I lived in Romania for two years as a missionary, from 2004-06. I grew to love that country deeply. It’s been long-burdened by its communist past; it wasn’t just a form of government, but rather a mindset that was fused into the fibers of the country. There’s no more stark a symbol of that than the block apartment buildings that fill the cities. They’re concrete from skin to marrow and each one seems intent on keeping the populace in its place.
There’s a city in the west called Hunedoara. The countryside leading to it is out of some fairy tale. There’s even a storybook castle on one side of the city. But surrounding the city is a ring of abandoned, crumbling industrial wasteland.
I remember the train rides that lead from city to city. Some of the trains were more advanced than any train I’ve seen in the United States. Others were rickety steel boxes on wheels, the floors covered in sunflower seeds and spittle. Train rides ranged from a couple hours to 8 and 13 hour train rides. As often as I rode the trains, and even for that long, I was glued to the windows, watching the country go past. It’s beautiful.
The people were warm, always – always – offering more, even when they’d already given. Especially when it came to food. They offered, sometimes, what seemed to be just about all they had. They are a generous people. I even miss the times when we were shouted at, kicked out, threatened, chocked, and spat on. I walked the streets in the fall in Sibiu, an old fortress city. I trudged through Bucharest in the winter, where the streets go unpaved. I ran down steps, two at a time, to catch the subway more times than I can count. I ran through rainstorms on the way home, soaked to the bone. I miss it all.
Some of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen, and some of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had, I saw and I had there. Some of the worst things I’ve ever seen happened there, too. It wasn’t uncommon to see a child wandering the streets. Some were beggars, whose first words taught by their parents were asking for money. For some kids, it was literally all they knew how to say, and they didn’t even know what it meant. I once saw a kid, no more than 8, huffing silver paint out of a plastic bag because it took his mind off of being so hungry all the time.
The weight of communism, even decades removed, still smothered this whole place. It hung around the necks of everyone there, even those who hadn’t yet been born. Everywhere I went, people told me stories of where they were during the Christmas Revolution of 1989.
Nicolae Ceausescu was the dictator of Romania at the time. He was vain, and cruel, and petty. Run of the mill communist dictator in the Stalin mold. Starvation and scarcity were the norm. Children, even those with parents, went hungry. To make a political point, Ceausescu cut off supplies from an entire city in the west, Timisoara. Of course, this caused more unrest than order. In a speech in what is now called Revolution Square, he spoke from a municipal building’s balcony, and tried to placate the people. But they shouted him down. Even Ceausescu loyalists (paid plants, mostly) were overpowered by the crowd’s chants. It was deafening. They stormed the building and the revolution began.
Ceausescu and his Deputy Prime Minister wife, Elena, fled, but were soon caught and convicted. The military who had served Ceausescu, and usually acted on his command, knew which way the wind was blowing, and they held a tribunal. It was quick and unanimous, and the Ceausescus were found guilty of, among other things, genocide.
Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were executed by firing squad at a secret military installation. On Christmas day, on live television. They filmed their dead faces so that the people could know that they were really dead and gone.
A beautiful country was ransacked and oppressed by its leaders. For power, for profit, for ego. The country suffered, and eventually revolted. Romania still bears the weight of that suffering, deep in its mind and soul. Just like the concrete block apartments: skin to marrow. When last I saw the building from which Ceausescu spoke in Revolution Square, there were still bullet holes in the walls, far above reach.
Romania is a beautiful country, because of its land and its people, and despite its authoritarian past. Though knives may be removed easily enough, wounds are often stubborn to heal.
As Donald Trump, a man-child who is as vain as he is insecure, and as vengeful as he is delusional, seeks to establish himself as an infallible leader… as he orders scientific data be deleted… as he calls facts fake, and propaganda real… as he flippantly talks about committing war crimes in Iraq… as he seeks to defund arts programs and social safety nets… as he makes his press secretary tell flagrant lies about petty, obvious things like the size of his inauguration crowd… as he seeks to exhaust our capacity to think critically, and speak truth to power… as he seeks to dismantle constitutional rights, and strip the country itself in order to make money… as he continually displays signs of serious mental illness… as he proves to be not just a buffoon, but a real lunatic… I can’t help but think of Romania.
