Meeting on December 21 on Christmas traditions

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QuentinDeakin
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Meeting on December 21 on Christmas traditions

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On Monday 21st December the society’s members met for a Zoom meeting on the traditions of Christmas. Hilary Harrison was the main speaker. She gave a comprehensive talk on the history of traditional mid-winter festivals and customs at the time of the Winter Solstice. She began with a slide showing Stonehenge and referenced the customs of the Ancient World. Highlighted were later traditions at the time of King James, Charles I and the climax of Puritan opposition to excessive festivities during the Cromwellian inter-regnum. She referenced Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night. In the final part of her talk Hilary looked at traditions particular to Wales.

When the meeting reconvened Liz Deakin gave a shorter talk on the Roman tradition of Saturnalia and traced its origins to Greek mythology and creation myths. Many of the traditions of Saturnalia are still alive and flourishing, such as the decoration of houses with greenery and role reversal where the masters become the servants and a child becomes master of ceremonies in a period of misrule. A short discussion followed. Both talks were well researched and it was an interesting and enjoyable pre-Christmas event. The next Zoom meeting of the society will be on January 18th at 7 PM when Dr John Hirst, in a talk titled A Cambrian Postcard, will be taking us on a journey from Aberystwyth to Pwllheli.

Liz Deakin
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