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    St.Elijah's Day/ Christianized Celebrations

    http://12121.hostinguk.com/elijah.htm

    In Eastern Europe, it seems pretty common for St.Elijah to have a lot of pagan elements associated with him. Whenever there's a thunderstorm, people from Russia to Serbia say that it's his chariot or horses rumbling across the sky, shooting arrows at dragons and demons and such. They also say that he gathers water, or releases it by slaying the dragon or many-headed serpent of Slavic folklore (also called zmey, hala, lamia, etc.) and that he spills some of it from his chariot onto the earth while he's carrying it back to heaven. In folklore, he often behaves like a God, not a saint- although from the early Slavic point of view, there probably wasn't much difference; the word for deity (bogi) was used for icon in old Russian. In one Russian tale, he actually tries to ruin a peasant's crops with hail and storms because he honors St.Nicholas but not him. In the story, St.Nicholas protects the peasant through trickery. This day is full of old pre-Christian practices, like sacrificing of animals and the creation of sacred friction fires.

    On August second, I intend to try and celebrate a de-Christianized version of this holiday, dedicated to the Slavic storm God, Perun. I'm not sure how it will go, but I was wondering if anyone else has experience trying to take the Christian element out of Christianized celebrations. One could argue that the approach to Yule and Ostara practiced by many pagans is very much the same.

    Last edited by Nomad of Nowhere; 29 Jul 2011 at 04:24 AM. Reason: Adding the story

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    Re: St.Elijah's Day/ Christianized Celebrations

    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad of Nowhere View Post
    It depends enormously on the holiday in question, what's being claimed as "pagan," what religious/spiritual traditions are supplying the "pagan" elements, and so forth.

    Eastern European practices in general, and Russian practices in particular, were often much more thinly Christianized -- conversion came much later, and was much spottier and incomplete than in Western Europe; there were fewer people, especially out in the sticks, who knew enough about Christian doctrine (including priests) to play orthodoxy police. The Russian term for this state of affairs is "dvoeverie" (dual faith), and there are analogues in a number of Slavic languages.

    When you start talking about Western Europe, it gets much trickier. Easter is entirely a Christian festival, but because of its timing, it picked up a bunch of pre-existing "yay spring" local practices, especially in Northern Europe. That doesn't make Easter some kind of OMG PAGAN RITE that MEAN CHRISTIANS STOLE FROM US. Christmas/Yule celebrations are even more complex, and it's worth noting that at many points in history, the most hardcore element of whatever Church was dominant at the time complained that Christmas shouldn't be celebrated at all, because it was far too unruly and paganish -- Christmas as a festival was banned in colonial New England for exactly that reason. So the meme that Christmas was some kind of "pure" Christian religious ritual that was "polluted" by pagan elements and commercialism and other bugaboos doesn't really hold water. That doesn't make it OMG PAGAN either, though.
    Last edited by catja6; 30 Jul 2011 at 03:18 PM. Reason: spelling error

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    Re: St.Elijah's Day/ Christianized Celebrations

    Quote Originally Posted by catja6 View Post
    It depends enormously on the holiday in question, what's being claimed as "pagan," what religious/spiritual traditions are supplying the "pagan" elements, and so forth.

    Eastern European practices in general, and Russian practices in particular, were often much more thinly Christianized -- conversion came much later, and was much spottier and incomplete than in Western Europe; there were fewer people, especially out in the sticks, who knew enough about Christian doctrine (including priests) to play orthodoxy police. The Russian term for this state of affairs is "dvoeverie" (dual faith), and there are analogues in a number of Slavic languages.

    When you start talking about Western Europe, it gets much trickier. Easter is entirely a Christian festival, but because of its timing, it picked up a bunch of pre-existing "yay spring" local practices, especially in Northern Europe. That doesn't make Easter some kind of OMG PAGAN RITE that MEAN CHRISTIANS STOLE FROM US. Christmas/Yule celebrations are even more complex, and it's worth noting that at many points in history, the most hardcore element of whatever Church was dominant at the time complained that Christmas shouldn't be celebrated at all, because it was far too unruly and paganish -- Christmas as a festival was banned in colonial New England for exactly that reason. So the meme that Christmas was some kind of "pure" Christian religious ritual that was "polluted" by pagan elements and commercialism and other bugaboos doesn't really hold water. That doesn't make it OMG PAGAN either, though.
    That makes sense. When my friends talk about the Christians stealing Easter, I point out that Easter has as much to do with passover as any pagan holiday. Especially in other countries like Spain where they don't even use the term "easter", just "pascha". However, I think for Christmas, the Christian foundation is a lot weaker, since unlike pascha, early Christians generally didn't even celebrate Christmas.

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    Re: St.Elijah's Day/ Christianized Celebrations

    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad of Nowhere View Post
    http://12121.hostinguk.com/elijah.htm

    In Eastern Europe, it seems pretty common for St.Elijah to have a lot of pagan elements associated with him. Whenever there's a thunderstorm, people from Russia to Serbia say that it's his chariot or horses rumbling across the sky, shooting arrows at dragons and demons and such. They also say that he gathers water, or releases it by slaying the dragon or many-headed serpent of Slavic folklore (also called zmey, hala, lamia, etc.) and that he spills some of it from his chariot onto the earth while he's carrying it back to heaven. In folklore, he often behaves like a God, not a saint- although from the early Slavic point of view, there probably wasn't much difference; the word for deity (bogi) was used for icon in old Russian. In one Russian tale, he actually tries to ruin a peasant's crops with hail and storms because he honors St.Nicholas but not him. In the story, St.Nicholas protects the peasant through trickery. This day is full of old pre-Christian practices, like sacrificing of animals and the creation of sacred friction fires.

    On August second, I intend to try and celebrate a de-Christianized version of this holiday, dedicated to the Slavic storm God, Perun. I'm not sure how it will go, but I was wondering if anyone else has experience trying to take the Christian element out of Christianized celebrations. One could argue that the approach to Yule and Ostara practiced by many pagans is very much the same.
    Here is example of celebration of this celebrate in our country by one of the pagan clans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGLerQytoNU

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