And as I think of all the inevitable harm that will come to people as a direct result of Trump’s actions, and the people that will most likely die from his orders – or possibly die in defiance of his orders – I can’t help but think of Romania.
I can’t help but think of Romania because what happened there, and in countless countries around the world and throughout history, can happen here. It is happening here, right now.
Literature, scripture, and history itself have all warned us about a guy like this. And here he is.
If you don’t like political posts, I understand. I don’t like them. Who does? But I will not be shy about this guy. Not to you, not to my representatives, and not to any Congressman/woman who seems to have dropped their spine on the way to work.
I’m mad and I’ll stay mad until this guy is no longer in charge of the nuclear codes. What happened in Romania can happen here. Serious damage was done by a two-bit dictator from eastern Europe, and Romania hasn’t yet healed in full. Imagine how long it’ll take for the United States to heal from its own president, whose capabilities far surpass Ceausescu’s. Imagine the damage Trump can inflict, the damage he seeks to inflict.
Tell me I’m wrong.
We’re only six days into the Trump presidency. This is an American Dictatorship unfolding in real time.
Привет! I was wondering what kind of traditions Russians follow during the upcoming holidays!
Do you mean Christmas and the New year?
Well, I believe, New Year is still the main holiday in Russia, and it has been the replacement for the Christmas since the revolution of 1917. Christmas tree in Russia is the New year tree. We have Grandfather Frost instead of Santa, and that guy, unlike Santa, doesn’t judge - he gives presents to every kid. Sometimes, kids are asked to sing a song or to tell a poem, so the Grandfather Frost rewards a kid for that.
Interestingly, the Grandfather Frost is not a lonely guy - he has a granddaughter, Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden. Snegurochka is his assistant. She is very kind and friendly.
The new year dinner is lavish. Sparkling wine (which is called Champaign in Russian - like any kind of sparkling wine, not necessarily from that French province) is the most common beverage for celebrating the new year. Stronger liquor may accompany that for seeing the old year off (also a sort of tradition).
Families gather together for the new year dinner, but older teenagers often prefer celebrating it with friends rather than with family. Kids go to bed soon after the midnight, but adults may stay awake until 5-6 AM, if there is something interesting on TV.
Yes, TV is often the central part of the new year night. shortly before the midnight, all channels broadcast the president with his traditional message to the people of Russia. It ends with the chimes of the Kremlin Clocks.
Russians make wishes, not resolutions for the new year. This is a crucial difference - Russians are mostly fatalists, and rather than making promisings to selves, we prefer to hope for the better. That doesn’t imply that Russians don’t like making a fresh start in January - this is rather the approach: it helps be not too hard on oneself if things wouldn’t go as expected.
There are movies that have become a part of the new year entourage - Ирония судьбы или С лёгким паром, Чародеи and much more.
As for the Orthodox Christmas, I’m not of a big help here, I was born and raised in the atheistic family and know very little about that. Only that it takes place on January 7th, two weeks after the Catholic Christmas.
I fully support Drexel professor George Ciccariello-Maher’s statements. They serve as a reminder that white genocide isn’t real and a common neo-Nazi term used to justify racist violence. Also the Haitian Revolution (what George is referencing) was the most successful slave revolt in nearly two millennia due to killing white slave owners.
Drexel’s reprimanding of George’s statement is a violation of free speech and pandering to white supremacists. George has long been an accomplice to the the queer and trans communities and we owe him our backing.
My sister’s University history teacher put this as the title screen on the PowerPoint on the first day of class.
A girl who sat behind her was talking to another girl.
Girl 1: I don’t know what that means.
Girl 2: Maybe it means he’s going to give a pop quiz on Christmas???
“Christmas originates from pagan--” Stop Right There!
Buckle up kiddies, Aunt Shad is gonna explain why the common belief of Christmas’ pagan origins is fallacy.
