What are we celebrating on Christmas day?

The Winter Solstice, also named Midwinter or Yule. It’s an astronomical phenomenon which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year, and it has been celebrated in many cultures since the Neolithic. It happens in December at the Northern hemisphere, in June at the Southern hemisphere; but the North has imposed its date, as usually happens in North-South relations, and now it’s celebrated on December 25 in all the Christian world.

Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice, by vaiaCreative Commons

Oh, surely you have heard something about the birth of one Jesus Christ, a demigod son of a god and a human female. Forget it, it’s a lie, and to show that lie is the goal of this post.


Existence of Jesus Christ

Firstly, there isn’t historical evidence about the existence of such Jesus Christ. The Bible, of course, but these gospels were written more than 100 years after Jesus simulated death. Not a single contemporary person wrote a word about him. There were authors who wrote about a lot of events and other people including prophets, but none of them wrote a word about a guy who claimed to be a god and did things as walking on water, multiplying loaves and fishes, healing blinds and resurrecting men, even himself. These were uncommon events, I think, why nobody mentioned it?.

Also, the objectivity of the gospels, written by Christian fans, can be questioned. It would be needed other sources with some credibility.


Birthday of Jesus Christ

Never mind, we’ll skip this first issue and will assume that a Jesus Christ was born and falsely died. What day he was born? The second problem is that, in that age and place, nobody knew their birthday nor their age. People didn’t keep track of their age, and didn’t celebrate birthdays.

Let’s read the gospels. The oldest of them, written by Marcus, doesn’t say a word about Jesus birth or childhood. Later, Matthew wrote that he was born in Bethlehem, but nothing about the date. Luke wrote about the birth as well, but didn’t say the date neither. Nothing in the gospels.

In the second century began the discussion about Jesus Christ birth, until then nobody thought this was an important issue. Christian scholars proposed different dates: January 6, March 28, April 2, April 20, May 20, May 21, November 18… Nobody mentioned December 24 or 25. It would be too much difficult and tedious to investigate why these scholars chose a date or another, and anyway no matter, a date won the competition.

January 6 was the winner, officialy accepted by the Church authorities. This was the date of a celebration in honor of Dionysus (Greek god of wine), and Christian Church always was good eliminating Pagan celebrations, using the method of replacing them with Christian celebrations. During the 4th century, January 6 was the official date for the Nativity of Jesus, not because of brainy research of any scholar, but because it was convenient to eliminate the Dionysus commemoration.

Charlie Brown in Nativity scene
Charlie Brown. Nativity scene, by pchow98Creative Commons

But at the beginning of 5th century, the Pope decided to change the date, and chose December 25 for the Nativity. Again, the reason was to eliminate a Pagan celebration, the Winter Solstice. And a new commemoration was conveniently created to put on January 6, the visit of the Magi. The historicity of these three magi, wise men or kings is so unverifiable as Jesus Christ existence, but no matter, it was needed to do something with the January 6 or the old Dionysus could come back.


Astronomy vs Myth

It’s curious that the only verifiable event on this day is what people celebrated in the Neolithic, the winter solstice, and later it was replaced by a myth. And nowadays, in 21st century, we continue ignoring the reality of an astronomical phenomenon and commemorating the fantasy of a myth.


References: El origen de la Navidad. Las raíces paganas de una fiesta cristiana


2 thoughts on “What are we celebrating on Christmas day?

  1. Just a note – the historian Josephus is often cited as support for a historical Jesus.

    While I believe in the teachings of Jesus, I do acknowledge that the movement slanted off. Once the priority shifted to building an organization, the mission became more worldly than spiritual.

    That always happens. Whether it’s a church, business, or a government, original values become diluted when the focus is on growth – which is really about strength and power.

    Peace, Samuel, regardless of the reason! Keep blogging


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