Danny Smith: Merry Winterval
For those of you whose memory has been damaged by brolly spokes entering your ear waiting for some lights to be switched on, Winterval was the blanket catch all name for a series of council ran events that included Eid, Christmas and New Year. That turned, with the help of some lazy journalism and right wing knee jerking, into BIRMINGHAM BANS CHRISTMAS. No doubt someone will bring this story out of the loft again this year, blow the dust off and string it about, Christ it been going since ’98, it’s almost a tradition. Do you remember it now? When Birmingham became a laughing stock because we had chosen to be inclusive and tolerant? Pah! Who would want that?
Certainly not the church, when the Winterval shit storm was kicking off the shit was so deep that young children were sledding down hills on it while their dads toiled away clearing the path and the church were quick to condemn it. The Church of England leaders disgusted accusing the council of ‘trying to take the Christ out of Christmas’. So what business does the big JC have being in Christmas after all? When you look at the facts (although they won’t, facts are like kryptonite) Christmas was around way before Christ.
Firstly shepherds watching their flock at night, people sleeping in barns etc. Do you have any idea how cold it gets at night in the middle east? In winter, the shepherds would be dead and Joseph would have to chip the lord Christ incarnate from the virgins frozen womb. No, the early sellers of the Christian myth placed his date of birth on an already popular pagan festival, the Winter Solstice, or, depending on who you read, a Roman celebration that was around the same time.
I think it takes more front than Brighton to come from a religion that used its power to dominate and change an already existing festival with the intention of pushing a religion and then complain when a council does the same thing for the reasons of showing consideration for other cultures. (Even though, as mentioned before, they didn’t, the story is nonsense.)
So what else is Christian? Tree in the house? Germanic version of a pagan tradition. Decorations? Roman. St Nick? Surely St Nick must be Christian, he’s a saint for crying out loud!? Nope sorry, Norse god with a Christian name. Sitting in a cold church singing dreary hymns being threatened to be good by a man with an invisible, needy boss? Yep, well, you got me there.
So if you do take the Christ out of Christmas what have you got left? All the fun stuff Except no more midnight mass, or ridiculously inaccurate nativity plays. And St Nick would be a one eyed, Norse bastard called Odin riding an eight legged horse and throwing presents down the chimney like missiles. No turning the other cheek for him, so next time the Bishop of Birmingham climbs atop his puny four legged high horse and makes noises he has no right to make in the first place or someone jabs you in the ear because they think its perfectly reasonable to carry a umbrella round an uncomfortably packed German Market. Kick em in the balls and tell them that the real Santa Claus told you to.