While many of you believed that Christmas is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, however, the real Christmas is actually celebrated long before the birth of Jesus. Yes, people, ‘Christmas’ actually exist before the birth of Christ. But then, it was not known as Christmas then. The original ‘Christmas’ was a pagan holiday known as the Winter Solstice, celebrated by people who are not even Christians. The history of Christmas can be traced over 4000 years, centuries before Jesus was born. Many of the Christmas traditions were practiced and celebrated centuries before Jesus was born.
The 12 days of Christmas, the bright fires, the yule log, the giving of gifts, carnival, parades, carolers who sing while going from house to house, the holiday feasts, and the church processions can all be traced back to the early Mesopotamians history.
Many of these traditions began with the Mesopotamian celebration of New Years. The Mesopotamians believed in
many gods, and among them are their chief god – Marduk. Each year as winter arrived it was believed that Marduk would do battle with the monsters of chaos. To assist Marduk in his struggle the Mesopotamians held a festival for the New Year. It’s known as Zagmuk, the New Year’s festival that lasted for 12 days.
The Mesopotamian king would return to the temple of Marduk and swear his faithfulness to the god. The traditions called for the king to die at the end of the year and to return with Marduk to battle at his side.
To spare their king, the Mesopotamians used the idea of a “mock or fake” king. A criminal was chosen and dressed in royal clothes. He was given all the respect and privileges of a real king, but at the end of the celebration the “mock” king was stripped of the royal clothes and slain without mercy, sparing the life of the real king from the sacrificial ritual.
The Persians and the Babylonians also celebrated a similar festival called the Sacaea. Part of that celebration included the exchanging of places, the slaves would become the masters and the masters were to obey.
Early Europeans believed in evil spirits, witches, ghosts and trolls. As the Winter Solstice approached, with its long cold nights and short days, many people feared the sun would not return. Special rituals and celebrations were held to welcome back the sun. A great festival would be held, called the Yuletide, and a special feast would be served around a fire burning with the Yule log. Great bonfires would also be lit to celebrate the return of the sun. In some areas people would tie apples to branches of trees to remind themselves that spring and summer would return. That, my dear readers, is the origin of the tradition where you decorate a Christmas tree.
The ancient Greeks held a festival similar to that of the Zagmuk/Sacaea festivals to assist their god Kronos who would battle the god Zeus and his Titans.
The Roman’s celebrated their god Saturn. Their festival was called Saturnalia which began the middle of December and ended January 1st. With cries of “Jo Saturnalia!” the celebration would include masquerades in the streets, big festive meals, visiting friends, and the exchange of good-luck gifts called Strenae (lucky fruits).
The Romans decked their halls with garlands of laurel and green trees lit with candles. Again the masters and slaves would exchange places.
“Jo Saturnalia!” was a fun and festive time for the Romans, but the Christians though it an abomination to honor the pagan god. The early Christians wanted to keep the birthday of their Christ child a solemn and religious holiday, not one of cheer and merriment as was the pagan Saturnalia.
However, as Christianity spread, the Christians priests were alarmed by the continuing celebration of pagan customs and Saturnalia among their converts.
At first the Church forbid this kind of celebration. But it was to no avail. Eventually it was decided that the celebration should be tamed and made into a celebration fit for the Christian’s Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfect example of ‘if you can’t beat them, then by all means, join them’.
Some legends claim that the Christian “Christmas” celebration was invented to compete against the pagan celebrations of December. The 25th was not only sacred to the Romans but also the Persians whose religion Mithraism was one of Christianity’s main rivals at that time.
The Christian created Christmas then, where Christ refers to Jesus and Mass refers to the gathering of Christians. The Church eventually was successful in taking the merriment, lights, and gifts from the Saturanilia festival and bringing them to the celebration of Christmas. The exact day of Jesus’s birth has never been pinpointed in the bible. Traditions say that it has been celebrated since the year 98 AD. In 137 AD the Bishop of Rome ordered the birthday of the Christ Child celebrated as a solemn feast. In 350 AD another Bishop of Rome, Julius I, choose December 25th as the observance of Christmas.
Cleffairy: So, tell me, people, did you celebrate Christ Mass, where you gather and spend time with your brothers and sisters in Christ in remembrance of Jesus or did you celebrate the pagan holiday, Winter Solstice by partying and indulging in alcoholic drinks and sex parties?
ps: Don’t call me a party pooper when you creeps are history illiterate. Grrrr!