being the world's only truly global public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts. January 1 on the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 14 on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year.

History

The Romans dedicated this day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. After Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46 BC and was subsequently murdered, the Roman Senate voted to deify him on the 1st January 42 BC in honour of his life and his institution of the new rationalised calendar. The month originally owes its name to the deity Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward. This suggests that New Year's celebrations are founded on pagan traditions. Some have suggested this occurred in 153 BC, when it was stipulated that the two annual consuls (after whose names the years were identified) entered into office on that day, though no consensus exists on the matter.  Dates in March, coinciding with the spring equinox, or commemorating the Annunciation of Jesus, along with a variety of Christian feast dates were used throughout the Middle Ages, though calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December.

Among the 7th century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts at the New Year. This was a pagan custom deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemings and Dutchmen, "(Do not) make vetulas, [little figures of the Old Woman], little deer or iotticos or set tables [for the house-elf] at night or exchange New Year gifts or supply superfluous drinks [another Yule custom]." The quote is from the vita of Eligius written by his companion, Ouen [Companion?  Hmmm...].

Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year's Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. In England, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, was the first day of the new year until the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. The March 25 date was known as Annunciation Style; the January 1 date was known as Circumcision Style, because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the eighth day counting from December 25 when Christ was believed to be born. This day was christened as the beginning of the New Year by Pope Gregory as he designed the Liturgical Calendar.
Traditional and modern celebrations and customs

January 1 represents the fresh start of a new year after a period of remembrance of the passing year, including on radio, television and in newspapers, which starts in early December in countries around the world. Publications have year-end articles that review the changes during the previous year. There are also articles on planned or expected changes in the coming year.

This day is traditionally a religious feast, but since the1900s has also become an occasion to celebrate the night of December 31, called New Year's Eve. There are fireworks at midnight at the moment the new year arrives; watchnight services are also still observed by Regional celebrations

  • In European countries, the New Year is greeted with private fireworks. This day is also the occasion to make bonfires of discarded Christmas trees in some countries.


National celebrations

  • In the United Kingdom there are many celebrations across the towns and cities, particularly in Scotland.
  • In Greece and Cyprus, families and relatives switch off the lights at midnight, then celebrate by cutting the "vassilopita" (Basil's pie) which usually contains one coin or equivalent. Whoever wins expects luck for the whole year. After the pie, a traditional game of cards called "triantaena" follows.
  • In Russia and the other 14 former republics of the Soviet Union, the celebration of Old New Year or Novi God is greeted by fireworks and drinking champagne. The New Year is considered a family celebration, with a lavish dinner tables and gifts. In Moscow, the president of Russia normally counts down the final seconds of the "old year", as it is called in Russia. The Kremlin's landmark Spassky Clock Tower chimes in the new year and then the anthem starts. It is customary to make a wish while the Clock chimes, so you are anxious to do it in time!
  • In DavosSwitzerland, the final match of the Spengler Cup ice hockey Tournament is usually held on this day by tradition.
  • In the United States, it is traditional to spend this occasion together with loved ones. A toast is made to the new year, with kisses, fireworks and parties among the customs. It is popular to make a New Year's resolution, although that is optional. In the country's most famous New Year celebration in New York City, the 11,875-pound (5,386-kg), 12-foot-diameter (3.7-m) Times Square Ball located high above Times Square is lowered starting at 11:59 p.m., with a countdown from :10 seconds until :01, when it reaches the bottom of its tower. The arrival of the new year is announced at the stroke of midnight with fireworks, music and a live celebration that is broadcast worldwide.
  • In France, people are concerned about the weather that day. They regard the weather as the prediction of that year: wind blowing east, fruit will yield; wind blowing west, fish and livestock will be bumper; wind blowing south, there will be good weather all year round and wind blowing north, there will be crop failure. People like to toast the new year and drink till January 3. They think that they can't gain a beautiful year if they don't drink up all the wine left last year.
New Year's Day
The celebrations held world-wide on January 1 as part of New Year's Day commonly include the following:

  • Parades
  • American football: In the United States, January 1 is the traditional date for many post-season college football bowl games, which are usually accompanied by parades and other activities to celebrate the events.
  • Football (Soccer): In Europe, Association Football, where a Full Fixture program is usually played throughout the Premier League and the rest of the League/Non League system in England.
  • Ice hockey, most famously the Winter Classic in North America, a National Hockey League game that is played outdoors.
  • Concerts
  • Entertainment, usually enjoyed from the comfort of home.
  • Family time
  • Traditional meals
  • Church services
  • An annual dip in ice-cold water by hearty individuals, most famously by members of the Polar Bear Club.
  • Fireworks

