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Dgreetings » Gift Ideas » Christmas Gifts » Merry Christmas » Pagan Beliefs Surrounding Christmas

Pagan Beliefs Surrounding Christmas

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Christmas is certainly the largest and most popularly celebrated of all festivals. However, it is believed that many of the modern day Christmas practices and beliefs have their origin in the Pagan religions of the past. For instance, we celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December even though it has never been proven that t is truly the date of Jesus’ birth. In fact as per the gospels he must have been born sometime in April. Therefore it is believed that the date was chosen because a certain pagan holiday too was celebrated on this day.
Saturnalia, a popular festival that was celebrated by the Romans before they converted to Christianity was generally held in the month of December. This festival of fasting and feasting was in the honor of Winter solstice, and Saturn, god of agriculture. It was in 1350 that Pope Julius I decided upon this date as Christmas, and the belief propagated is that Pope Julius wanted to make it as easy for the many pagan Romans to convert to Christianity which they would do easily if they identified with the religion and it felt familiar.

The tradition of hanging up a mistletoe and kidding beneath it is also said to be a pagan custom, it definitely does not find mention anywhere in the Bible. Legend has it that the God of Mischief shot an arrow made of mistletoe at Baldur, God of peace and killed him. Everyone was saddened by the news of Baldur’s death and asked that he be restored to life. When he came around, his mother Frigga was overjoyed and hung a mistletoe on her door, promising to kiss all those who passed beneath it. There are many more beliefs and traditions from around the world regarding the mistletoe. It is now regarded as the symbol of love and compassion.

Even though the Christmas tree is indelibly linked with Christmas in our minds, it is definitely a derivative of some kind of pagan practice. In the eighth century, Saint Boniface came upon a group of pagans worshipping an oak tree, this angered him and he immediately started chopping the oak. While he was chopping it, all of a sudden from the center a fir tree sprouted and grew as tall as to touch the sky. This was when he declared that this evergreen was their holy tree. It is also believed to have originated in a pagan custom followed in Egypt. According to pagans, any tree which could remain green in winter had to have some special significance and was therefore worshipped.

There are many more customs and practices followed during modern day Christmas that can only be explained by drawing out examples of the pagan customs, for instance those of the Yule log and Christmas stocking. Thus, it would be safe to assume that Christmas is celebrated as an amalgamation of various pagan holidays.

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