The History of Christmas – Where It All Began

The History of Christmas – Where It All Began

The history of Christmas is a long one. It has its roots in pagan celebrations and dates back as far as Ancient Rome. There are many different theories behind the origin of Christmas, but there are two prevailing ideas; that Christmas commemorates Jesus’ birth on December 25th or celebrates the birth of Mithras during the winter solstice. Whether you enjoy carolling, decorating a tree or opening up presents.

 

The Relevance of Christmas to the World

Christmas is a holiday that’s become part of our cultural scene, and we owe it to ourselves to know where it all began!

The history of Christmas dates back as far as Ancient Rome. There are many different theories behind the origin of Christmas, but there are two prevailing ideas; that Christmas commemorates Jesus’ birth on December 25th or celebrates the birth of Mithras during the winter solstice.

Christians adopted the pagan celebration to make Christianity more popular with pagans and Romans alike. In fact, in some parts of Europe, people still celebrate both holidays simultaneously on December 25th.

 

What is Christmas?

Christmas refers to the mass of presents, Christmas trees, decorations and family time that come along with the holiday. However, a long history led up to this time, making its origins far more interesting than some would expect. Although most people believe that our celebration of Christmas began in the time of Jesus, it came centuries later.

 

Clues to its Origins: Mithras and December 25th

Although most people believe that our celebration of Christmas began in the time of Jesus, it came centuries later as a result of pagan festivals which Christians adopted. There are many different theories behind the origin of Christmas, but there are two prevailing ideas; that Christmas commemorates Jesus’ birth on December 25th or celebrates the birth of Mithras during the winter solstice.

In Ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated as an essential pagan holiday known as Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (“the birthday of the Unconquerable Sun”) to the god Mithras. This celebration predicted the rebirth of nature, and many people believed that it marked the birth of a great saviour who would bring salvation to humanity.

Today, many historians believe that Christmas originated as a mixture of these two celebrations; Jesus’ birth and the winter solstice. Although there are no historical records that prove it (as most were destroyed during the wars which followed Constantine’s conversion), many believe this to be the case.

 

Why December 25th?

There are varying theories as to why December 25th was chosen. However, most historians believe it has its roots in the pagan celebration of Natalis Solis Invicti, which occurred during the same period and coincided with Jesus’ birth.

Whatever the origins might be, one thing is for sure; Christmas today consists of a combination of both Pagan and Christian beliefs. Although its history is long, the celebration we know today has been adopted by many different countries worldwide.

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