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Is Christmas a Christian or Pagan tradition?

Updated on November 16, 2013

Do you think Jesus was born on december 25?

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December 25, Christmas day

December 25; Christmas is the time of year the kids have been waiting for. It is practiced all over the world. It is described as the season of love, giving, and celebration of Jesus Christ's birth. But is this the day when Christ was really born?

Sadly, there is not enough evidence in the bible to pinpoint exactly when Jesus was born. However, there are some evidence that would suggest that december is a very unlikely month for his birthday.

Luke 2:7-8

"7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

Since it is cold and rainy at Bethlehem(birthplace of Jesus) in December, It is assumed that the shepherds keep their flocks in shelters at nights. Also, Joseph and Mary were said to have come to Bethlehem to register for a Roman census decreed by Caesar Augustus. Given the climate conditions in the middle of december, it is highly unlikely that a pregnant woman such as Mary would travel to register for such census.


Who was born on december 25?

The month of december is a very important month for early pagan religions. It is also the time of the year when the days get shorter and the nights become longer, otherwise known as the Winter Solstice. This occurs when the sun is at it's most southernly declination. Meaning during this time, most of the northern hemisphere is at it's farthest point from the sun, hence the colder climate. The Roman-pagan deity Sol, or the Unconquerable Sun God celebrates his birthday on the 25th of december. It is symbolized by the end of the Winter solstice.

Celebration of Christmas

The festival of Saturnalia was held to honor the Roman deity Saturn. It is held for several days starting from december 17 lasting up to december 23-25. During this period, Roman courts are closed. Any injury or death will be tolerated during the period. Roman communities would have gift-givings, banquets, partying, and sacrifices.

Theories state that during the 4th century, the Roman Catholic Church adapted the Saturnalia festival in an attempt to convince pagans into conversion. The attempt successfully converted masses of pagans into "Christianity" by allowing them to continue with the Saturnalia tradition, and so the introduction of Christmas. The festival and it's time of occurence had no relation whatsoever with Christianity. So Catholic leaders set the birth of Christ to december 25, similar to the Roman deity Sol. Christmas or "Christ-Mass" was then celebrated every year, replacing the old pagan Saturnalia.

Jordan Maxwell - The Cult of Saturn

So, is Christmas originated from pagan traditions?

No one will probably ever know for sure. There are a lot of other theories out there regarding Christmas and it's similarities with pagan culture. One thing is for certain; Christmas will still be an important human tradition for generations to come. No matter where it really originated, no one really cares. What's important is that on Christmas, children will be happy, gifts will be given, love will be expressed, and the day will be another special and memorable occasion that will be shared before the end of another year.

Isis and Horus, Mary and Jesus
Isis and Horus, Mary and Jesus | Source

Other similar icons: Catholic and Pagan tradition

So we see evidence and similarities that suggest that the Christmas may be influenced by pagan tradition. Are there any other christian traditions today that may have been influenced by paganism? Interestingly, there are some icons of the Roman Catholic church that bear resemblance with paganism. The most popular being the worship of the Virgin Mary.

Catholics will tell you that the virgin Mary was sinless, remained a virgin throughout her life, and is the literal 'Mother of God'. However, it was not until 1854, when pope Pius IX announced the Immaculate Conception, that she was declared a pure soul. However, such claims have no biblical foundation whatsoever, and were purely an evolved human doctrine. There are even evidence in the bible that suggests that Mary and Joseph had biological children; Jesus' siblings, after the birth of Jesus himself.

Isis, is an ancient Egyptian goddess who conceived Horus, the son of the Egyptian god Osiris. Although to say that Mary is the christian incarnation of the pagan Isis seems far-fetched, modern depiction of Mary and Jesus is the spitting image of the Egyptian depiction of Isis and Horus.


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    • profile image

      Gershield21 4 years ago


    • Meo Antolin profile image

      Romeo Antolin 4 years ago from Philippines, Asia

      Now that this is brought up, I may write more about my religious views in the future.

      I was raised a methodist, and I was aware of the catholic practices and traditions such as idoletry, belief in purgatory, Mary-worship, the Papal system, symbolisms, etc. and believed it to be an ungodly religion. However, most of my friends whom I grew up with were catholics, soon I didn't care about religion anymore.

      In my own religion, my father(a church layman) tells stories about the political 'backstage' of our church. There were other members using church funds for their personal interests, members backstabbing other members, and a lot of other political stuff. After a while I realized that religion altogether could be the worst thing that ever happened to human society. On context, the bible did NOT establish a religion on it's own. It was the people who tried to use it back then for their own reasons. Thanks for the input.

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Meo Antolin, beautiful hub.

      Symbols, holidays, graven images and the like are things of "this world."

      The whole purpose of the Bible, Christ's arrival and sacrifice, the creation of Homo sapiens, and the nurturing of civilization has all been for the rescue of God's children. But people get confused. God created us in His image and likeness, but He is not Homo sapiens. And yet, people persist in thinking that they are human bodies.

      The Christian church was perverted by Constantine, Justinian and others -- turned into a political business.

      If you can recognize what is ego and what is spirit, then you can know the difference between evil and Truth. Ego is selfish.

      These days, I see snotty kids bemoaning not having enough presents, and snarling parents thrashing other shoppers in order to snag the last of a popular gift. Christmas has become all Ego (evil).

      The merchants of chaos also gave us a fake "sabbath," denying Saturday (Sabado), and picking up pagan "Sun" day.

      Perhaps this is splitting hairs on a technicality, and such hairs are unimportant in the spiritual realm, but humility is a key antidote for the ego that blocks our path to the spirit. And holding onto Sunday, because it is easy or popular, may be a convenience of ego.

      The bottom line: what does love demand of us?

    • Meo Antolin profile image

      Romeo Antolin 4 years ago from Philippines, Asia

      I myself used to make such a big deal out of it, preaching to my friends why they should not celebrate Christmas. That was years ago. I guess it was my fascination before with conspiracies and the sort. I don't think that Jesus really wanted us to remember his birthday(the date) in the first place so I guess it doesn't really matter. Or maybe they should just attribute Christmas as 'remembering Christ' rather than celebrating his birthday, that would make sense.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I think it is interesting that the Christian church piggy-backed on pagan traditions to evangelize their communities. Now very legalistic Christians are critical of the holidays for being too pagan. What is the important thing here: the details or the results?

      I have a friend who has become very legalistic in her faith who dreads the coming of Christmas because it is not a true representation of historical Christianity. It is the biggest draw of the world's attention to Christ the Savior for the entire year. How can that be a bad thing?