The Pagan Symbols of Christmas Part 1
That’s right! Most of the popular symbols of Christmas are actually taken from Pagans, Right down to the day. I have compiled a ton of information I have found from the internet and books about the Pagan origins of Christmas. Here you can find a ton of information… but this is just the tip of the iceberg… really I could go on and on, but I do not have that much time on my hands. I apologize for any repeated information in this blog. It was all taken from different sources and I simply do not have the time right now to go through it all and re-write it. Maybe one day I can, but I don’t see that happening in the near future. lol
Most of the customs, lore, symbols, and rituals associated with "Christmas" actually are linked to Winter Solstice celebrations of ancient Pagan cultures. While Christian mythology is interwoven with contemporary observances of this holiday time, its Pagan nature is still strong and apparent.
There is controversy concerning the precise date of December 25 as the presumed birthday of Jesus. The 25th of December was the date of the winter solstice in ancient times (before subsequent drift due to chronological errors in the Julian calendar eventually left the solstice on its present date of December 21.) As such, many pagan winter holidays occurred on this date, which marks the shortest day of the year and the point where the days become longer again. Many customs from these holidays, particularly from the pagan Scandinavian and Germanic celebration of Yule in northern Europe, are transparently present in later Christmas customs, suggesting that the date was appropriated directly from pagan customs and given a Christian veneer rather than being the true birthday of Jesus.
The pagan Scandinavian and Germanic people of northern Europe celebrated a 12 day long "midwinter" (winter solstice) holiday called Yule (also called Jul, Julblot, jólablót, midvinterblot, julofferfest) beginning on December 25. Many modern Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, the Yule log, and others, are direct descendants of Yule customs. As Northern Europe was the last part to Christianize, its pagan traditions had a major influence on Christmas. Scandinavians still call Christmas Jul. In English, the word Yule is synonymous with Christmas, a usage first recorded in 900. It is believed that the celebration of this day was a worship of these peculiar days interpreted as the re-awakening of nature. The Yule (Jul) particular God was Jólner, which is one of Odin's many names.
December 25th: *The idea to celebrate Christmas on December 25 originated in the 4th century. The Catholic Church wanted to eclipse the festivities of a rival pagan religion that threatened Christianity's existence. The Romans celebrated the birthday of their sun god, Mithras during this time of year. Although it was not popular, or even proper, to celebrate people's birthdays in those times, church leaders decided that in order to compete with the pagan celebration they would themselves order a festival in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Although the actual season of Jesus' birth is thought to be earlier in September or even in the spring, the date of December 25 was chosen as the official birthday celebration as Christ's Mass so that it would compete head on with the rival pagan celebration.
*Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the "Invincible Sun" in the third century as part of the Roman Winter Solstice celebrations. Shortly thereafter, in 273, the Christian church selected this day to represent the birthday of Jesus, and by 336, this Roman solar feast day was Christianized. January 6, celebrated as Epiphany in Christendom and linked with the visit of the Magi, was originally an Egyptian date for the Winter Solstice.
*December 25th was celebrated by the Pagan sun-worshippers of Mithraism as the "birthday of the invincible sun," because on that day the sun began its return to the northern skies "the winter solstice." And so, the sun and the Son, have become a deliberate Pagan mix. Tammuz, the Babylonian Pagan sun deity, was also the first counterfeit savior… December 25th was also the date of the Pagan Brumalia (winter) festival in Rome. It was preceded by the Saturnalia festival Dec. 17-24 - in honor of the Roman god Saturn, as a period of unrestrained merriment in celebration of the winter solstice.
*In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and -giving were traditions of this feast.
*Leading up to December 25th in ancient Rome, a festival known as Saturnalia was one of the biggest celebrations of the year. Saturnalia was a festival during which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of their god Saturn. This holiday began on the 17th of December and it would last for an entire week until the 23rd of December. Saturnalia was typically characterized by gift-giving, feasting, singing and lots and lots of debauchery. The priests of Saturn would carry wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the pagan Roman temples.
*Sol Invictus (The Unconquerable Sun), was originally a Syrian god who was later adopted as the chief god of the Roman Empire under Emperor Aurelian. His holiday is traditionally celebrated on the 25th of December, as are several gods associated with the winter solstice in many pagan traditions. It is highly unlikely that December 25 was simply set aside for celebration by the early Christians, since Jesus' exact birthday was unknown.
Santa Claus & 8 Reindeer: *A tough old Pagan god named Odin, was imagined as a paunchy white-bearded old man in a long cloak. A mixture of the characterizations of both St. Nicholas and Odin is thought to result in Father Christmas.
*Today's Santa is a folk figure with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman agricultural god), Cronos (Greek god, also known as Father Time), the Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost (Russian winter god), Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides the sky on an eight-legged horse[Could be the reason why there are 8 Reindeer]), Frey (Norse fertility god), and the Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year). Santa's reindeer can be viewed as forms of Herne, the Celtic Horned God.
*The truth is that thousands of years before there was a Santa Claus, there was another supernatural figure who would supposedly visit a tree and leave gifts every December 25th named Nimrod.