December 24 and 25
Christmas Eve, Christmas, Yule
It is generally accepted that the birth of Christ on December 24th is the invention of some overzealous authors who were trying to create some sort of symmetry between Paganism and Christianity. According to the late fourth-century Scriptor Syrus, it was the custom of the Pagans to celebrate the birthday of the sun on December 25, at which time they kindled lights in token of festivity. The Christians also participated in these solemnities and revelries. Accordingly, when the administrants of the church observed that the Christians had a preference for the festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized on that day.
The Pagan feast that was replaced by Christmas was of far older origins and may have been built upon the cult of Mithras, who, for the Persians, was the creator of the universe and manifestation of the Creative Logos, or Word. His birth on December 25 was witnessed by shepherds. After many deeds, he held a last supper with his disciples and then returned to heaven. Some believe that, had Christianity not taken hold when it did, Mithraism very well might have become the world religion.
For more that three centuries Christ Mass was a moveable feast, celebrated on the Epiphany (January 6), the day that, according to biblical account, Jesus manifested himself to the Magi. The Western date of December 25 was fixed to coincide with the Roman midwinter festival of the Kalends, which was preceded by seven days of tribute to their God of agriculture, Saturn.
Many of the Yuletide customs we observe today were common to various thanksgiving days and new year’s rites. For example, the hanging of greenery comes from an old ivy-worshiping worshiping cult dating back to the Dionysian revels in ancient Greece; mistletoe was valued-almost worshiped-by the Druids; ids; and gift exchange most likely generated with the Saturnalia. The Christmas tree was introduced by the Prince Albert of Saxony in 1844 and was an adaption of the Paradeisbaum(decorated tree of life) from the medieval drama of the Tannenbaum.