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Is Christmas a pagan holiday? 5 Christmas Traditions

Have you ever wondered what the origin of Christmas is? Or if it is Christmas a pagan holiday? In the Word of God, or people’s words (traditions and customs)? If you have a chosen heart like the Bereans, “These Jews had a more chosen heart than the Thessalonians. They received the Word with all eagerness, and searched the Scriptures daily, to see if what they were told was so”(Acts17:11)- Before you get angry or take a stand, do some research and you will discover for yourself if this feast is Clean Water or “Scum”. Is Christmas a pagan holiday?

Biblical research historians truly demonstrate that the origins of the Christmas holiday are pagan. Frazer says: “The greatest pagan religious sect that stimulated the celebration of December 25 as a holiday throughout the Roman and Greek world was the pagan worship of the sun – Mithraism. This winter holiday was called, Nativity’ – Birth of the Sun'”.

Christmas is the day designated in our calendars as the day of Christ’s birth. But is this the day He was born? So today’s customs of this season have a Christian origin? Or is Christmas another example of paganism and Christianity mixing?

What does the Bible Say About Christmas?

Christians seek to please God (1 John 2:17), and they do not worship as they please, but as God wills! You must know God’s will for the holiday. They don’t celebrate because the whole world is celebrating and they know the whole world is in wickedness (Jonah 5:19). They celebrate because the Lord has commanded them that their master is Jesus, not the world of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4; Matthew 24:45-47).

According to the Bible, the word “Christmas” does not exist in the Bible, nor does the Bible say that a holiday should be celebrated by this name, it just says that the Bible does not record the holiday: “Jesus was born of the Lord” and Christians do not celebrate it.

Christmas is not what the Bible teaches. Is Christmas a pagan holiday? If our blessed Lord wants us to celebrate His birth, He will tell us when and how to celebrate. But Christ did not tell anyone to celebrate his birth. We also know from the Bible and church history that the apostles and the early Church never celebrated Christ’s birth.

Read more: Significance of the Baptism of the Lord

Why is December 25 a pagan holiday?

We have heard this accusation many times at the feast of the Nativity. The Romans began celebrating their seven-day winter festival, Saturnalia, on December 17. In every way, it was a pagan festival filled with debauchery and worship of the Saturn god. To mark the end of the winter solstice, the Roman emperor designated December 25 as a holiday dedicated to Sol Invictus (the unconquered sun).

Christmas is a pagan holiday because it does not celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and has its roots in the celebration of the Roman winter festival called Saturnalia.

To make Christianity easier for the Romans to swallow and more popular with the people, the Church co-opted the dates of these pagan festivals and put the celebration of the birth of their Savior on December 25 instead. Whatever Christmas has become today, it all started on the frequency of well-established pagan holidays. If you like Christmas, you should also thank the Saturnalia and Sol Invictus feasts.

Read more: Is Easter a pagan holiday?

What parts of Christmas are pagan?

To begin with, we should distinguish between roots suggesting a loan and roots suggesting a reaction. Is Christmas a pagan holiday? The presence of similarities between the Christian feast and the pagan feast could be simultaneous plagiarism, or it could imply a deliberate reaction.

By celebrating Christmas on December 25, it was also possible to replace the cult of Mithras, the sun god, and according to biblical scholars, the 5 important parts that are pagan in Christmas are:

  1. alcohol and debauchery parties
  2. garlands
  3. Christmas trees
  4. the admission of the existence of Santa Claus
  5. letters to Santa Claus

After the conversion of Constantine in the 4th century, Christians sometimes adapted and Franchised certain pagan festivals. Whether this was a sensible and effective move is a matter of historical debate, but the motivation was to change paganism in the Roman world, not to eradicate it. Although the origins of Christmas are due to Saturnalia and Sol Invictus on December 25, this does not mean that the Christian festival of the Nativity began as a pagan festival.

Read more: 7 Christian and Educational Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

What’s the worst pagan part of Christmas?

The mere fact that the world, which hates Christ and His blood that redeems from sin, makes more fuss around Christmas than around any other holiday, proves to me that Christmas is not of God. If December 25 is indeed the birthday of the blessed Son of God, then the world would have nothing to do with it.

