Looking at the history of this day we call Christmas


So, it’s the birth of Christ, right?

I got to thinking – almost everyone I know celebrates Christmas. Sure, the world has grown. I have friends now who celebrate Hanukah, Kwanzaa, a number of different significant and cultural holidays.

We have active debates about whether our verbal greeting should be Happy Holidays, or Merry Christmas, because many don’t want to offend by assuming the holiday someone might celebrate.

Ah, the glories of trying to be politically correct.

The one thing I have come to realize though, is Christmas itself, in my opinion, has become much more than just the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ.

It has been adapted, adjusted, absorbed and attached to and from a number of different people. It is a prevailing celebration of the time of year, and love of families and friends to many people. It is a commercial exucse to spoil family and friends, to the modern. It is a time when family must find a way to get together, no matter the value of the things they share, to the traditional.

It is now, a holiday for many, no matter your status, creed or beliefs.

So I got to wondering, how did this all start?

A little internet research – and I’m not even sure how accurate I am because there is so much out there – and wow, there are a ton of different explanations. But here is what I’ve been able to decipher.

Christian religions celebrate December 25 as the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, their religious and spiritual leader.

But the celebration of the holiday season appears, for many people, to have also been bred form the changing seasons.

In Scandinavia, Norse people celebrated “Yule.” This celebration was based on the fact the sun would be returning.

It centered around the Winter Solstice, and the return to longer days.

European cultures across the continent would also celebrate the end of summer and beginning of winter, truthfully, out of convenience. With harsh winter arriving, many farmed animals would be slaughtered so they did not have to be maintained during the winter months.

Ample feasting available!

Romans had celebrations centred around the god Saturn, and the children of Rome. Juvenalia (sounds a bit like young people, doesn’t it?) was a feast to honour the children, and Saturnalia, honouring Saturn (the god of agriculture) would also begin on the winter solstice and continue for a month.

In fact, from what I’ve read, early Christians didn’t even put that much stock into Christmas.

In the beginning….(to steal a line)….Easter held a much more prominent place on the Christian calendar.

According to history.com, the birth of Jesus was not celebrated until the church decided to put the holiday into effect in approximately the fourth century.

Pope Julius I is credited with picking the date of December 25, as the bible does not provide a birthdate for Jesus.

Many believe with the competition between Christianity and Pagan religions, the date was picked in an attempt to have Christmas popularly accepted by people’s already celebrating Pagan festivals, like Saturnalia.

As Christianity grew, the holiday season became the Christmas season.