Stop for a moment and answer the question honestly: why are you celebrating Christmas? Is it meaningful enough? Does it make you happy?
How to Stay Mindful During Christmas Holidays
Christmas Eve is a magical time for many people all over the world. It is the time when we gather our big families, buy presents, sit next to the fireplace in the waiting of a miracle. It is free of work or any other duties period when the snow covers streets and houses to protect their peaceful rest. We still have this unexplainable anxiety with the first snow; we stay for a moment to enjoy the beauty of moonlight, we feel happy to see the first star in the sky on Christmas. It is a time for your body and soul.
Way Back Then
No celebration include such an amount of positive rituals and beliefs like this one. Let’s take a look back to a history and stay mindful. Long ago before Christianity, there was a celebration named Saturnalia which was originally Pagan. Starting December 17 and during the whole week, people had no laws and punishment. They were celebrating the ending of hard agricultural works and the crop.
According to the Roman law, prisoners were not judged, children had no school, people stopped working to enjoy the holiday, to sacrifice on behalf of Saturn, and to salute Saturn. By the way, modern Saturday comes from Saturn day and wedding rings we all use are nothing else but the symbol of Saturn rings. Long story short, in the 4th century they started celebrating Saturnalia, Christmas and New Year together.
Twelve Days of Celebration
Twelve days of Christmas included a period from December 25th until January 5th, up to the Nativity of Jesus Christ. When a conversion of Pagans into Christianity took place, they decided to make the last day of Saturnalia the birthday of Jesus Christ. Some sources inform that initially he wasn’t even born in December. The date also has an important astrological meaning.
In comparison to western culture, Eastern world has nothing to do with Christianity but follows the tradition for various reasons. For example in India people (except Christians) celebrate Bada Din which means ‘big day started’. It is connected with the day becoming longer again and the night becoming shorter after December 25th. Eastern world doesn’t have western Christmas Holidays but respect the day and make it mindful.
When talking about the 24th of December, it is vital to mention Horus and Set who were a mythological explanation of light and dark accordingly in Egypt in 3000 B.C. Since then there were plenty of gods, like Attis in Greece, Krishna in India, Mithra in Persia, Jesus Christ, who had similar destiny including the birthday date which was December 24th.
On this day Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, was aligned with three other brightest stars and pointed to the place of sunrise on December 25th.
The Death and the Birth of the Sun
Another observation is that the sun stops moving south on December 22, 23 and 24 and reaches its lowest position in the sky and makes the day shorter. For ancient people, it meant that the sun was dead and resurrected again on December 25th. Starting from this date the sun begins moving north bringing light, spring and warmth. This is what connects all cultures and traditions in the first place.
108 Surya Namaskar
Many yoga trainees across the globe perform 108 Surya Namaskar series which is the salutation to the sun. This is strongly connected with the winter solstice. For those who are beginners in yoga practice, Surya Namaskar is the series of twelve graceful postures which are performed in a single row. Trainees are using it as a warm up in everyday practice and 108 times on solstice.
We Dream of what We Never Know
What makes mindful holidays holy? Our wishes are very different: from good health to the ability to build a commercial plant on Mars. Think of the dreams of ancient people; for example, good crops, stronger health, longer life, and realize that most of them came true. What makes Christmas meaningful is thinking of your holy grail to believe in. Be it a yoga practice or family dinner – it is up to you. Living with a dream is much more meaningful than without it. It is the modern magic and romance of Christmas.