Why is Christmas being called a pagan holiday?

I never saw this statement before today, but I’m having great difficulty understanding why a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the whole cornerstone and POINT of Christianity, can be called pagan in any way, shape or form. It seems to me this is what Jehovah’s Witnesses are telling me.

Even if a similar celebration existed for the sun or moon or trees or whatever, that makes the CELEBRATION style similar, not the reason for the holiday itself.

20 thoughts on “Why is Christmas being called a pagan holiday?

  1. The entire myth in the bibble itself about the birth of babby Jebus is just a metaphor about what happens in the eastern sky on Dec. 24th and the rebirth of the sun on Dec. 25th, the day the sun begins its journey back to the northern hemisphere on the 3rd day after winter solstice.

    Here’s a great short video…
    The Hidden Meaning of Christmas
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2M8NWjcBQo

  2. Because Christians around the time of Emporer Constantine created Christmas to convert pagans. They kept many of the pagan solstice rituals, such as the tree, mistletoe, etc. They just slapped on Jesus’ name to make it Christian.

    When you read the Gospels, you see the Jesus was not born in the winter. Thereby the date is arbitrary.

    In fact the Puritans in the American colonies banned Christmas celebrations for just this reason.

  3. You’re right. Christmas is a Christian holiday.

    Christmas *did* displace a pagan holiday and adopted many of the practices of that displaced holiday. During the Christianization of Europe, it was standard practice to displace existing pagan holidays. This made conversion easier by limiting social disruption in the community.

  4. Some do not celebrate the birth of Jesus, they celebrate giving. Which is good, God gave us Jesus. So giving is good. So in a way they are celebrating Jesus as well.
    bless you.

  5. The roots of christmas are not found in scripture but in ancient pagan festivals such as Roman Saturnalia, a celebration dedicated to to saturn, the god of agriculture.. Likewise according to their reckoning, devotees of god Mithra celebrated December 25th as the birthday of the invincible sun (quoted from the new catholic encyclopedia)
    Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was particularly strong at Rome, about three centuries after the death of Jesus.
    At these celebrations Pagan people would exchange gifts and feast on good food. A practise that that still happens in to days times.

    Jesus was not born on christmas day. Early christians did not celebrate the birth of Jesus. the custom was adopted centuries later.

    Jesus was born when the shepherds were on the hills. This could not have happened in december as the seasons back then were very cold and wintry and the sheep were looked after indoors.

    If you read the bible you will realise that the church has lied to you for a very long time.

  6. Where in the Bible does it say that Jesus was born three days after the solstice, the the first day that the day is out noticeably longer in the Norther Hemisphere.

    There’s a tradition on Yule, that a long bearded Odin would ride through the sky on his flying horse on a yearly hunt. Children would leave food for the horse in their shoes left by the hearth, and the Yuleman would leave candy and toys as gratitude. That’s not just made up by Wiccans, that’s from records dating back to pre-Christian Europe.

  7. In this case, the JW’s are correct.
    Perhaps you should actually read your bible sometime — it doesn’t give a date for magic jesus’ birth (certainly not Dec. 25th), and despite the conflicting stories of the gospels, the only conclusion one can draw from the bible is that if magic jesus ever really was born, it was in the springtime.

    The Roman “Saturnalia” holiday was a favorite of the Roman people, starting about Dec. 17th and ending on Dec. 24th. When christianity was made the “official” religion of the Roman Empire in the 4th century, Constantine and others knew taking away the Roman people’s favorite pagan holiday would not be at all popular, so they just extended it one day and called it a celebration of the birth of magic jesus. That’s the holiday you celebrate, a Roman pagan orgy turned into magic jesus’ birthday to make the transition to official christianity more acceptable to the masses.

    Try some historical reasearch.

    Peace.

