We will let you know the real history of Christmas according to different sources available till today.
December 25, we celebrate Christmas, which is according to Christian tradition, the birth of Jesus. However, this is a conventional date, because it is not known exactly when he was born. So where did this data come from? Why was Jesus’ birth date set for this day? We will let you know the real history of Christmas
Christmas did not exist at the beginning,
It should be mentioned at the beginning that Christmas did not exist at all at the beginning of Christianity. For the first three hundred years of Christianity, the birth of Christ was significant only because of his genealogy confirming that he was the Messiah.
According to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the first and main festival of Christians was Sunday, as a remembrance of the paschal mystery. From the second century came the annual celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ – Easter.
In the Roman Empire, the Sunday celebration of Christ-light gave Christian meaning to the Latin name of the day: “dies solis” (day of the sun, cf. Eng. Sunday, German Sonntag). Therefore, Christmas was not celebrated in this first period and the date of Jesus’ birth was not particularly interested.
Historical Jesus – He was an ordinary man
The subject of “historical Jesus” – despite the progressing secularization of Europe – still arouses keen interest. The discussion on it was ignited in 1863 by a French scholar and would-be priest, Ernest Renan (1823-92), who in the book “The Life of Jesus” made a critical analysis of the figure of the Christian Messiah. He claimed that he was an ordinary man – a mystic like many in the Holy Land. Only the disciples would have called him God.
“Jesus’ date of birth is not known. […] His father and mother, Józef and Maria, were simple people – craftsmen living from the work of their own hands in a material situation typical of the East – neither in poverty nor in abundance. […] Jesus had brothers and sisters, of whom – as can be deduced – he was the eldest “- was Renan, whom Pius IX called” the European blasphemer “.
Assumption of Jesus birthday
It is now assumed that Jesus was born in the period of 8-2 BC. The two canonical Gospels of Luke and Matthew speak for this.
According to Matthew, Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod, who, according to Józef Flavius, a Jewish historian from the 1st century – died in the 4th century BC. Jesus was born during a census ordered by Emperor Octavian Augustus during the time of the Syrian ruler Quirinius. In “Antiquitates Judaicae,” Flavius writes that Quirinius served this function from 6 to 10 AD and actually conducted a census at the beginning of his rule, that is, in 6 or 8 AD
As you can see the evangelist in their accounts do not agree, in addition, their description is quite poor in the Real history of Christmas. This meant that in the writings of the Church Fathers – Tertullian, Origen or Irenaeus of Lyon – no mention of the celebration of Christmas. Theologian Andrew McGowan adds that they even condemned the deities’ birthdays as idolatry.
Considerations about the day of the birth
Considerations about the day of the birth of Jesus appeared only at the turn of the second and third century, including at Clement of Alexandria (about 150-215), who wrote:
“There are those who have set not only the year but even the day of the Lord’s birth and claim that this was the 28th year of Augustus, the 25th day of the Egyptian month of pachon. […] Others point to 24 or 25 days pharmuthi. “
After conversion, it turns out that the early followers of Jesus believed that he was born around April 20 or May 20. There were also other dates: March 21, April 19, August 28, and even November 17. As confirmation that this could not have happened in winter, the presence of pastors who were grazing in accordance with the Gospel account was also considered grazing.
Impossible in winter condition
Father Alexander Hislop (1807-65) – author of the controversial book “Two Babylon”, referring to nineteenth-century academic authorities, stated:
“On Jesus’ birth, shepherds watched the flock, which seems impossible in winter conditions. If anyone thinks that this region is not so extreme at this time of day, remember the words of Jesus: “Pray that your escape will not fall in the winter.” “
It follows that Jesus was not born in the winter. According to the Bible, shepherds were with sheep in the meadows. December in Judea is the winter month when sheep remained in the stables. So how did December 25, in the Western tradition, become the day of Jesus’ birth?
The first mention of the celebration of this holiday comes from the manuscript “Calendar 354 years”. It turns out that the same day in the Roman Empire was celebrated the festival of syncretic solar deity. Celebrations in honor of Sol Invictus (Invincible Sun) were commemorated by the “birth” of the new sun. A little earlier, the Romans, in turn, celebrated Saturnalia – a festival of equality and reconciliation. Moreover, a few days before Christmas falls the winter solstice celebrated in many of the primitive religions of Europe
What modern science says about the real history of Christmas ?
Modern science has also made interesting findings of another Christmas secret – the Bethlehem Star. Although it is usually portrayed as a comet, it was a different type of phenomenon – a new (brightly shining star) or – more likely – conjunction of planets.
Analyzing data and models, astronomer and columnist David Reneke determined that the Bethlehem Star could be a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter from 2 rd. Planets were in the sky so close together that they looked like one source of light.
