Tag Archives: holidays

Living the Mythological Character of the Olympics

In ancient Greece the Olympics held at Olympia were not simply a set of athletic contests, but more fundamentally and broadly were a religious holiday festival observed in a sacred religious sanctuary (likewise the games at Delphi and elsewhere). They … Continue reading

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May Day, Beltane, Easter, and their Fires

This year in Russia and other Orthodox Christian countries, both Easter and May Day fall on this Sunday, May 1st. This coincidence calls us to consider the similarities in mythological, religious, and psychological meanings behind these spring seasonal holidays. Easter … Continue reading

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The Mythology of Easter III: The Mythical Meaning of the Resurrection

In yesterday’s post I first concluded that the story of Christ’s resurrection would not have originated by transferring the earlier motif of dying and rising gods to form the epilogue to Christ’s death, but in the end concluded that they, … Continue reading

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The Mythology of Easter II: Was Christ a “Dying and Rising God”?

In yesterday’s post I discussed what part of the Easter Resurrection story is history and what part is myth. Insofar as the Resurrection story is myth, it becomes important to distinguish which aspects of the myth partake of motifs common … Continue reading

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The Mythology of Easter I: What Actually Happened and What is Myth?

Easter is perhaps the most mythological of our holidays, but in the Christian tradition the Resurrection of Christ is considered a historical event, without belief in which there would be no Christianity. As St. Paul put it, “if Christ has … Continue reading

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February Holidays III: Unmasking the Mythology behind Carnival

Last year at this time I was living for about a month in Nice, France, during its annual Carnival (see photo). The festival’s inventive costumes, float parades, and jovial and irreverent atmosphere was not only great fun but also piqued my interest in … Continue reading

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February Holidays Mythology II: How St. Valentine Became Eros

The most original and enduring symbol of Valentine’s Day is a heart pierced by the arrow of Cupid, Eros in ancient Greece. It is not obvious, however, what this pagan image and the mythology that lies behind it should have … Continue reading

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Our Cosmic New Year’s Mythology and Rituals

Modern Christmas is family-oriented and religiously solemn, while New Year’s is more festive and we tend to spend it with friends rather than relatives. But it has become so festive that we have largely forgotten how serious a matter New … Continue reading

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Christmas Mythology I: Why We Celebrate Christ’s Birth, and How and Why We Came to Observe it on December 25

There is so much mythology behind Christmas and Winter Solstice holidays generally that it is hard to decide where to focus one’s attention, but for this Christmas season I’ve decided to write about the holiday’s ancient origins. Specifically, I’ll discuss the mythology … Continue reading

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Myths Underlying Halloween and Myths about It

Halloween is full of ritual, and behind rituals lurk myths. Understanding this holiday is a challenge because it has both Christian and pagan roots in myth and ritual. Also, as is the case with myths themselves, festivals and rituals concerning … Continue reading

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