How did christmas come about!

How did christmas come about!

The first time the birth of Jesus Christ was attributed to the date December 25 was in the 4th century, according to early Roman history. Early celebrations of Christmas are thought to have derived from Roman and other European festivals that marked the end of the harvest, and the winter solstice.

The celebration of Christmas has its roots in both religious and cultural traditions that have evolved over time. The attribution of Jesus Christ’s birth to December 25th and the early celebrations of Christmas are indeed linked to historical and cultural developments.

  1. Roman Festivals:
    • In ancient Rome, the festival of Saturnalia was celebrated around the time of the winter solstice, typically from December 17 to December 23. Saturnalia was a time of feasting, gift-giving, and revelry. The festival honored the god Saturn and included elements of merriment and social exchange.
    • Another Roman festival, Sol Invictus (the “Unconquered Sun”), was celebrated on December 25th. It marked the winter solstice, and the Romans believed it was the day when the sun began to regain strength and daylight started to increase.
  2. Christian Adoption of December 25:
    • The association of December 25th with the birth of Jesus Christ is believed to have been established in the 4th century. While the exact reasons for choosing this date are not entirely clear, some theories suggest an attempt to Christianize existing pagan celebrations.
    • Pope Julius I, in the year 350 AD, officially declared December 25th as the date to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It may have been an intentional effort to replace or coincide with existing winter solstice celebrations.

      The Census at Bethlehem (The Numbering at Bethlehem), Early 17th cen.. Found in the Collection of Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp. Artist Brueghel, Pieter, the Younger (1564-1638). The highlight of the festive calendar these days always lands on December 25
  3. Cultural Synthesis:
    • Over the centuries, as Christianity spread and absorbed various cultural traditions, Christmas became a blend of religious and secular customs.
    • The customs of gift-giving, feasting, and decorations have roots in both Christian and pre-Christian traditions. For example, the exchange of gifts may have been influenced by the Roman tradition of gift-giving during Saturnalia.
  4. Christian Liturgical Calendar:
    • In addition to the December 25th celebration, Christmas is part of the liturgical calendar that includes the Advent season leading up to Christmas Day and the twelve days of Christmas, culminating in the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th.

In summary, the celebration of Christmas has a complex history with influences from both religious and cultural traditions. Over time, it has become a significant holiday celebrated by people around the world, encompassing a mix of religious observances and festive customs.

Posted by Paul Shala

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