The history of Christmas dates back over 4000 years since the a variety of custom and tradition connected to the festival of Christmas were celebrated centuries before the arrival of Christ. The precise day of the Christ child’s birth has never been pinpointed.
Traditions say that it’s been celebrated since the year 98 AD. In 137 AD the Bishop of Rome ordered the birthday of the Christ Child celebrated as a solemn feast. In 350 AD another Bishop of Rome, Julius I, choose December 25th as the observance of Christmas.The History Of Christmas could be traced to a number of the popular festival celebrated with ancient civilization that gave way into Christmas.
Festival in Mesopotamian: New Years
A Number of These traditions began with the Mesopotamian celebration of New Years. The Mesopotamian believed in many gods, and as their chief god – Marduk. Each year as winter arrived it was believed that Marduk would do battle with the monsters of chaos.
To assist Marduk in his struggle the Mesopotamian held a festival for the New Year. This was Zagmuk, the New Year’s festival that lasted for 12 days.
The Babylonians and Persians Sacaea
The Persians and the Babylonians celebrated a similar festival called the Sacaea. Part of the celebration included the exchanging of places, the slaves would become the masters and the masters were to obey.
Europe ‘s Mighty Megaliths Mark The Winter Solstic
Early Europeans believed in evil spirits, witches, ghosts and trolls. As the Winter Solstice approached, with its long cold nights and short days, many people feared that the sun wouldn’t go back. Special rituals and celebrations were held to welcome back sunlight.
Yuletide Christmas in Scandinavia
In Scandinavia, throughout winter months the sun would disappear for several days. After thirty-five days scouts would be sent into the mountain tops to look for the return of sunlight. After the first light was seen the scouts would come back with all the fantastic news.
A great festival could be held, called the Yuletide, and a special feast would be served around a fire burning with the Yule log. Fantastic bonfires would also be lit to celebrate the return of sunlight.In some areas people would tie apples to branches of trees to remind themselves that spring and summer would return.
The Roman’s celebrated their god Saturn. Their festival was called Saturnalia which began the middle of December and ended January 1st. The celebration would include masquerades in the streets, big festive meals, visiting friends, and the market of good-luck gifts called Strenae.
The 25th wasn’t only sacred to the Romans but also the Persians whose religion Mithraism was one of Christianity’s main rivals at that moment. The Church eventually was successful in taking the merriment, lights, and presents from the Saturanilia festival and bringing them to the celebration of Christmas.