How did Christmas come about?

Christmas has many different traditions. But where did they all come from? 

We have Jesus Christ, trees, Santa Claus, elves and so on and so forth. 

I did some research to try and connect all the clues.

We have all heard the story of Jesus Christ being born on Dec. 25, but research shows that may not be true. 

Christians were known for using pagan traditions and changing the history of the celebrations in order to convert more people into their religion. The the celebrations during the season of Christmas in December  were one of the biggest holidays that experienced that conversion.

It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice — the return of the sun — and honored Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time, much opposed by the more austere leaders among the still-minority Christian sect. 

Christmas developed, one scholar says, as a means of replacing worship of the sun with worship of the Son. 

By 529 A.D., after Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian made Christmas a civic holiday. 

The celebration of Christmas reached its peak — some would say its worst moments — in the medieval period when it became a time for conspicuous consumption and unequaled revelry.

December 25th may not even be the true birthdate of Jesus.

Luke 2:8 explains that when Christ was born, “there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” 

Note that they were “abiding” in the field. This never happened in December. Both Ezra 10:9-13 and the Song of Solomon 2:11 show that winter was the rainy season and shepherds could not stay on cold, open fields at night.

Many gods such as Horus, whose history is very similar to Jesus, were used to change the reference of gods that were already being worshipped.

Horus was one of the many Egyptian gods. This is probably one of the best-known and contested deities who is often compared to Jesus Christ. 

Some translations and Egyptian myths say that he had 12 disciples, and was born of a virgin in a cave. His birth was announced by a star, and was attended by three wise men. He was baptized at age 30 by Anup the Baptizer. Horus performed miracles, including raising at least one person from the dead and walking on water. He was crucified, buried in a tomb, and resurrected, just like Jesus Christ.

Now you may ask where did trees and ornaments come from?
The fir tree has a long association with Christianity. It began in Germany almost 1,000 years ago when St. Boniface, who converted the German people to Christianity, was said to have come across a group of pagans worshipping an oak tree.

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends.

In newly Christianized areas where the pagan Celtic and Germanic cults remained strong, legends of the god Wodan were blended with those of various Christian saints; Saint Nicholas was one of these.

There were Christian areas where Saint Nicholas ruled alone; in other locations, he was assisted by the pagan Dark Helper (the slave he had inherited from the Germanic god Wodan). 

In other remote areas, where the Church held little power, ancient pockets of the Olde Religion controlled traditions. Here the Dark Helper ruled alone, sometimes in a most confusing manner, using the cover name of Saint Nicholas or “Klaus,” without in any way changing his threatening, Herne/Pan, fur-clad appearance.


Nobel Michael is a senior mass communication major from Lancaster, Calif.