THE HISTORY OF YULE: How it all begun 1.3

Not long after, the Persians caught on and began to help Marduk, too.

Called Sacaea, their festival was a little different and involved a temporary state of chaos.

Slaves and masters changed places with each other, a mock king was crowned, and law and order flew right out the window.

Grudges and debts were forgotten-if only temporarily.

A good time was had by all. And why not? It was the one time of the year that folks could do exactly as they pleased without worry of consequence or retribution.

As the Sun’s light grew stronger, so did the party.

During the last few days, things gradually wound down.

By the end of the festival, order was restored to the Greek world.

 

Eventually, word of these Sun-welcoming festivities spilled into the outside world, and other folks-exchanging Marduk and the monsters for their gods-took up the cause as well.

In the Greek version of Sacaea, Zeus defeated Kronos and the Titans, but that wasn’t the main reason for their festivities.

Apparently, the Kallikantzaroi-mischievous imps similar to those defeated by Marduk-roamed the land wreaking havoc during the twelve days of Sacaea.

They also had a reputation for stealing the spirits of unsuspecting children, especially those born during that period.

Of course, the Greeks did their best to keep them at bay. New babies were wrapped with garlic bundles, and because the monsters supposedly couldn’t tolerate fire and smoke, each family kept a large log burning for the duration of the festival.

These were fueled with old clothes and shoes, spoiled food, and anything else that might prove offensive to the intruders.

Finally, the ancient Romans-a good many of them practitioners of a Sun-worshipping religion called Mithraism decided to participate, and that’s when the winter festivities really started to take shape.

They combined most of the traditions of their predecessors and added a few of their own.

First on the agenda was the exchange of god figures-Jupiter for Zeus and Saturn for Kronos.

This gave them the opportunity to honor Saturn-one of their most important gods-if only briefly.

To that end, the festival was called Saturnalia.