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Forum Post: A Christmas Story

Posted 11 years ago on Dec. 25, 2011, 7 a.m. EST by maplehead74 (60) from Brooksville, FL
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25. During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.

The ancient Greek writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) describes the festival’s observance in his time. In addition to human sacrifice, he mentions these customs: widespread intoxication; going from house to house while singing naked; rape and other sexual license; and consuming human-shaped biscuits (still produced in some English and most German bakeries during the Christmas season).

In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.

The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.

This is a short version there are much more detailed versions with a quick google.



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[-] 0 points by toonces (-117) 11 years ago

I agree with you that we are very fortunate the world finally saw the light when the love of Christianity was brought to the people and changed their pagan ways. God bless you and your message this Christmas. May you have a happy and blessed new year.

[-] 1 points by maplehead74 (60) from Brooksville, FL 11 years ago

That was NOT exactly the way I was looking at it. I just thought as today is the day we should know it's origin. But, you do bring up a interesting question.

Why is it that Christians have co-opted so many pagan holidays and made them into christian ones?

[-] 0 points by toonces (-117) 11 years ago

Why do so many conspiracy theorists believe Christians have "co-opted" holidays when it is likely a coincidence they fall on the same time of year.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 years ago

It isn't a conspiracy theory. Aelia Pulcheria is the one that was a hard core holiday switcher outer.