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Rome, Jesus Christ, Birthday, Festival, Christmas
There are many misconceptions about the holiday, Christmas. Most are under the perception that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birthday, however most biblical scholars feel that it was unlikely that Jesus shared his birthday with December 25, most pointing to the likelihood of a spring birth.
If is much most likely that Christmas was a spinoff of the Roman pagan celebration of Saturnalia that took place between the 17th to the 25th of December (Liebeschuetz, 1995. Pg 200). This week was considered a week of breaking laws, including arson, destruction of property, and in some cases murder. Often one person was chosen as a Lord of Misrule in which to torture throughout the week them kill at the end of the festival. When Christianity began to take hold of Roman, under the rule of Constantinople, the need to end pagan traditions was paramount. Locals were reluctant however, so Church officials decided to coincide the festival with the birth of Jesus, still giving locals a reason to celebrate but without Pagan undertones (Larson, 1961, pg. 152).
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Hutton, R. (2008). Modern Pagan Festivals: A Study In The Nature Of Tradition. Folklore, 119(3), 251-273.
Larson, C. W. (1961). History Of Christianity. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, XXIX(2), 150-153.
Liebeschuetz, W. (1995). Pagan Mythology In The Christian Empire. International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 2(2), 193-208.
Origin of Christmas | The history of Christmas and how it began. (n.d.). Judaism Online. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas
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