Here in Saint Paul (Minnesota) we have an annual Winter Carnival and it’s a pretty big deal - lots of events over a span of about a week all throughout the city. There’s also a “carnival legend” that goes along with the carnival that includes all kinds of characters. Basically, the legend is that Boreas (the good god of the north wind) battles against Vulcanus Rex (the bad god of “fire and brimstone”) and his vulcan minions who want to end winter. Each year, King Boreas and the Queen are crowned and the vulcans, who wear read and go around making black Vs on people’s faces, are at all the carnival events. This legend is incorporated into most of the carnival activities including the Medallion Hunt (which I love to participate in) which is a hunt for the treasure of King Boreas. I love the Winter Carnival, but I wonder whether there is anything morally objectionable about celebrating these pagan deities (Boreas and Vulcanus Rex) and the apparent connections of the vulcans and demons, or if it’s harmless. I do recall the vulcans being invited at least once to my Catholic grade school years ago and I haven’t heard any fellow Catholics voice concerns about it. Is there anything sinful, considering this, about celebrating the Winter Carnival?
My personal opinion? At this point, pagan gods are really just stories here and now. In that context, I think it’s fine to participate in recreations of this type, because they’re not much different than participating in something based on a work of fiction, like going to Disneyland would be. There’s no real danger of temptation to paganism.
I’m betting if you ask the good people of St. Paul if they think that Boreas and Vulcanus Rex are actual gods they would say No. Everyone knows it’s just a story involving fictional characters and no one is worshipping the characters as gods. Look at it like Santa or the Easter Bunny – harmless fun. (Yes I know the character of Santa Claus is derived from the actual St. Nicholas but nobody makes that connection any more.)
It sounds more like folklore at this point. It seems pretty harmless and I doubt anyone is going to believe any of it as real.
It’s a party. have fun!
We all have the choice and it is up to you whether you want to break the first commandment and participate in, support and encourage paganism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. It is written: “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” “You Shall Worship the Lord Your God and Him Only Shall You Serve”
2084 God makes himself known by recalling his all-powerful, loving, and liberating action in the history of the one he addresses: “I brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” The first word contains the first commandment of the Law: “You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him… You shall not go after other gods.”5 God’s first call and just demand is that man accept him and worship him. Source: usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm#
I suggest reading the subsequent paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it goes into further details and has the biblical references.
We are under increasing attacks from believers and non believers alike about celebrating the birth of Christ, for wearing crucifix’s and for having the audacity to reject the secular worship of sin and chose to live the faith. Presenting paganism as okay fun for everyone is obviously one of satan’s better efforts.
From my perspective, either you are for God and trying to put Him first, or you are not.
Sorry if I seem a bit harsh but there is nothing harmless about turning your back on God. If you decide to keep supporting and worshiping pagan gods and claim to be Catholic, don’t be surprised if you are judged as a hypocrite and ultimately damage the Church and lead others astray (especially children who are very quick to pick up on double standards and hypocrisy).
You are not worshiping them in lieu of God, you are playing along in a secular fantasy game. We don’t worship the Easter Bunny but we still make Easter Baskets. We don’t worship Santa Claus but we still buy gifts for each other. We don’t worship Satan but we dress up for Halloween and beg for candy. As long as you keep it in perspective, I don’t see where it conflicts with the faith.
I would respectfully disagree that simply because some people believe that participating in pagan worship of the Greek god Boreas is secular fantasy, makes it okay for a Christian to put aside the first commandment. As for the Easter Bunny, all I know is that it is another US import although I did find one article suggesting a German Protestant or Lutheran origin tying up with the end of Lent. As I grew up with St Nicholas and the fantasy of the secular Santa Claus, it was only St Nicholas that kept my faith alive whilst most of my friends (who did not know about St Nicholas) rejected the faith at the time they discovered the lie. If people want to celebrate Halloween (a pagan festival) instead of all Saints and all Souls Day, again, that is their choice and their responsibility.
Whilst I can understand those who reject God, seeking other idols and gods and twisting the Christian faith to feed their spiritual hunger, I cannot understand why Christians would want to join them. Especially Catholics given the number of feast days we have, but often forget to celebrate. I suppose the only thing I can do is pray that God will guide all of us along His narrow path.
May God bless you.
I just don’t see how doing something fun and secular even brings the first commandment into play. In point of fact, people are daily more drawn to worshiping money, sex, power, pride, lust, greed, etc. than they are having some fun and games at a winter carnival.
I do agree with your statement about personal responsibility, so hopefully we have all given the OP a divergence of opinion upon which to help make a decision.
well, first i would like to ask, are those gods actually worshiped by anyone today?
is it a religious or a cultural stuff what is going on there?
Do you know that in the vatican they got statues of gods, like hermanubis, but they are just kept in a cultural way.