Is Christmas Pagan?


#1

many people would argue that Christmas is pagan because it is held on December the 25th, December 25th was actually the celebration of Saturnalia, which was the Roman Pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice.

Its believed that Jesus was born in September sometime…

Evanescence


#2

[quote=Evanescence]many people would argue that Christmas is pagan because it is held on December the 25th, December 25th was actually the celebration of Saturnalia, which was the Roman Pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice.

Its believed that Jesus was born in September sometime…

Evanescence
[/quote]

And many Christian theologians would argue that the pagan mystery religions of the time adopted the Christian date of Dec. 25th in order to stem the rise of Christianity in the region. No scholars have offered concrete substantiated proof that the date the pagans celebrated was Dec. 25th. It doesn’t matter why the date was chosen, simply celebrating it on Dec. 25th does not in and of itself make it ‘pagan’. Pagan is a blanket term which is equal to that of ‘unbeliever’. Christians celebrating Christmas (Christ’s Mass) on the 25th of Dec. certainly don’t fit the bill. Jews also have a winter celebration called “Chanukah” (from Maccabees) which Christ celebrated and took place at the same time as many of the pagan festivals, and we wouldn’t call Christ ‘pagan’ just for celebrating a holiday in the winter.

Read: catholic.com/library/Is_Catholicism_Pagan.asp

Criticism, refutation, and replacement are also the principles behind modern holidays being
celebrated to a limited extent around the same time as former pagan holidays. In actuality, reports of Christian holidays coinciding with pagan ones are often inaccurate (Christmas does not occur on Saturnalia, for example). However, to the extent the phenomenon occurs at all, Christian holidays were introduced to provide a wholesome, non-pagan alternative celebration, which thus critiques and rejects the pagan holiday.


#3

Another thing I would like to add. Chanukah begins on sunset of the 25th day of Kislev on the Jewish calendar. Think of the possible implications this has.


#4

Lots of people claim many dates that Christians adopted are from ANY previous source in order to disprove Christianity or weaken it. For instance have a look at this:

Influence on Christianity
During the last few decades, many Christians have re-examined the Jewish roots of their faith. As a result, some have increasingly become aware of and adopted some aspects of some Jewish holiday, but within a Christian theological framework. As such, some Christians light the Hanukkah menorah and observe other Hanukkah rituals. In addition to this, some allege a connection between the miracle of the light being given in the Temple and the birth of Jesus (whom they call “the Light of the world”). Some hold that Hanukkah (the 25th of Kislev), not December 25, is actually the proper date for celebrating the birth of Jesus. Thus they combine or conflate the two celebrations (Hanukkah and the birth of Jesus), while others continue to keep them separate and celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas.

I’m not supporting this theory, just throwing it out there for you to think about. Be aware of anyone that alleges anything without showing you proof.


#5

It is only pagan if you make it so! You choose what you are celebrating or dedicating yourself and your days to. The date on the calendar doesn’t determine what you do with your day.

Most people who identify themselves as belonging to a pagan religion celebrate their solstice on Dec 21 or 22 depending on the timing of the celestial event. Many religions that Christians would identify as pagan, don’t celebrate anything at all at that time of year.

Celebrating a faith is about a person’s relationship with the divine and living a life that honors that. A holy day is only as holy or profane as we make it.

Have a wonderful holy Christmas!

cheddar


#6

[quote=cheddarsox]It is only pagan if you make it so! You choose what you are celebrating or dedicating yourself and your days to. The date on the calendar doesn’t determine what you do with your day.

Most people who identify themselves as belonging to a pagan religion celebrate their solstice on Dec 21 or 22 depending on the timing of the celestial event. Many religions that Christians would identify as pagan, don’t celebrate anything at all at that time of year.

Celebrating a faith is about a person’s relationship with the divine and living a life that honors that. A holy day is only as holy or profane as we make it.

Have a wonderful holy Christmas!

cheddar
[/quote]

Absolutely! How many people do you know who go around celebrating “Saturnalia” on December 25th these days? If the Church were going to pick a specific day for any feast day, given man’s long history of various cultures and religions, she’d be hard pressed to find a date that wasn’t already taken.


#7

[quote=Evanescence]many people would argue that Christmas is pagan because it is held on December the 25th, December 25th was actually the celebration of Saturnalia, which was the Roman Pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice.

Its believed that Jesus was born in September sometime…

Evanescence
[/quote]

It’s kind of the ole, “if you can’t get your savior’s birthday right, how can the rest be true?” If I remember right, Christmas did supplant some pagan traditions, but that doesn’t make the day any less special. A case can be made that Christ was actually born in the spring as shepherds wouldn’t be tending thier flocks in hills during the winter since there would be nothing for sheep to graze on at that time of year. We really have no way knowing the exact date of Christ’s birth. God chose not to give us that…presumably because it’s not that important. He did give us the miraculous way Christ was conceived and born into the world. Taking a day*(more like over a month if you count Advent and the 12 days of Christmas)* to celebrate that seems reasonable, and if one could choose a day that a people were used to celebrating before they were baptised…why not. The pagan holiday was not celebrating truth. Christmas is. Another thing you might point out is that Christmas isn’t our most important holiday. Easter is number one. IMHO Pentecost is far more significant than Christmas.


#8

I seem to recall reading that the December date was arrived at from figuring out when Zacharias would have likely been serving in the temple: from that time frame you can figure out an approximate time for the birth of John the Baptist; then add six months to that for the birth of Jesus.

