Now, we all heard the stories that Christmas was stolen / copied from the Pagans. This makes a lot of people upset, even the ideology, Israel Vision, that I mentioned in my previous article. Funny enough, even other ideologies also promote this lie to break down what they cant agree with for some reason.
For some background, here is their premises...
There are some that say Jeremiah 10 refers to Christmas
I quote "10 Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.
2 Thus says the Lord: Learn not the way of the [heathen] nations and be not dismayed at the signs of the heavens, though they are dismayed at them,
3 For the customs and ordinances of the peoples are false, empty, and futile; it is but a tree which one cuts out of the forest [to make for himself a god], the work of the hands of the craftsman with the ax or other tool.
4 They deck [the idol] with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers so it will not fall apart or move around.
5 [Their idols] are like pillars of turned work [as upright and stationary and immobile as a palm tree], like scarecrows in a cucumber field; they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it possible for them to do good [and it is not in them]."
Now they said this refers to the pagan celebration
“The first public celebration of Christmas in the Roman Empire occurred in 336 AD, and although the Saturnalia which ran from the 17th to the 23rd had been replaced by the Feast of Sol Invictus during the third century of the current era, the tradition of the Saturnalia had been absorbed.”
“Part of the Saturnalia festival was called the Larenetalia or Laurentalia. Although the lares were eventually included in this festival, it start out as a day to honor Accia Larentia, the legendary nursemaid of Romulus and Remus.“
"Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the deity Saturn held on December 17 of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves..."
"The Sigillaria on December 23 was a day of gift-giving. Because gifts of value would mark social status contrary to the spirit of the season, these were often the pottery or wax figurines called sigillaria made specially for the day, candles, or "gag gifts", of which Augustus was particularly fond. Children received toys as gifts."
"In a practice that might be compared to modern greeting cards, verses sometimes accompanied the gifts. Martial has a collection of poems written as if to be attached to gifts"
"December 17 was the first day of the astrological sign Capricorn, the house of Saturn, the planet named for the god. Its proximity to the winter solstice (December 25 on the Julian calendar) was endowed with various meanings by both ancient and modern scholars: for instance, the widespread use of wax candles (cerei, singular cereus) may refer to "the returning power of the sun's light after the solstice"."
"The day was supposed to be a holiday from all forms of work. Schools were closed, and exercise regimens were suspended. Courts were not in session, so no justice was administered, and no declaration of war could be made"
"In sources of the 3rd century AD and later, Saturn is recorded as receiving dead gladiators as offerings (munera) during or near the Saturnalia.These gladiator events, ten days in all throughout December, were presented mainly by the quaestors and sponsored with funds from the treasury of Saturn. The practice of gladiator munera was criticized by Christian apologists as a form of human sacrifice. Although there is no evidence of this practice during the Republic, the offering of gladiators led to later theories that the primeval Saturn had demanded human victims. Macrobius says that Dis Pater was placated with human heads and Saturn with sacrificial victims consisting of men (virorum victimis). During the visit of Hercules to Italy, the civilizing demigod insisted that the practice be halted and the ritual reinterpreted. Instead of heads to Dis Pater, the Romans were to offer effigies or masks (oscilla); a mask appears in the representation of Saturnalia in the Calendar of Filocalus. Since the Greek word phota meant both vir (man) and lumina (lights), candles were a substitute offering to Saturn for the light of life. The figurines that were exchanged as gifts (sigillaria) may also have represented token substitutes
Dasius was a Christian soldier who refused to play the part of the King of the Saturnalia when it was allotted to him, and for his refusal was killed. From this anecdote, Frazer surmises that the King of the Saturnalia was originally a scapegoat victim who was killed as a human sacrifice to Saturn at the end of his festival."
"Rampant overeating and drunkenness became the rule, and a sober person the exception"
"Following the sacrifice the Roman Senate arranged a lectisternium, a ritual of Greek origin that typically involved placing a deity's image on a sumptuous couch, as if he were present and actively participating in the festivities."
"They bathed early, and those with means sacrificed a suckling pig, a traditional offering to an earth deity."
“Although the Saturnalia is not celebrated in the West anymore with the exception of a few Reconstructionist Pagans who follow what they call the Religio Romana, its effects on Western culture and our celebration of Christmas remain. Wreaths, feasts, and the lighting of candles all continue the Saturnalia of the ancient Romans, although the modern reasons are far removed from the Pagans of the Classical World.
Dictionary of Roman Religion. Adkins and Adkins. Oxford University Press. 1996. Oxford, England”
Our Christmas owes much to Saturnalia
Until the Age of the Victorians, Saturnalia largely influenced the nature of the celebration of Christmas.
The central feature of Saturnalia was merry-making. This is of course a feature of modern Christmas, but the Romans were much more exuberant, along the lines of Mardi Gras--and so were our Christmas festivities until Queen Victoria replaced them with German customs in deference to her husband, Prince Albert.
But the Romans gave themselves up to wild joy. They feasted, they indulged, they gave gifts, and they decorated their homes with greenery. And, with a little less licentiousness, so do we.”
So what is licentiousness?
1. sexually unrestrained; lascivious; libertine; lewd.
2. unrestrained by law or general morality; lawless; immoral.
3. going beyond customary or proper bounds or limits; disregarding rules. “
Wow, never had such a Christmas...
Now, I don't know about you, but I have never sacrificed any people on Christmas, nor had sexual flings with my guests, nor overate myself, nor was there a requirement to get drunk or be drunk. A suckling pig never came on my table, some traditions call for a turkey, like Americans, and nowhere did we "placing a deity's image on a sumptuous couch, as if he were present and actively participating in the festivities"
We all know December in Israel it is too cold for sheep and shepherds to be in the field...
So is this argument of shared characteristics a valid one, or should the focus be on the differences.
For me I show many thanks to friends and family at that time, and reflect on the year come past... the good and the bad and remember to be thankful for what we received without asking...
Just because I celebrated Christmas, does that make me a idol worshopper?
Sure, the an apple must be a banana...
Apple is a fruit, A banana is a fruit therefore the above must be true... What hog wash...
Now for someone who wants to learn something about the origins of the Christmas tree, let us look at these interesting facts...
“Decorating for the feast and hanging wreaths were common place practices, but Roman references to Saturnalia trees were non-existent. The earliest reference to the Christmas tree occurs in a story about Saint Boniface that took place in Germany in 722 CE. The legend says that Saint Boniface cut down a oak tree to prevent a pagan sacrifice and a fur tree sprung up in its place. All references to the Christmas tree place the custom centuries after the Roman Empire fell in 476 CE.”
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