Saturday, December 22, 2007


As many no doubt already know, it is not altogether clear that Jesus of Nazereth was actually born on, or even around, December 25th. And a consensus is lacking in the Christian faith on this issue. In fact, it is far more likely that this date was set such that it coincided with pagan festivals:

Emperor Constantine built the Basilica of St. Anastasia, where some believe Christmas was first celebrated on Dec. 25.

Constantine ended the frequent waves of anti-Christian persecutions in the Roman empire by making Christianity a lawful religion in 313. He played a key role in unifying the beliefs and practices of the early followers of Jesus.

In 325, he convened the Council of Nicaea, which fixed the dates of important Christian festivals. It opted to mark Christmas, then celebrated at varying dates, on Dec. 25 to coincide with the Roman festival celebrating the birth of the sun god, Andrea Carandini, a professor of archaeology at Rome's La Sapienza University, told reporters Friday.

Of course, if your goal is to spread your religious beliefs far and wide, this is the perfect way to do it. Putting your religion in line with the belief systems of those who you wish to convert is key to effective conversion. This is undoubtedly why Easter falls right around the Spring Equinox (when the pagans held festivals of fertility), and probably why the Virgen de Guadalupe has so much in common with the Aztec mother goddess Tonantzin. Since it is the Christmas season, a time celebrated by so many different cultures for different reasons, I think it is important to keep in mind the fact that this season is not a season of rejoicing and celebration solely for Christians. I, myself, spent last evening with my closest friend having some fun on the Solstice Eve.

So, if you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Eid ul-Adha, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, the Winter Solstice (under any of it's various names), Bodhi Day, Sadeh, Winterval, or any thing else I might have missed, I hope that your holiday is great. And for everyone, whether you celebrate something or not, I hope that this winter season finds you happy and well.

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