The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for December 26th, 2016

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One last set of archive shots, for Boxing Day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our Lady of the Pentacle hails from the UK, so Boxing Day is kind of a thing in our house, and that’s today. The British tradition originates, at least in its modern form, from the habit of allowing the servile to go visit their own families after facilitating the Christmas celebrations of their masters. The Lords and Ladies would present their servants with boxes of gifts to take back to the hovels that they were created in. As times changed, modern Boxing Day became sort of what Christmas Day is in the United States, the calendrical marker wherein gifts are distributed and families gather to feast, drink, and argue.

It’s also Saint Stephen’s Day. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saint Stephen was the protomartyr of the Christian tradition, as in he’s the first martyr to die horribly after the boss got hung up on the rood. Stephen (or as he likely spelled it – Στέφανος) was a Hellenistic Jew and later Christian Deacon, supposedly appointed by the Apostles themselves, whose church was found in first century AD Jerusalem. Stephen pissed off the Jerusalem establishment, specifically the conservative Pharisees, and he was stoned to death after they accused him of blasphemy. The denunciation, trial, and carrying out of the sentence was supposedly witnessed by a fellow named Saul of Tarsus – later Saint Paul – who provided the only primary source material for the story of Stephen.

BTW – politics, history, religion, politics. If you read up on Baruch and the Persians, the hot and cold wars between Rome and Persia/Parthia, and the role of the City States of the Levant caught between the Italians, Greeks, and Persians during this period – the bible suddenly makes a lot more sense. The Three Wise Men? They were Mede and Persian priests who illegally crossed the border into a Roman conquest, formerly a Persian Suzerainty, to anoint a new king of the Jews… Frankincense, Myrrh, Gold? All things which a warrior King would require to claim his kingdom. That’s the way that the Romans saw it, at least.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the former holdings of the British Empire, with the notable exception of the United States, Boxing Day has turned into a capitalist bellwether holiday – analogous to “Black Friday.” The only holdover of Boxing Day in the good old USA is found in the former states of the confederacy, which gives public employees a paid day off on the 26th of December. Saint Stephen’s Day is celebrated in several countries with traditions that predate the Roman Empire, with pagan Celtic and Viking rituals that have been Christianized. In Ireland, for instance, you’ve got “Lá Fhéile Stiofáin” or “Day of the Wren.” In Welsh culture it’s “Gŵyl San Steffan,” and Catholic Germans celebrate “Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag.”

Happy Boxing Day. 

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 26, 2016 at 12:30 pm

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