Have you ever wondered where Christmas Day came from? Would you believe that it really isn't the day that Jesus was born?
Where did our Christmas day traditions come from? Well, the holiday started as a Pagan holiday. The winter solstice was a time to celebrate the rebirth of the sun. As the days begin to get longer and the land reawakens in spring. Of course, no one really knows when Jesus was born. However, some clues given in the Bible seem to suggest summer or fall as travel during winter in that time was very difficult.
So, how did Christmas come to be? Well, the Romans celebrated Saturnalia around this time of year. Would you believe this is where the Christmas tree came from? It was customary for Saturnalia, to bring a tree inside and adorn it with stars and and suns. One would also hand greenery around windows and doors. Again this was a celebration of to honor the God of Sowing, Saturn.
The Germans celebrate Krampusnacht. A horned devil, Krampus, punishes the children who have been naughty with a switch. It is thought that this was a celebration of a horned god of the Pagans. Some stories say that Santa Claus gave gifts to the good children and Krampus punished the naughty children. I don't know about you, but I think with the image above, I would have been a good child growing up.
Yule, is celebrated by the Vikings. The yule celebration was to celebrate Odin. Odin would ride around the world on an 8-legged horse to deliver presents. This is where Santa's 8 reindeer came from. The Christmas ham represents the boar that Freya rides.
St. Nicholas was a bishop in Turkey who would give presents of gold to the poor. One story states that he dropped the gold down the chimney and it landed in a stocking that had been hung to dry (this is why we hang stockings at Christmas). This story, over the years morphed into "Sinterklaas" which later became Santa Claus.
When Christianity began to take hold, Christmas was actually banned because it was a Pagan holiday. However, the priest's found that if the holidays overlapped, people would be more likely to convert to Christianity. So, Christmas is actually a Pagan holiday and not the day that Jesus was born. Who would've thought?
So anyways, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, no matter what you celebrate!