Every Christmas tradition is pagan in origin

By Gerald McWilliams | 27 November 2019
The Atheist Experience and The Non-Prophets – Fans

(Photo by Arun Kuchibhotla on Unsplash)

Christmas Tree: It is a 17th-century, pagan, German tradition, of bringing greenery into the home, as a symbol of the spring yet to come.

Yule Log & Mistletoe: The Celts and Gaels burned logs as a druidic solstice ceremony to cleanse the past year and welcome the new. And they gathered mistletoe for the festival of Alban Arthuan (or Yule) ~ First described in writing by Roman historian Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus AD 23 – August 25, AD 79).

Father Christmas or Santa Claus: He is a mashup of the tale of the Turkish Saint Nicholas and the German, Kris Kringle or the Dutch, Sinterklaas.

Midwinter festivals: “If you happen to live in a region in which midwinter brings striking darkness and cold and hunger, then the urge to have a celebration at the very heart of it to avoid going mad or falling into deep depression is very, very strong.” ~ Ronald Hutton, a historian at Bristol University.

Christmas Day: The Bible gives no reference to when Jesus was born. It was marked on at least three different dates: 29 March, 6 January, and sometime in June. It wasn’t until Pope Julius I, in 340 AD, who moved it to 25 December. This was conveniently used to convert pagans, since it coincided with two major pre-Christian festivals: Roman Bacchanalia, or Saturnalia, and various Yule celebrated by the Norse, Gaels, & Celts.

Stockings and Gift-Giving: A mashed up tradition of St. Nicholas tossing coins down the chimney of the needy families and of setting out shoes with hay in so Odin’s horse Sleipnir would leave them treats.

Caroling: It started in Victorian England, every holiday had door-to-door singing well-wishers.

Every, single, Christmas tradition was taken from a pagan tradition or religion. For fun, read about Isis & Horus; Devaki & Krishna; and Anahita & Mithra…all which predate Christianity, and detail immaculate births of a savior. And, 16th Century Protestants in England and New
England even forbade celebrating the holiday.




Reprinted with permission from the author.

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  1. What I’d like to know is, why does any of this matter? Every religion co-opts traditions from earlier times, but for some reason, it is this particular subject that seems to constantly be trotted out, year after year—and again, to what end? What does it prove or disprove?

    It’s quite tiresome, and serves no purpose…

    • It matters Moishe as missionaries are repeating the same history in third world countries. Conversion of innocent people and distancing them from their native culture and people. The conversion business is part and parcel of Christianity and must be called out.

    • It actually comes from Christian Fundamentalists who see anything pagan as "evil" and are VERY anti-Catholic. Jack Chick wrote a bunch of comics about how the Evil Catholic Church was actually pagan, and this (ironically) got picked up by some atheists as actual history.

    • It matters because Christmas has become a capitalist drumbeat, and pretending that it is a Christian holiday is both historically incorrect and fundamentally hypocritical. As it is currently observed by stamping pictures of Santa or holly and Ivy on objects simply to sell them and further degrade the planet is horrific.

  2. Actually, Christmas is 9 months after the Annunciation on March 25, which would be Jesus conception. Sextus Julius Africanus said that Jesus was conceived on March 25 in AD 221. Christians were unofficially commemorating December 25 LONG before it became the official date.

    Epiphany (January 6) is also older than Christmas. Once they started celebrating Christmas, it was obvious to place it slightly before Epiphany.

    And when you mention Isis and Horus, you lose all credibility. That's just made up out of whole cloth, and probably has it's source in a Chick Tract.

  3. Plagiarism is the greatest compliment. I am happy that the old ways are still being practiced, even if most people don’t realize it.

  4. Wrong – almost entirely.
    Christmas tree – or Paradiesbaum in German. Originated as a representation of the Tree of Life in Eden. Used in the staging of a play telling the story of Adam and Eve performed at Christmas at least as far back as the 12th century.
    Greenery – As above. Greenery, particulalrly bearing fruit, was needed so incluide Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe. (Google "Le Jeu d'Adam)
    Santa Claus – Correct – he was Saint Nicholas., However, at the time he lived, the Turks had not conquered Asia Minor so he was from Anatolia, probably mostly Greek and was a Christian bishop.
    Midwinter festivals – nothing special about Midwinter as pagan societies, particularly the Romans, had festivals throughout the year. None, before Christians settled on it, were held on December 25th.
    December 25th – First suggested by Hippolytus of Rome c 200 AD. Became the date of the festival in Rome. There is no evidence of any Pope deciding to move it from any other date. Both of the most popular dates ended up being celebrated – Christmas on December 25th and Epiphany on Jan 6th.
    Yule – Was not held on December 25th until King Haakon, according to the sagas, decided to adopt the date to honour Christ. Danes reckon it used to be held in January or February. It is not described as a solstice festival.
    Odin – The Scandinavian sagas say nothing about him dropping off gifts for children at any time of the year.
    Immaculate – Christ's birth was not "Immaculate". His mother is described as being "Immaculate" but that was even before He was born.
    16th century Puritans forbad Christmas celebrations because they were Catholic, not because they thought they were from any pagan source.


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