Why Do We Celebrate the Holidays?


Why do we celebrate the holidays? Hey Crash, today we’re going to talk about
the holidays. More specifically, why we celebrate them and
what their meaning truly is. You mean Christmas, yeah? Well let’s not forget Christmas isn’t
the only holiday, there’s plenty of different cultures with their own celebrations around
the end of December. But Christmas will definitely be our focus
since it’s the most widely celebrated holiday in the western world. Christmas is the only holiday in my eyes. Give me an eyesore of a Christmas jumper and
a glass full of egg nog with whiskey so I can make it through this video. Jeez man, it’s 9 in the morning! It’s gotta be after 5pm somewhere in the
world. Oh, and give me one of those stupid ass hats. Just try to stay conscious for the next few
minutes okay, we don’t want a repeat of the office Christmas party. Ha… no promises. Before Crash turned Christmas into a week-long
stretch of debauchery, the holiday was originally meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. However December 25th isn’t actually Jesus’
birthday. The exact choice of date comes from more of
a political standpoint than a religious one. Uh oh, politics and religion in the same sentence. Flash up the trigger warning! No no, there won’t be any opinions here
just facts. See, originally Christian festivals were all
about celebrating events such as Passover (now primarily a Jewish event.) Passover occurred on the 25th of March on
the Julian Calendar and these festivals celebrated the conception, birth and passion, or death,
of Christ. Eww the conception of Christ? Well more specifically this event was known
as the annunciation. Annunciation was when the angel Gabriel came
down and told Mary that she would conceive the son of God in 9 months. So he was like “BAM you’re fuckin’ pregnant
now! Peace out”, threw up deuces and flew away? Sounds like a dick move. Well I guess when you put it that way. But point is that we didn’t have a Christmas
yet. When it came time to decide a date to celebrate
the birth of Jesus there were many dates suggested. However December 25th was picked for three
reasons. Lay them on me Culture Oh god it smells like you killed Christmas
and left it to rot in your mouth. The first reason is that December 25th is
the Winter solstice on the Roman calendar. In case you didn’t know, the winter solstice
is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Symbolically, Jesus was born on the shortest
day of the year since he came at humanity’s lowest point and from there the days begun
getting longer, the implication being that he brought light to the world. This Jesus guy can do anything! Seems alright to me. Furthermore, this occasion was frequently
marked by pagan feasts and celebrations and hence it made sense to simply shoehorn in
Christian beliefs. Which brings me to the second reason December
25th was chosen: This was originally the date that Romans celebrated the Sun god Sol Invictus. Apart from having an awesome name, literally
meaning unconquered sun, Sol Invictus was essentially the god of a Roman cult. The festival around this time was known as
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti or “The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun” and the Church was
claimed to have essentially appropriated the festival for Christmas, stealing many of its
traditions etc. However this is argued against by many scholars
and remains up for debate. Boo hoo, if they wanted to keep their festival
then they should have gotten their Sun God to smite the Church. Of course they didn’t because Christmas
kicked their ass. Uhhh… yeah. The third reason is biological: Pregnancies
last 9 months. Since the annunciation occurred on March 25th
it only made sense that Jesus was born on December 25th. Interestingly the death of Jesus was also
believed to occur on March 25th, hence this being around the time of Easter, since there
is an ancient Jewish belief that great men lived a whole number of years without fractions. So if that’s true of all great men, then
I’ll also die on my birthday? If you don’t shut up you’ll die on your
next birthday. WOW okay Culture, no need to get so high strung. Take a sip and relax! *Culture takes a drink* Did you add absinthe to this? I think I’m gonna puke… Wimp. Do you think I should leave some out for Santa
Claus? HO HO HA HA HO HAHA HOA HAHAHA AAARRRRGHHH! Absolutely not. We don’t want him getting arrested for driving
his sleigh under the influence. But you know Christmas is great and all with
Santa, his reindeers and elves and so forth, but it’s not the only holiday. Take Chanukah for example, a Jewish tradition
which is quite often seen as the Jewish version of Christmas. However the original purpose of Chanukah could
not be further from that of Christmas. Chanukah is actually a festival of rededication
lasting 8 days from the 24th of December to the 1st of January. It is based on a story of rebellion against
oppression of the Jewish religion. Oh I know this one! It all started with a guy by the name of Adolf
Hitler… Whoa no, a DIFFERENT story of oppression. See back when Alexander the Great was conquering
various countries such as Syria, Egypt and Palestine he allowed the respective people
of these lands to continue observing their religious beliefs. However his successor, Antiochus the fourth,
was not so kind and forced the Jews to observe many Hellenistic religious beliefs, originating
from the Greeks. He did this in varying degrees, firstly by
placing Hellenistic priests in temples, desecrating the temples by sacrificing pigs on their altars
(since pigs are considered non-kosher) and by slaughtering many of the local Jews. Well that escalated quickly. Two main groups rose up to oppose this oppression:
A nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee and a
traditionalist group known as the Chasidim. The groups succeeded in taking back the temple
and rededicating it, but there was one issue- The temple was guarded by a dragon which could
not be slain by mere swords! What? No. Where did you get that from? Sorry, just trying to revive the story a bit. Continue. As I was saying, this issue was that much
of the oil used to keep the menorah alight had been ruined by the Greeks. As such it was feared the menorah, or candelabrum,
would only remain alight for a single day whereas it was needed to be lit every night
for religious purposes. However somehow the oil managed to last for