New Year's babies

In Brittany, a common image used is that of an incarnation of Father Time (or the "Old Year") wearing a sash across his chest with the previous year printed on it passing on his duties to the Baby New Year (or the "New Year"), an infant wearing a sash with the new year printed on it.
In modern time and world-wide, the association of parenthood is with a baby's arrival, with New Year's Eve a father and mother together presenting their newborn child as the new year arrives and is celebrated.
People born on New Year's Day are commonly called New Year babies. Hospitals, such as the Dyersburg Regional Medical Center in the U.S., give out prizes to the first baby born in that hospital in the new year. These prizes are often donated by local businesses. Prizes may include various baby related items such as baby formulababy blanketsdiapers, and gift certificates to stores which specialize in baby related merchandise.

Other celebrations on January 1
Some churches celebrate the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ on January 1, based on the belief that if Jesus was born on December 25, then according to Jewish tradition, his circumcision would have taken place on the eighth day of his life (January 1). The Catholic Church, trying to distance itself from Judaism [Do you blame them? - Dan], now calls this holy day of obligation the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Source:  Wikipedia   

Comment:
Comrades, as I said last week, let's all have a safe New Year's Eve/Day.  If you have any more than one or two drinks in a one or two hour period, you are probably impaired, driving-wise.  Use designated drivers, or the AAA's free ride home program.  I don't want to be a wet blanket, but a DUI or an accident are really lousy ways to start off the New Year.

Remember, as National Socialists, you and you alone are responsible for your own actions.
If you're going to a party only a block or two away, let's not be lazy.  If you walk, you can't get a DUI.  Sure, you could get busted for walking down the sidewalk drunk, but that's a slap on the wrist compared to what could happen if you drive in that condition.
Have a safe and happy New Year's celebration.
Dan  88!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Citizens Oppose LA County Supervisors Million Dollar Funding To Provide Legal Services To Illegal Residents

Press release from We The People Rising
December 20, 2016

Los Angeles County supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis are asking their colleagues to join them in setting aside $1 million in county funds that can be used to help individuals without legal status to fight deportation according to Breitbart.com. The county supervisors are introducing the funding request in conjunction with Sacramento legislation, Due Process For All, which calls for providing taxpayer funded legal services to those illegally in the state who are facing deportation.

"The supervisors push to expend funds on those in county illegally, is a misappropriation of the taxpayer's dollars," Robin Hvidston, CA State Coordinator for The Remembrance Project and Executive Director of We The People Rising, said.

Supervisor Hahn’s spokeswoman Liz Odendahl said that “The idea is to set up the legal fund with $1 million in the first year, then obtain matching funds from public or private donors.” The move is a preemptive one, aimed at short-circuiting President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge “to deport millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.”

This proposal does not benefit the American citizens in the county that are suffering and in need of assistance. 

"These funds should be earmarked for American citizens," Hvidston said. "The homeless families, veterans and unemployed citizens in the county should be recipients of these tax dollars, not those illegally in the county. In addition, The Remembrance Project has proposed a national initiative that would assist the families whose loved ones were killed by those illegally in the country. A plan that would specifically help American families. This is the type of plan that the supervisors should propose. They should be helping American families." 

President-elect  Trump has  stated that he supports  this initiative that has been proposed by The Remembrance Project.  http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/869711/0f0b2b69a4/1761521655/b26fceb98a/

Hvidston and members of her organization will join with local groups and concerned citizens at a drop-in Citizen Lobby visit to LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis' satellite office in Huntington Park in order to express opposition to this plan. A petition and information packet will be presented to the staff members. The visit will be at 4pm on Tuesday, 12/20/16. The address of the office is 2677 Zoe Avenue, Huntington Park, CA 90255.

"The supervisors are elected by the citizens and that is who they should represent," Hvidston said. "This proposed plan is like a slap in the face to the struggling and the needy citizens in the county."
 

Read the proposed plan here:

Comment:

This is outrageous!  Using tax-payer money to help people evade presidential orders.  If that isn't treason, I don't know what is.  The LA County supervisors should all be removed from office at best, prosecuted at worst.  Well, those that voted in favour of this proposal.  However, if I remember from a previous post on this subject, the vote was unanimous.

