Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Ah, but just calling it a “Christmas Tree” can be offensive to some other religions, so in 2005 the city of Boston renamed the spruce tree used to decorate the Boston Common a "Holiday Tree" rather than a "Christmas Tree". The name change drew a poor response from the public and was changed back to "Christmas Tree" after the city was threatened with several lawsuits.
If the Christmas Tree is considered to be pagan by some Christians, you can just imagine what they think about the Yule log. Burned at the time of the Winter Solstice to welcome the return of the Sun God, it has roots in Nordic, Celtic and Roman religions. In Slavic traditions, the log is called Badnjak, and it has become part of a totally Christian ritual. In both the Roman Catholic Croatian tradition and the Orthodox Serbian tradition, an oak log is cut with great ceremony on Christmas Eve morning and then brought into the house. There are elaborate prayers and blessings tying the symbolism of the burning log with the coming of Christ. The Serbian tradition includes priests burning oak saplings on a large fire in the public square. It’s interesting to consider that both sides in the Bosnian Conflict during the 1990’s must have celebrated the same Christmas Eve religious tradition while they were trying to kill each other. Sort of like the Germans and the Allies singing Silent Night together across the trenches during World War 1.