Decadence – December 19, 2014

Party

Age of decadence
and Christmas mirth
we drink exotic wines
eating in abundance.

Old Cotton would wail
from his pulpit my friends
if he saw us today
in these ex-colonies.

Wasting work days
to revel and party
in the name of the Lord
on Christmas day.

Erotic and exotic
go hand in hand
imaginative projections
of sexual desires …

The Puritans knew
as ascetics before
that pleasure’s not joy
but demonic delight.

© G.s.k. ‘14

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Decadence:

“The exotic and the erotic ideals go hand in hand, and this fact also contributes another proof of a more or less obvious truth – that is, that a love of the exotic is usually an imaginative projection of a sexual desire.”
― Mario Praz, The Romantic Agony

“The exotic and the erotic ideals go hand in hand, and this fact also contributes another proof of a more or less obvious truth – that is, that a love of the exotic is y lewd gaming, by rude reveling!”― Cotton Mather  in 1712

Last night was the last evening of my English Conversation meetings for 2014.  We watched a classic cartoon, I read “The Night Before Christmas and then read about Christmas in the past … both in the North American colonies (and the new nation) as well as the Middle Ages in Britain. (Afterwards we toasted the festivity and ate chocolate cake and brownies 😉 )

Christmas was banned for many years in the future United States being seen as a licentious false holiday, in fact as a pagan left-over (which of course it is). It wasn’t until 1870 under the Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant did Christmas become a Federal Holiday.

In Britain too, under the reign of Oliver Cromwell, Christmas was banned:

 A fervent Puritan, Cromwell was on a mission to cleanse his nation of what he perceived to be papist excess and decadence. He and his fellow Puritans regarded Christ’s Mass as an unwelcome remnant of Catholicism, “a popish festival with no biblical justification.” Nowhere in the Bible, they argued, were people asked to celebrate Christ’s nativity on December 25.

Moreover, in Cromwell’s mind, the wild, hedonistic excesses associated with the Twelve Days of Christmas, stretching from Christmas Eve to Twelfth Night, undermined core Christian beliefs.

On November 19, 1644, Parliament resolved that Sunday was the “only standing holy day under the New Testament” and within a week they decided that no other holy day would be recognized. The new national liturgy issued on January 4, 1645, made no provision for Christmas and thus its abolition was legally achieved, although a parliamentary ordinance declaring Christmas celebrations a punishable offence was not passed until 1647.

― Viridit  How Cromwell Stole Christmas

Finished banned Christmas

Merry Christmas and to all a good day!

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Inspired by Eclectic Corner #2 (Thanks Justine!)

23 thoughts on “Decadence – December 19, 2014

  1. Oooh I love it and some history too!! Great pic I don’t know how you did the special effects but more over love the words and history! Makes one think more about what Christmas should be about. Thank you for joining Eclectic corner I am so chuffed. I can try to put your link in the Inlinkz if it’s not there 🙂 happy Cheistmas lovely lady! Xxx

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      • Pretty cool stuff. 🙂
        You should have heard my kiddo translating Poe into modern terms – a hoot. But in both cases… Making connections 😉

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        • Yep … love to play with the classics and my students had a laugh as well — but the nice thing about that lesson was that when I read ‘the night before Christmas’ they were totally in awe .. it’s not the same reading it to yourself and having someone read it out loud. A real pleasure for me.

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  2. BTW — Ulysses S Grant is a distant relative of mine, through the Simpsons. So — I’m not sure if I should feel guilty or happy for my “blood’s” role in recognizing it as a federal holiday. 😉

    And — gotta love that old word, “popish”. Well, my Polish side is, of course, Catholic.
    Cromwell would probably have a cow if he ever met me, LOL!

    So much information here – from Cotton Mather to Oliver Cromwell – along with the awesome poetry. 😀

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    • Thanks J … I was on the spot for a sec because of your distant relatives (the Simpsons … shades of Homer popped in my head) … someone did mention that the U.S. Constitution says no one … and how much more so/less than a president should a make a law favoring one religion over another … so I said that as it’s an old Roman holiday (in fact it’s the birthday of Mithra) and so, “it isn’t really favouring the Christians at all … but the pagans … who are not a recognized organized religion.” 😉

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      • USG (actually, Hiram U G) is quite a puzzling character, isn’t he? Not sure how I feel about the guy. Helped bring the CW to a conclusion — but he was a butcher in the way he did it. Had potential in his presidency, but the administration was dragged down in scandal and corruption. So many contradictions — so, establishing a religious-national holiday seems like just another contradiction. BUT —- I LOVE the way you tap-danced around the issue though — works for me! 😉

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