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The Hidden History of Christmas Thread

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posted on Dec, 4 2010 @ 03:39 AM
Use this thread for the discussion of and posting of material relating to the ancient, and often pagan, origins to the Christmas myth. I'm sure many, or most, on ATS are familiar with this sort of subject matter, but this is intended to be a topical thread as the so-called "festive season" is upon us all.


So post what you got people, and discuss!

Here's my pick:

The Cleaver Blogspot: One Christmas, One Empire

Amid the miasma of western cultural customs, no other festival is as widely and dutifully observed as that of Christmas. We are all inevitably exposed to it, with many an occasion to enjoy/endure its peculiar rites and routines. For some, it is a time of excitement, feasting and merriment. For others, it is a time of reverence and holy worship. For others still, there remains an underlying puzzlement and vague suspicion as to just how on earth this anomalous montage of weird symbolism got to be so all-conquering.

Far from being merely a slice of chic festive cynicism, a brief study into the origins of Christmas serves to illustrate just how rapidly a domineering Empire can orchestrate almost total amnesia in its sequestering of historical events, traditions and personages.

Mythological Airbrushing

First, we look to that ultimate portly icon of Christmas: the red-suited reindeer-riding parcel-deploying old geezer himself - Santa Claus. Or, Father Christmas, depending on where you’re from.

The figure of Santa derives chiefly from an assimilation of two sources: the Norse god Odin, and the Greek Bishop, Nikolaos of Myra.

Norse spiritual traditions celebrated the god Odin, ruler of the higher plane of Asgard, who was associated with wisdom, magic, prophecy, poetry, victory, war and hunting. In the Old Norse poem Völuspá (part of the Poetic Edda), Odin was instrumental in the creation of the first human beings. This enthralling poem contains many elements common to other creation stories from around the world, including: giants of antiquity, the creation of the human world (Midgard), the world-tree, cataclysmic fire and flood, conflict in the heavens and a re-born paradise earth.

Odin’s name derives from the Old Norse word Od, which means furious, mad, vehement, eager. As a noun, it means mind, feeling, song, poetry. In the Old High Germanic language, Odin was known as Wotan, this from the earlier Proto-German word Wodinaz. Notably, Proto-German is the origin of the modern English language (amongst others). Consequently, in Old English, a day of the week became known as Wōdnesdæg, later becoming Wodnesday, until finally in modern times, we get Wednesday. So the influence of Odin is still with us, at least once a week.

In Germanic traditions, during the Yule festival of December, Odin would lead a hunting party through the air, riding his magical horse ‘Sleipnir’ through the sky. Children would place boots filled with carrots, straw or sugar near the chimney for Odin’s flying horse to eat. Odin rewarded these kind children by replacing their offerings with gifts and candy. Over time, German, Belgian, Dutch and Scandinavian traditions of Odin and his exploits became absorbed into the Christianization process. Much of what follows conforms to the same patterning of cultural requisitioning.

Read the rest here:

A related ATS thread to be found here:

The Christmas Tree and the Mushroom Cult

And, of course, there is this:

Google Video Link

edit on 4/12/10 by Extant Taxon because: Formatting error.

posted on Dec, 4 2010 @ 03:43 AM
"Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way." F. Costanza on Festivus, a X-Mas alternative.

posted on Dec, 4 2010 @ 03:47 AM
reply to post by BlastedCaddy

"As I rained blows upon him, I realised there had to be another way."


That all-encompassing Xmas spirit eh? Can't fault it.

posted on Dec, 4 2010 @ 06:06 AM
Christmas and all that

The bare bones of this system are based around calendars and it probably started about 8000 to 6000 years ago.
Its development might have looked like this–

Some chap notices that he can keep track of time by watching the stars and the sun, this info is valuable because it lets people know when to plant crops or gather winter fuel, it’s this knowledge that allows for agriculture and the creation of civilization.

So our chap:
Charges people 10% of what they produce for his services.

He finds he requires some kind of observatory to make his calculations (some kind of Stonehenge type thingy).

Our chap decides to hide how it’s done behind some kind of mumbo jumbo to keep his source of income secure but he makes the “mumbo jumbo” such that a smart person can work out how it’s done, its then possible to re-discovery it, if our chap dies before he has a chance to pass on his knowledge.

