The reason for the season

Today at 12:04 GMT, the sun was at its greatest distance from the equator. In other words, today is the shortest day of the year. Which is probably the reason why it’s the season to be jolly.

Christmas, as we know it, is a fine selection of pre-Christian, pagan rites and celebrations usurped by the early Christians. Take the time of year (the winter solstice, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, take your pick), the fat guy in the red suit (who can be traced back to Odin), the tree (believed to be a pagan, Germanic tradition) … anything but that nativity scene really.

And it’s not like the virgin birth of the son of a god is an entirely exclusive Christian concept either. Perseus, Buddha, Genghis Khan, Krishna, Horus, Mercury, Romelus and his twin brother Remus were all allegedly born of virgins, and they are probably not the only ones. Great men must have great fathers, and what father would be greater than a god?

So, ehm, happy solstice everyone.