A brief history of Christmas

I hope everyone enjoys their celebration of the Germanic and Nordic festival of Yuletide which is to acknowledge the winter solstice, but as Europe got Christianised (I prefer assimilated), they adopted European cultures into their tradition and unashamedly blended it into their own festival celebrating the alleged birth of Christ.

But it doesn’t end there. The Romans started celebrating the festival of ‘Sol Invictus‘ who was the Roman Sun God and when Aurelian became Roman emperor in 270 BCE it became an official religion. ‘Dies natalis Invicti’ became an official celebration on the 25th December. As Christianity began to rise throughout the Roman Empire it seems highly likely that the celebration of Sol was plagiarised into Christmas, as the New Testament gives no clue as to when Jesus was allegedly born, although considering there were lambs around in the nativity scenes it’s not unreasonable to place his birth closer to Easter.

And it still doesn’t end. Sinterklaas is a festival that celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas , and through Benelux countries it was a time to give gifts at the beginning of December. Saint Nicholas was a Greek Bishop who was portrayed as a white bearded man who dressed in a red robe, and was notorious for giving gifts to well-behaved children. This is debatable but after the ‘Declaration of Independence‘ in 1776, Dutch settlers introduced Sinterklaas to New Amsterdam (New York) and the tradition of Father Christmas began.

What’s become interesting is how Christianity has become a secular celebration throughout the world, and the notion that Christmas ‘mass on Christ day’ which has roots in Catholicism, has all but vanished and the elaborate decorations and exchanging of gifts has replaced it. Christianity is rather hypocritical in regards to aligning the birth of Jesus with the birth of Sol when throughout the latter parts of the Roman Empire, Christianity attempted to distance itself from paganism and polytheism. The church usually celebrates the day of martyrdom as opposed to birth. So with this in mind, shouldn’t Easter be more important to Christianity than Christmas?

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