The origin of Christmas

Did you know that the time of Jesus' birth is actually unknown? ...

Learn more about the contexts of 25th December and Emperor Constantin Legrand and what the, for example winter solstice on 21 and 22 December, the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn's god, the Mithras cult in honor of the god Mithras and the july festivals of Germanic mythology have in common with Christmas ...

The origin of Christmas

The pagan festivals

Long before the Christian era, pagan customs already announced the winter.

The Saturnalia

During Roman Antiquity, from 17 to 24 December, festivities were celebrated in honor of Saturn, the god of seeds and vines. The Roman custom combined its rule with the Golden Age. During these festivals, order was abolished and people found their way back to equality, because masters and slaves lived in reverse roles. At the end of the festival, a king of Saturnalia, determined by lot, was killed. These celebrations were followed by the calendars that marked each month's beginning. On the occasion of the January calendar, dedicated to Janus, the Romans exchanged gifts, the "strenae", which could be called something like "New Year's gifts" in English.

The Julfest

In the northern part of Europe, which was outside the Roman sphere of influence, the Julfest was celebrated which lasted twelve nights. The celebration was dedicated to the gods of Germanic mythology. Wotan, the god of death, visited the earth. Njord and Freya, the gods of fertility and abundance, were celebrated as well. Fires were lit to drive away the spirits of darkness and recall the sun.

All these festivals have shaped our customs.

Traces can still be found in folklore and in the way our ancestors celebrated Christmas.