The trouble with most Mestizos is they put family before duty to country.  Not me.  I'm not a fan of the government, but my first duty is to my Folk Community.  If a family member is a threat to the community then action must be taken.  I know where my first duty lies.  Maybe it's the German in me talking, but that's how it is.  And my ANP responsibilities fall under the category of duty to the Folk Community.

We The People Rising is a grassroots political organization based in Redlands, California.  Redlands is in adjacent San Bernardino County, not Los Angeles County.

TRIVIA:  San Bernardino County has a few claims to fame.  First, it's the largest real county in America (not counting paper counties in Alaska).  Second and third, it's the birthplace of the first McDonald's and Taco Bell.  Fourth, the birthplace of the Hell's Angels.  I guess that last one isn't anything to be proud of but it's true.

Dan 88!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fake US embassy in Ghana shut down after 10 years issuing visas

Reuters News Service
December 4, 2016

The fake embassy in Accra, Ghana
The fake U.S. Embassy

US Embassy Accra, Ghana
The real U.S. Embassy

Authorities in Ghana have busted a fake US embassy in the capital Accra run by a criminal network that for a decade issued illegally obtained authentic visas, the US State Department has said.
Until it was shut down, the sham embassy was housed in a rundown, pink two-storey building with a corrugated iron roof and flew an American flag outside. Inside hung a portrait of the US president, Barack Obama.
“It was not operated by the United States government, but by figures from both Ghanaian and Turkish organised crime rings and a Ghanaian attorney practising immigration and criminal law,” the State Department said in a statement.
Turkish citizens who spoke English and Dutch posed as consular officers and staffed the operation. Investigations also uncovered a fake Dutch embassy, the State Department said.
Officials in the Netherlands were not immediately reachable for comment on Sunday.
The crime ring issued fraudulently obtained but legitimate US visas and false identification documents, including birth certificates at a cost of $6,000 (£4,700) each, the statement said.
During raids that led to a number of arrests, authorities also seized authentic and counterfeit Indian, South African and Schengen zone visas and 150 passports from 10 different countries along with a laptop and smartphones.
The statement did not say how the gang obtained the authentic visas or how many people were believed to have illegally entered the US and other countries using visas issued by the crime ring.
“The criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials to look the other way, as well as obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored,” the statement said.
There was no immediate comment from Ghana’s Criminal Investigations Division.
Visas for western countries are in high demand in Africa and embassies say the visa market is a big target for organised crime.
The real US embassy in Ghana is a prominent and heavily fortified complex in Cantonments, one of the capital’s most expensive neighbourhoods. Lines of people queue outside each day for visa appointments and other consular business.
The fake embassy was open three mornings a week and did not accept walk-in appointments. Instead, the criminals advertised on billboards in Ghana, Togo and Ivory Coast and brought clients from across west Africa to Accra where they rented them hotel rooms in nearby hotels.
US authorities conducting a broader security operation were tipped off about it and assembled a team including the Ghana Detectives Bureau and police as well as other international partners to shut down the ring.


Comment:

It took the Ghanaese government TEN years to catch these guys.  Yeah right.  I'm sure many government officials right to the top were getting a piece of the action.  That's why it took so long.  No one wanted to sink their own gravy boat.
As for the "customers", they actually believed that dilapidated old building was the U.S. Embassy?!  They would have to be a bunch of moronic cretins to believe that.  Most of them knew bloody well it was a scam, but they didn't give a damn as long as they got what they wanted.  Possibly a few were stupid or naive enough to believe it was legit, but not most of them.
Ghana is also one of the leading African countries where internet scams originate.  You know what I mean:
Dear Sir or Madam,
We have your ATM card in the amount of $8 million ready for you.  Just send us the $300 processing fee and we will ship it to you immediately.  Blah, blah, blah, scam, scam, scam.
                                                                                             Sincerely,
                                                                                             M'gumbo Kinshasa

                                                                                             President of the Bank Of Ghana

Is anyone still stupid enough and greedy enough to fall for this?  They must be.  I keep getting emails like this every now and again.  Some actually come to my ANP email which has the name American Nazi Party in it.  Duh!
Dan 88!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

BUSTED! Boss Called as Workers In Company Truck Played Fuck Donald Trump



Comment:

In a follow up release from the grassroots organization who posted this video on YouTube (We The People Rising), the two workers were both fired by their employers. Town And Country Rentals dismissed them for "public behaviour while on duty that damaged the image of the company".

