pagan origins of christmas

Dis­cov­er­ing The Pagan Ori­gins Of Christmas

Few peo­ple real­ize that the pagan ori­gins of Christ­mas has noth­ing to do with Jesus(P) and cel­e­brat­ed in Europe long before any­one there had heard of Jesus(P). No one knows what day Jesus(P) was born on. From the Bib­li­cal descrip­tion, most his­to­ri­ans believe that his birth prob­a­bly occurred in Sep­tem­ber, approx­i­mate­ly six months after Passover. One thing they agree on is that it is very unlike­ly that Jesus was born in Decem­ber since the Bible records shep­herds tend­ing their sheep in the fields on that night. This is quite unlike­ly to have hap­pened dur­ing a cold Judean winter. 

So why do Christ­mas cel­e­brate Christ’s birth­day as Christ­mas, on Decem­ber 25th ? 

Pagan Ori­gins Of Christmas

The answer lies in the pagan ori­gins of Christ­mas. In ancient Baby­lon, the feast of the son of Isis (god­dess of nature) was cel­e­brat­ed on Decem­ber 25. Rau­cous par­ty­ing, glut­to­nous eat­ing, drink­ing and gift-giv­ing were tra­di­tions of this feast.

In Rome, the Win­ter Sol­stice was cel­e­brat­ed many years before the birth of Christ. The Romans called their win­ter hol­i­day Sat­ur­na­lia”, hon­our­ing Sat­urn, the god of agri­cul­ture. In Jan­u­ary, they observed the Kalends of Jan­u­ary, which rep­re­sent­ed the tri­umph of life over death. This whole sea­son was called Dies Natal­is Invic­ti Solis, the birth­day of the Uncon­quered Sun.

The fes­ti­val sea­son was marked by much mer­ry­mak­ing. It is in ancient Rome that the tra­di­tion of the Mum­mers was born. The Mum­mers were groups of cos­tumed singers and dancers who trav­elled from house to house enter­tain­ing their neigh­bours. From this, the Christ­mas tra­di­tion of car­olling was born.

More can be said about the pagan ori­gins of Christ­mas. In north­ern Europe, many oth­er tra­di­tions that we now con­sid­er part of Christ­mas wor­ship were begun long before the par­tic­i­pants had ever heard of Christ. The pagans of north­ern Europe cel­e­brat­ed their own win­ter sol­stice, known as Yule. Yule was sym­bol­ic of the pagan sun god, Mithras, being born, and was observed on the short­est day of the year. As the sun god grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was cus­tom­ary to light a can­dle to encour­age Mithras and the sun to reap­pear next year. Huge Yule logs were burned in hon­our of the sun. The word Yule itself means wheel”, the wheel being a pagan sym­bol for the sun. Mistle­toe was con­sid­ered a sacred plant, and the cus­tom of kiss­ing under the mistle­toe began as a fer­til­i­ty rit­u­al. Hol­ly berries were thought to be a food of the gods.

The tree is the one sym­bol that unites almost all the north­ern Euro­pean win­ter sol­stices. Live ever­green trees were often brought into homes dur­ing the harsh win­ters as a reminder to inhab­i­tants that soon their crops would grow again. Ever­green boughs were some­times car­ried as totems of good luck and were often present at wed­dings, rep­re­sent­ing fer­til­i­ty. The Druids used the tree as a reli­gious sym­bol, hold­ing their sacred cer­e­monies while sur­round­ing and wor­ship­ping huge trees.

In the year 350 AD, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be cel­e­brat­ed on Decem­ber 25. There is lit­tle doubt that he was try­ing to make it as pain­less as pos­si­ble for pagan Romans (who remained a major­i­ty at that time) to con­vert to Chris­tian­i­ty. The new reli­gion went down a bit eas­i­er, know­ing that their feasts would not be tak­en away from them. Christ­mas (Christ-Mass) as we know it today, most his­to­ri­ans agree, began in Ger­many, though Catholics and Luther­ans still dis­agree about which church cel­e­brat­ed it first. The ear­li­est record of an ever­green being dec­o­rat­ed in a Chris­t­ian cel­e­bra­tion was in 1521 in the Alsace region of Ger­many. A promi­nent Luther­an min­is­ter of the day cried blas­phe­my : Bet­ter that they should look to the true tree of life, Christ“The con­tro­ver­sy con­tin­ues even today in some fun­da­men­tal­ist sects. Endmark

Cite this arti­cle as : Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, Dis­cov­er­ing The Pagan Ori­gins Of Christ­mas,” in Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma, Decem­ber 25, 2006, last accessed Feb­ru­ary 28, 2024, https://​bis​mikaal​lahu​ma​.org/​c​h​r​i​s​t​i​a​n​i​t​y​/​p​a​g​a​n​-​o​r​i​g​i​n​s​-​o​f​-​c​h​r​i​s​t​m​as/

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2 responses to “Dis­cov­er­ing The Pagan Ori­gins Of Christmas”

  1. Tarek Avatar
    Tarek

    From http://​www​.guidetos​al​va​tion​.com This is part of the arti­cle, it is very in-depth with illustrations.

    Event by event, we found we were able to con­struct Jesus’ sup­posed biog­ra­phy from myth­ic motifs pre­vi­ous­ly relat­ing to Osiris-Dionysus :
    ?Osiris-Diony­sus is God made flesh, the sav­ior and Son of God.”

    ?His father is God and his moth­er is a mor­tal Virgin.