(This allows for the start of a “hierarchy of knowledge”, there are believers with no understanding of what they are following e.g. the usual suspects who are easily distracted with bright shine objects or who can be made fearful that a sky pixy will “get um” if they think to much about what’s going on, then there are initiates into “the mysteries” who have worked out what’s going on and the priests who know for sure what’s going)

Religions based on calendars are easy to spot, they:
Have a priesthood who claim to be are a conduit to some higher knowledge or force

This priesthood likes to get paid –a lot- and so they encourage their followers to get other people to see the error of their ways and encourage them to join the “one true religion”™

They have holy-days (especially holidays around solstices and equinoxes)

The place of worship has some kind of sun dial functions and they use symbolism based on the sun or time, for example the cross, circle or box

(draw a circle, at the top of the circle write “summer solstice” and the bottom write “winter solstice”, to the right of the circle write “spring equinox” and on the left side write “autumn equinox”, draw a line connecting the solstices and another for the equinoxes and you get a cross then stick a symbol of the sun on the cross and bingo you have a religion)

Another give-away is numbers, such as 4 (as in seasons), 12 (moon-ths or 12 constellations of the zodiac) 360, 30 or 33 (days/degrees)
the number 30 is based on 360(days)/12(constellations) to define what constellation (house) the sun is in and the extra 3 (as in 33) degrees is for when the sun has fully entered in its new constellation(house) from the previous one

3 is another biggy, probably based on the 3 days the sun takes for it to start the gradual lengthening of daylight after the winter solstice dec 21 to dec 25

More on this here:
The name is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the apparent movement of the Sun's path north or south comes to a stop before reversing direction.

Or here:

As we would expect there are “signals” to the initiates that this story is about the sun/calendars ect.

And in this case we have "Three Kings", or "Three Wise Men" or “the Magi” see Matthew 2

This refers to the 3 belt stars in the constellation of Orion
Job 38:31 ("Can you loosen Orion’s belt?")

Look east on Christmas morning, find Orion and draw a line through the 3 belt stars down, you will come to Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, if you continue on through Sirius to the horizon it points to where the saviour of the world, the sun will appear that morning.

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 12:55 AM

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 11:49 AM

“Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia

The first mention of the celebration of Christmas occurred in A.D. 336 in an early Roman calendar

The World Book Encyclopedia

“The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of New Testament origin. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the N. T., or, indeed, from any other source. The fathers of the first three centuries do not speak of any special observance of the nativity.”

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, by McClintock and Strong.

“Inexplicable though it seems, the date of Christ’s birth is not known. The Gospels indicate neither the day nor the month.

New Catholic Encyclopedia

The choice of 25 December is considered arbitrary and not based on evidence provided in the New Testament, the Christian text dealing with the life of Christ. Many theories have been put forward for the choice of the 25 December as Christ's Nativity, but that it fell during Roman Saturnalia...It also falls three days after the winter solstice, a date when a number of pagan gods underwent resurrection after the shortest day of the year. This includes Sol Invictus of the Roman state religion during pagan times, a cult associated with the deification of the emperor. Whatever the explanation, it is evident that the early Christian Fathers, in their struggle for political and psychological supremacy, turned the interpretatio romana (the process of romanizing foreign gods) on its ear by expropriating a number of pagan symbols and observances and providing them with new Christian meanings. For this reason, Christmas and especially the foods associated with it represent a fusion of diverse pagan strands varying widely

It is impossible to separate Christmas from its pagan origins...the Romans’ favorite festival was Saturnalia, which began on December 17 and ended with the ‘birthday of the unconquered sun’ (Natalis solis invicti) on December 25. Somewhere in the second quarter of the fourth century, savvy officials of the church of Rome decided December 25 would make a dandy day to celebrate the birthday of the ‘sun of righteousness.’ Christmas was born.”

U.S. Catholic

“The Biblical narrative of the birth of Jesus contains no indication of the date that the event occurred. However, Luke’s report [Luke 2:8] that the shepherds were ‘abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night’ suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night.”