Town And Country did not say they either support or oppose Trump, just that their employees behaved inappropriately while on the job and while operating a company vehicle.  They did not represent the company in a positive manner.

Good.  They got what they deserved.  I wouldn't like my employees publicly playing loud music with obscenities and possibily offending customers or potential custormers - especially while driving a company truck.  

People do have a right to listen to whatever music they like, but when you're at work - even if you're on a break - you are representing your employer - especially if you are driving a company vehicle with the company logo on it - and you have to behave in a manner that is a positive representation of your employer, and listening to loud rap music with obscenities is hardly positive.

Dan 88!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Oxford University Students Asked To Use Gender Neutral Pronoun 'Ze'

By Brian Freeman   |   Sunday, 11 Dec 2016 07:35 PM

Students at Oxford University have been encouraged to use gender neutral pronouns such as "ze" rather than "he" or "she" in an attempt not to offend transgender students, The Sunday Times reported.


LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told MailOnline that the "issue isn’t about being politically correct or censoring anyone. It's about acknowledging the fact of changing gender identities and respecting people's right to not define themselves as male or female."

However, he acknowledged that its use should not be compulsory.
Last month Oxford also implemented gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, the Inquisiter reported.

Cambridge is also considering a similar move toward gender neutral pronouns throughout the university, the Sunday Times reported.

Other institutes of higher learning have already adopted the practice. The Huffington Post adds that in the United States the gender-neutral alternatives of "ze" and "hir" have been in use at Wesleyan University, for example, for more than a decade.

And at the American University, other acceptable pronounds inclue "E", "Ey" or "Per."

Comment:

I almost look forward to see what new kind of asininity the liberals can come up with next.  Sometimes I get a huge laugh out of it.  This is so ridiculous it's hard to take it seriously.

However, they say use of these new pronouns is not compulsory.  Give them time.  If they get the chance to force them on people, they will.  Right now they are hoping they will "catch on", and they probably will sooner or later.
So what?  What's in a name, after all?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. - William Shakespeare, "Romeo And Juliet".
For those of you who don't get that, it means no matter what name you call someone (or something) by, it still remains what it always has been.  A new name (or word) doesn't change a thing.
Dan 88!

Monday, December 26, 2016

'Twas The Day After Christmas

'Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house
Children sat slack-jawed, bored on the couch.
Wrappings and toys littered the floor,
An incredible mess that I did abhor.
With Mom in her robe and I in my jeans,
We waded in to get the place clean.
When suddenly the doorbell: it started to clatter,
I sprang to the Security-View to check out the matter.
The new-fallen snow, now blackened with soot,
Was trampled and icy and treacherous to foot.
But suddenly in view, did I gasp and pant:
An unhappy bill collector and eight tiny accountants.

The door flew open and in they came,
Stern-looking men with bills in my name.

On Discover, on Visa, on American Express,
On Mastercard too, I sadly confess,
Right to my limits, then beyond my net worth,
OUer the top I had charged, in a frenzy of mirth.
The black-suited men, so somber, so strict,
I wondered why me that they had first picked.
They stared at me with a look I couldn't miss,
That said "Buddy, when are you for paying for this?"
I shrugged my shoulders, but then I grew bolder,
Went to the cabinet and pulled out a folder.
"As you can see," I said with a smile,
"It's bankruptcy that I'll have to file!"
And with a swoop of my arm, my middle digit extended
I threw the bills in the fire: the matter had ended.
The scent of burnt ash came to my nose,
As up the chimney my credit-worthiness rose.
Without another word they turned and walked out,
Got into their limos, but one gave a shout:
"You may think that's the answer to all of your fears,
But it's nothing you'll charge for at least seven years!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas - NOT Happy Holidays!


Dan 88!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Origins Of Santa Claus









Saint Nicholas of Myra is the primary inspiration for the Christian figure of Sinterklaas. He was a 4th century Greek Christian bishop of Myra (now Demre) in Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Anatolia, now in Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In Europe (more precisely the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Germany) he is still portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes. In 1087, the Italian city of Bari, wanting to enter the profitable pilgrimage industry of the times, mounted an expedition to locate the tomb of the Christian Saint and procure his remains. The reliquary of St. Nicholas was desecrated by Italian sailors and the spoils, including his relics, taken to Bari where they are kept to this day. A basilica was constructed the same year to store the loot and the area became a pilgrimage site for the devout, thus justifying the economic cost of the expedition.