To begin with, one has to understand the culture of the early church in
order to understand how they approached pagan practices. clergy were
extremely concerned with the mixing of religions, especially ritualistic
practices, because of the threat it posed to the unadulterated church.
remember, much of the early church’s doctrines and teachings were
written by “doctors” (scholars) who researched scrupulously,
particularly in matters of salvation history, in ordet o examine what
did and did not belong in the church’s teachings. thus, they examined
the old testament: which includes the failings of the Mosaic Jews. the
one thing they struggled to do generation after generation was to remain
faithful to God. why is this important? well, one of the major reasons
they continued to fail at monotheism for centuries was because Jewish
men took pagan wives: these women eventually corrupted the conviction of
the Jewish men’s belief in monotheism. It was the prophet Ezra who
eventually figured out this forumla for disaster, and became known for
being extremely strict when it came to marriages. The early doctors
of the Church, being the indepth scholars they were, noticed this trend.
They would not want it to be repeated. In fact, there are many
testaments in early Church history to being complete abandon of paganism
a requirement in conversion: the most obvious and well-known would be
King Charlemagne, who was renowned for his complete and brisk conversion
of the pagan Franks. As he swept through towns, any and all pagan
symbols were swept away, burned, or removed completely. Perhaps the
greatest reason the Church did not assimilate pagan practices was to
prevent converts from feeling tempted. It’s certainly logical–
constantly being reminded of your former beliefs would certainly create a
longing or pull towards what you had left behind. Thus, the Church very
much believed in starting fresh, on a clean slate. Using Pagan
holidays/customs to draw in converts is a fallacy within itself. It
simply wasn’t in the early Church’s “purity” culture– they were
obsessed with keeping the religion untainted. Just check out how many
negligible heresies the Church openly sought to squash. If they were
truly concerned with just getting people to convert, they probably would
have let a few heresies slide here and there to keep people content
with the Church. This was the furthest thing on its mind.
on to the very common claim that most Christian holidays (Christmas,
Easter, etc) are based around pagan holidays. This is just plain false.
The misconception became widely circulated in the 19th century, with the
publication of Alexander Hisop. To begin with, Yule was a celtic
pagan celebration. Doesn’t make much sense for the Church to center the
celebration of Christmas on a day devoted to one tiny section of west
Europe. In fact, the current date of Christmas on Dec 25th wasn’t set
until the Middle Ages, past the time when most of Europe was converted
into SOME form of Christianity. One such quote that has sparked such belief in Christmas being pagan is the following: “It
was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the
birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity.
In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part.
Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians
had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the
true Nativity should be solemnised on that day.” (Christianity and
Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries, Ramsay MacMullen. Yale:1997,
Many seized this passage as proof of paganism being the
root of Christmas. However, context (as we all know) is super important.
Bishop Bar-Salibi (the author) was an Eastern Orthodox bishop, writing
to his flock to attempt to explain why WESTERN Catholics celebrated on
the 25th instead of the EAST’S tradition of Jan 7th. He had only a
cursory knowledge of Western Catholic culture and wrote sparingly, not
particularly well thought-out or with much research. It is by far no
means “proof” or an official statement as to how or why the celebration
Early Christians adapted a LOT of traditions from
Judaism. Of course, not just any traditions could be assimilated– that
was left to the Apostles, and eventually the early Church, to decide
what still applied to Christians and what was no longer okay to
celebrate (Council of Jerusalem circa 50 AD, according to Acts). As it
was, Hanukkah did not originate from Mosaic Judaism: i.e., the part that
Christians were told to no longer follow. It was a way for the Jews to
remember and celebrate the second dedication of the Temple after the
Maccabean revolt. The celebration always lasted 8 days, starting on the
25h day of the Jewish month of Kislev. The month of Kislev on the Jewish
calendar overlaps the month of December on the Julian/Gregorian
calendar. In fact, sometimes the overlap is so close, that Hanukkah is
celebrated at the same time Christians are celebrating Christmas. Now,
Hanukkah was very much a celebration focused on light, a “rebirth” for
the (earthly) kingdom, and a refreshed covenant with God. It made sense
that Early Christians would therefore feel close to it. However, early
Christians were shunned by the Jews, often kicked out of the culture
completely. They lost track of the Jewish calendar over time, and thus
it’s only natural that they fell into using the Julian calendar as other
Christian Gentiles did. They instead celebrated Hanukkah on December
25th–which was pretty close to Kislev 2th anyways. And–here’s the
kicker– there are 8 days between Dec 25th and Jan 1st, meaning it
perfectly wrapped up the end of the Christian cultural year with
re-dedication (new years revolutions, anyone?). Christmas became the
christened version of Hanukkah in the beginning. This went on for
several centuries in the Early Church.
