Once Again, Sarah Palin Gets Her History Wrong
Contrary to Sarah Palin’s beliefs, the “war on Christmas” did not begin in the 21st century. It began on Christmas day in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Surprisingly, it was launched by the first Christians, the Pilgrims. For a while, I lived in the house at 33 Leyden Street in Plymouth where the first common house was built on Christmas Day, 1620. There was no celebration on that day, only work.
The Pilgrims suffered a brutal voyage in coming to America and winter was upon them. They needed to build some quick cover for the ensuing winter.
The Pilgrims considered the celebration of “Christmas” as frivolous. The wassaling which had become a tradition in the Britain (from which they escaped) led to all kinds of trouble – thievery and debauchery. Additionally, these Pilgrims resented Christmas’ pagan origins. The date of December 25 was originally a celebration of the sun-god ,Mithra, which occurred at winter solstice and had nothing to do with Biblical truth.
Dreamers without practical experience
The Pilgrims were courageous dreamers who had no practical understanding of building a community. They were hat makers and tailors. While they had a deep faith, they knew nothing about agrarian society. On board the Mayflower were drums and trumpets. There were neither fishing lines, nor plowshares. There was not a single goat.
The Pilgrims had no clue that it was not a good idea to arrive in the new world in the bleak midwinter. They suffered the consequences of that choice in the winter of 1620 -1621. Half of the 102 Pilgrims died by spring. Half of the remaining 52 people were children.
The Indians Saved the Christians
The truth is, had the Wampanoag tribe, under the leadership of Chief Massasoit, not come along in the spring of 1621 and helped the Pilgrims with farming and fishing, the Pilgrims would not have survived.
The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of the bounty of the harvest of the Pilgrims that was guided by the Wampanoag people.
Our Ambiguous World
Culture is ambiguous because man created it and man is conflicted. But beneath the traditions that we have come to believe as “truth”, there always seems to reside a deeper truth about the indomitable nature of man’s love and spirit.