Regardless, …so what? Often the charge of Christmas’s alleged pagan origins is flung around as if it proves or disproves anything. It doesn’t.


#9

Another spin: Where is that in the bible? Some may ask. I read here on these forums that in the OT there was a pagain holiday that God told the Israelites to make a Godly holiday. (Can’t remember the exact passage or even which book)

It is from this tradition that Catholics also will make Godly, pagan holidays.


#10

[quote=cheddarsox]It is only pagan if you make it so! You choose what you are celebrating or dedicating yourself and your days to. The date on the calendar doesn’t determine what you do with your day.

Most people who identify themselves as belonging to a pagan religion celebrate their solstice on Dec 21 or 22 depending on the timing of the celestial event. Many religions that Christians would identify as pagan, don’t celebrate anything at all at that time of year.

Celebrating a faith is about a person’s relationship with the divine and living a life that honors that. A holy day is only as holy or profane as we make it.

Have a wonderful holy Christmas!

cheddar
[/quote]

Total agreement here. Also have you noticed that Christmas is getting more Christ in the Holiday of holidays. There has been a difinate return to the real reason why we celebrate. :bowdown2:


#11

What does it matter if December 25th was originially a pagan holiday? If the early Christians did substitue pagan religious beliefs with our own, then it was a stroke of genius. Without using any violence they were able to help new Christians keep the traditions that they grew up with and still teach them Christianity.

I think that the fear that something is pagan is overrated. Of course our culture is influenced by our pagan past. Christianity didn’t start human culture from scratch. It had to build on what was already available. There are some protestant groups that seem to equate any influence by pagans as satanic. WHich is not true.

Wedding rings are a pagan invention.(I did wander in a SDA site that said that a woman should not wear a wedding ring)
The names of the days of the week and months of the year are after pagan gods.
Democracy was influenced by the Greeks and Romans.


#12

[quote=Semper Fi]Lots of people claim many dates that Christians adopted are from ANY previous source in order to disprove Christianity or weaken it. For instance have a look at this:

Influence on Christianity
During the last few decades, many Christians have re-examined the Jewish roots of their faith. As a result, some have increasingly become aware of and adopted some aspects of some Jewish holiday, but within a Christian theological framework. As such, some Christians light the Hanukkah menorah and observe other Hanukkah rituals. In addition to this, some allege a connection between the miracle of the light being given in the Temple and the birth of Jesus (whom they call “the Light of the world”). Some hold that Hanukkah (the 25th of Kislev), not December 25, is actually the proper date for celebrating the birth of Jesus. Thus they combine or conflate the two celebrations (Hanukkah and the birth of Jesus), while others continue to keep them separate and celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas.

I’m not supporting this theory, just throwing it out there for you to think about. Be aware of anyone that alleges anything without showing you proof.
[/quote]

Hi Semper Fi,

While I do not celebrate Hanukkah the Kislev 25 date proposed for the conception of Jesus did make sense to me. Since Jesus is the light of this world. This was in the very beginnings of my journey. I wanted to know if there were any Jews alive today who believed in Jesus as their Messiah. :thumbsup:

I do believe that God established the Holy Days for a very important reason. Whether I understand them correctly or not is another matter. Jesus actual birth during the Feast of Succoth made sense to me as well since this is when God tabernacled with us.

Here is a website that I ran across when researching our Hebrew roots.
Biblical Holidays

It is kind of ironic in away how my journey has been laid out. I didn’t go back to Early Christianity. I went to the Jews. Now I am here. :smiley:

I always wondered why Christians did not celebrate the biblical Holy Days but in a way we do. Since we are in the New Covenant.

Have a great day!

:slight_smile: Melissa


#13

Let’s assume Christmas borrowed a bunch of stuff from pagan sources (date, decorations, rituals, etc.). If borrowing things from sources is wrong, then why do brides were white, why do husbands/wives exchange rings, why don’t we speak Hebrew, why did early Christians transform pagan temples into churches, etc, etc, etc. If Christmas has borrowed anything from the Pagans, those things have become non-pagan by their new association with Christ.


#14

This argument also comes from Fundamentalists; however, they do the same thing. In my area, they have Celebration of Life parties on Oct. 31 instead of Halloween. Now, aren’t they replacing a party they see as pagan with a party they see as Christian? Is their own party therefore pagan because it shares the same date? They probably give out candy, too!:wink: As people have said, Christmas means what you want it to mean. It’s the glory of Christ’s Incarnation. Of course, for some, it’s just a good day to get lots of free stuff.


#15

I’ll ask the question a different way. Is the day that the Church chose to celebrate with a High Holiday mass the Incarnation of God a pagan holiday?


#16

[quote=Evanescence]many people would argue that Christmas is pagan because it is held on December the 25th, December 25th was actually the celebration of Saturnalia, which was the Roman Pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice.
[/quote]

No one knows the actual date of Christ birth. Every day of the year was dedicated to some pagan god, some of them more than one. Any day you pick, you could argue that it was based on some pagan god. That doesn’t make it true.


#17

[quote=Ignatius]No one knows the actual date of Christ birth. Every day of the year belonged to some pagan god, some of them more than one. Any day you pick, you could argue that it was based on some pagan god. For example, Sunday was the day that used to belong to the god of the sun. However that is irrelevant because now it belongs to the Son of God; just like Christmas
[/quote]


#18

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