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zaterdag 26 december 2015

The origin of Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… We know the song, we decorate everything and give presents to our most beloved.
But, where does Christmas come from?
With reading an article from a good friend, and a reference to a really interesting website I found some interesting history about this day.

Everyone thinks December 25th is the day when Jesus was born. Sorry, no… There were a lot of pagan gods were born on that day.  From its early Babylonian roots, the celebration of the birth or “rebirth” of the sun god on December 25th came to be celebrated under various names all over the ancient world. It is a fact that the winter solstice occurs a few days before December 25th. The winter solstice is the day of the year when daylight is the shortest. So you could say that with the rebirth of the sun god, the daylight is born as well…

But thousands of years before there was a “Santa Claus” there was another supernatural figure who would supposedly visit a tree and leave gifts every December 25th, his name was Nimrod.
Semiramis (a women who later in history became known as the goddess Astarte/Asherah/Ashtoreth/Isis/Ishtar/Easter in other pagan religions) claimed that after the untimely death of her son/husband (yep, she married her own son) Nimrod, she saw a full-grown evergreen tree spring out of the roots of a dead tree stump, symbolizing the springing forth of new lift for Nimrod. And, on the anniversary of his birth, she said, Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gift under it. I can’t help but stating the obvious and say that this all sounds so very familiar!
From this original fable peddled by Semiramis (the “Queen of Heaven”) came the tradition for pagans to go out to the holy “groves” and leave gifts for Nimrod (who later came to be worshipped as “Baal”) at an evergreen tree. But, this last doesn’t sound like a Christian holiday…
Later, in Egypt, the son of Isis was born at the same day, at about the time of the winter solstice. The very name by which Christmas is popularly known –Yule day- proves at once its pagan and Babylonian origin. ‘Yule’ is the Chaldee name for an ‘infant’ or ‘little child’, and as the 25th of December was called by our pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors, ‘Yule day’ or the ‘Child’s day’, and the night that preceded it (Mother night) long before they came in contact with Christianity, that sufficiently proves its real character.

But “Christmas”, where is that coming from then?
The word itself is nowhere to be found in the entire bible. In fact, the word wasn’t even invented until about 1000 years after Jesus died.
Well, for starters, Jesus wasn’t born in December. Way too cold for shepherd to be out with their sheep at night in Israel. Bases on the Scriptures, it appears that it is most likely that Jesus was born in the fall, most likely during the “feast of Tabernacles”, the Feast of Ingathering or Sukkot, celebrated in the month of Tishrei, which varies from late September to late October.
Why December 25th then?
When the Roman Empire legalized Christianity in the 4th century, most of the other religions in the empire were celebrating the birth of their gods on December 25th. One of the biggest festivals was known as Saturnalia. A festival during which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of their god Saturn.
Saturnalia was typically characterized by gift-giving, feasting, singing and lots of debauchery. The priests of Saturn would carry wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the pagan Roman temples.
In 350 Pope Julius I declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on December 25th from then on. There appears to be little doubt that Pope Julius was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans to convert to Catholicism.
When the Romans Catholics decided to make December 25th a “Christian holiday” in the 4th century, they simply adopted a long standing pagan holiday and kept most of the same pagan traditions!

In “The Two Babylons”, Hislop describes some of these ancient traditions surrounding the Christmas tree…

The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in pagan Rome and pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm-tree; in Rome it was the fir; the palm-tree denoting the Pagan messiah, as Baal-Tamar, the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith. The mother of Adonis, the sun-god and great mediatorial divinity, was mystically said to have been changed into a tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son. If the mother was a tree, the son must have been recognized as the ‘Man the branch.’ And this entirely accounts for the putting of the Yule Log into the fire on Christmas Eve, and the appearance of the Christmas tree the next morning…”

That sure puts a different spin on Christmas traditions, now doesn’t it?