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The origin of Christmas

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Reading this article online, my eye was caught by the phrase 'the pre-Christian Christmas'.

BBC News website article

I have a question: does everyone know, worldwide, that Christmas is not Christian in origin, and celebrates it anyway? Or is it generally considered to be Christian?

I ask because I notice that it's celebrated in most regions of the world including those where the predominant religion is not Christian. And I only ask because I'm curious! :hehe:

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I'm aware that there's a number of Christian events that incorporated or co-opted earlier pagan events. It could therefore be argued that Christmas is not of Christian origin, but the reason Christmas is celebrated by Christians is definitely of Christian origin. The same applies to the other Christian events. They just used the same date and some features of earlier events, partially as a way of taking over from those events.

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It is kind of strange when you think about it. The pre-christian celebrations were related to the celebration of the Winter Solstice, when the days finally began to get longer again. The early christian church co-opted the pagan winter solstice celebration, which the Roman's celebrated on the 25th of December, into the their evolving theology. Many scholars today do not believe the date actually marks the literal birth of Christ, but that the date was co-opted into the new religion to ease the transition from the various pagan faiths into the christian theology.

Speaking as someone who has lived there at one time or another, I can say I've seen Christmas celebrated in Korea and in Japan, both nations being places where the majority of the population are members of other faiths.

The world is an interesting place....


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