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Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan   By:

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Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles provides readers with an in-depth exploration of the origins, customs, and traditions surrounding the festive season. Miles delves into the historical and religious contexts that have shaped the celebration of Christmas, tracing its roots back to ancient pagan rituals and folklore.

The book offers a comprehensive overview of the various Christmas traditions that have evolved throughout history, highlighting their diverse origins and influences. From the winter solstice celebrations of the ancient Celts and Romans to the Christianization of the festival, the author expertly dissects the layers of customs that have contributed to our modern-day understanding of Christmas.

One of the book's strengths lies in its meticulous research and attention to detail. Miles presents a wealth of information regarding the development of Christmas traditions across different cultures, ranging from the mystical Yule festivities of Northern Europe to the vibrant folk customs of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. This comprehensive approach enables readers to gain a broader understanding of the rich tapestry behind our contemporary festivities.

Additionally, Miles examines how Christmas has been influenced by folklore, mythology, and literature. By analyzing the works of renowned authors such as Charles Dickens and Washington Irving, he explains how their portrayals of Christmas festivities and characters have played a pivotal role in shaping our modern holiday traditions. This exploration adds an intriguing literary element to the book, allowing readers to appreciate the interplay between literature and the cultural understanding of Christmas.

One of the few drawbacks of Christmas in Ritual and Tradition is the occasional density of the writing. While the extensive research and historical analysis are commendable, some readers may find certain sections to be slightly dense or challenging to grasp. However, the book still manages to strike a balance between scholarly analysis and engaging storytelling, making it accessible to a wide range of readers.

Miles also navigates the delicate balance between the Christian and pagan origins of Christmas with grace and objectivity. He explores how these two seemingly distinct traditions have intertwined over time, often incorporating and assimilating elements of each other. By doing so, the author aptly demonstrates that Christmas, as we celebrate it today, is a culmination of various cultural and religious influences.

Overall, Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan is a must-read for those with a keen interest in the history and evolution of Christmas. Clement A. Miles' meticulous research, coupled with his accessible writing style, allows readers to accompany him on a fascinating journey through the centuries, providing valuable insights into the cultural tapestry surrounding the festive season. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a literature lover, or simply curious about the origins of Christmas, this book offers a comprehensive and enlightening exploration of the subject.

First Page:

Christmas In Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan

by Clement A. Miles

Published by T. Fisher Unwin





( Florence: Accademia )]



In this volume I have tried to show how Christmas is or has been kept in various lands and ages, and to trace as far as possible the origin of the pagan elements that have mingled with the Church's feast of the Nativity.

In Part I. I have dealt with the festival on its distinctively Christian side. The book has, however, been so planned that readers not interested in this aspect of Christmas may pass over Chapters II. V., and proceed at once from the Introduction to Part II., which treats of pagan survivals.

The book has been written primarily for the general reader, but I venture to hope that, with all its imperfections, it may be of some use to the more serious student, as a rough outline map of the field of Christmas customs, and as bringing together materials hitherto scattered through a multitude of volumes in various languages. There is certainly room for a comprehensive English book on Christmas, taking account of the results of modern historical and folk lore research.

The writer of a work of this kind necessarily owes an immense debt to the labours of others... Continue reading book >>

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