Celebrations, by Robert J. Myers

“The flocks . . . passed the winter under cover; and from this alone it may be seen that the traditional date for Christmas, in the winter, is unlikely to be right, since the Gospel says that the shepherds were in the fields.”

Daily Life in the Time of Jesus

Of December 25:

“This date was not set in the West until about the middle of the 4th century and in the East until about a century later.”

The Encyclopedia Americana

The clergy eventually brought the . . . world of the Saturnalia into the Church itself


My research showed me the following, Christ was never born on December 25, and the Christian clergy and the Roman Emperor viewed it as politically correct to merge the pagan celebrations with the Christian ones, and Christmas was created out of all that.
ALL Christians once they learn this need to meditate on this scripture, and perhaps modify what they celebrate.

Ephesians 5: 10 & 11

10And try to learn [in your experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him].
11Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead [let your lives be so in contrast as to] expose and reprove and convict them.

Another version says

Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord; 11 and quit sharing with [them] in the unfruitful works that belong to the darkness, but, rather, even be reproving [them]

Jesus was not born on that date. And he did not authorize the celebration of Christmas; neither did his disciples or the Bible writers.
Thus some Christians once they come to an accurate knowledge of Christmas either stop celebrating it or greatly scale back their once festive activities.

edit on 6-12-2010 by Blue_Jay33 because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 12:04 PM
Christmas, in all its various shapes, and permutations, means exactly what you want it to mean. Nothing more, nothing less...

That it's origins date back thousands of years into pagan belief is beyond question. That it celebrates the turning of the year from darkness to light is also fairly evident.


That it means something else entirely to Christian belief is also beyond question... It celebrates the birth of the Redeemer of Man.


Christmas is what you make of it, folks.

Neither belief is wrong, though you may not share the sentiment... Each, in it's own way, celebrates the light that is our life, both spiritual and physical.

posted on Dec, 7 2010 @ 12:35 PM
Precession of the Equinoxes:
if you make a Stonehenge type thingy and use it to make a note of which constellation the sun comes up in on the spring equinox you will know what Astronomical age you are in

we are in the age of Pisces which is from AD 1 and ends in ca. AD 2150.(note: this is not super accurate but close enough)
so a signal to those in the know would be anything fish related, so the Jesus fish symbol and all the fisherman stuff in the bible, but a major give-away is the feeding of the multitude with two fish
pisces- note the two fish

House (in this case) = one of the twelve astrological signs
Age = astrological age
New age should there for = the next astrological age when the sun moves into a new house…ok

Next up is the Age of Aquarius
some guy with a pitcher of water

OK so how about this as a signal to those in the know:
Luke 22:10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.

posted on Dec, 7 2010 @ 01:40 PM
I once spent a while trying to decode the symbolism of christmas. Tell me what you think of it.

Santa = anagram of Satan. And a clause implies something about the first word (an agreement)

In occult thought, evil comes from the north. likewise, Santa or satan, comes from the north. He dresses all in red (raw emotion or power) hes fat (implying gluttony), and wears a hat similar in appeareance to the phyrgian cap. The phyrgian god, Sabazios, was a combination of zeus and dionysus, which explains the association of this cap with Santa or satan (a comparable idea).

Elves are earth spirits. Again, implying the assiocation with Satan, and physicality and raw emotion. They build his "presents" or, thought of differently. The power of Satan, educes a desire for raw physical things. Thus, the "elves" build Satans presents.

He enters ones house through the chimney. The house can be looked at as a symbol for consciousness. The front door would be a direct relationship, whereas the chimney would be an indirect, or subliminal entrance. He therefore enters ones consciousness subliminally, and implants his presents (desire for physicality) under the Tree. The tree also is a symbol for a world. The top of it, usually has a star. Perhaps a reference to Venus. and it is shaped like a heirarchy. At the very bottom, under the tree (implying action) are Satans presents. Thus, this could be referring to the nature of this whole psychological process:

Lust for physicality enters consciousness subliminally, which causes one to seek the object of his desire; which is the present beneath the tree.

