Christmas is a pagan holiday that probably originated during the Pleistocene. Many of the pagan traditions associated with Christmas are rooted in northern European mythology, and they predate written records, so historians have no way of knowing for sure when they began. However, the celebration of the winter solstice was widespread throughout the ancient world, and people enjoyed this holiday thousands of years before the Judeo-Christian bible was ever written. The wise men of the primitive world believed that the sun was a God. This actually makes more sense than what the Abrahamic religions claim because life on earth does depend upon the sun. The Abrahamic religions propose that a Supreme Being created the sun, but this belief leaves one to wonder who created the Supreme Being. In a culture without scientific knowledge paganism seems just as logical if not more so than Judeo-Christianity.
The ancient thinkers noticed the days became shorter during fall and winter. It seemed as if the sun God was dying. The shortest, and therefore the deadest, day of the year was December 21st. But by December 25th the days began to get longer, hence the rebirth of the sun God. The Romans celebrated this time of the year with a pagan festival known as Saturnalia. People enjoyed wife-swapping and drunken orgies while the little kids were distracted with toys. When Christians wrested political control of society from the pagans, they could not eliminate this pagan tradition. Instead, they incorporated it and substituted Jesus for the sun God. This is why Christmas is mistakenly thought of as a celebration of Jesus’s birthday. It is not…it’s a celebration of the sun God’s birthday.
The exact origin of the pagan celebration of winter solstice is unknown because it predates literacy. Some very ancient evidence of pagan rituals is suggested in art and relics found in caves. In 1825 an archaeologist found an interred skeleton rubbed with red ochre in Paviland Cave located on the coast of Wales. He mistakenly named this specimen the “red lady of Paviland” because he thought the remains represented a Roman whore. Later scientists determined the skeleton was of a 6 foot tall man in his 20’s who lived about 34,000 years ago during an interstadial when sea levels were lower and the cave was located farther inland. Much of the English Channel then was prime hunting ground for mammoth, rhino, horse, bison, aurochs, and deer. This skeleton was buried with ivory rods that have been interpreted to be Druid magic wands. The Druids were pagans who celebrated the winter solstice. However, this specimen is not convincing evidence that the early people who lived here were directly ancestral to the Druid culture, and it’s not known whether or not they celebrated the winter solstice. They may have been too busy just surviving in the harsh natural world to think much about the universe and their place in it.
Paviland Cave, Wales. A skeleton with evidence of pagan rites was found here. It dates to 34,000 BP.
Skeleton of the “red lady of Paviland.” Later scientists recognized that the red lady was actually a man in his twenties.
Many of the symbols of the winter solstice are based on ancient traditions. Evergreen plants such as holly, ivy, coniferous trees, and mistletoe symbolize life and fertility during the deadest time of the year. The tradition of bringing these plants into a dwelling predates the bible by thousands of years. Martin Luther, the anti-semitic founder of Protestantism, gave approval to this Pagan tradition by claiming the triangular shape of the typical evergreen tree represented the trinity. The real reason he gave his approval was because he could not get rid of this Pagan tradition, so he assimilated it instead.
White spruce. The extinct Critchfield’s spruce closely resembled this species. Critchfield’s spruce, formerly widespread across southeastern North America during the Ice Age, would have made a great Christmas tree.
The character of Santa Claus is based on Odin, a God from Norse Mythology. Not only does Odin slay the bad guys, but he leaves gifts for children under evergreen trees on the day following the winter solstice. What a wonderful superhero. There never was a real life Christian saint known as Saint Nicholas. The Roman Catholic version of Saint Nicholas was simply an assimilated amalgamation of 2 pagan water gods.
The legend of Santa Claus is based on Odin, a pagan God from Norse mythology and 2 water Gods from Greco-Roman mythology.