Irish historians say that his remains were moved on again from Italy to Jerpoint Abbey in County Kilkenny, where his grave can still be seen. Saint Nicholas was later claimed as a patron saint of many diverse groups, from archers, sailor, and children to pawnbrokers. He is also the patron saint of both Amsterdam and Moscow.

Numerous parallels have been drawn between Santa Claus and the figure of Odin, a major god amongst the Germanic peoples prior to their Christianization. Since many of these elements are unrelated to Christianity, there are theories regarding the pagan origins of various customs of the holiday stemming from areas where the Germanic peoples were Christianized and retained elements of their indigenous traditions, surviving in various forms into modern depictions of Santa Claus.

Odin was sometimes recorded, at the native Germanic holiday of Yule, as leading a great hunting party through the sky. 

Two books from Iceland, the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, describe Odin as riding an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir that could leap great distances, giving rise to comparisons to Santa Claus's reindeer. Further, Odin was referred to by many names in Skaldic poetry, some of which describe his appearance or functions. These include Síðgrani, Síðskeggr, Langbarðr, (all meaning "long beard") and Jólnir ("Yule figure").

According to Phyllis Siefker, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Odin's flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would then reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir's food with gifts or candy. This practice, she claims, survived in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands after the adoption of Christianity and became associated with Saint Nicholas as a result of the process of Christianization and can be still seen in the modern practice of the hanging of stockings at the chimney in some homes.

This practice in turn came to the United States through the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam prior to the British seizure in the 17th century, and evolved into the hanging of socks or stockings at the fireplace.

One story tells of a poor man and his three daughters. With no money to get his daughters married, he was worried what would happen to them after his death. Saint Nicholas knowing the anguish of the father, stopped by the man's house after the family had gone to bed. He had three bags of gold coins with him, one for each girl. Seeing the daughters stockings hung over the fireplace for drying, he put one gold bag in each stocking and left. The girls waking up the next morning, they each found a bag of gold coins in their stocking. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas.

In Hungary, many regions of Austria and former Austro-Hungarian Italy (Friuli, city of Trieste) children are given sweets and gifts on Saint Nicholas's Day (San Niccolò in Italian), in accordance with the Catholic calendar, December 6.

Numerous other influences from the pre-Christian Germanic winter celebrations have continued into modern Christmas celebrations such as the Christmas ham, Yule Goat, Yule log, and the Christmas tree.

In The Netherlands and Belgium, Saint Nicolas, ("Sinterklaas", often called "De Goede Sint" — "The Good Saint") is aided by helpers commonly known as Zwarte Piet ("Black Peter") in Dutch or "Père Fouettard" in French. Note that "Santa Claus" is phonetically related to the Dutch "Sinterklaas", so much so that for a Dutch person the origin of the name "Santa Claus" is obvious; it's just "sinterklaas" pronounced in English.

His feast on December 6 came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts. However, in the Netherlands the Dutch celebrate his "birthday" on the evening of the day before December 6th, during a celebration called "Pakjesavond". At the Reformation in 16th-17th century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December the 6th to Christmas Eve.

The folklore of Saint Nicolas has many parallels with Germanic mythology, in particular with the god Odin. These include the beard, hat and spear (nowadays a staff) and the cloth bag held by the servants to capture naughty children. Both Saint Nicolas and Odin ride white horses that can fly through the air; the white eight-legged steed of Odin is named Sleipnir (although Sleipnir is more commonly depicted as gray). The letters made of candy given by the Zwarte Pieten to the children evokes the fact that Odin ‘invented’ the rune letters. The poems made during the celebration and the songs the children sing relate to Odin as the god of the arts of poetry.

There are various explanations of the origins of the helpers. The oldest explanation is that the helpers symbolize the two ravens Hugin and Munin who informed Odin on what was going on. In later stories the helper depicts the defeated devil. The devil is defeated by either Odin or his helper Nörwi, the black father of the night. Nörwi is usually depicted with the same staff of birch (Dutch: "roe") as Zwarte Piet.

