ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS — A True Christmas Story
Long ago, country peoples from the Neolithic onwards celebrated the winter and summer solstices as the prime celestial events of significance to agriculturists in need of a simple calendar. 21st December is the year’s shortest day. For some days about then in the northern-hemisphere, the day length between sunrise and sunset hardly changes, and the point of sunrise on the far horizon scarcely changes either between any of the days from 18th to 25th December.
There are many web sites that discuss the detail of “The Origin of Christmas”, among them http://www.hope-of-israel.org/christ~3.htm and
Regarding the Christian search for a day on which to remember the birth of their hero, Barbara Walker among many others says that the fourth-century Roman church “favored the Mithraic winter-solstice festival called Dies Natalis Solis Invictus, Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun. Blended with the Greek sun-festival of the Helia by the emperor Aurelian, this December 25 nativity also honored such gods as Attis, Dionysus, Osiris, Syrian Baal, and other versions of the solar Son of Man.” (1983. Encyclopedia, p.166, Harper Row)
Thus it came to pass that christian bishops at a 4th century meeting deliberately picked the holy day that everybody already loved because of its importance to pagan farming communities. And that is briefly how celebration of the prehistoric winter solstice on 21 December got shifted to 25 December.
A longer version of this note was posted today on the group "ORIGINS" where I remark that atheists are sincerely better off in recognising 25 December as “Newtonday” or “Newtonmass”, about which I am just finishing the preparation of another Nexus note.