  8. because before christmas was celebrated on december 25th a pagan holiday was celebrated on that date

  9. Before the catholic church changed it to Christmas ( Christ’s Mass) it was origianlly Winter Soltace, or Yule. The pagans were Celebrating the Begining of Winter. The Chruch changed it so they could entice the pagans over to the christain faith without them loosing their celebrations.
    The Christmas Tress : Evergreens which are part of the Yule Celebration
    Wreaths : See Above.
    Holly: Mother nature
    I could keep going.
    If you look in the bible it indicates that Christ was born more towards spring because how many hurders do you know who take their flock to graise in the winter?

  10. Rumor is that the Roman Church chose to put the holiday on that particular date as a sort of a competitive measure. In other words, they looked at the popularity of the pagan celebrations, and saw that many from their own congregations were also joining in on the pagan celebrations, and that the only way to really compete with all that was to throw a big feast of their own.

  11. Way back when, 1500+ years ago, there was a Holiday, not on Dec 25 but on the Winter Solstice, and that Winter Solstice Holiday was Pagan in its origin.

    Somewhere, during the 4th or 5th century I suppose, someone in Rome came up with the idea to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec 25.

    Back then the calendar was not as precise as it is today, so perhaps back then the Winter Solstice occurred on Dec 25, not one really knows for sure.

    However, for the past 1500+ years, Dec 25 has been celebrated as the birthday of Jesus.

    The way I see it, if the angels celebrated the Day of His Birth on the Day He was Born, so should we.

    Modern day pagans, in their attempt to discredit everything about Jesus, have chosen this thing as one of their many pointless points to harp on.

    That said, I’m pretty sure no one today knows the exact date of Jesus’ birth.

    However, it has been celebrated on Dec 25 for at least 1500 years and most Christians know nothing about any pagan origins. I didn’t until I studied for the ministry.

  12. When Constantine decided to adopt Christian religion for the Roman country he took the Pagan winter solstice and adapted it and called it the day the Christ child was born. So his people would go along with the change. Jesus was born in the spring. This is evidenced by when the North Star is over Bethlehem and when historically when the Romans took the census and had the people pay taxes. Also Joseph took a new born lamp with him to pay his taxes. Lambs are born in the spring not the winter.

  13. That the celebration of Christmas on December 25th came about in the fourth century under Constantine’s rule is a myth. It may be perpetuated by encyclopedias of knowledge, but they are not infallible. Dr. Harold W. Hoehner in his book Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ shows that Christmas was celebrated on December 25th almost back to the time of the New Testament church.

    “Hoehner points out that the traditional date for the birth of Christ as December 25th dates back to as early as Hippolytus (A..D. 165-235). In the Eastern church January 6th was the date used for Christ’s birth. But this is still a winter date and not far removed from December 25th. Chrysostom (A..D. 345-407) in 386 stated that December 25th is the correct date and hence it became the official date for Christ’s birth except in the Eastern church which still retained January 6th. One of the main objections has been that sheep were usually taken into enclosures from November through March and were not out in the fields at night. However, this is not as conclusive as it sounds for the following reasons: (a) It could have been a mild winter. (b) It is not at all certain that sheep were always brought into enclosures during the winter months. (c) It is true that during the winter months sheep were brought in from the wilderness, but remember, Luke tells us the shepherds were near Bethlehem rather than in the wilderness. This indicates, if anything, the nativity was in the winter months. (d) The Mishnah tells us the shepherds around Bethlehem were outside all year and those worthy of the Passover were nearby in the fields at least 30 days before the feast which could be as early as February (one of the coldest, rainiest months of the year). So December is a very reasonable date.”

    This is a link to good information on the question regarding the date of Christ’s birth.

    http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2561

    The Bible actually contains a warning against those who see evil in almost everything and condemn it. Titus 1:15-16 says, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.”

    Furthermore, Colossians 2:16-17 says, “Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival (which includes Christmas, birthdays, etc.) or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.”

    For most of us, our ancestors were pagans. If we search hard enough, we can find pagan connections to most everything. For example, the bottom of this page shows the pagan origins of the watchtower symbol: http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/cross-or-stake.php Currently, the watchtower is an important symbol in the practice of wicca.

