16 Pagan Christmas Traditions that People Mistakenly Credit to Christianity

Christmas is a midwinter festival celebrated on December 25th that is dedicated to the birth of Jesus Christ. Those who mark it celebrate in a variety of ways. Some attend services at church- the traditional services that initially gave the festival its name: “Christ’s mass.” Even those who do not believe in Christ enjoy the attendant festivities, celebrated with family and friends as well as putting up decorations, lighting candles, holding parties, eating and drinking and giving and receiving gifts.

Many of these Christmas traditions seem puzzling when compared to the central message of the Christian Christmas. For they either appear entirely irrelevant to it or else forced to fit. The reason for this is that many Christmas practices are much older than Christ’s Mass itself, dating back to much older religious traditions and gods. Some of these traditions can be easily traced back to their origins, while the exact roots of others have become lost in time. Here are just sixteen of the pagan traditions of Christmas.

16. The Twelve Days of Christmas Originates from the Numerous Pagan Festivals Once celebrated around midwinter.

15. Christmas Feasting and overindulgence was a Hangover from Pagan Midwinter Celebrations.

14. The Original Christmas Carols were not Christian hymns; they were pagan seasonal songs to drive away Evil.

13. Decking the Halls with Greenery was a Sign of Life during the Dead of Winter.

12. Christmas Trees were an extension of this tradition of life amidst the death of winter.

11. Christmas wreaths are another form of Christmas greenery that celebrates the wheel of life.

10. Holly was the symbol of the Pagan ‘King of Winter’- not the Blood of Christ.

9. Ivy was the partnership plant of Holly. However, it was the symbol of death, not life.

8. Mistletoe was an ancient symbol of peace, reconciliation- and love.

7. The Yule Log was lit to celebrate the rebirth of the Sun- and to keep fires burning while people partied.

6. Candles were lit to imitate the sun and Ward off Evil

5. The Giving of Gifts at Christmas has nothing to do with the Three Wise Men

4. The Lord of Misrule was a Popular Figure in the Middle Ages. However, he was a blatant hangover from Saturnalia.

3. Father Christmas or Santa Claus Started Life as a Pagan God

2. New Year Celebrations were so Pagan that the Council of Tours banned them.

1. Christmas Day was the date of the Rebirth of the Sun before it was the Birthday of the Son of God.

Click here to read the rest of this informative article historycollection.com

Where Do We Get This stuff? Here are our sources:

Nine Christmas Customs with Pagan Roots, Patti Wigington, Learn Religions, June 18, 2017

Christmas, BBC, June 22, 2009

Lord of Misrule, Encyclopedia Britannica, August 13, 2015

Christmas tree, Encyclopedia Britannica, October 15, 2018

Chambers Dictionary of Beliefs and religions, ed Mark Vernon, Chambers, 2010

Chambers Book of Days, ed R Chambers, Chambers, 2004

Christmas wreaths, Christmas Forest

Stations of the Sun: A history of the Ritual Year in Britain, Ronald Hutton, 1996

Tree worship: why are our trees so sacred? Ed Cumming, The Telegraph, December 19, 2013

The Contest of the Ivy and the Holly, in Songs of the nativity by William Henry Husk, John Camden Hotten.

Ancient mysteries described: especially the English miracle plays, founded on apocryphal New Testament story, extant among the unpublished manuscripts in the British Museum: including notices of ecclesiastical shows. William Hone, London: W. Hone, 1823

Price, S, and Kearns, E. The Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion- ed. Oxford University Press, 2003

Did the Romans invent Christmas? BBC: Religion and Ethics, December 17, 2012

St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, Encyclopedia Britannica, March 14, 2018

The Ancient Origins of New Years Celebrations, April Holloway, Ancient Origins, December 30, 2013

Did the Romans Invent Christmas? Matt Salusbury. History Today. 12 December 2009

Christmas Isn’t Christian: The Pagan Roots of The Winter Holiday. Wear Your Voice. Laurel Dickman. Dec 2, 2016

Christmas Wreaths Are a Classic Holiday Decoration with a Surprisingly Deep History. Time Magazine. KAT MOON. DECEMBER 21, 2018

10 Christian Holidays and Beliefs Steeped in Pagan Traditions. Larry Holzwarth. History Collection. July 12, 2018

Pagan Roots? 5 Surprising Facts About Christmas. Stephanie Pappas. Live Science. December 23, 2012

What Is the Significance of the Three Wise Men and Their Gifts? Robert Hampshire. Christianity. 1 December 2020

These Abysmal Christmases in History Make us Grateful for the Cringey Family Gatherings. Tim Flight. History Collection. December 25, 2018

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