So how did the Christian
Hanukkah become associated with Christ’s nativity? Very early Christians
believed that the world was created on Nissan 14, which is about March
25 on the Julian calendar. These Jewish Christians not only associated
the beginning of the world on that date, but also the beginning of the
new world: meaning the conception of Jesus Christ. To this day, the
Catholic Church (and Lutheran, Anglican) celebrate the Annunciation of
Mar 25th. Pregnancies last for about 9 months, so count that far ahead
from the date: you get to December 25th. Early Doctors/Fathers such as
Saints Ireaneus and Sextus Africanus firmly defended this date. Thus, it
was only natural for Christians to adapt their version of Hanukkah into
a celebration of Christ’s nativity. Eventually the 8-day feast was
overshadowed by 12 days, but that’s another discussion irrelevant to
So you’ve got two explanations as to how Christmas came
to be: the widely-circulated suggestion of it being based on pagan
practices, mostly prompted by 19th-century misconstructions; versus it
naturally originating from the course of intermingling of Jewish and
Gentile-born early Christians. The latter is supported by a lot of
official documentation by the church, including published works by
several saints/scholars close to the time of origin.
continue to suggest it was still influenced by pagan holidays. Such as
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Birth of the Unconquered Sun). However, this
was proposed on Dec. 25th by the pagan Roman emperor Aurelian in 275
AD– AFTER the dates of published works from the aforementioned Saints
Irenaeus (130 - 202 AD) and Sextus Africus (160 - 240 AD). Thus, early
Christians (many of Jewish heritage) were celebrating December 25 as a
date closely associated with Christ long before Aurelian dedicated the
birthday of the sun. Why do this? Remember that the early Christians
were actively persecuted for many centuries by the then-Pagan empire.
Still the religion was gaining traction. Aurelian could have easily set
the date with the mind to upstage the rising tide of Christianity.
fact, many scholarly sources indicate that the winter soltice was NOT a
hotbead for sun-worshiping for pagans. Here’s the most succinct quote: “Thomas
Talley has shown that, although the Emperor Aurelian’s dedication of a
temple to the sun god in the Campus Martius (C.E. 274) probably took
place on the ‘Birthday of the Invincible Sun’ on December 25, the cult
of the sun in pagan Rome ironically did not celebrate the winter
solstice nor any of the other quarter-tense days, as one might expect.” (Michael Alan Anderson) The principle dates for sun-worship were actually in August…not December.
again, culture context is KEY. The Christians were being actively
persecuted BY the Pagans in the early Church days. Is it really that
likely that those same pagans would take kindly to them adopting their
practices–or that the Christians would WANT to assimilate the culture
that was trying to wipe them out? Not likely.
Christmas was not pagan-based, let’s move on. What about the supposedly
pagan customs ingrained in it? Like the Christmas Tree (hey trey)? Yes,
the Franks and Scandinavians worshipped trees. But there is no credible
documentation found that suggests they even brought them into their houses
(in fact, this probably would have been sacrilegious, esp to the Norse:
trees were only ever to be chopped down for absolute necessity, so
having one around for ornamentation would be disrespectful). St.
Boniface was glorified for the legend of his chopping down of the
(pagan) Donor Oak to prevent human sacrifice, and this act was quite
evangelized. The Germans watched in horror, fearing Thor would strike
them down for this brazen act. Boniface, seeing this, took action. He
indicated a small fir sapling growing close to the roots of the former
sacrifice tree, and used it as a teaching tool: the fir was triangular
in shape, representing the trinity; it was always green, representing
God’s never-ending love for His people; and the needles always point
upwards as God. Boniface suggested that God placed the fir there as a
symbol to the pagans. It is then said that Boniface took a tree into the
later-constructed church, an ever green similar to the fir, during the
winter as a reminder. Of course, the modern Christmas tree came
later, during the time of the Protestant reformation. It was in Germany,
in an attempt to recreate St. Boniface’s tree. Martin Luther is said to
have first added lighted candles to an evergreen tree, in an attempt to
recreate in his chapel the starlight he saw, shining between trees in a
forest, while walking home one winter night.
