We Christians have some significant holidays celebrating Christ, but do they? Have you ever researched what Christian holidays are really about or their origin? Are Christian Holidays Pagan? This article has the results of some staggering findings.
Who are Pagans?
Pagan or paganism is a derivative from the Late Latin paganus that was used to name those who practiced a religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Initially, Christians frequently used the expression to refer to non-Christians who worshiped multiple deities.
The Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines a pagan as “A follower of a false god or a heathen religion; one who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods.”
Therefore, Pagans were ungodly people, heathens that God warned His people to stay away from them and their sinful practices. Deut 18:9-10 reads, “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.” NIV
This warning is one of several handed down to Israel regarding imitating the ways of the pagans.
What is the Origin of Paganism?
The origins of paganism go all the way back to the book of Genesis and a man named Nimrod (Gen 10:8-10), Noah’s grandson, who was a mighty hunter and built a great kingdom consisting of the great city Babylon among others. He moved away from God, declared himself as the religious leader of the citizens, and formed his own philosophies and religions. After his death, his wife vowed that he was the “Sun god” and led the people to worship the Sun. As the people dispersed and resettled, this practice, among other idolatrous acts, was carried around the world that eventually became predominately controlled by Rome.
This eventuation subsequently led to a change in the day of worship, the Sabbath, from Saturday to Sunday.
This occurred under the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, who decreed Christianity as the principal religion of Rome. However, there were many in the Roman Empire that practiced Babylonian customs. To keep peace and maintain unity, Constantine issued the first civil Sunday law, necessitating all the Roman Empire citizens, except farmers, to rest on Sunday.
Therefore, for starters, even the day when most of the world worships is pagan based.
For more details, see the article, The History of the Holy Roman Empire, on this website.
Changing the day of worship is only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty.
Christian Holidays, Pagan Origins
Christmas – After the death of Nimrod, his wife Semiramis became pregnant. She declared that her late husband, now worshipped as “the Sun,” impregnated her with the rays of the Sun, and the resulting son, whom she named Tammuz, was born on the Winter solstice (the onset of winter). Tammuz was ultimately revered as the reincarnation of the sun god “Nimrod,” and his birthday became acknowledged and celebrated up to presently, on December 25th. So, whose birth do we really celebrate on December 25th?
God Judged Israel harshly for this idolatrous activity. Let’s take a look at Ezek 8:12-17
12 He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.'” 13 Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.”
14 Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. 15 He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.”
16 He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east.
17 He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the house of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke me to anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose! 18 Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.” NIV
In this 8th chapter, Ezekiel reveals what the Lord showed him in a vision regarding the sins and transgressions of Israel. God revealed to Ezekiel the degree to which the people had embraced idolatry and wickedness in setting after setting.
Verse 14 mentions Tammuz. At this point, he was worshipped as the god of fertility, and the women were weeping for him when he died. Mind you that this was at the gate of the temple!
In verse 16, we see that the men turned their backs to the temple and worshipped the sun. They turned their backs on God to worship the sun!
In verse 17, we see that God did not see this as a “trival matter” and called them “detestable.”
In verse 18, we see that God did deal with them harshly. Will He not do the same with us?
We should consider this when we worship on Sunday and celebrate December 25th—who and what are we worshipping, and whose birthday are we celebrating?
New Year’s Day – New Year’s Day was a central date for the Romans, but the most notable fact is that initially, the Roman year did not start on January 1st but in March.
This state of affairs was because March was the month devoted to Mars, who was the Roman god of war, who was believed to be the divine father of Romulus, the founder of Rome. Because of unusual conditions during wartime, in 153 BC, the consul Quintus Fulvius Nobilior changed New Year’s Day to January 1st for the first time in history.
However, Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, with his Julian calendar, permanently instituted the holiday on January 1st. The beginning of the year was devoted to a very unusual Roman god: Janus. According to mythology, Janus was the two-faced god of doors (his name Janus comes from ianua, “door” in Latin), beginnings, and passages: that is why the first month of the year, January, was named after him.
On New Year’s Day, the Romans marched in a procession to the top of the Capitoline Hill, where the priests would sacrifice a white bull to ask protection from the gods for the new year. In addition, the high priest, the Pontifex Maximus, would offer Janus a pie made of flour, cereals, cheese, eggs, and olive oil to appeal to the god’s benevolence.
The citizens would subsequently celebrate by feasting together and wearing something red, which desired to result in good luck, health, and fertility.
Easter – Easter is an irregular Christian holiday, which does not fall on a specific date as all the other festivities. Instead, it is based on the moon’s cycle: it falls on the first Spring Sunday after the new moon. The Jewish root of the Christian Easter Holiday is widely known: the Christian festivity is connected to the holiday of Passover, which has its foundation in the exodus of the Jews from Egypt.
However, many traditions connected with Easter show entirely different (and pagan) origins: actually, the word “Easter” itself derives from the name of Eostre, the Germanic goddess of spring. The celebrated Easter Eggs and the Easter bunny, which is supposed to deliver candies to the kids, were initially connected with Eostre as symbols of rebirth and fertility.
The Romans had a spring holiday around March 15th dedicated to Anna Perenna, a relatively little-known goddess that was variously identified with the moon or some Etruscan mother goddess.
More importantly, she was a goddess of the circle of the year since her holiday would fall right on the first day of the year, according to the original Roman calendar. It was traditional to celebrate with meals among family and friends, especially in the woods sacred to Anna Perenna.
On this opportunity, the Romans would consume a lot of wine given that it was held that each cup would extend their life by one full year. This activity was a traditional way of honoring the goddess since she was also connected with the idea of fertility and rebirth, which was for couples to make love by the river.
