Christmas & Winter Holiday Origins

scarywoodwitch By scarywoodwitch, 29th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

Christmas is Jesus Christ's Birthday, but you ask, "Where did all these Christmas trees, ornaments, mistletoe, and the stocking come from?". You will not believe where some of these traditions come from and how very intermingled Christmas is into all religions and all cultures. Many of our winter holidays have roots that stem from the same places!

Christmas Unwrapped - Christmas Symbols & Traditions' History

Check out this History Channel special that explains some of its background!

The Melding of Religions & Christmas Practices

The church in England wanted to rid the Pagans & other religions of their holidays. They incorporated traditions from these Pagan festivals into seemingly harmless (to the Christians) traditions so these people didn’t have to give up their lifestyle totally when converting. This made it way easier to convert them.

An example of these popular winter traditions is the Yuletide Festival that the Romans celebrated. During this festival, Romans ate, drank, and were merry, but this was a celebration of a Pagan God, Saturn, for which the planet in the Milky Way Solar System is named.

Another example is the decorating of the Christmas Tree. Christmas Trees were decorated to honor the Nordic God, Thor, who was the God of Thunder. This practice was incorporated with Christmastide so that trees could be decorated, but it would instead be a homage to the birth of Christ and gifts could be placed under the tree and decorated as a symbolic giving of gifts to each other in lieu of the Christ Child at his birth, which took place when the "Three Kings" gifted the newborn Baby Jesus with gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The Winter Solstice

The winter solstice occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. The winter solstice occurs on December 21. It is the longest day of the year literally. It signifies the beginning of winter and the end of fall and was a big deal to Pagans in Pre-Christian times.

It was a celebration that eventually melded into the Christmas festivities and is believed to have been the reason why Christmas is on December 25. Most don't believe Jesus Christ was born in winter, even Christians. It is speculated he was born in summer or fall, in all actuality by archaeologists and professionals who study history! Nobody is really sure, but an ideal date for the holiday was picked. Interestingly enough, another deity in a religion similar to Christianity, Mythra, was said to be born on December 25.

Yule or Yuletide is still celebrated by those in the Wiccan Religion as they worship nature and its forces and is considered to be a highly magical time of year when the true transition from fall to winter happens! Many Pagans decorate trees and celebrate the holiday in a very similar way to Christmas or Hanukkah.

Modern Christmas

Modern Christmas consists of all the past festivals and the melding of religions and traditions in American culture. People put up trees, light Menorahs. There are quite a few mixed Jewish and Christian families who hang mistletoe and wait for Santa Claus to put their presents under their tree and treats in their stockings!

Hanukkah

Hanukkah is another winter festival, usually between Thanksgiving & Christmas. It starts on the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, the festival of lights! Like Adam Sandler says, who is Jewish, “Its got 8 days of presents and 8 crazy nights!”. Hanukkah, also spelled as Chanukah (Roman Spelling) is the Festival of Lights, a Jewish celebration lasting 8 nights for the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century BC.

Candles are ceremonially lit (9 of them) on the Menorah (a beautiful and elaborate candelabra built for Hanukkah). A new light is lit on each night of Hanukkah, until the eight night. The 9th light is a shamash. It stays lit for the others to light off of. It is displayed below the other candles inside the Menorah. “Hanukkah” literally means in Hebrew “to dedicate”. After all, what do we do on the holidays, we set aside “dedicate” a day to rest and celebration!

Hanukkah is celebrated for a purpose that is nothing like the Christian’s Christmas, but since it is around the same time of year, and winter religious celebrations tend to meld in a certain culture, like mine, the American culture and get similar! I have worked in retail, and I sure have seen just as many gifts being purchased by the Jewish families as the Catholics & Christians & Protestants! Their festival just lasts longer, which is so much fun!

Some families give a gift a night, but some just buy and give whatever they want to give on those nights. Silver and blue are often the decoration colors at Hanukkah. I decorate my tree in silver and blue lights most years!

Tags

Christmas, Christmas Hisotry, Christmas Story, Christmas Tree, Hannuka, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Pagan Holidays, Winter Holidays

Meet the author

author avatar scarywoodwitch
I'm a horror blogger, an astrologer, and a reviewer. I love history, especially haunted and horror history and the history of medicine.

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Comments

author avatar Clarence Schreiber
30th Apr 2014 (#)

An interesting read. Thanks for the share. It was worth the read.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
30th Apr 2014 (#)

Nice post!

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author avatar scarywoodwitch
2nd May 2014 (#)

Thanks, Clarence and Fern!

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