Facts about some of the Holidays we celebrate - PbNation
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Old 12-07-2006, 08:37 PM #1
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Facts about some of the Holidays we celebrate

Many of the holidays we celebrate today are considered Christian, but the origins of many modern-day holidays are older than Christianity.

Easter
The Christian holiday of Easter commemorates the crucifixion of Christ, and his rise from the dead into heaven. Then where do all the symbolism of bunnies, and eggs come from? It's more than coincedence that the early Pagans had a holiday to mark the Spring Equinox, called Ostara, usually celebrated around March 21st. With the return of spring, came the birthing of the farm animals for the year. Which is why we see bunnies, chicks, eggs and little lambs as symbols for this holiday. Part of the Ostara mythology involved the return of various deities from the underworld (symbolic of the end of winter). So it's not surprising that this holiday got enmeshed with the Christian story of the ressurection of Christ.

Christmas
Even non-Pagans use the term "Yule" around the Christmas holidays. Yule is celebrated on the Winter Solstice (December 22nd), on the shortest day of the year. Since the days get longer from this point in the year, Yule is a celebration of the returning sun and the rebirth of the God who died at Hallowe'en. As with Easter, the Christian story of the birth of Jesus fits nicely with the Pagan mythology of a God reborn. Traditions such as wreaths and Yule logs are remnants of the original beliefs. Gifts were exchanged at Yule long before the Wise Men offered their gifts to the baby Jesus.

Groundhog Day
Well, it's not specifically Christian or celebrated as intensely as the two holidays just mentioned, Groundhog Day is still part of the modern-day year. Candlemas (or Imbolc) is celebrated on February 2nd. Because spring is just starting to show itself at this time of year, there were various superstitions about predicting the weather, and how long it would be until the end of winter. The original idea was to watch for a hedgehog, but as people immigrated to North America, the tradition changed to a ground hog to suit local wildlife.

Hallowe'en
Ok, everyone knows that Hallowe'en is a Pagan holiday, but there are many misconceptions surrounding what the holiday really means. Pagans call the day Samhain (SOW-en or sow-EEN). The old God dies on this day, and the Goddess mourns him until his rebirth at Yule. We use this day to honour and remember our loved ones who have passed on. In an effort to diffuse the interest in this heathen holiday, the Church created All Saint's Day (November 1) as a holy day to recognize all the Catholic saints. But it wasn't a powerful enough idea to wipe out the traditional Hallowe'en celebrattions. Ironically, many Christians do not approve of the celebration of Hallowe'en because of its Pagan origins, not realizing that almost all of the holidays they observe had Pagan beginnings.

Why are major Christian holidays layered on older Pagan festivals? The central reason is that as Christianity was struggling for acceptance in Europe, the country-folk would not give up their age-old traditions. By blending the old with the new, it was easier for the Church to convert the locals.

Last edited by Devi1s Night : 12-07-2006 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 12-07-2006, 08:48 PM #2
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Good read....interesting.
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Old 12-07-2006, 08:52 PM #3
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nice info
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Old 12-07-2006, 09:17 PM #4
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cool
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Old 12-08-2006, 08:11 AM #5
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I thought that it was the Romans that linked the religions. I was under the info that one of the ceasar's was trying to quell fighting that could have lead to a civil war because of the pagan/christians fighting over which days to celebrate. The ceasar then declared that the holidays would be over each other and be celebrated as each saw fit for each religion. Since the overlaping of the religion that is where many of the "traditions" come from. You are very correct about the pagen and christian holidays lining up but here is the question then I have for you. "Which inspired which?"
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Old 12-08-2006, 09:53 AM #6
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It all started with Constantine, the first Christian ceasar. Who probably converted because he realized how much more powerful his empire could become with the christians on his side. And also the power which he could yeild from having a popular state religion, thus the morphing of the pagan and christian holidays, to please both groups. He is also primarily responsible for the current configuration of the Bible. Before that all the different texts were scattered around, without a single canon that everyone agreed on.