    ?He is born in a cave or hum­ble cow­shed on Decem­ber 25 before three Shepard’s.

    ?He offers his fol­low­ers the chance to be born again through the rites of baptism.

    ?He mirac­u­lous­ly turns water into wine at a mar­riage ceremony.

    ?He rides tri­umphant­ly into town on a don­key while peo­ple wave palm leaves to hon­or him.

    ?He dies at East­er­time as a sac­ri­fice for the sins of the world.

    ?After his death he descends to hell, then on the third day he ris­es from the dead and ascends to heave in glory.

    ?His fol­low­ers await his return as the judge dur­ing the Last Days.

    ?His death and res­ur­rec­tion are cel­e­brat­ed by a rit­u­al meal of bread and wine, which sym­bol­izes his body and blood.

    These are just some of the motifs shared between the tales of Osiris-Diony­sus and the biog­ra­phy of Jesus. Why are these remark­able sim­i­lar­i­ties not com­mon knowl­edge ? Because, as we were to dis­cov­er lat­er, the ear­ly Roman Church did every­thing in its pow­er to pre­vent us per­ceiv­ing them. It sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly destroyed Pagan sacred lit­er­a­ture in a bru­tal pro­gram of erad­i­cat­ing the Mys­ter­ies, a task it per­formed so com­plete­ly that today Pagan­ism is regard­ed as a dead” religion.

    Although sur­pris­ing to us now, to writ­ers of the first few cen­turies C. E. these sim­i­lar­i­ties between the new Chris­t­ian reli­gion and the ancient Mys­ter­ies were extreme­ly obvi­ous. Pagan crit­ics of Chris­tian­i­ty, such as the satirist Cel­sus, com­plained that this recent reli­gion was noth­ing more than a pale reflec­tion of their own ancient teach­ings. Ear­ly Church fathers,” such as Justin Mar­tyr, Ter­tul­lian, and Ire­naeus, were under­stand­ably dis­turbed and resort­ed to the des­per­ate claim that these sim­i­lar­i­ties were the result of dia­bol­i­cal mim­ic­ry. Using one of the most absurd argu­ments ever advanced, they accused the Dev­il of pla­gia­rism by antic­i­pa­tion,” of devi­ous­ly copy­ing the true sto­ry of Jesus before it had actu­al­ly hap­pened in an attempt to mis­lead the gullible. These Church fathers struck as as no less devi­ous than the Dev­il they hoped to incriminate.”

  2. Shadowofears Avatar
    Shadowofears

    Christ­mas fes­ti­vals today incor­po­rate many oth­er pagan cus­toms, such as the use of hol­ly, mistle­toe, Yule logs, and was­sail bowls. The Christ­mas tree itself is the most obvi­ous aspect of ancient pagan cel­e­bra­tions which were lat­er incor­po­rat­ed into church rites. Schol­ars believe that the Chris­t­ian cel­e­bra­tion was orig­i­nal­ly derived in part from rites held by pre-Chris­t­ian Ger­man­ic and Celtic peo­ples to cel­e­brate the win­ter sol­stice. The Christ­mas tree, an ever­green trimmed with lights and oth­er dec­o­ra­tions, because it keeps its green nee­dles through­out the win­ter months, was believed by pre-Chris­t­ian pagans to have spe­cial pow­ers of pro­tec­tion against the forces of nature and evil spir­its. The end of Decem­ber marked the onset of a vis­i­ble length­en­ing of day­light hours — the return of warmth and light and defeat of those evil forces of cold and dark­ness. The Christ­mas tree is derived from the so-called par­adise tree, sym­bol­iz­ing Eden, of Ger­man mys­tery plays. The use of a Christ­mas tree began ear­ly in the 17th cen­tu­ry, in Stras­bourg, France, spread­ing from there through Ger­many, into north­ern Europe and Great Britain, and then on to the Unit­ed States.

    Christ­mas is not the only Chris­t­ian fes­ti­val which was bor­rowed from ancient pagan­ism and foist­ed upon the reli­gion of Jesus . There is also East­er, the Feast of St. John, the Holy com­mu­nion, the Annun­ci­a­tion of the vir­gin, the assump­tion of the vir­gin, and many oth­ers have their roots in ancient pagan wor­ship. Since we can not get into the details here, there­fore, the inter­est­ed read­er is encour­aged to con­sult the above books.

    Many peo­ple object to peo­ple who advise them not to intro­duce new and inno­v­a­tive prac­tices into their reli­gion, even if they were only to be fes­ti­vals and cel­e­bra­tions. They object what could it hurt if I were to wor­ship God and thank Him for his bless­ings on this day when pagans per­formed their wor­ship ? I am not wor­ship­ping idols.” For this we only need to read the very explic­it pro­hi­bi­tion of God in this regard which He Him­self emphat­i­cal­ly declared in the Bible :

    Take heed to thy­self that thou be not snared by fol­low­ing them (pagans), after that they be destroyed from before thee ; and that thou inquire not after their gods, say­ing, How did these nations serve their gods ? even so will I do like­wise. (Deuteron­o­my 12:30)”

    There is a good rea­son why God com­mands us to do things. Just because we do not know the wis­dom behind a pro­hi­bi­tion does not give us the free­dom to dis­re­gard it. Indeed, it is exact­ly such will­ing­ness to adapt” and com­pro­mise” which even­tu­al­ly lead to the loss of the mes­sage of Jesus.

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