According to the dictionary a calendar "It is a systematized account of the passage of time, used for the chronological organization of activities". But, really, it is much more than that. The calendars mark marked dates in which certain activities are repeated annually and many of them have remained immovable throughout history in different cultures. This is the origin of December 25, the birth of "Sol Invictus" . Join us and find out what the Romans were celebrating the day that we centuries later continue celebrating Christmas.
The origin of December 25
At Roman empire , starting on December 17, a week of festivities known as "Saturnalia" or "Saturnalia" " During these days it was celebrated Saturn , the protector god of seeds and wine. They were parties with a great relaxation of social customs, with banquets and drinks in abundance and with the exchange of gifts. They were illuminated with lots of candles and torches to welcome the new period of light that began after the winter solstice. Saturnalia coincided with the end of agricultural tasks of the winter planting and the beginning of a period of relaxation for both the peasant families and the slaves. The Saturnalia ended on December 25, the day it was celebrated the birth of the Sun, "Natalis Solis Invictis", the birth of the invincible Sun.
The word "Christmas" means "birth" and comes from the Latin word "nativitas". In its origin it referred to the birth of Sol Invictus, that as we have seen it was celebrated in Rome on December 25 at the end of Saturnalia. As the Bible does not mention the exact date of Jesus' birth and taking into account that the Jewish tradition fixed for the prophets the same date for his death and for his conception, and it was also believed that Jesus had died on March 25, if to this date they added 9 months, It gave as the date of the birth of Christ on December 25.
Ave, Caesar! Io, Saturnalia !. Picture of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema of 1880
December 25 was for the Romans the Date of birth of the Unconquered Sun and the early Christians decided that this celebration date was perfect for commemorate the birth of Jesus. Instead of abolishing the pagan festivals they adapted them to their calendar and thus the new Christians could continue to have their celebrations on the same dates as before.
Representation of Christ as the diod-sol Helios / Sol Invictus in a solar car. Mosaic of the s. III Vatican
He was the emperor Constantine towards the year 330 the one that definitely fixed December 25 as the birth of Christ. He, it seems, had a vision from which he proclaimed the prevalence of Jesus over the Sun and that this was really the "true sun undefeated".
Christianity adapted to its liturgy many dates of pagan celebrations. Did you know the origin of December 25 ? What other Christian holidays do you know with pagan origins ?