Halloween – It is well-known that Halloween traditions originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Still, the Romans had a version that was very similar and perhaps even stranger.
Presently, there is only one day dedicated to the memory of the dead in the US, on October 31st, while the Romans had numerous occasions to reconnect with their passed loved ones during the year. In February, the week from the 13th to the 22nd was wholly devoted to visiting the dead, taking food offers to the graves (this particular ceremony took the name of Feralia, from fero, to bring) or even eating lunch by the grave, to keep the deceased good company.
Furthermore, it was traditional for the Romans to leave behind black beans on the graves to represent their tears.
In addition, the Romans believed that in order to be at peace, the dead desired to visit the world of the living now and then. On some days, they would open the entrance of the Mundus, a bottomless pit that was believed to be the entrance to the underworld, to allow the dead to access the world of the living.
Epiphany or Three Kings Day – Every January 6th, many Christian Churches observe the holiday of Epiphany, memorializing when the Magi Kings visited the Baby Jesus, or, according to Eastern tradition, the day Jesus was baptized.
The ceremonies associated with this festivity vary from country to country and entail traditional cakes, such as the Three Kings Cake, chalking the house doors with the initials of the Magi Kings, or just attending mass.
In Italy, Epiphany is very popular, particularly among children, as it is associated with a unique character of Italian folklore: the Befana. The Befana, whose name is an altered form of the word Epifania, is a little old witchy lady who lives in the mountains. The night before the holiday, she flies on a broom and delivers little gifts, mostly candies, to the good kids: the naughty kids, instead, only receive coal, although presently, the coal is made of sugar.
In reality, according to Italian tradition, she was the woman who directed the Magi kings in the correct direction to Bethlehem. However, a look back to Roman times reveals some traditions explaining where the Befana originated.
The Romans believed that during the twelve nights that followed the winter solstice, the moon goddess Diana, escorted by two obscure deities, Satia and Abundantia, who were the representations of satiety and abundance respectively, used to fly over the fields, to make them fertile.
Moreover, the year itself was observed as an old lady, possibly representing Mother Nature itself. Before dying, she would continue to make the last gift of seeds and food to the people to promise that she would be born again in spring.
She would also deliver coal, but not as a punishment for the naughty kids, instead as a symbol of warmth.
Saint John’s Eve – Saint John the Baptist maintains a few exciting records among the saints. He is the most represented saint in all the history of religious art, and he is also the only saint celebrated on his birth date rather than his death date.
He is indeed an extraordinary saint, as he prepared the way for Jesus, who was also his cousin. Just as it happened for Jesus, Saint John’s feast took place on a Solstice: as the birth of Jesus on December 25th marks the rebirth of the Sun, so the birthday of John on June 24th marks the beginning of the diminishing sun.
Saint John’s Eve is one of the most ancient Christian holidays that Christians have been celebrating on this date since the 4th century. Every country has its way of celebrating Saint John. Still, some recurring elements, such as traditional homemade dishes, such as the Irish “Goody,” bonfires, or herbs, like the so-called St. John’s Wort, are supposed to be collected on Saint John’s Eve to keep evil spirits away.
But guess what did the Romans do on that very same date. On the night of June 24th, the Romans would congregate around bonfires in the countryside and dance, feast, and drink all night long in honor of Fortuna, the goddess of luck.
She was a very well-liked goddess, especially among the poor, who would continually aim to please her with offers or sacrifices, hopeful to get at least a change of luck: but Fortuna was a tricky goddess, tough to please.
These are significant festivities and holidays based upon pagan, Babylonian practices that became Roman traditions that we still celebrate today.
It behooves us to examine what we are actually celebrating against what we are supposed to be celebrating; do we celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th or the reincarnated sun god, Tammuz? Do we celebrate St. John the Baptist on June 24th or Fortuna, the goddess of luck? Do we really know what we are celebrating on Halloween?
When we worship on Sunday, are we honoring God as He commanded (Exodus 20:8-11), or are we worshipping the Sun?
Are we guilty of what Jesus accused the Pharisees of: “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'” Matt 15:9 NIV Are we worshipping in vain?
Also, Matt 15:3: Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Sunday worship is a tradition of men.
My friends, let us not be deceived, as the enemy is crafty and we can worship the beast without realizing it, and we are warned in the Scriptures: Rev 14:9-11 reads:
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Please read on this website 666 Mark of the Beast for more details.
I welcome any questions, comments, or concerns below. You will receive a response.
4 thoughts on “Christian Holidays Pagan?”
Thank you for outlining who are pagans and how they view christian holidays. Many people tend to fall for the trap to celebrate the holiday event rather what happen to Jesus or what He did for us. Even for when He was born, people forget about it and focus on Santa and many other things. A person must be careful not to get trap in those events view and rather stay focus what really happen and the true meaning of these events. Some events are like halloween is stuff a person must not celebrate as of its true meaning.
What you say is so true, Bernard. People love to celebrate regardless. As explained in the article, Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus. It is the celebration of a pagan god. Christ was not born on December 25th. Yet, we celebrate it anyway. It’s no wonder Merry Christmas isn’t the thing to say these days. Happy Holidays is about as good as it gets and is simply a motivation to celebrate and spend money.
Wow, the more I read the articles on your website, the more I realize that I need to improve my relationship with God. I have not read my bible in a long time so I am so lost when it comes to my religion and beliefs. I will be sure to more research on what Pegan is.
There is always room for growth in our relationship with God. His Word, the Bible, is the best way to connect and grow our relationship with Him.
All the best with your research.