عدد المساهمات : 38649
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
|موضوع: رد: Happy Babylonian New Years! الخميس 04 أبريل 2013, 00:00|| |
Happy Babylonian New
تكبير الصورةتصغير الصورة معاينة الأبعاد الأصلية.
The celebration of New Year’s eve is one of
humanity’s oldest holiday tradition, dating all the way back to the ancient
Babylonians. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the
first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox which was used to indicate the first day
of spring; they called their New Years rêš šattim, 'beginning of the year'... or
'head of the year'...The festival is also referred to as Akitu and it was tied
closely to their planting time. They had one heck of a celebration—lasting 12
days to be exact. Each day represented a ritualistic step in integration with
their main diety, Marduk.
Below the fold, a 12 day 'party' that was as
important to social cohension of an empire as it was to religion.
According to Julye Bidmead,
The Akitu festival is one of the oldest recorded
religious festivals in the world, celebrated for several millennia throughout
ancient Mesopotamia. Yet, the Akitu was more than just a religious ceremony—it
acted as a political device employed by the monarchy and/or the central
priesthood to ensure the supremacy of the king, the national god, and his
capital city. Politics and religion in Mesopotamia were irrevocably intertwined.
Myths and their supportive rituals justified social institutions and legitimized
rulers. Akitu festival was a tool wielded by the monarchy and ruling class to
promote state ideology.
Babylonians apparently sang all types of songs
throughout their festivities – one of which was a fairly hot love song to their
goddess of sexuality and love, Ištar.The Akitu Festival came to have a double
character. It originated in nature festival, with features which expressed
simultaneously nature's grief at the death of all growing things and her joy at
their rebirth. On to this had been grafted the glorification of Marduk. In
Babylon, Marduk received in his temple of Esagila all the gods of other great
cities in the shape of their statues, the first being his son Nabu, worshiped in
Borsippa. Marduk disappears, but then grief is changed to gaiety on his
reappearance, and the entire company of gods was escorted in a great procession
to the temple outside the city, known as Akitu. In between, many sacred
performances took place, which glorified Marduk as hero and victorious against
Chaos and included a sacred marriage ceremony.
So what happened? The Romans . Basically, they
were okay with the celebrations-the idea of conflating religions with state
control was nothing new to them --in fact, like the Babylonians they found it
quite effective -- but, being orderly Romans, they wanted a consistent date for
their calendars, not tied to the Equinox.
In order to set the calendar right, the Roman
senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. Both
the Julian and Gregorian calendar that followed use January 1st as their New
year date which is why we are celebrating New Years today. But don't worry,
Christianity soon was grafted onto many of the Roman pagan traditions (like
Saturnalia) and state control and religion maintained their happy alliance for
years afterwards. As one comic put it, our Christmas tradition is based on an
act of sympathetic magic.
For example, during Saturnalia lamps were kept
burning to ward off the spirits of darkness. Schools were closed, the army
rested, and no criminals were executed. Friends visited one another, bringing
good-luck gifts of fruit, cakes, candles, dolls, jewelry, and incense. Temples
were decorated with evergreens symbolizing life's continuity, and processions of
people with masked or blackened faces and fantastic hats danced through the
The custom of mummers visiting their neighbors in
costume, which is still alive in Newfoundland, is descended from these masked
processions. But one of the most equalitarian aspects of Saturnalia was a sit
down feast shared by masters and slaves.
In fact, during the festivities slaves were given
the freedom to do and say what they liked. A Mock King was even appointed to
take charge of the revels. And from this fantastic class reversal, developed the
so called "the Lord of Misrule’ of medieval Christmas festivities.
short podcasts on
Babylonian New Years