According to the great Christian philosophers, the worst and most pagan part of Christmas is that thousands of parents will teach their children the Santa Claus lie. Children are told that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, and once a year, every year, he fills his sleigh with toys for little boys and girls who have been good all year long. If they’ve been good, he’ll reward them by giving them toys on Christmas Eve; and if they’ve been bad he won’t stop by.

Christmas is a Roman Catholic holiday. We get it from the Catholics, and they get it from the pagans. Is Christmas a pagan holiday? On 25 December the pagans of the Roman Empire celebrated the birth of the sun god. After the Roman Emperor Constantine, won the Battle of Milvian Bridge, he forced the pagans in the empire to be baptized in the Christian church. Thus all these baptized pagans far outnumbered the true Christians.

Read more: Feast of the Holy Trinity

Key Verse related to The Pagan Origins of Christmas 

” …In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world.”

Origen

Is Christmas a pagan holiday

Is Santa Claus pagan?

Christmas is perhaps the world’s most beloved holiday. Decorating trees, celebrating with loved ones, kissing under mistletoe or caroling, and giving presents are all part of the world’s favorite Christmas customs. Few people know, however, that this holiday, like many others, has its roots in the pagan history of mankind.

According to Christian and historical sources, Santa Claus is pagan. Yes, that Santa Claus we all imagine in our heads today is a mixture of St. Nicholas, the gods Odin and Sleipnir, and the iconic red-clad character of the famous carbonated beverage brand.

The Coca-Cola Company pioneered the red-furred, white-bearded Santa in the 1930s. But the idea of ​​old people giving gifts to children goes back even further, back to pagan times. Santa, also known as Nicholas, is an advocate for children, poor and promiscuous women. St. Nicholas, who lived around the 4th century AD, was a generous bishop known for giving gifts to the poor. He has a big beard and a long cape, just like the Santa Claus we know and love.

Read more: Feast of the Transfiguration

Where does Santa come from?

St Nicholas was bishop of the city of Mira in Asia Minor in the 4th century AD, and is said to have been imprisoned during Diocletian’s persecution – the most severe of the persecutions against Christians during the Roman Empire.

The character of Santa Claus emerged quite late, in the mid-19th century in the United States, as a distant descendant of St. Nicholas, who, though much better attested historically, has a legend surrounding him that goes far beyond what historians know with certainty about him.

Revered in the East (especially in Greece and Russia), he became venerated in the West from the 11th century onwards, after the city of Mira fell to the Muslims and his relics were brought to Bari. These are the known historical facts about him.

Read more: Why do St. Peter and Paul share a feast day?

Where do Christmas customs originate?

A tree in the living room, hot chocolate, the smell of oranges, and especially Santa coming through the chimney: are all part of what we now call Christmas, the most anticipated holiday of the year. Yet we rarely wonder how it got here.

Many of the customs associated with Christmas have their roots as far back as antiquity, and over time they have been influenced by everything from religion to pop culture. Born in the 4th century in Antalya, Saint Nicholas became the poster child for Santa Claus through his generosity to the poor and children.

The legend of Santa Claus spread around the world and took on the characteristics of each country. In Europe in the 12th century, Christmas Day became a day of giving and charitable activities. Christmas is thus a collection of symbols and traditions preserved for centuries. The bishop around whom Santa Claus was formed was from Antalya, the first decorated tree was in Germany, and the British novelist Charles Dickson is already famous for his works about Christmas.

Read more: Was Jesus born in a cave?

Christmas traditions in 5 world territories

There are several ways to celebrate Christmas, in all the countries and territories in the world. If you are curious about it, below you may find some of them: 

Christmas in the USA

In the USA, five weeks before Christmas, every Sunday, Americans light a candle, each representing something. On Christmas Eve, they are all relit to celebrate the Nativity. Turkey is eaten for dinner, and the Christmas special is a candied fruitcake. In America, buildings are decorated with Christmas trees, the focal point of the holiday being the gift (usually bought in the store) brought here and in Canada by Santa Claus.