    What matters is how we celebrate Christmas today. The angels, shepherds and wise men all saw fit to celebrate the day of Christ’s birth. For me, whether or not we know the exact date of the nativity is irrelevant. It is a time to reflect on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Redeemer and King and His purpose for coming to earth, and that’s where we keep the focus in my family.

  14. Because the only thing about Christmas that is Christian is the fact that it is the superimposed birthday of Christ (he was born in the fall not the winter). Everything else is pagan from the feast, evergreen tree, presents, santa claus, yule log, decorations, mistletoe etc. The ancient catholic church made several common pagan holidays “christmas” in an effort to more easily convert the heathens.

  15. Hello Frogma, To tell you the truth, Christians have always been attacked over the centuries, right from Jesus, to St. Stephen the first martyr, to killing of the disciples of Christ, to the saints being murdered, to being fed to lions etc.

    Here on R&S non Christians cannot really kill Christians physically, but they can definitely antagonize them. So one of the best ways to do it is by calling Christmas pagan. Just a note that I do not say that this kind of childish behavior of the non Christians is even comparable to what Christians have endured in the past and are still enduring.

    Something you should have a look:

    You will hear a lot of myths about Christmas. Such as these.

    Myth 1 – Christmas was placed to moved out Roman holidays and phase in Christian ones –

    This idea is not a “new” idea as many people think that we have “come to realize this” in our more modern times. It was suggested by German Protestant Paul Ernst Jablonski (does anyone else detect the irony here?) that Christmas was placed on December 25 to muscle out Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. This however would be incorrect.

    While there were debates as to when Christ was born (or if we should even mark the date at all), the date being settled upon as December 25 was done in 221 AD. The cult concerning Sol Invictus (the unconquerable sun god) existed during this time, but was small and eventually ceased by 222 AD. While it was celebrated, it was done on December 17. In 274 AD, Emperor Aurelian restored the festival of Sol Invictus and designated December 25 as the date of celebration. This may have been an attempt (to the contrary) to appropriate Christmas. Recall that Christians were still persecuted in this time.

    Christians have also been accused of b******ising Saturnalia, another Roman holiday. This argument is flawed as well for several reasons. When the Romans celebrated Saturnalia, it was celebrated from December 17 through December 23. It was not one day. In fact, given the Roman calendar as being as it was, it would be hard to place a Christian holiday on any day in December with out being accused of appropriation. It would be hard to place Christmas on any day of the year without facing similar accusations. Remember that the Romans had many holidays. Over 120 days of their year had a holiday on it. You could barely go more than 5 days without celebrating something.

    If Christmas was moved to take over Saturnalia, why would an existing Roman holiday be moved to the same day as Christmas? Why not put extra effort into what was already placed there? The two accusations of Roman appropriation clash.

    Myth 2 – Christmas was placed to moved out pagan European holidays and phase in Christian ones –

    This idea is also not new, and has been suggested as early as the 17th century by men such as Isaac Newton. However, this idea does not stand to scrutiny.

    As already addressed, Christmas was being celebrated in December by the early 3rd century. This predates the spread of Christianity to the Germanic areas of Europe. Christmas is accused of taking over Yule, but history clearly indicates that the Christianization of Scandinavia didn’t begin until (approximately) the 8th century, and in some parts didn’t finish until the 18th century.

    Still we are brought to the issue of the date itself. With the insurmountable issue of placement to avoid “scheduling conflicts”, why place Christmas on the date it was? Unless of course they believed the date to be correct.

    Reasons for believing this to be the correct date vary. Many people who made the decision for the placement of Christmas were around when various texts existed, that are no longer extant. Also, much information was considered still part of “recent memory.”