Another, more modern story is that Saint Nicolas liberated an Ethiopian slave boy called 'Piter' (from Saint Peter) from a Myra market, and the boy was so grateful he decided to stay with Saint Nicolas as a helper. With the influx of immigrants to the Netherlands starting in the late 1950s, this story is felt by some to be racist. Today, Zwarte Piet have become modern servants, who have black faces because they climb through chimneys, causing their skin to become blackened by soot. They hold chimney cleaning tools (cloth bag and staff of birch).

Presents given during this feast are often accompanied by poems, some basic, some quite elaborate pieces of art that mock events in the past year relating to the recipient. The gifts themselves may be just an excuse for the wrapping, which can also be quite elaborate. The more serious gifts may be reserved for the next morning. Since the giving of presents is Sinterklaas's job, presents are traditionally not given at Christmas in the Netherlands, although the latter is gaining popularity with families with older or no kids.

The Zwarte Pieten have roughly the same role for the Dutch Saint Nicolas that the elves have to America's Santa Claus. According to tradition, the saint has a Piet for every function: there are navigation Pieten to navigate the steamboat from Spain to Holland, or acrobatic Pieten for climbing up the roofs to stuff presents through the chimney, or to climb through the chimneys themselves. Throughout the years many stories have been added, mostly made up by parents to keep children's belief in Saint Nicolas intact and to discourage misbehaviour. In most cases the Pieten are quite lousy at their job, such as the navigation Piet (Dutch "wegwijspiet") pointing in the wrong direction. This is often used to provide some simple comedy in the annual parade of Saint Nicolas coming to the Netherlands, and can also be used to laud the progress of children at school by having the Piet give the wrong answer to, for example, a simple mathematical question like 2+2, so that the child in question is (or can be) persuaded to give the right answer.

In Netherlands and Belgium the character of Santa Claus, as known in the United States (with his white beard, red and white outfit, etc.), is entirely distinct from Sinterklaas, known instead as de Kerstman in Dutch (trans. the Christmasman) or Père Noël (Father Christmas) in French. Although Sinterklaas is the predominant gift-giver in the Netherlands in December (36% of the population only give presents on Sinterklaas day), Christmas is used by another fifth of the Dutch population to give presents (21% give presents on Christmas only). Some 26% of the Dutch population give presents on both days. In Belgium, presents are given to children only, but to almost all of them, on Sinterklaas day. On Christmas Day, everybody receives presents, but often without Santa Claus' help. 

Not meaning to sound like a buzz kill, who knows who can afford gifts this year? All thanks to Uncle SAMuel Scrooge and his Judeo-Capitalist cohorts.

Source: Wikipedia.

Dan 88!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Couple Days Late But I Just Found This

First day of Winter: everything you need to know about today's Solstice

By  Cameron Macphail 
21 DECEMBER 2016 • 1:18PM

What exactly is the winter solstice?


The December solstice happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth. This year the solstice occurs on Wednesday December 21st at 10:44 GMT (Universal time).
The winter solstice happens every year when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted farthest – 23.5 degrees – away from the Sun, delivering the fewest hours of sunlight of the year.

The Sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December solstice and is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year, meaning shorter days and longer nights.

The shortest day of the year lasts for 7 hours 49 minutes and 41 seconds in Britain. This day is 8 hours, 49 minutes shorter than on June Solstice. As such, Tuesday December 20th was the longest night of the year with the sun not rising until 08:04 GMT on Wednesday morning.

The day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite is true. Dawn comes early, and dusk comes late. The sun is high and the shortest noontime shadow of the year happens there. In the Southern Hemisphere, people will experience their longest day and shortest night.

Does the winter solstice always occur on December 21st?
While it more often than not falls on December 21st, the exact time of the solstice varies each year.
Sunrise between the stones at Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice in 1985 Photo: Mark Grant


In the Northern hemisphere the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, because it is tilted away from the sun, and receives the least amount of sunlight on that day.

However, the earliest sunset does not occur on the solstice, because of the slight discrepancy between 'solar time' and the clocks we use.

The shortest day of the year often falls on December 21st, but the modern calendar of 365 days a year - with an extra day every four years - does not correspond exactly to the solar year of 365.2422 days.

The solstice can happen on December 20, 21, 22 or 23, though December 20 or 23 solstices are rare.

The last December 23 solstice was in 1903 and will not happen again until 2303.

Is it actually the first day of winter?

People gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire on the winter solstice to witness the sunrise on the shortest day of the year

The answer might vary depending on who you ask. There are two types of winter: astronomical and meteorological.

Astronomical winter typically begins on December 21st, with the winter solstice, and ends on March 19th. Meteorological winter always begins on December 1st and ends on February 28th (February 29th during leap years).

While astronomical winters are determined by the Earth's orbit around the sun, meteorological winters are the three calendar months with the lowest average temperatures.

The Met Office tend to use the meteorological definition of the seasons.

Why do people descend on Stonehenge for the winter solstice?

Scores arrive at the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire to mark the shortest day of the year. Why is the site so important?

Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset (opposed to New Grange, which points to the winter solstice sunrise, and the Goseck circle, which is aligned to both the sunset and sunrise).

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC and it is thought that the winter solstice was actually more important to the people who constructed Stonehenge than the Summer solstice.

The winter solstice was a time when cattle was slaughtered (so the animals would not have to be fed during the winter) and the majority of wine and beer was finally fermented.

The only other megalithic monuments in the British Isles which clearly align with the sun are Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland and Maeshowe situated on Mainland, Orkney, Scotland.

Both famously face the winter solstice sunrise.

To celebrate the solstice and the longest night of the year, people began descending on Stonehenge late on Tuesday night.

Do I have to go to Stonehenge to watch the solstice?

There's no need to travel out of town to see the sunrise.

This cool website shows the streets in cities around the world where you can get a clear view of the sun rising on the morning of the solstice.

Keep up, Druids...

In 2009, a crowd wearing traditional costume, met at Stonehenge on December 21st morning to mark the rising of the sun on the shortest day of the year.

But unfortunately their calculations were slightly out meaning they had in fact arrived 24 hours prematurely.

The '09 solstice fell at exactly 5.47pm that day, and because the sun had already set, the official celebrations should have taken place at sunrise the next day.

English Heritage, who manage the ancient site in Wiltshire, decided to open the gates anyway and welcome those who had made a miscalculation.

A spokesman for English Heritage said at the time: "About 300 people turned up a day early. We took pity on them and opened the stone circle so they could celebrate anyway. They were a day early but no doubt had a wonderful time as well.

"People always assume that because the Summer solstice is the June 21st, the winter solstice will be the 21st December. They should always check because it does change."

Arthur Pendragon during the winter solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire Photo: PA

Pagan leader Arthur Pendragon said: "It is the most important day of the year for us because it welcomes in the new sun.

"There were hundreds of people there. If we'd celebrated on the 21st it would have been the right day but the wrong sun – when the whole point of the occasion is about welcoming in the new sun."

Why isn’t the earliest sunset on the year’s shortest day?

Solar noon - the time midway between sunrise and sunset is when the sun reaches its highest point for the day, but the exact time of solar noon, as measured by Earth’s spin, shifts.

A clock ticks off exactly 24 hours from one noon to the next but actual days – as measured by the spin of the Earth – are rarely exactly 24 hours long.

If the Earth’s spin is measured from one solar noon to the next, then one finds that around the time of the December solstice, the time period between consecutive solar noons is actually 30 seconds longer than 24 hours.

Therefore two weeks before the solstice, for example – the sun reaches its 'noontime' position at 11:52 a.m. local standard time.

Two weeks later - on the winter solstice – the sun reached that noontime position at 11:59 a.m. - seven minutes later.

The later clock time for solar noon also means a later clock time for sunrise and sunset. The result? Earlier sunsets before the winter solstice and increasingly later sunrises for a few weeks after the winter solstice.

The exact date of earliest sunset varies with latitude but the sequence is always the same.

For the Northern Hemisphere the earliest sunset occurs in early December and the latest sunrise in happens in early January. This year earliest sunset was on 13 December and the latest sunrise on 31 December.

What does 'solstice' mean?

The term 'solstice' derives from the Latin word 'solstitium', meaning 'Sun standing still'.

On this day the Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction as it reaches its southernmost position as seen from the Earth.

Some prefer the more teutonic term 'sunturn' to descibe the event.

How was/is the solstice celebrated around the world?

The December solstice marks the 'turning of the Sun' as the days slowly get longer. Celebrations of the lighter days to come have been common throughout history with feasts, festivals and holidays around the December solstice celebrated by cultures across the globe.

Saturnalia

The winter solstice festival Saturnalia began on December 17 and lasted for seven days in In Ancient Rome.

