A friend of mine from work doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but she is a very religious Christian, so I was intrigued by this revelation. She is an amazing person with one of the biggest hearts, and very well read, so I wanted to share with you her reasons for not celebrating Christmas.
Facts: Christmas is not of Christian origin; The word ‘Christmas’ is not in the Bible; Christmas was not celebrated by Christians until almost 400 years after the original movement. Christmas is a fusion of Mithraism, Saturnalia, and European paganism.
Saturnalia (from the god Saturn) was the name the Romans gave to their holiday marking the Winter Solstice. The Roman midwinter holiday, Saturnalia, was both a gigantic fair and a festival of the home. Over the years, it expanded to a whole week, the 17th through 23rd of December. Riotous merry-making took place, and the halls of houses were decked with boughs of laurel and evergreen trees. Lamps were kept burning to ward off the spirits of darkness. It also degenerated from mostly tomfoolery, marked chiefly by having masters and slaves switch places, to sometimes debauchery, so that among Christians the (lower case) word “saturnalia” came to mean “orgy.” It was traditional for Romans to exchange gifts during this holiday. These gifts were customarily made of silver, although nearly anything could be given as a gift for the occasion. Temples were decorated with evergreens symbolizing life’s continuity, and processions of people with masked or blackened faces and fantastic hats danced through the streets. The winter solstice is 25 December in the ancient Roman astronomical calendar, but 21 December in the modern calendar. This is a time of rest and celebration after the last sowing, and so agricultural deities, such as Saturn, Ops and Consus, are especially honored.
Mithraism: Mithraism is the worship of Mithra. The original source of the cult is unknown but argued to be of Persian, Indian or Chinese descent. It has been called an offshoot of Zorastrianism but that is also contested and not much literary evidence of the cult has survived. According to Persian legends, Mithra was born of a rock and a virgin mother called the “Mother of God” and was first attended by shepherds. Mithra was called “the Light of the World.” They believed in a heaven and hell and the dualism of good and evil, a final day of judgment, the end of the world as we know it and a general resurrection. Long before Jesus, Dec. 25th was celebrated as the date of Mithra’s birth. Mithra was also associated with the sun, and his followers marked Sunday as his day of worship, they called it the Lord’s Day. A few of the extra-biblical traditions seem to have found its way to Christianity through Roman Mithraism.