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Christmas 圣诞节的宗教传统 

央视国际 www.cctv.com  2006年12月20日 15:57 来源:CCTV.com

Origins of Christmas    圣诞节的起源

Although no one knows on which exact date Jesus
was born, Christians have favored December 25 since
ancient times. It is the date on which the Romans
marked the winter solstice and it is nine months
following the Festival of Annunciation (March 25). In
ancient and early Medieval times, Christmas was either
a minor feast, or not celebrated at all.
The Romans had a winter celebration known as
Saturnalia. This festival was originally held on
December 17 and honoured Saturn, a god of
agriculture. It recalled the "golden age" when Saturn
ruled. In imperial times, Saturnalia was extended to
seven days (December 17-23). Combined with festivals
both before and after, the result was an extended
winter holiday season. Business was postponed and
even slaves feasted. There was drinking, gambling and
naked singing and dancing . It was the "best of days,"
according to the poet Catullus. With the coming of
Christianity, Italy’s Saturnalian traditions were attached
to Advent (the forty days before Christmas). Around
the 12th century, these traditions transferred again
to the "twelve days of Christmas" (i.e. Christmas to Epiphany).

尽管没有人知道耶稣出生的确切日期,但自古以来基督徒们都赞同将其定在12月25日。这天是罗马人规定的冬至,它是在天使报喜节(3月25日)9个月后。在古代及中世纪前期,圣诞节只是一个次要节日,有时人们根本不庆祝它。
罗马人在冬天举行的一个庆祝活动是农神节。这个节日最初是在12月17日,为了祭祀农神萨图恩。萨图恩统治时期被称作“黄金时代”。在封建年代里,农神节延长至7天(12月17日至12月23日)。前前后后的节日加在一起,就延长至一个冬季长假。商业活动推迟了,甚至奴隶也能美美地吃上饭了。那里只有喝酒、赌博和赤身唱歌跳舞。按照诗人卡图卢斯的说法,那被称作“最好的
日子”。随着基督教的盛行,意大利农神节的传统又与降临节(圣诞节的前40天)连在一起。12世纪左右,这些传统又转变成了“圣诞节的12天”(即从圣诞节到主显节)。

责编:希望英语

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