from the editor Christmas (Christ’s Mass) is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. No one knows exactly when the famous Galilean was born, but a majority of scholars agree that it was somewhere between the years 6 and 2 BC. It was not until the 4th century that December 25th was chosen as the day of his birth, either because early Christians believed that it was exactly nine months after he was conceived, or because the date corresponded with ancient polytheistic celebrations that were observed within the Roman Empire. Hanukkah, known as the Festival of Lights, is an eightday Jewish holiday. Solomon’s Temple (or the First Temple) was probably built in the 10th century BC. It stood on the Temple Mount (Mount Zion) for many centuries before being destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II after the siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC. The Jewish Nation was then exiled to Babylon, and the temple lay in ruins for seven decades before they were able to return and construct the Second Temple. This masterpiece also stood for centuries, until the Romans, led by Titus, destroyed it while quelling a great Jewish revolt in 70 AD. In the interim, another Jewish revolt, against the
Seleucid Monarchy in 165 BC, liberated the temple, which had been seized by Antiochus and used for pagan rituals – an act that instigated the rebellion in the first place. Hanukkah commemorates the liberation and cleansing of the Temple. Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday observed from December 26th to January 1st. It was created by Maulana Karenga and was first observed in 1966. Karenga graduated from the University of California with degrees in Political Science before becoming heavily involved in the Black Power movement. It was within this backdrop of 60’s activism, in the heat of the civil rights movement, that he conceived and implemented Kwanzaa, with the goal of providing African-Americans with an alternative to the customs of the dominant society. All three of these holidays feature unique symbols, festive music, somber ceremony, decorations, traditional cuisine, and gift giving. But such practices are merely window dressing for the true meaning and significance of these observances – the importance of family and community. So we at Newport Naked would like to wish all of you a very happy and healthy holiday season. – C.J.P.
The Wallace Foss
newportnaked.com • winter 2013 / 2014 7