Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The 'paganism' of Christmas

Gene Edward Veith of World Magazine helps clear up some mythology about the so-called origins of Christmas in a pagan Winter Solstice festival:

True, the Emperor Aurelian, in the five short years of his reign, tried to start (a winter solstice festival), "The Birth of the Unconquered Sun," on Dec. 25, 274. ... But Aurelian's new festival was instituted after Christians had already been associating that day with the birth of Christ. ... Christians were not imitating the pagans. The pagans were imitating the Christians.

Read the whole article.

And Douglas Wilson helpfully tells us something about where all the pine boughs came from:

(T)he Christmas wreath custom did not come from paganism, but from a remarkable defeat of paganism. Boniface (680-754), missionary to the Germans, had chopped down a great oak, sacred to Thor. Three days later, on the first Sunday of Advent, he prevented a human sacrifice and used the sacrificial knife of the Druid priest to cut fir boughs for the people to take home as a reminder of Calvary. And of course, the inventor of Christmas tree lights (non-electric) was Martin Luther.

Wilson's article is here.

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