It's Christmas and here at Linku2 Hibiscus Coast we just wanted to say have a very Merry Christmas. Safe travels if you are heading away and enjoy time with friends and family - they are the most precious gift you can have!
A. Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25. During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the week long celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.
B. The ancient Greek writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) describes the festival’s observance in his time. In addition to human sacrifice, he mentions these customs: widespread intoxication; going from house to house while singing naked; rape and other sexual license; and consuming human-shaped biscuits (still produced in some English and most German bakeries during the Christmas season).
C. In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.
D. The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.
E. Christians had little success, however, refining the practices of Saturnalia. As Stephen Nissenbaum, professor history at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst, writes, “In return for ensuring massive observance of the anniversary of the Savior’s birth by assigning it to this resonant date, the Church for its part tacitly agreed to allow the holiday to be celebrated more or less the way it had always been.” The earliest Christmas holidays were celebrated by drinking, sexual indulgence, singing naked in the streets (a precursor of modern caroling), etc.
F. The Reverend Increase Mather of Boston observed in 1687 that “the early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens’ Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones.” Because of its known pagan origin, Christmas was banned by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681. However, Christmas was and still is celebrated by most Christians.
G. Some of the most depraved customs of the Saturnalia carnival were intentionally revived by the Catholic Church in 1466 when Pope Paul II, for the amusement of his Roman citizens, forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city. An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators. They ran… amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily.”
H. As part of the Saturnalia carnival throughout the 18th and 19th centuries CE, rabbis of the ghetto in Rome were forced to wear clownish outfits and march through the city streets to the jeers of the crowd, pelted by a variety of missiles. When the Jewish community of Rome sent a petition in 1836 to Pope Gregory XVI begging him to stop the annual Saturnalia abuse of the Jewish community, he responded, “It is not opportune to make any innovation.” On December 25, 1881, Christian leaders whipped the Polish masses into Antisemitic frenzies that led to riots across the country. In Warsaw 12 Jews were brutally murdered, huge numbers maimed, and many Jewish women were raped. Two million rubles worth of property was destroyed.
Winkalotts is great for kids goodies and Fishing Direct for those who love to get out on the water. NZ At Home in Tavern Road has a wide range of goodies and for those francofiles you can't go past The French Cupboard at the start of the shops up by Northern Union.
If you're looking for that special something you're bound to find it at Bendon Lingerie on the corner of Agency Lane and for the young at heart head to North Beach. If you'd like to personalise a gift and frame that special photo visti Emma Jean Framing in Agency Lane or for that home and garden decor check out Sunbliss. For jewellery and gems visit The Goldsmith in Millwater Parkway or if you're after that deal visit Crazy Deal in Peters Way or if you're trying to help someone get over that awful smoking addiction check out the huge range of flavours at NZ Vapor in Silverdale Street.
Then of course if you want everything in the one place why not hit Silverdale Centre where you'll find everything from homewares, shoes, jewellery, the larger stores including The Warehouse and Noel Leeming plus you'll also find Santa from 11 December!
Orewa Beach has lots of amazing shops to wander around, or cycle around if you've been into Saint Cycles. Not only are there great shops, but there are heaps of festive Orewa Markets which always have a wide range of local bits and bobs. A beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers from Flowers by Joanne is always a great present.
Are you feeling new year, new you, but you're also conscious of the damage fast fashion has on the planet? Restyle Boutique has new clothes, top quality recycle clothing, shoes, handbags, jewellery, acessories, hats, swimwear, ballgowns, menswear and bridalwear - in fact just about everything! Treat yourself without feeling guilty and still have pennies in your pocket!
For those artsy people there are a number of different places to go for them. If you know someone who loves scented candles, head to Vixen and Co and don't miss their pop up Christmas sale on Sunday 17 December! Get a stunning frame for that photo or painting at Orewa Framing Studio or perhaps a gift voucher for a professional custom picture frame, canvas or print. Or maybe you know a bookworm would love to get lost in a thrilling story from Never Ending Books.
Get the men in your life looking fly with face, hair, and body products from the Clooney Club, or a trendy new do from Slim Jim's Barbershop. Have you been thinking about getting some new ink for the new year? Don't forget Tattoos by Ben Kaye is local!
Look out for our blog post next week featuring Whangaparaoa, Manly, and Gulf Harbour!
We love the Hibiscus Coast, the beaches, the community feel and the wide variety of things to do and places to go and this isn't diminishing as the Coast grows, although we are finding there are rather too many sets of traffic lights than the old days!