Pagan Holy Days


#1

I am a recent convert to the Catholic Church, I wast baptized and confirmed this last Easter Vigil, I used to be a very passionate atheist and have only been reading and studying about the Catholic for a relativly short time compared to most Catholics but I feel I know a pretty good amount for were I am at in my spiritual journey.

That is why I was somewhat shocked when I heard about a life long protestant say that we Catholics celebrate pagan holidays. I thought about this for a moment and remembered that I had heard that Christmas takes place in the time it does because in Europe that used to be the time for a huge pagan holiday and we were trying to make people come to Christ so we setup a big holiday to steal some of the pagan holidays “thunder”. But then I thought well even protestants celebrate Christmas… all Christians I can think of do.

So my question is does anyone know of what pagan holidays he could be talking about? And if I heard wrong about Christmas and the reason the date is the way it is let me know.


#2

Hmmm. I don’t know. Many Christian holidays do fall on the same day or during the same time as pagan holidays. I think this is sometimes referred to as baptising the holiday. Basically, since people were already celebrating, the Church would give them a Christian alternative to the Pagan holiday which helped in gaining converts.


#3

Some Evangelicals claim that most of Christianity (they don’t just say it’s us Catholics, though they always seem to make special mention of us) celebrate “pagan” holy days such as Christmas and Easter. This would’ve been laughable if it weren’t for two things (and maybe more, if you can add more reasons): one, we celebrate the reality of Christ in those days. Two, the Church has replaced the pagan days with Christian forms to show us the victory of Christ over paganism (this last point is usually lost to those who oppose the Church). Those two reasons alone should give the rabid Evangelical pause, and let him reflect that we’re celebrating the reality of Christ on those days, and not any other.


#4

That is the only explanation that I could come up with myself. It makes sense to me why we would have done that and I find it hard to believe that a protestant would see that as bad and celebrating pagan holidays. But it was said and is believed.

He also said that we do not follow the bible but that is easy to respond to due to the fact it is one of the first things protestants say agains the Catholic Church, oh and Mary “worship” or say they say it is.


#5

Next one that brings up the pagan holiday thing, look and see if they are wearing a wedding ring. All Christians that I know of use rings these days in our wedding ceremonies - but the wedding ring is a pagan custom adopted into Christianity, but not whatever pagan belief was attached to it centuries ago. They should be a bit taken back by this.

Then kindly tell 'em we Christians shouldn’t let centuries-dead pagans dictate what we can or can’t do. They have no authority over our calendar, our customs, our celebrations, or especially over our faith in the Lord :smiley: .

Peace,

DustinsDad


#6

Easter replaces the Pagan holiday of Oester. Its symbols included chickens, eggs, bunnies and was oriented toward the return of the sun god and the commencement of Spring with all of its fertility, climaxing as it were at Beltaine (May 1).:wink: There is no record of peeps being a part of the festivities, but with their half-life anything is possible!:smiley:

There is a Pagan book called *The Wheel of the Year *by Campinelli that catalogs the traditions. It is very interesting to see how they overlapped.

Of course, most modern-day Paganism springs from Gardner in the early 20th century, so IMVHO it is impossible to tell which came first, the proverbial Pagan chicken or the Easter egg.


#7

[quote=TomK]Easter replaces the Pagan holiday of Oester. Its symbols included chickens, eggs, bunnies and was oriented toward the return of the sun god and the commencement of Spring with all of its fertility, climaxing as it were at Beltaine (May 1).:wink: There is no record of peeps being a part of the festivities, but with their half-life anything is possible!:smiley:

There is a Pagan book called *The Wheel of the Year *by Campinelli that catalogs the traditions. It is very interesting to see how they overlapped.

Of course, most modern-day Paganism springs from Gardner in the early 20th century, so IMVHO it is impossible to tell which came first, the proverbial Pagan chicken or the Easter egg.
[/quote]

There is not one sentence of this whole explination I didn’t like.


#8

The question that needs to be asked is why having “pagan holy days” is a bad thing? We aren’t worshipping other gods, which is what is wrong with “paganism.” So what if our festivals are a continuation of pagan festivals? What is wrong with that?

Scholars believe that the festivals in the OT such as Passover corresponded to agricultural festivals celebrated by the Canaanites. These festivals were given a new meaning having to do with God’s saving acts in Israelite history. But that didn’t replace the connection to the agricultural cycle–it’s a both/and, not an either/or.

Edwin


#9

I doubt if we know anyone who in placing a Christmas tree in his living room does this because he intends to worship pagan Germanic gods or celebrate the winter solstice. :smiley: The true now has a true meaning, not a false one: symbolizing Christmas, the celebration of the Nativity of the Savior.

If one chooses to question the adoption of such symbols (or the very celebration of Christmas itself - especially on Dec. 25) because of their pagan origin, then one should likewise question the Hebrew festivals we see recorded in Scripture. Christmas is no more or less “pagan” than the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles which coincided with a Canaanite festival celebrating the grape harvest. Just as the Hebrews made their own and conformed to the honor of the One True God what were previously pagan commemorations, it was (is) entirely appropriate for the Church to reclaim, e.g., a date in time which had been perverted to the glory of a pagan deity and appropriate it for the glory of the true Unconquered Son.