    Part of the reason for placing Jesus’ birth on the 25th (of December), was because there was an ancient Jewish belief that the great prophets were to have an “intergral age” (where you die on the same day as either your birth or your conception). Examples of this belief exist in history. It was believed that Jesus was conceived on March 25 (according to some historians, such as Sextus Julius Africanus), so a nine month count would place his birth on December 25. However, modern understand of biology would say that the date could have shifted days or even a few weeks one way or the other. This does not negate the fact that ancient peoples truly believed this date to be accurate.

    Likewise, some traditions traced back from the date ancient peoples believed Jesus was crucified. This was believed to have been either March 25 or April 6 (This is why some groups celebrate Christmas on January 6, which is 9 months after April 6).

    Ultimately the “final decision” was made in the 4th century, but this does not legitimize the claim that it was to ease transition from paganism into Christianity (no one seems to agree which person made the decisions, only that it must have been to force out old ideas), as evidence exists that this practice was already in place. However, Christmas is still celebrated at different times of the year (still in December or January) by various peoples world wide.

    Also, Biblical accounts of the shepherds being out at night would indicate that it was winter time. In Israel, winter rings more rain which creates favorable conditions for grass. Sheep eat grass. Night time is a better time for people to stand around watching sheep feed themselves when you live in a hot part of the world.

    However, I agree there should be more emphasis of Christ in Christmas.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas#H…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annunciatio…

    Also: 1) I don’t see December 25th on the pagan calendar:

    http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/holidays…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/tools/cale…

    2) The winter solstice is an astronomical event.

    3) For half the planet, the winter solstice occurs in June, not December.

    Thanks for your question.

  16. This is a hot topic in recent years. Let me state that I am a neo-Pagan. Let me also state that I do not like my beliefs denigrated. You can disagree without denigrating. I also do not believe that the beliefs of others should be denigrated. That said….
    I’m really tired of seeing a lot of misinformation and bad facts stated as facts. There is a tendency to always go back to the Roman Saturnalia on this subject. In reality, Saturnalia had even more ancient roots going back to Babylonian and other Mesopotamian traditions. In fact, winter solstice and other holidays have roots going back to Neolithic times. Think Stonehenge. Research the god Mithras, whose birthday was December 25. Also research the god Sol, a very early Roman god whose cult was later reborn as the Sol Invictus mentioned above. If you understand some of the complexities of the relationships of different sun gods you will better understand all the different dates given for Saturnalia and other things.
    January 6 was December 25 on the old Julian calendar. Read about the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar and the 10+ day difference that resulted and you will understand. Eastern Christian churches and some countries chose to continue the celebration as they always had per the Julian calendar, which is now January 6 on our Gregorian calendar. So, Jan. 6 IS Dec. 25 to those folks. To western Christians it is the Epiphany.
    Also, Saturnalia actually encompassed several holidays. Saturn was not a sun God. Mithras was. The celebration of Saturn continued on to the celebration of Mithras and even further to the celebration of Janus (where January got its name)which took place, guess when? Jan.6. Understand the nature of Mithras/Sol (sun) and the relationship in the Pagan mind to Janus (moon) and you will get it. Also understand the various roots of the Twelve Days of Christmas and you will further understand all these dates.
    See: http://www.examiner.com/paganism-in-atlanta/pagans-our-christmas-date
    The Romans, unlike Christians, did not try to convert folks when they conquered new countries. They simply insisted the Emperor also be worshipped. They were masters at adopting and allowing existing religious beliefs to continue in order to lesson social upheaval. Early Christians were Roman. They continued this policy (wisely in my humble opinion) and overlaid many Christian holidays onto existing Pagan ones. This is true of every holiday or saint day we celebrate today.
    That doesn’t mean Christmas is not Christian. Pagans do not celebrate Christmas, they celebrate winter solstice and sun gods. Many celebrate on the 25th, the day the sun ascends from the solstice. Nobody has a clue when Jesus was born, everybody is guessing. Early Christians (who were closest to the historical record) placed it in the spring, but it was too close to Easter and didn’t work out well. Easter was a bigger holiday and celebrating Christmas so close to Easter created a conflict. Dec.25 was the last of several dates experimented with.

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