The Church and the Christian authorities always had the obsession of conversion in their mind since Christianity was formulated, about 300 years after so-called birth of Jesus. Such conversion was usually through plunders and pillages. The barbaric, missionary crusaders, after conquering the indigenous population, would trash their faith, culture and traditions as heathen or pagan, and then pretend to civilize them by enforcing conversion. But sometimes they would use other tactics that varied from clever deceptions to blatant embezzlements.
Jomo Kenyatta, first President of independent Kenya, had aptly summarized the strategy, “When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, we had the Bible in our hand, and they had the land.”
Here are two simple writings out of perhaps several dozens available to suggest that Jesus born on Christmas Day is a major hoax..
Few people realize that the origins of a form of Christmas was pagan & celebrated in Europe long before anyone there had heard of Jesus Christ.
No one knows what day Jesus Christ 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 we celebrate Christ’s birthday as Christmas, on December the 25th?
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 and 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, honoring 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 traveled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. From this, the Christmas tradition of caroling was born.
In northern Europe, many other traditions that we now consider part of Christian worship were begun long before the participants had ever heard of Christ. The pagans of northern Europe celebrated the 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 honor 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. Hollyberries 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 350, 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.
From Feasting to Gift Giving, Santa Claus to Mistletoe
The modern version of Christmas is an amalgam of many pagan traditions from early civilizations, especially that of the ancient Romans.
Christmas, at least in most of the Western world, is easily the most anticipated celebration of the year. In modern times, the holiday is associated with decorated trees and gaily lighted houses, get-togethers with family and friends, feasts and parties, and of course weeks or months of shopping for the perfect gifts. Among some Christians, the holiday is celebrated as marking the birth of Jesus Christ, and entails masses, hymns, and other religious observation. But what most Westerners recognize as Christmas has a very long history, one that originated in pre-Christian rites and rituals.
The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, has been commemorated by ritual probably since neolithic times. By the modern calendar, the date of the solstice falls around December 21st; ancient peoples, noticing the sun appeared not to move for three days before its re-ascent into the northern sky and the lengthening of days, celebrated the solstice — from the Latin meaning “sun stands still” — as a sort of rebirth of the sun. Many cultures recognized the event as a sort of birthday for their particular gods — the Egyptian sun god Horus, for example, was purported to have been born on December 25th. In fact, the ancient Romans, from the year 274, celebrated the festival of Sol Invictus, the “birthday of the unconquered sun,” on December 25. The Christian Church did not fix the date of Christmas at December 25th until the fourth century, and the celebration was not actually called Christmas until the ninth century. Prior to that, it was simply known as the Midwinter Feast, and celebrated as a combination of Saturnalia and the Norse Yule Festival.
Gifts, Feasting and Santa Claus
The ancient Romans are also responsible for most of the merrymaking associated with the modern version of Christmas. Saturnalia, a week-long festival celebrating the dedication of the temple of Saturn, featured feasting, drinking, slaves switching places with kings, and gift giving. The festival was immensely popular, and as Christianity overtook the Roman Empire, it added its own customs to the already existing pagan traditions to ease conversion. This blending of myths may also be responsible for the figure of Santa Claus, whose origins are believed to lie in the Norman Lord of Misrule, a red-robed character who oversaw the festivities of Saturnalia, mixed with the Christian St. Nicholas, patron saint of children.
Christmas Trees and Mistletoe
The earliest recorded instance of a lit tree being erected to celebrate Christmas dates from 16th century Germany, in particular to a church in Strasbourg in 1539. But the veneration of evergreen trees as a symbol of fertility and rebirth dates back to pagan times. Likewise, the custom of hanging mistletoe is pagan in origin; the Druids considered it a sacred plant, and Vikings hung it on the doors of their houses as a welcome. Kissing under the mistletoe is thought to be associated with Saturnalia and with ancient Roman marriage rites.
It may seem hard to imagine in modern times, when the trappings of Christmas are nearly inescapable, but until quite recently the celebration was frowned upon for the very reason that it was considered a pagan practice. In 17th century England, Oliver Cromwell ordered his soldiers to tear down holiday decorations, and when the Puritans first came to America, they prohibited Christmas for its distasteful associations. The Christmas we know today was only declared a national public holiday in 1836.