8 days until a new batch of oil was prepared and this was seen as a miracle. To observe this miracle the Jews light a menorah
over the course of 8 days. Each day a new candle is added to the menorah
and lit by the final 9th candle, the servant candle, which is only to be used for practical
purposes. Okay okay I get it, so how did gift giving
come into all of this? I just want those sweet, sweet gifts. Well gifts actually aren’t traditionally
a part of Chanukah. The only reason gift giving occurs is because
of, once again, Chanukah’s proximity to Christmas. Jewish kids were jealous of their friends
getting gifts and so to placate them their parents decided to also give gifts. Which now I think about it is kind of messed
up, that they just caved to social pressure… Peer pressure wins again! Now chug this glass of egg nog for me. Come on I’ll chant ‘til you do it! CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG Ergh no way. Chanukah actually isn’t even that important
religiously to the Jews, with events such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover
and Shavu’ot being much more important. This is due to the story of Chanukah being
relayed in the Book of Maccabees rather than in Jewish scripture. However that doesn’t diminish its importance
in modern Jewish celebrations. Apart from the lighting of the menorah, some
other traditions surround the 8 day period. Fried food such as latkes, or potato pancakes,
are consumed due to the significance of oil in the holiday. That’s why I eat lots of chicken nuggets
as well. You eat those every day. Hey! Any day is the right day for fighting oppression. Literally 5 minutes ago you were saying how
Christmas is the only holiday in your eyes. Okay you caught me, my affection for holidays
is based on food. Is that so wrong?! I’m just glad you confessed. Other traditions during Chanukah include the
giving of “gelt”, small amounts of money, and playing dreidel, a game involving a spinning
top with 4 Hebrew letters on each side. The game is essentially a kid’s gambling
game. Teaching kids to gamble early… this holiday
has it all! Just calm down there alright buddy, I still
have one more holiday I want to talk about and you might just like it even more. Kwanzaa is a holiday celebrated by African
people between the 26th of December and the 1st of January designed to celebrate family,
community and cultural values endorsed by African people. I say “designed” because it was invented
in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga as a way to bond together African-American communities
via their beliefs. However these beliefs are cultural, not religious,
and hence it is encouraged that all people of African heritage contribute to the celebration. I don’t have African heritage though, how
am I supposed to get involved? Well you’re not Jewish either but you still
wanted to eat fried food. Fried food should be a religion in and of
itself. And egg nog. Especially egg nog. I’ll make my own holiday which celebrates
eating delicious food and giving me presents. And sexual favours, too. On a less selfish note, the intention of Kwanzaa
is quite noble, promoting what are known as the Seven Principles. These include Unity, Self-Determination, Collective
Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. Each of these are translated from their original
word in Swahili. Swahili is the most spoken native African
language in the world and is also where the name of the holiday comes from, where “matunda
ya kwanza” means “first fruits.” This phrase itself asks its followers to remember
their roots and signifies the importance of both family and heritage to the African people. That’s really sweet. I’m a big believer in family too… this
whole thing is bringing a tear to my eye. No you don’t, you haven’t called your
Mum in a year! I know because I constantly get calls from
her asking to speak to you and when I pass you the phone you say “Psyche!” and hang
up! I was playing a game. Mum knows not interrupt me, she’s at fault
here. You’re awful. Anyway the traditional holiday greeting is
“Habari gani?” Which means “what’s the news?” The answer is whichever of the seven principles
corresponds to that day, for example Umoja (or Unity) on the first day and so on. Gifts are usually given to children in any
form but must include a book, to emphasise the importance of learning which has been
a part of African culture since Ancient Egypt, and some sort of heritage symbol. Like a cross? Or the star of David? No you idiot, I mean a symbol of African heritage. It’s against the ideals of Kwanzaa to mix
cultural symbols which aren’t African. This may seem kind of close-minded but I suppose
the idea is to restore a common through-line between African cultures that have long since
been separated and so it’s only fair to give them this time. The final tradition of Kwanzaa occurs on the
final day, the day of meditation, on which each person takes time to quietly reflect
and ask themselves three questions: “Who am I?”, “Am I really who I say I am?”
and “Am I all I ought to be?” Through asking these questions one establishes
both honesty to themselves but also honesty to those around them. Yeah, not a huge fan of that idea. I love lying too much. Come on Crash, don’t you feel even a little
bit of human decency? The holidays are a time to reflect but also
a time to look at the times ahead. The holidays are time to appreciate what you
have but also the opportunities in your future. Ultimately though all of the holidays we’ve
talked about have a common theme: They bring us together as families, friends, communities,
countries and as humans. Sure there’s some differences in the specifics
and the origins but in the face of the sheer good will, compassion and fun times the holidays
brings those differences can be forgotten. So what do you say Crash? I’m sorry Culture, you’re absolutely right. In fact just thinking about it fills me with
this great warmth, makes my head go light and my limbs go numb. Culture, I… I… It’s okay Crash, I know it’s hard for
us to show it but at the end of the day when the chips are down we really do care about
each other. I couldn’t imagine hosting this show with
anyone else so for that I want to say what you can’t bring yourself to say… What the FUCK are you talking about?! I was going to say I need you take me to the
emergency room asap! This egg nog was a BAD idea. Okay Crash, I’ll just grab my coat. Enjoy the festive season everyone! Goodnight Crash. Hey Culture? Yeah? Happy holidays buddy.

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