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Primus Pilus

Christmas, Saturnalia, Mithras

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I am certainly no expert on the Pagan traditions, but the relationship between Saturnalia, Mithras and Christianity is an appropriate discussion as we approach the 'holiday' season.

 

I'm not looking for a review of which religion is 'right' or 'wrong' but simply what are the connections and why we celebrate the way we do. By the way, for those Christians among us, there is no reason to be offended by the truth of our customs. The how, why and when of how we celebrate Christmas has nothing to do with your belief in the divinity of Christ, but is simply the result of human influences.

 

For example...

The Christmas Tree has its roots in the ancient eastern cult of Nimrod and the evergreen was symbolic of the rebirth of Gilgamesh?, if I understand correctly. (Of course its roots are copied in every form of the pagan traditions and each culture had its own versions). Regardless, the reverence of the Evergreen, fir or palm tree used both inside the home and on doorways and such as a symbol of protection against spirits and hope for the future spread west to Egypt, the Germanics and the Celts. It continued for centuries throughout Europe, especially it seems among the Germanic peoples, and continued on obviously until the present day.

 

Legend points to Martin Luther as being among the first to use the lighted and decorated tree as a symbol of Christ, but there really doesn't seem to be any real evidence for this. However, it seems to have been sometime around the 16th century, that ancient pagan ritual of the 'tree' was being adopted and accepted even by the churches as a symbol of Christmas rather than something that should be opposed.

 

Feel free to expand or correct of course...

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You forgot to mention the ancient cult of Festivus!

 

 

The general merry making and presents come from Saturnalia.

 

The date near the Winter Solstice comes from the Birth of the Invincible Sun.

 

 

And I believe Germanic Heathens used to decorate a tree in their festival of Yule, only I believe they pinned sacrificed animal parts on the tree. I'll see if I can get more information from Heathens, if anyone really cares.

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Small item on Mistletoe in my blog and pic in gallery -refers to wreaths and kissing customs.

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Say, how did the mistletoe and reef become part of christmas.

 

 

The Druids esteemed this as the holiest plant (the Golden Bough) and considered it to hold the soul of the tree it wreathed, so Mistletoe on an oak was a sign of great power-the druids deriving their name from an Irish derivation of the oaks name and meaning in essence "oak Wisdom".

 

 

Warding off Evil (all evils).The Blog entry tells you some more.

Edited by Pertinax

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There's no shame in admitting pagan custom of holiday traditions, so long as the actions of the tradition didn't disagree with the ideals of Christianity, there was no evil done in the eyes of the ancient church. For example, the graveyard in the village of Elkutna in Alaska bury thier dead occording to the pagan traditions in a necropolis... brightly colored villages complete with huts where the dead are buried.... the American Orthodox Church(decended and in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church, which was co-created by the Greek and Roman Churches).... which has much in common with the Roman traditions, doesn't have anything against this tradition because the village understands the situation theologically as different that thier pagan predacessors. It is the romance, not the theology, that survives.

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