Time itself is a creature of God and it along with all creation can be - and often is - distorted and misused by man. But we see in Scripture, such as in the Canticle of Daniel (Dn. 3:35-88), that all creation is to praise the Lord, even the sun and moon which regulate our days and hours. The fact that some have worshiped these creatures rather than their Creator, does not mean that they cannot be redeemed and put to the use for which they were created - ultimately to the glory of God.

In Ephesians 1:10 we read: “. . .to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth,” (RSV). Here and elsewhere in Scripture we see that all of creation is to be gathered into submission to Christ - ALL of creation. The Church is the means by which this gathering-in is accomplished, redeeming and sanctifying in Christ that which has been corrupted - including time, places, and things.

The difficulty some have with the celebration of Christmas, or with some of the human traditions that have been incorporated into the celebration, seems to come from the idea that everything having to do with man’s relationship to God has to have a scriptural warrant (for the fundamentalist Protestants especially).

If we were to apply this sense of purity to Scripture itself we would have to exclude much of what we see of the religious practices of the Hebrew people. Certainly they were divinely guided to offer to God the worship He desired from the, but if we make even the most cursory comparison to the religious practices of their neighbors - especially the Egyptians and then the Canaanites - we find great similarities and even appropriations: circumcision, festivals, sacrificial rituals and libations hymns (psalms), proverbs (Prov. 22:17-24:22 was modeled after the Egyptians “The Instruction of Amenehope”, 10000-600 B.C.). God used it all to fashion a people for Himself, using the “material at hand” and giving it His divine blessing and transforming it to His purposes.

So the wisdom of the Church in incorporating some cultural (pagan) traditions into the celebration of Christmas should be seen as a part of the submission of all things to Christ. We just have to make sure that we employ these things with Christ in mind - submitting our own minds to Him.


#10

[quote=FiveOh]I am a recent convert to the Catholic Church, I wast baptized and confirmed this last Easter Vigil, I used to be a very passionate atheist and have only been reading and studying about the Catholic for a relativly short time compared to most Catholics but I feel I know a pretty good amount for were I am at in my spiritual journey.

That is why I was somewhat shocked when I heard about a life long protestant say that we Catholics celebrate pagan holidays. I thought about this for a moment and remembered that I had heard that Christmas takes place in the time it does because in Europe that used to be the time for a huge pagan holiday and we were trying to make people come to Christ so we setup a big holiday to steal some of the pagan holidays “thunder”. But then I thought well even protestants celebrate Christmas… all Christians I can think of do.

So my question is does anyone know of what pagan holidays he could be talking about? And if I heard wrong about Christmas and the reason the date is the way it is let me know.
[/quote]

Virtually every day of the year was dedicated to some pagan god.
That’s not really important. For example Sunday used to be the god Sols day, now it is the Lords Day. It used to be the day of the god of the sun, now it is the day of the Son of God. Who do all of those days belong to now? They all belong to God.

May the peace of Jesus Christ be with you always.


#11

Perhaps the use of Pagan holy days was a way of feeding the new converts milk until they were ready for meat.

When one worships a panthenon of hundreds of gods and goddesses, it would be very hard for the young church to find a day that wasn’t associated with a Pagan diety somewhere in the world as it expanded.

I think that it was very useful to give them alternative places to go when the rest of their communities were frolicking in the fields, as it were. A new convert would stand little chance of remaining pure if no outlet was provided to distract the newly faithful at Beltaine for example.

Bear in mind that reason that Ireland was converted with so little violence was due to the fact that the Irish branch of the druids in Ireland taught a brand of Paganism that was already moving to monotheism, i.e., “All gods and goddesses are one.” So when Patrick and his compatriots arrived, the field was already well planted for their harvest.


#12

[quote=TomK]Easter replaces the Pagan holiday of Oester. Its symbols included chickens, eggs, bunnies and was oriented toward the return of the sun god and the commencement of Spring with all of its fertility, climaxing as it were at Beltaine (May 1).:wink: There is no record of peeps being a part of the festivities, but with their half-life anything is possible!:smiley:
[/quote]

All this is mostly flim-flam. Whatever season you have a Christian festival it will be close to the time of some Pagan festival or other. Easter is measured by the Paschal moons and so any convergence with the pagan celebration of Northern Europe is coincidence. In **some ** languages the name of the pagan spring festival has held over. Not in others. But this is no different to our days of the week remaining in honour of Norse Gods. It doesn’t signify a hang-over of Wodenism each Wednesday - or Thor worship the day after!

Similar with Christmas. We are told Christmas Day is the Pagan solstice. No. Actually it isn’t. December 21st is the Solstice! You’d think sun-worshippers would have got that right.

There is a Pagan book called *The Wheel of the Year *by Campinelli that catalogs the traditions. It is very interesting to see how they overlapped.

Most of these pagan books are not very reliable.


