In the Northern Hemisphere the primitive ancients worried that on the shortest day of the year, unless the gods were propitiated, the days would get shorter still until the sun disappeared entirely and left us frozen and foodless. So they would burn a huge log in the fire and get drunk and disorderly, while the rich would pretend to be poor and the poor to be rich. It was called Saturnalia.
The Mayan astronomers also worried about Dec. 21 and used it to mark calendar cycles also celebrated, by tearing the heart out of a living virgin.
Meanwhile in our US congress, the bickering Republicans decided to break ranks with John Boehner and refuse any tax increases for plutocrats to mark their midwinter bottom. They got disorderly but I am not sure they got drunk.
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