There are other
supposedly Pagan symbols used in Christmas celebrations, but most of
those aren’t as widely used or accused as the Christmas Tree.
TL;DR: Christmas comes from Jewish customs, not pagan.
Enjolras’ uncle had a cabin, like many people of his ilk. Those fancy, fancy people who had the money to throw at random houses and cabins all around the country instead of spending all their money on rent.
Eponine wasn’t jealous - or bitter. No, not at all.
No, she was fucking furious. Because the world hated her, she was now stuck in this stupid fucking cabin with fucking Enjolras himself. The rest of their friends had been sane enough to check the weather reports, and they were safe at home while Eponine just had to be stuck in a rickety cabin (with too many fucking amenities) in the middle of the worst snowstorm they’d seen in at least a decade.
There was plenty of food (ugh, rich people) and they even had a big bathtub and excellent heating (her own apartment didn’t even have that). But it was the company that was truly lacking.
Gabriel Enjolras was an obnoxious idiot who did not understand that she really did not want to be there. Not with him anyway.
She liked his friends - those were fun guys who knew how to party. Enjolras was basically the sole exception. The only way this could have been more awkward is if it had been Marius in here with her - that awkward, awkward time when she had that stupid fucking crush on him would have come back in vivid technicolor. Luckily there was no danger of that EVER happening with fucking Enjolras.
Ugh, just… Fucking and Enjolras right after each other made her want to vomit.
ALL OF THE BEATLES CHRISTMAS MESSAGES PLAYED AT ONCE
Do you want to listen to all of The Beatles Christmas messages but just haven’t enough Holiday time to spare? Well fear no more, here they all are from 63 - 69, arranged in a fancy Xmas tree multitrack session:
It makes for a much busier, holiday tinged Revolution 9.
Every school has its own peculiar piece of history that the students learn and then seal in their hearts, because it is that peculiarity that makes this school their own. At Hogwarts, they learn of the feud between Slytherin and Gryffindor and the history of rivalry that then sprung up between these two houses. At Durmstrang, they learn martial magic and of Harfang Munter who believed that witches and wizards must learn how to wield their wands as weapons – they memorize lists of those from their school who fought the tyranny of the Ottoman empire in the south and in the north, of those who fought Russia.
Beauxbatons too, has its own peculiar history, but their greatest peculiarity lies not in the history of its founding, but in the 18th century, as France fell into turmoil over the French revolution.
Of course, we have amusing stories of those such as Vincent Duc de Trefle-Picques, the Duc who escaped the worst of the Terror by pretending he had already lost his head. And it is a fine and amusing tale, most popularly told and re-told outside France. But there is more to Beauxbatons than frivolous tales of French aristos who escaped the guillotine by the use of magic, for that was a time of great upheaval in magical France too, though few outside France hold this history close to their hearts.
At the time – and this is true not only of France, but all of Europe – the magical world had an aristocracy of its own. These were old and ancient families who could trace their bloodlines all the way back to the dawn of the Roman empire and beyond. They had money, they had power, they controlled the Conseil and the Parlement, but most importantly of all, their libraries were stocked with books upon books of rare and potent spells, potions and other obscure magical information and all these books were kept, as far as muggleborns were concerned, locked behind closed doors.
To us now, in the twenty-first century, it seems inconceivable that this should be a source of trouble. Those books, after all, were their own and therefore, theirs to choose to show.
But those were troubled days, and in the wake of the signing of the Statute of Secrecy, the old families banded together and began to pull old lies out of the murky past and began to circulate them. Muggleborns were weak. They had no true magic, only a weakened bastard mockery of magic. They cast spells from books that none had read and then mockingly demanded that these muggleborns too cast those same spells.
