Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Exmas and Chrissmas

How are your Advent preparations going? If you're feeling under the gun, the Bishop of Denver's recent column might be just the thing. In it, he shares from a C.S. Lewis essay on the the festivals of Exmas and Chrissmas. Lewis himself is merely sharing a lost chapter from Herodotus on the customs of a strange land called Niatirb. Of Niatirb, "Herodotus" writes that:
In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound, (the Niatirbians) have a great festival called Exmas, and for 50 days they prepare for it (in the manner which is called,) in their barbarian speech, the Exmas Rush. When the day of the festival comes, most of the citizens, being exhausted from the (frenzies of the) Rush, lie in bed till noon. But in the evening they eat five times as much as on other days, and crowning themselves with crowns of paper, they become intoxicated. And on the day after Exmas, they are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and the reckoning of how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine. (Now a) few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas, which is on the same day as Exmas...
Niatirb? Lewis is writing about Britain, of course.

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