glistening entrails and other Christmas trivia
The exact breeds involved in the first organized dog fight are lost to the mists of time, but historians all agree that the first fight took place at a Christmas gathering. At the time it was a pagan holiday celebrating the winter solstice, but that’s only semantics, everyone in attendance knew eventually it was going to end up Christmas.
A bunch of family got together and two of them brought their dogs and at some point in the festivities the two dogs got into it. One dog whupped the other and when the clearly-embarrassed owner of the losing canine showed up the following year he brought a much bigger dog.
After that things escalated.
And from that dog fighting was born.
Same thing with cock fighting. Different location, Southeast Asia, but identical story. Couple people whipped out their cocks at a Christmas party and few years later the entire event is focused around a special ‘holiday cockpit’ (refer to it as a ‘flight deck’ all you want airlines, but it’s called a cockpit… because that’s where the stewardesses go to fight), where the winning bird is lauded and the loser stuffed with bread, butter, onion, celery, and spices.
Same with the gladiator games as well. Isn’t history fascinating? It started off innocently enough with two families introducing their sons, it didn’t go well, bit uncomfortable, and the next thing you know they’re building great Christmas coliseums to see which of their offspring are the strongest. The winning fighter typically receiving branches of palm and the favors of society women and the loser being stuffed with bread, butter, onion, celery, and spices. That’s why many times losers preferred death.
And those spectacles you’ve heard about involving Christians being feds to the lions? All ushered in thousands of years ago by the phrase “Who brought the lion?” Said, ironically enough, offhandedly.
Ironic because a lot of times hands came off.
That’s the thing about Christmas trivia, it’s filled with innocence and irony. And bloodshed. I would be remise if I didn’t revisit the bloodshed, what with the dog fighting and the cockfighting and the gladiator fighting and the feeding of holiday revelers to lions and what not.
The tinsel on the tree? Emulating the glistening entrails that were a part of most early Christmas celebrations.
Now who shot his arrow?
How high did it fly?
When he tipped it with poison
Did he even know why?
What unseen hand
Brought him face to face to face to face with
All this and more
In a pagan place?
– A Pagan Place The Waterboys
A Pagan Place lyrics © Dizzy Heights Music Publishing, Ltd.