Also, the word "ho ho ho" only has one reference i can think of, and thats from the verse in Amos where he describes the great pain for those who are led by their lower passions. He says " ho ho", as meaning "woe"...So, it could be from Hebrew. Thus, when Satan speaks ie; acts, he causes pain and woe "ho ho ho".

Other symbols related to the holiday which could have kabbalistic meaning, are the 9 reindeer. Satan would be the Keter or "god", with the original 8 reindeer being the 8 sefirot from malkhut to Binah, and rudolph, the added reindeer as Chokmah. It could either be that, or the original 8 reindeer are the 8 sefirot from Chokmah to Yesod, with Rudolph as malkhut. either way, Kabbalisitc writings say Malkhut is built by Hokmah, and so their bound together. His red nose implies a spiritual inclination. The nose is a spiritual function. The redness of it could imply a lust for the physical and emotional. The whole idea of Satan riding the sleigh could be a symbol for the body. Where the 9 spiritual powers of the soul, are used as a means to express this archetypal power.

So... Im not sure if all of that is right, but it does look pretty convincing to me.
edit on 7-12-2010 by dontreally because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 7 2010 @ 04:35 PM
Reply to all that have posted so far: thanks for contributing.
I hope to touch on the information and theories referenced here more closely at a later date, pushed for time right now.

posted on Dec, 16 2010 @ 11:16 AM
Christmas is purported to celebrate the birth of Christ. But was this custom observed by the early Christians?

"There is no historical evidence that our Lord's birthday was celebrated during the apostolic or early postapostolic times." (The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 3, p. 47)

So when did the celebration of Christmas begin? From the book, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, we can read the following:

"Soon after the end of the last great persecution, about the year 330, the Church in Rome definitely assigned December 25 for the celebration of the birth of Christ. For a while, many Eastern Churches continued to keep other dates, but toward the end of the fourth century the Roman custom became universal." (p. 60)

The celebration of Christ's birth then was not practiced until the fourth century, hundreds of years after the death of the apostles. many people do know that Christ was not born on December 25th, but why was that date chosen? The same book reveals this:

"There remains then this explanation, which is the most probable one, and held by most scholars in our time: the choice of December 25 was influenced by the fact that the Romans, from the time of Emperor Aurelian (275), had celebrated the feast of the sun god (Sol Invictus: the Unconquered Sun) on that day. December 25 was called the 'Birthday of the Sun', and great pagan religious celebrations of the Mithras cult were held all through the empire. What was more natural than that the Christians celebrate the birth of Him Who was the 'Light of the World' and the true 'Sun of Justice' on this very day?" (p. 61)

December 25th was chosen primarily because that date celebrated the feast of the pagan god Sol Invictus. So what many people are observing nowadays has its roots from paganism.

posted on Dec, 16 2010 @ 11:34 AM
reply to post by seagull

That it's origins date back thousands of years into pagan belief is beyond question. That it celebrates the turning of the year from darkness to light is also fairly evident.


Regarding feasts and celebrations which are of pagan origin, Apostle Paul has this to say, thus:

"Here then is my word to you, and I urge it on you in the Lord's name: give up living as pagans do with their futile notions." (Ephesians 4:17)

That it means something else entirely to Christian belief is also beyond question... It celebrates the birth of the Redeemer of Man.


A monkey made to wear human clothing is still a monkey. A pagan holiday "adopted" into Christianity is still a pagan holiday.

posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 03:35 PM
Who cares?
It is christmas...
People get together and exchange gifts. Santa is something for children not a belief. While pegans had their religions i highly doubt that it was only for the children the way santa is.

posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 02:06 PM
reply to post by bijouramov

Sorry but the Apostle Paul has little to offer me. I'll believe as I choose to, thanks.

Holidays are, as with anything in life, what you choose to make of them.

Early Christians didn't celebrate Christmas? Today's Christians, or a good many of them anyway, do. Pagans celebrate it as the Soltice, or the turning of the year, light returning to the world.

Both, in their own way, celebrate the exact same thing.

I don't expect to convince you, but what the hey...had to try.

posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 12:30 PM
reply to post by seagull

...and we should simply agree to disagree.

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 10:59 AM
reply to post by bijouramov

Indeed. And so we shall.

posted on Feb, 12 2011 @ 07:21 PM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


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