And they could not.
Oh the problem went much deeper. Wealth bought things besides power and invulnerability from the law. Wealth bought them tutors who would then teach their children the ways of the magical world and the basics of spellcasting from a young and tender age. Wealth bought classics in Greek and Latin – the languages of magic, taught to children at Beauxbatons. Wealth bought these languages prestige and muggleborns, who for all their lives had spoken French and that too, French in its myriad dialects, found themselves struggling to navigate the magical world – found that indeed, their magic was not as powerful as it could be. How could it, when they were allowed to know only that which they learnt, or had managed to learn, at school?
Is it any wonder, then, that revolutionary fervour came to Beauxbatons?
On the eleventh of July, while their elders marched on the Parisian homes of the ancient families, at Beauxbatons, Sang-Impurs and Sang-Mêlés and even some Sang-Purs stormed the office of the Headmaster and shut down the school. Professors and students who resisted were treated as enemies and fighting broke out across the school. La battaille des Bourbes, as it would later come to be known, lasted for ten hours and three classrooms were damaged before the fighting died down.
The fifth and sixth year students then took the library and began to redistribute the books to Sang-Impurs and Sang-Mêlés, encouraging them to magically make copies of these books for themselves to keep.
The students of Beauxbatons, helped by the school’s wood nymphs, successfully transformed the delicate chateau into a fortified area and defended it against attack from the hastily put-together gendarmerie, refusing to stand down until the Conseil and Parlement both agreed to create a public archive of all the magical books in France and the Headmaster of Beauxbatons agreed to change the curriculum to include a special course to help muggleborn students better assimilate into wizarding society. The Conseil and Parlement and the Headmaster of Beauxbatons furthermore, they demanded, should recognize the use of spells both in pure French and the regional French dialects, before they agreed to go back to school.
Pressured by the students on one side and the growing violence of discontented Sang-Impurs and Sang-Mêlés and poorer Sang-Purs from the rural parts of France, the Conseil hastily agreed to all the demands of the students and revolutionaries and on the 1st of August, 1789, all of wizarding France gathered on the lawns of Beauxbatons to listen to the heads of the Conseil read the Déclaration des droits des Sorciers which declared, among many other things, the right for all witches and wizards to have equal access to information about magic. The students of Beauxbatons released the Headmaster and the children of the ancient families they had been holding captive, and the rest of wizarding France set about making sure that the rights of the Déclaration were actually observed.
This is not to say that these reforms and rights were recognized instantaneously. There were those who resisted and it was a long time before the new French Ministry, based on the principles of absolute equality, could be established and the old Parlement disbanded. Old prejudices take long to fade, and sometimes, do not fully heal and disappear.
Whether or not it brought change immediately is irrelevant. Over time, Beauxbatons came to be proud of its participation in this historical moment. Without the students, who had held captive, in addition to the professors, the sons and daughters of those ancient families, the muggleborn movement might never have been successful at all and there would have been no French Ministry, or indeed, the Déclaration des droits des Sorciers – the only declaration of its kind, in the wizarding world. To have been part of this, of having shaped the future of their nation – that was something every student of Beauxbatons could be proud of.
It grew from there. Those students who sought to discriminate against others because their blood was less pure were then shunned. Not only did they betray their country, but they showed that they did not care in particular for the esprit of Beauxbatons – learning for all. From a young age then, these wizards and witches were taught to see those from other backgrounds as their equals and not their inferiors. In time, muggleborns came to be valued as much as their pureblood and half-blood counterparts. Unlike at Hogwarts, they could walk the corridors of their school without ever being called Sang-Impurs, unless they chose to name themselves so in honour of their predecessors. Unlike at Durmstrang, they were welcomed with open arms.
And on every 1st of August, they would assemble on the lawns of Beauxbatons, looking at the Monuments des Sang-Impurs and some even go so far as to sing, under their breaths, the original version of La Marseillaise. The original one that had been sung both at Beauxbatons and at Paris. The one sung when the Sang-Impurs marched and showed the ancient families that blood had nothing to do with magical power.