These Saturnalian banquets were held from as far back as around 217 BCE to honor Saturn, the father of the gods.

The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms.

The festival was characterised as a free-for-all when all discipline and orderly behaviour was ignored.

Wars were interrupted or postponed, gambling was permitted, slaves were served by their masters and all grudges and quarrels were forgotten.

It was traditional to offer gifts of imitation fruit (a symbol of fertility), dolls (symbolic of the custom of human sacrifice), and candles (reminiscent of the bonfires traditionally associated with pagan solstice celebrations).

The Saturnalia would degenerate into a week-long orgy of debauchery and crime – giving rise to the modern use of the term 'saturnalia', meaning a period of unrestrained license and revelry. A mock 'king' was even chosen from a group of slaves or convicts and was allowed to behave as he pleased for seven days (until his eventual ritual execution).

The poet Catullus considered it to be "the best of days."

Feast of Juul

The Feast of Juul (where we get the term 'Yule' from at this time of year) was a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia at the time of the December solstice.

People would light fires to symbolise the heat and light of the returning sun and a Juul (or Yule) log was brought in and dropped in the hearth as a tribute the Norse god Thor.

The Yule Log often was an entire tree, carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony and sometimes, the largest end of the log would be placed into the fire hearth, while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room.

The log would be lit from the remains of the previous year's log which had been carefully stored away and often slowly fed into the fire through the Twelve Days of Christmas. Tradition dictated that the re-lighting process was carried out by someone with clean hands.

The log was burned until nothing but ash remained. The ashes were then collected and either strewn on the fields as fertilizer every night until Twelfth Night or kept as a charm and or as medicine.

A piece of the log was kept as both a token of good luck and as kindling for the following year’s log.

French peasants believed that if the ashes were kept under the bed, they would protect the house against thunder and lightning. The present-day custom of lighting a Yule log at Christmas is believed to have originated in the bonfires associated with the feast of Juul.

Yalda

Yalda or Shab-e Chelleh ('night of forty') is an Iranian festival celebrated on the "longest and darkest night of the year," i.e. the night of the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice.

Every year, on December 21st, Iranians celebrate the arrival of winter, the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over darkness on Yalda Night.

Ancient Iranians believed that the dawning of each year is marked with the re-emergence or rebirth of the sun, an event which falls on the first day of the month of Dey in the Iranian calendar (December 21).

On this day, the sun was salvaged from the claws of the devil, which is represented by darkness, and gradually spread its rays all over the world to symbolize the triumph of good over evil.Family members get together (most often in the house of the eldest member) and stay awake all night long in Yalda.

Pomegranate, watermelon and dried nuts are served as a tradition and classic poetry and old mythologies are read in the gathering.

It is believed that eating watermelons on the night of Chelleh will ensure the health and well-being of the individual during the months of summer by protecting him from falling victim to excessive heat or disease.

In Khorasan, there is a belief that whoever eats carrots, pears, pomegranates, and green olives will be protected against the harmful bite of insects, especially scorpions. Eating garlic on this night protects one against pains in the joints.

Getting a ‘Hafez reading’ from the book of great Persian poet Shamsu d-Din Muhammad Hafez-e Shirazi is also practiced.

Another custom performed in certain parts of Iran on the night of Chelleh involves young engaged couples. The men send an edible arrangement containing seven kinds of fruits and a variety of gifts to their fiancees on this night.

In some areas, the girl and her family return the favour by sending gifts back for the young man.

Central Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and some Caucasian states such as Azerbaijan and Armenia share the same tradition as well and celebrate Yalda Night annually at this time of the year.

Santo Tomas in Guatemala

December 21 in St Thomas's Day in the Christian calendar. In Guatemala on this day, Mayan Indians indulge in the ritual known as the Palo Volador, or “flying pole dance”.

Three men climb on top of a 50-foot pole as one of them beats a drum and plays a flute. The other two men wind a rope attached to the pole around one foot and jump.

If they land on their feet, it is believed that the sun god will be pleased and that the days will start getting longer.

The ancient Incas celebrated a special festival to honour the sun god at the time of the December solstice.

In the 16th century ceremonies were banned by the Roman Catholics in their bid to convert the Inca people to Christianity.

A local group of Quecia Indians in Cusco, Peru, revived the festival in the 1950s. It is now a major festival that begins in Cusco and proceeds to an ancient amphitheatre a few miles away.