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Christmas: The Origins of Christmas

Essay By: princess onika auguste

just an essay about the history of christmas

Submitted:Nov 20, 2009    Reads: 1,306    Comments: 3    Likes: 2   

Christmas: The Origins of Christmas

Christmas is celebrated every year by most Christian churches and denominations. It is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Every year Christians gather together with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Christ or to celebrate Santa Claus coming down the chimney. December 25th Christmas Day is a mixture of old and new traditions and most of these traditions and celebrations are not of Christian tradition.

The word Christmas means Christ's Day and December 25th was not the actual birth date of Jesus Christ; in fact the early Christians of the Roman empire decided on the 25th to replace the pagan festival of Saturnalia which honor one of their gods Saturn. In fact Christmas was incorporated into the Christian holy days in AD440, when as earlier said the Roman Catholic Church merged it with the pagan roman festival Saturnalia. The early church attempted to get rid of pagan worship by declaring December 25th as the Day to worship the Son of God[1]

There are many Historians who believe that Jesus was born sometime in spring because the shepherds were in the field. Since Jesus was most probably not born on the 25th of December, then most of our Christmas beliefs are not Christian nor Jewish and are not even recorded in the Bible.

Many of the Christmas traditions have gone back 4000 years before Jesus was born. The Mesopotamians gave many traditions and celebrations to the Christmas holiday. One example of this is the 12 days of Christmas. The Mesopotamians believed that their chief god Marduk would battle with monsters of chaos and to assist him in his struggle, the Mesopotamians held a festival for 12 days for the new year which was called Zagmuck. The Persians and the Babylonians had a similar festival called Sacaea. In Scandinvia there was a festival called Yule where the people would have a feast surrounding a great fire. The Greeks also had a similar festival in honor of Zeus. In their celebration of Saturnalina the Romans would celebrate it with masquerades in the streets, great feasts, visiting friends and exchanging good luck gifts called Strenae( lucky fruits) and decorated their walls with garlands and green trees lit with candles. And like the Persians, Greeks and Babylonian festivals masters and slaves exchange places.[2]

The Christian church though appalled at these festivals and thought they were abominations quickly adopted the practices of the pagan festivals and religion to Christianity as it begun to spread throughout the Roman empire. Historians believed that Christmas was not celebrated by the early disciples or the apostles; Christians begun celebrating Christmas to counterattack paganism.

Many people around the world believe in a jolly old man who lives in the North pole with little people called elves and who journeys around the world on Christmas eve with his reindeer bringing gifts for children who are good. This is man who most of us believed in and still do is Santa Claus. Now Santa was based on a real person called St. Nicholas. He was a Christian Bishop who was a rich man , who travelled around the known world giving gifts to children but he did not like to be seen so the children were asked to go to bed quickly and then he would bring them their gifts.[3]

It is funny how we idolize Saint Nick/Santa Claus because when he was alive he did want people to worship him. The Roman Emperor Diocletian impress with Saint Nick's kindness and humility ordered the people of the empire to worship him in 303AD. Christians who donot believe in worshipping many gods refused and Diocletian had them imprision including St.Nick because he did not believe in worshipping or idolizing another gods except the one he belived . St. Nick was imprison until the Emperor Constanine came into power and after he was release he contuined his good works and stuck to his beliefs until he died on December 6th 343 AD.[4] The Catholic church and the Greek Orthodox church made him a saint and the day of his death is a holiday in the church calendar. It amazes me how Christians are so consume with Santa when the one of the commandments in the Bible is that "Thou Shalt Not have any gods before me". As I learn more and understand more about the history of Christmas , I see how pagan this holiday is and almost everything including the Christmas tree has nothing to do with the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

In fact the bible speaks against the use of the Christmas Tree; in Jeremiah 10:2-4 it talks about cutting down the Christmas trees and decorating them; Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." ( King James Version)

There are many pagan influences in the Christmas celebration; many of ancient traditions but the influence on Christmas now in present time is the modern pagan ritual of commercialism. Yes Commercialism is a pagan ritual because I believe it presents money and materialism as a new god. You cannot go a day without hearing or seeing an Ad on television and radio promoting and prompting people want and buy the latest stuff out there while making money for those huge corporations who are interested in making money. You rarely see an Ad about Jesus; on television the advestiments shown are about Santa Claus ( St.Nick), his rednose reindeer , frosty the snowman and elves. Even the movie and music industry are buying into this commercialism; where most movies are about Santa, elves, frosty and many more traditions that have nothing to do with Jesus. Singers and musicians rarely sing or perform songs about the birth of Jesus unless they are gospel artists though they are a few exceptions in another musical genres example Celine Dion where most of her Christmas album songs were about Jesus and God; Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston are also exceptions where half their songs on their Christmas album were about Jesus though there were songs about Santa and the Christmas tree.

Christmas is a wonderful pagan holiday where everyone is good to each other and has delicious holiday dinners. It is an awesome celebration if you're pagan and believed in Santa Claus, frosty and celebrated Jesus birth on the 25th of December. I love the Christmas decorations, lights and of course the scrumptious and yummy food but I as I learned, read and understood more. I came to the conclusion that I would not celebrate Christmas, just like I don't celebrate Easter or Good Friday because of their pagan roots. Heck I never believed in the Easter bunny or Santa Claus!

While I have chosen not to celebrate Christmas, I believe people have the choice to believe and celebrate any holiday if they want ; I just believe before we celebrate or believe in any holiday or cause or organization whatever it may be we must learned the roots and come to our own understanding and decisions but for me I don't believe nor celebrate these Christmas traditions. BY THE WAY SANTA CLAUS DOES NOT EXIST! NOR HE LIVES IN THE NORTH POLE!

[1] All about Jesus ; History of Christmas, www.allaboutjesus.org/history of christmas-fag html

[2] The History of Christmas; http://www.holidays.net/christmas/story.htm

[3] The History of Christmas; http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/sc/saint_nicholas.htm

[4] [4] The History of Christmas; http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/sc/saint_nicholas.htm


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