Christmas is celebrated all over the world and in many different ways. Christmas originated as Christes Maesse a religious festival to celebrate the birth of Jesus held on the Bethlehem plains. However, a date to celebrate this illustrious occasion wasn’t ordained until 350 AD. Although some believe it has been celebrated since 98. Julius I, Bishop of Rome, chose December 25th to commemorate the occasion.
During the winter, several pagan festivals were held which created conflict within the church. Saturnalia, a decadent Roman festival lasted 2-3 weeks. This festival honored their agricultural god and there was a lot of feasting, drinking, and merry making. The Winter Solstice was (and is) celebrated by many cultures. Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year and the days begin getting longer and so the rebirth of the sun was celebrated. The Persians feasted and paid tribute to Mithra and the Teutonic tribes honored Woden.
Although this day was initially suppose to be a solemn occasion as decreed by Telesphorus, Bishop of Rome in 137, the influence of the different pagan holidays was destined. After several attempts to ban pagan rituals and customs from the Christian holiday, the church eventually gave way and incorporated many of them into Christmas by “Christianizing” them. Thus, Christmas is the blending of the old faith and the new.
Have a very Merry Christmas.
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