The phenomenon was visible for a short time in mid-June, which further reinforced the hypothesis that Jesus was born in the warm month.
There are, however, more candidates for the title of Bethlehem Star. Simo Parpol – archaeologist and professor of astrology at the University of Helsinki searched for them with the help of Babylonian astronomy. He determined that it could be a supernova from 5 AD, also recorded in Chinese sources. Because Matthew the Evangelist mentioned that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great in 4 BC, it had to be about some earlier phenomenon in the sky.
Real history of Christmas by Planets reading to find the truth
Parpola focused on the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn from 7 BC, which was vividly interested in scientists from Babylon, as evidenced by the records found in its ruins. The planets met three times then, which was a rare and significant event from the point of view of astrology (then integrated with astronomy): ” In the Babylonian system, Jupiter was dedicated to Marduk – the highest of deities. In turn, Saturn symbolized the king – a divine anointed on Earth “ – explained the scholar.
For the fortune-telling stars the conjunction heralded the birth of a ruler marked by the heavens and the dawn of a new world order: ‘The fact that Mars joined her in the last phase meant that the king was to come from the west, because in Babylonian beliefs the Red Planet symbolized this part of the world, i.e. area of today’s Holy Land “ – added Parpol in” Biblical Archeology Reviews “.
The victory of the god Nabu over the forces of darkness
This is what lies at the root of the legend of the Three Wise Men from the East. It is possible that the magicians really went to Judea to look for a messenger from heaven. The case was strongly related to their beliefs. Parpola says the last conjunction was three weeks before the winter solstice, when the Babylonians celebrated the victory of the god Nabu over the forces of darkness, which they called “good news.”
If the “good news” (Greek euangélion) was borrowed from the Babylonian tradition, is it possible that Christianity has more elements of the religion of the ancient East? Probably yes, although for hierarchs and historians associated with the Church it is a taboo subject.
Persian-Indian god in the first century
At the turn of the century, bold hypotheses arose, according to which the first followers of Jesus made numerous borrowings from pagan beliefs, mainly from the cult of Mithra. This Persian-Indian god in the first century AD gained many followers among the population of the Roman Empire and was identified with the sun god Helios. One version of the myth about the birth of Mithra says that his mother was a virgin, and the place of birth was a pit or cave, where shepherds bowed to him.
Mitra’s birthday was celebrated on December 25. The cult of Mithras was very popular in Rome and the Middle East. Interestingly, his worshipers considered Sunday a holy day and practiced ceremonies reminiscent of baptism and the Eucharist. The cult of Mithras, however, was mystical and required initiation.
Celebrated as Mithra’s birthday
When Christianity became a state religion, Christians, in order to weaken the cult of Mithras, assumed that on December 25, until now celebrated as Mithra’s birthday, would be the day of Jesus’ birth. Christmas was readily accepted because it was a variant of the pagan festival of Ajona – the festival of the shift of the Sun.
The celebration of the feast took place in the underground adyton on the night of December 24 to 25 and around midnight celebration rites were performed. At dawn, the faithful participated in the procession from the place of worship, carrying the child statuette as a symbol of the born God-Sun by a virgin called Dea Caelestis (Tanit), a foreign Roman goddess (peregrine sacra).
So, as mentioned earlier, the first mention of Christmas celebrations appeared in 354.
Christmas came with the moment of Christianization
Christmas came with the moment of Christianization. What should be remembered was that before Christianization there was a pagan Slavic festival – Szczodre God , whose monument is the custom of caroling. It is highly likely that Christian tradition has adopted old customs and dates for the worship of Jesus, facilitating the progress of Christianization.
In the Middle Ages, Christmas was celebrated extremely loudly and cheerfully. It wasn’t until the 17th century that the tradition we know to this day began to take shape – a joyous holiday, but also full of reflection on life, death and salvation. Christmas in Orthodoxy and the Eastern Churches falls on December 25 of the Julian calendar, i.e. at January 7 of the Gregorian calendar.
Painting “Shepherdess” by Juliusz Słabiak
Characteristic for Christmas are three masses derived from the Roman liturgy, which the Pope celebrates: at midnight (midnight Mass – in memory of the visit of shepherds in the stable), at dawn and during the day.
History proves that the roots of Christmas are related to Jesus only indirectly
History proves that the roots of Christmas are related to Jesus only indirectly, and the version presented by the Church is arbitrary. It is worth remembering that Christianity contributed to the achievements of various philosophies and religions.
Holidays are also a time when we should rejoice, celebrate and spend time with family and loved ones. Unfortunately, nowadays the holiday season has almost completely turned into a time of commercialism and materialism, and the old holiday spirit has passed away somewhere.
Despite all the hustle and bustle, you should try to take care of tradition and the right festive atmosphere. And that it would also be a time of reflection on our lives. This was all The Real history of Christmas story according to different sources.