The traditional Christmas stocking made its appearance in the late 19th century, with illustrator Thomas Nast being its originator. There are 11 towns named ”Santa Claus” in eight American states: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah, and 50 places named ”Noel”.

Christmas in Germany

In Germany, “Christklots” is the custom of burning a log all night on Christmas Eve, which, according to tradition, is believed to protect the house from thieves and misfortune for the rest of the year. Throughout Germany, Advent is the most atmospheric time of the year until Christmas Eve on 24 December, the day after Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christmas Eve is the most important day of celebration. On Christmas Eve, the family gathers for dinner and goes to church together at Mesa on Christmas Eve.

Christmas in Italy

In Italy, Christmas starts eight days before and is known as the ”Novena”. Children go from house to house reciting poems and singing, but they don’t receive their gifts until 6 January. According to tradition, the presents are brought by an ugly but good witch called Befana. She brings the gifts through the chimney or window. In many churches, there are cribs with baby Jesus and life-size wise men.

Christmas in Switzerland

In Switzerland, the stump is known as the “Bouche de Noel”. The “Samichlaus” (Santa Claus) always has the hard task of bringing the Christmas tree into Swiss homes. This custom has been around since 1775. Another Swiss tradition is the ”Parade of Lighted Radishes”, a custom borrowed from the Mexicans. Children, helped by their parents, arm themselves with specialized tools and carefully dig out a large, white, and purple moon radish, which they then decorate with various notches and shapes.

Christmas in the United Kingdom

In Britain, the log that is burnt on Christmas Eve is called a ‘Yule log’. On each of the four Sundays before the birth of Jesus, a candle is lit and placed in a box. Processions depicting the three wise men and the birth of Christ take place. In 1814, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, decorated a tree at Windsor Castle using sweets, candles, and fruit.

Read more: 6 Superstitions related to Saint George’s Day

Primary Takeaways

  • Long before the birth of Christ, the Romans celebrated Saturnalia from 17 to 24 December. Saturnalia was a holiday celebrating the god Saturn, the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Kronos. Wracked by Zeus for devouring his children, Kronos, freed, fled to Italy, where he brought prosperity – the ‘Golden Age. For all Romans, he became Saturn, god of sowing and agriculture. Saturnalia became the celebration of freedom rediscovered by all.
  • The character of Santa Claus emerged quite late, in the mid-19th century in the United States, as a distant descendant of St. Nicholas, who, though much better attested historically, has a legend surrounding him that goes far beyond what historians know with certainty about him.
  • If Dickens “didn’t invent” the way for Britons to celebrate Christmas in the new urban context, he did, 150 years ago, help “preserve” the tradition, with references to the Christmas turkey, the decorated tree, or carols that night.

Read more: Prayer to Saint Richard of Chichester

Conclusion

A tree in the living room, hot chocolate, the smell of oranges, and especially Santa coming through the chimney: are all part of what we now call Christmas, the most anticipated holiday of the year. Yet we rarely wonder how it got here.

The legend of Santa Claus spread around the world and took on the characteristics of each country. In Europe, in the 12th century, Christmas Day became a day of giving and charity. Christmas is thus a collection of symbols and traditions preserved for centuries. So the bishop around whom Santa Claus was formed was from Antalya, the first decorated tree was in Germany, and the British novelist Charles Dickson is already famous for his works about Christmas.

You can go to the Trivia section to play games designed for biblical Christmas knowledge. May you have joy and sunshine in your hearts!

Bibliography

  • Rätsch, C., & Müller-Ebeling, C. (2006). Pagan Christmas: The plants, spirits, and rituals at the origins of Yuletide. Simon and Schuster.
  • Miles, C. A. (2006). Christmas in Ritual and Tradition (Vol. 19098). Jazzybee Verlag.
  • McGowan, A. (2002). How December 25 Became Christmas. BIBLE REVIEW-WASHINGTON-18(6), 46-48.
  • Weiser, F. X., & Frankenberg, R. (1952). The Christmas Book. Harcourt, Brace.
  • Marett, R. R. (1912). Christmas in Ritual and Tradition Christian and Pagan.