But by far, my favorite thing to come from Constantine, is the Nicene creed. Which came about after he called all the bishops together to try and decide on the nature of God. They argued for weeks and weeks, and of course could never agree. So the creed that came out of it is the most riduculously confusing peice of theological literature I've ever read. Look it up and read it sometime if you want to be really confused.

edit: As for me, I celebrate Christmas and Easter trying to focus on Christ, and not so much all the other traditions, and commercialization.

Last edited by sags : 12-08-2006 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 12-08-2006, 09:54 AM #7
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Chistmas is probably the most pagan holiday out there. Its basically Saturnalia, with a story dubbed over it.
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Old 12-08-2006, 01:26 PM #8
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The history on all of this stuff is pretty cool to read. Despite the origins, the main thing to look at is what is worshiped. It doesn't hurt Christmas and what-not. I doubt that most of us worship the pagan gods.

Give it a couple hundred more years and at the rate we are going now, Christmas will be called Winter Holiday. We won't say Merry Christmas anymore but Happy Holidays or Merry Winter. Shoot, I remember what school called it Christmas and Easter break/vacation. Now its winter and spring break/vacation.
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Old 12-08-2006, 02:35 PM #9
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Originally Posted by Aggressive Bill View Post
The history on all of this stuff is pretty cool to read. Despite the origins, the main thing to look at is what is worshiped. It doesn't hurt Christmas and what-not. I doubt that most of us worship the pagan gods.

Give it a couple hundred more years and at the rate we are going now, Christmas will be called Winter Holiday. We won't say Merry Christmas anymore but Happy Holidays or Merry Winter. Shoot, I remember what school called it Christmas and Easter break/vacation. Now its winter and spring break/vacation.

I don't see what the problem with that is...Christmas is already a generic holiday, I know plenty of Jews and Muslims that celebrate it.
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Old 12-08-2006, 03:58 PM #10
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Christmas is a joke... it is not a Christian holiday anymore, it is a commercial holiday
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Old 12-08-2006, 06:52 PM #11
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It is looking like that more and more. Soon we'll replace the Christmas Tree with the giant Best Buy tag.
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:13 PM #12
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Originally Posted by Devi1s Night View Post
Christmas is a joke... it is not a Christian holiday anymore, it is a commercial holiday
Truth. I'm pretty sure Jesus wasn't even born in December (or what is now December), but sometime in the spring. Could be wrong on that, though.

Some more pagan symbolism found in Christianity:

Halos - Similar to the sun disks you see in Egyptian wall paintings of the gods

Virgin Mary with baby Jesus - almost an exact copy of Isis nursing Horus

Mithras also claimed to be The Way, The Truth, and The Light long before Jesus did.
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:25 PM #13
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The current Dec. "birth day" would have not be a truth. Jesus would have been born more in the spring or summer. It is in the Bible. The angels appeared to the shephard who were tending their flocks in the field. The winter in the middle east is harsh and cold. There wouldn't have been any shephards in the fields during these months because there would have been NO food for the flocks. Like it was stated before the celebration of the birth of Christ is the important thing here not the "well technically it wouldn't have been at this time."
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:27 PM #14
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I once read that Jesus might have been born around September, but I have no idea what that was based off of. Could have been spring for all I know.

There are things that were once used in pagan worship. Christmas trees as well. Although I'm not too fond of Mithra. There's a lot of things that are said that mirror Jesus, but the majority have been blown out of the water.
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:27 PM #15
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Originally Posted by Devi1s Night View Post
Christmas is a joke... it is not a Christian holiday anymore, it is a commercial holiday
it still is just a lot of people are forgetting the main reason we celebrate it, it does seem like that is what it is turning into though
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Old 12-08-2006, 10:27 PM #16
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Most theologians and scholars believe that Christ was born in the spring of the year 4 b.c.
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