Lecture summary by student Atsuko Hiraide, Japanese
1, Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day was replaced in 50 A.D instead of Lupercalia which is one of the Festivals of ancient Rome. It means that Valentine’s Day is based on primal Roman Festivals not Christian. In Roman mythology, Lupercus is the god of shepherds. For this god, people had prepared two goats and a dog as a sacrifice. Moreover they had not only eaten them but also they made whips to hit girls and young woman to prevent from sterility and ease from the pain of childbirth.
Generally, Easter celebrates the day when Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Meanwhile, for Garman, it is also the celebration of finishing for winter and coming to spring. The symbols of resurrection egg and rabbit can be connected with life and birth. The date has various types because it depends on which calendar they use.
Halloween is based on Celtic myth. They had believed that ghost who used to be a member of family, spirit and witch visit their house. To prevent from their visiting, they had masked and burned particular trees. This is the only day you can open the door between this world and next world. (Curiously, Japan celebrates this twice in a year, as well. But we receive only family ghost and welcome them in our house. They stay at our house for a week and they go back riding vegetables like a cucumber and eggplant which we prepare…after they make sure their descendant lives comfortably. Needless to say, it is just traditional custom).
Generally, Christmas intend to celebrate for Jesus’s birthday. But there is some theory Jesus might have been born in September. Saturnalia which also is ancient Roman festival had changed to Christmas This is reason why Christmas connect with Roman ancient God of sun which has celebration on the day of winter solstice.
The most interesting thing is that most festivals are based on ancient myths.!