#13

I’ve given up on them, my boss is a JW, and I just tell her I’ll invite her over the next time I sacrifice a goat to my christmas tree.


#14

If you want to see something scary do a yahoo search with the words Christmas Pagan. There are apparently a small number of extreme fundamentalist-apparently not JW-who are adamently against Christmas. I certainly hope these people don’t grow in number!:frowning: ONe of the nutty reasons given for not celebrating Christmas was that it wasn’t found in the bible.


#15

[quote=Trelow]I’ve given up on them, my boss is a JW, and I just tell her I’ll invite her over the next time I sacrifice a goat to my christmas tree.
[/quote]

:rotfl: :rotfl:


#16

[quote=deb1]If you want to see something scary do a yahoo search with the words Christmas Pagan. There are apparently a small number of extreme fundamentalist-apparently not JW-who are adamently against Christmas. I certainly hope these people don’t grow in number!:frowning: ONe of the nutty reasons given for not celebrating Christmas was that it wasn’t found in the bible.
[/quote]

Oh, don’t you know that it’s idolatrous to kneel at the tree and offer it gifts?

I swear, sometimes I wish God hadn’t given Noah that rainbow.
People can be stupid.


#17

I am a recent convert to the Catholic Church, I wast baptized and confirmed this last Easter Vigil, I used to be a very passionate atheist and have only been reading and studying about the Catholic for a relativly short time compared to most Catholics but I feel I know a pretty good amount for were I am at in my spiritual journey. That is why I was somewhat shocked when I heard about a life long protestant say that we Catholics celebrate pagan holidays.<<

FiveOh,

The Jews start Hannukah on the 25th of December, which to the Christian is Christmas. It is also the day of the Pagan Roman holiday Saturnalia. Are we to infer that Jews and Christians are pagans because they observe the pagan holiday of Saturnalia?

The days of the week… Sun-day, Moon-day, Teus-day (Germanic God of war) Wogden’s-day (Norse God of war Odin) Thor’s-day (Son of Odin) Frig’s-day (Teutonic Goddess of fertility.) Saturn’s-day.

Could not one say that this proves that the Jews are pagan because their Sabbath falls on Saturn’s day? (Saturday.)

Try and remove everything that has of pagan origin in your life. Glass (Pagan Egyptian invention.) Reading and writing of an alphabetized language. (Pagan Summerian invention.) etc.

Both Hebrew and ancient Summerian cuneiform are demotic languages, they are read from right to left. Reading from left to right, as we do, can be traced to the pagan Romans, Greeks, and Arabs. Many mathematical, medical, and architectural discoveries are pagan in origin.

Circumcision was practised by the pagan Babylonians, Persians, and to a limited degree, Egyptians before it became the sign of the covenant with Abraham. The bread and wine offered between Melchisedech and Abraham was a Chaananite practice. Before the old Salem of Melchisedech’s time became the new Salem - (Jerusalem) - it was conquered by the Jebusites and became the pagan city of Jebus for 450 years before David reconquered it and named it Jerusalem. That’s right… the “Holy City” was pagan for almost five centuries before it became Jerusalem!

It doesn’t matter what an item, invention, city, day of the week, or holiday is “named” after, or where its origin comes from, it all depends on whether or not you offer it to the true God or a false one.

But if anyone is in danger, it is your Protestant friend.

That is why I was somewhat shocked when I heard about a life long protestant say that we Catholics celebrate pagan holidays.<<

Christmas and Easter celebrate the birth, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If your friend calls these “Pagan” holidays, then he is proclaiming that Jesus is a pagan diety.

Please feel free to point this out to him.

Thal59


#18

ONE POINT WHICH CLINCHES IT FOREVER:

Ever studied the Jewish festival calendar and compared it to the Canaanite pagan calendar? Odd that they have feast days on the SAME days. Odder still that the Canaanite feasts obviously predate the Israelite feasts. Still more confusing is that God commanded the Israelites to celebrate their feasts on those days, but within a Jewish religious context and expression.

Christian holy days may overlap with pagan ones that predate them, but we celebrate those days within a Christian religious context and expression, celebrating the mighty works of God.

  • One Holy Catholic and Apostolic

#19

As an anthropologist, I appreciate what Holy Mother Church did throughout history. Co-opting pagan holidays and traditions into the day-to-day life of the Church enabled the Church to spread throughout many varied cultures. The Jesuits, however, were forbidden from doing this in China. Imagine what would have happened if it had been permitted…


#20

As others have said, it’s actually just a brilliant way of “baptising” pagan events. What better way is there to prevent someone from going to an evil party than to set up an even bigger, Godly party at the exact same time? “Sure, you could go celebrate Beltaine, but you’re gonna be missing out the fellowship of your Christian brothers and sisters, a HUGE feast, lots of wine, and a treasure hunt for the kiddies.” So I get to choose between watching my teenage daughter get molested, or having a healthy party with my friends and family? Not a hard decision!

As other’s have pointed out, this has been God’s way of seperating the holy from the unholy since the earliest days of His Covenants with humanity. I’m hard-pressed to think of a more successful and more appropriate way of doing it.


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