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Christ Mass, or Christmas, is one of many Christian celebrations which finds its origins in pagan ritual. To understand its origins one must examine the cult of the sun god. Be it Roman, Persian, Babylonian, or Egyptian worship of the sun god, there are common features. In general, the festivals of sun god worship occurred throughout the year and were based on the path of the sun and the relative hours of day and night. Therefore, the most significant pagan rites occurred during transition periods such as the vernal equinox, autumnal equinox, summer solstice, and winter solstice.
As autumn progresses to winter, the days get shorter and shorter until the winter solstice. At that point, the daylight hours begin to increase again. With respect to sun god worship, then, this represented the birth of the sun. In Rome and northern Europe, it was celebrated as the birth of Mithra, the sun god. These celebrations were ultimately merged with Christian teachings, perhaps to make Christianity palatable to the pagan masses.
By adopting [seasonal] festivals as Christian, the early Church sought both to win the allegiance of the populace as well as to harness the vitality of such festivals. While there is nothing to indicate the actual time of Jesus’ birth, such an event most easily correlated to winter solstice festivals. The Roman celebration of the birth of the sun god, Mithra, for instance, had also been observed on December 25th .... the Church adopted the winter solstice as Christmas. The birth of God’s sun at the solstice easily correlated to the birth of God’s son. (Ellerbe p. 146)
The birth of Osiris in Egyptian pagan worship also correlated with the winter solstice.
An Egyptian winter solstice celebration of the birth of Osiris, the divine representation of masculine fertility, on January 6th became the Christian Epiphany. The Church declared that it signified the manifestation of Jesus’ divinity. Yet, the spirit of both Christmas and the Christian Epiphany embodied timeless celebrations of the winter solstice. The difference between them was due more to a difference in calendars than a difference in meaning; the Egyptian calendar was twelve days behind the Julian calendar.
Winter Equinox/Solstice - The birth of the sun. The birth of Mithra on December 25th. Often celebrated with yule fires, processions of light, and tree decorating.
Spring Equinox/Solstice - The sun is resurrected and gains prominence over the night. Fertility celebrations involving symbols such as the egg and the prolific hare. Easter
Originally posted by Monk
hmm? Isnt it all about saint nick who dropped presents down chimnies to the poor? and dissapeared?