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Merry Hashish! Christmas and Marijuana

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Christmas has come and gone for the year 2020, and New Year’s is right around the corner. The holidays are undoubtedly a time for friends to get together and toke, but such traditions go back way farther than recent history. All throughout history, cannabis has been used as part of our favorite holidays. So, let’s take a look at the connection between Christmas and marijuana.

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Pagans and Christmas

Christianity didn’t just happen overnight, and as it passed through into different areas in the world, it incorporated into local traditions. Before Christmas was known as the holiday that marked the birth of Jesus Christ, it was known for representing the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night. The parties of that time of year were called ‘Yule’, which is the Germanic term used for the winter solstice. Yule essentially marked the end of the days shortening, and was a celebration of the coming months of greater sun. Though it isn’t one of the plants generally associated with Christmastime, Christmas and marijuana go together traditionally, right along with more known plants like evergreen trees, mistletoe, cloves, holly, and cinnamon.

One story goes as follows: Before the time of the 12 days of Christmas, those days were known as the 12 Raw Nights. As the story goes, the pagan god Woton (aka Odin), galloped across the sky with his army to fight the battle of light versus dark, called the Wild Hunt. Woton and his army, by folklore, were known to pick up unsuspecting victims from the ground, and were often accompanied by other demons which came out during these nights. One of the traditions to ward off evil at bedtime was the use of nine herbs, one of which was likely cannabis. The story of Woton and his flying army is thought by some to be the basis for the Santa Claus story, and draws an early connection between Christmas and marijuana.

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Beth Edmonds