Real quick, poke your head outside and yell to your neighbour “how did Christmas start?” You don’t have to stay to listen to the full lecture about religious imperialism or whatever; you can duck out as soon as he mentions how it was stolen from a Pagan holiday.
The centerpiece of this argument is the fact that Christmas is celebrated on December 25th — once observed as the winter solstice — and that there was also a major pagan holiday celebrated around the winter solstice (Saturnalia).
But Saturnalia wasn’t on December 25th (it ran from December 17-23), and it’s unlikely that there would have been much celebrating happening on the 25th, since everyone was still hungover from Saturnalia, and trying to build a foundation for the New Year’s festival drunk, which (starting all the way back in 153 B.C.) began on January 1st.
The unfortunate one-gift-counts-for-both birthday of December 25th started with the A.D. 204 writings of Hippolytus of Rome. He figured it by starting with March 25th, the accepted date of Jesus’s death since at least A.D. 200. Add in the fact that, according to Jewish Talmudic tradition, all righteous men died on the same day they were conceived, and Jesus’ conception must have also taken place on March 25th. Then basic biology tells us that nine months after conception comes the birth: December 25th.
There was a smaller pagan festival called Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun), which did celebrate the winter solstice on the 25th. However, Sol Invictus wasn’t created until A.D. 274 (well after Hippolytus did his hump-math) by the Roman Emperor Aurelian.
In fact, there’s even a good possibility that Sol Invictus was created to provide a pagan alternative to the Christian celebration, rather than the other way around.
That is the Christmas gift to you this season.
NOTE: Culled from a website. It was equally edited.