Pagan Origins of Christmas

Nikolaus Krampus

Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as “half-goat, half-demon”, who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts. Krampus is one of the Companions of Saint Nicholas in several regions including Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Northern Italyincluding South Tyrol, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists have postulated it as having pre-Christian origins.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

TR4: THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTMAS PDF

Jesus is NOT the Reason for the season as we will prove on this page.

It was God’s plan to send his son, Jesus, to be with us in human form. Most people celebrate his birth this time of year and call it the Christmas season.   That is wrong.  Jesus was born during the time of the Feast of Tabernacles at the end of September or the first of October.

“…astronomer-priests practiced astrology.  They or their kings wanted their children born when the Goddess was close to the Great Sun God.  The presided over sexual festivals in or around their temples at the vernal equinox and ‘harvested’ their children the following winter solstice.  And (like Abraham) some of them were prepared to burn some of their children alive to show their gratitude to the most High.
     They timed their procreation to the movements of their shining goddess as she smiled down on their intercourse from the sky.  They may have believed this behavior was scientific, but to us it is just superstitious nonsense, fascinating as history – but still nonsense………It must have been an easy religion to gain converts for, since as far as we could see it involved taking part in sexual orgies and, for the leaders at least, becoming favorites of the Goddess of the Bright Morning Star and thus destined to be rich and successful.” 

pg. 288, The Book of Hiram, by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas

On March 25th, women would be impregnated. Since there are 9 months to a pregnancy, and there are also 9 months between March 25th and December 25th, men would impregnate women on Ishtar/Easter Sungod Day on the alter of Ishtar the moon goddess to commemorate the impregnation of Semiramis (Ishtar/Easter) with Tammuz.  Then eight months later on December 25th when these infants were newly born, they would offer up these new born babies on the altar to “Moloch” (Nimrod) the sungod on December 25th…… Mithras the pagan sungod was born on what we now call Christmas day, and his followers celebrated the spring equinox (Most people call Christmas).

To understand the history behind the “Christmas Season” is extremely important to teach us why celebrating the worldly “Christmas” is so wrong and not what we are supposed to do. Almost all of the traditions connected to the season have pagan origins, just as most holidays are truly pagan in nature and history.

We offer Audio teachings of the Apologetics Hour that are programs teaching you how to defend the faith dealing with holidays, false teachings, and the Catholic faith.

Jesus never mentions or commands us to celebrate His Birth.  He wants us to remember His death and return.

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
(25) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
(26) For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
(27) Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
(28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
(29) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
(30) For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1 Cor. 11:24-30

In verse 25 we are told to do the communion or Lord’s Supper in “remembrance” of Him.  That is easy to understand.  We are to remember His death till He comes!

In verse 26 we are to “shew” [show] the Lord’s death til he come.  Strong Concordance number G2605 says: to proclaim, promulgate: – declare, preach, shew, speak of, teach.

In this busy season we think about all the gifts we give to everyone, but fail to think about what we could give to Jesus. He wants us to give Him our lives.

Please take time now and confess, repent (be sorry for your sins). Ask for forgiveness and turn away from your sins accepting Jesus as Lord of your life and personal Savior. Start the new year with a new life in Jesus Christ.

Please go to TR2 GOD LOVES YOU page to learn more about Salvation.

It would be the best Christmas present you ever received.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. {10} For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:9-10

The world has tried to Christianize this occult holiday to deceive the whole world and Christians.

(End of Information included in PDF)


This poem contributed by one of our listeners, Bro. Garry Fowler from New York, explains that deception:

Listen and read Christmas Poem:

Christmas Poem
Because it is that time of year, This verse has come your way
To tell you why I can’t condone This pagan holiday,
“Merry Christmas” is a phrase You’ll hear this time of year.
Expressing heartfelt sentiments, To those you hold most dear
Let’s “keep Christ in Christmas” ,Is another timely phrase
It’s Satan who is glorified — Beware his subtle ways!
“Jesus is the reason for the season”…. Some folks say,
And yet the Scriptures teach, Christ wasn’t born on Christmas Day
For God declares the 25th,Was not our Savior’s birth
Yet saved and unsaved on this day, Rejoice with equal mirth
You can’t mix children of the dark, With children of the light
And expect this fornication, To be pleasing in His sight!
But men love darkness more than light, Is what the Scriptures say
And so they’ve tried to Christianize, This totally heathen day!
Jesus is the way, the truth. No truth is of a lie
So celebrating Christmas time, His “true Church” will not buy
Men call this season holy, Then chock it full of lies,
Can this be of the Holy One? Or just a mere disguise?
When men call something holy, You had best beware —
Satan’s at the heart of it, Countless souls to snare!
Can you believe the Christmas season, With its drunkenness and mirth
Gives honor to our Savior, To recall His holy birth?
Do you believe that every place, That sports a Christmas tree
Abortion clinics, banks and bars, Are Christianity?
Whose birthday did it celebrate, Before our Savior came?
It’s still the same old festival, Someone just changed the name
It’s Nimrod’s birthday party, Always was and ere will be
Think of these things, dear Christian, As you decorate your tree
For long before dear Jesus came, This holiday was kept;
From Babylon into the church, This season slowly crept!
Satan shakes his fist at God — What fools these mortals be,
I told you I’d deceive them, And they would worship me!
Ole Satan takes a Scripture truth, And mixes it with lies;
“You’ll spend eternity with me!”, The old deceiver cries!
But Christ declares from majesty; “I’ve still a faithful few,
Who are awake and will not bow Nor bend their knees to you!”
God seeks those who’ll worship Him, In spirit and in truth
For many, this means we must reject, The lies taught from our youth!
The standard is not set by men, But set by God alone,
And only those who follow it, Will sit upon the throne!
God is One Who won’t be mocked, He’s weary of our ways
Of taking pagan festivals, To call them holy days
They say if we remove the lies, From all this Christmas fun,
We’ll soon end up with nothing, To remind us of God’s Son!
Like Santa Claus, “He’s coming kids”, They never bat an eye
But God sees this for what it is It’s just a Christmas lie!
Santa’s elves make all these toys, And Santa’s reindeer fly
He knows the good girls and the boys — Another Christmas lie.
In case you haven’t figured out, His demons pull that sleigh
And Santa is really Satan, Just spelled another way!
And for the more “religious”, How about some “sacred lies” —
The Savior’s born to mankind, So we’ll all see paradise
Makes no difference how we live, Or what we do and say,
God wouldn’t send a man to Hell, It’s not the Christian way!
Jesus born in Bethlehem, On Christmas long ago,
Freezing shepherds grazing sheep, In the December snow
Christmas hymns and natal scenes, As holy as they seem
Cleverly are part of, This hellish Christmas scheme
“Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night”, Led many souls astray
But now you have a glimpse, Of how God views this heathen day!
Holly, bells and mistletoe, And toasts of Christmas glee,
May leave you with a hangover…. For all eternity!
Candles, lights and Christmas trees, Are pagan to the core,
and Befit not one washed by His blood, But flaunted by the “Whore”,
Don’t fall for this deception, I pray you’ll come to see,
The white horse of Apocalypse Is bearing down on thee.
There is no truth in Christmas, It’s just a pack of lies.
“Presents” from the evil one, With hopes your soul he buys
Of many “False Christs” we are warned, Most in the pulpits be
Beware when they say: “Come, Let’s carol round the Christmas tree”
The “secret” of the Lord’s, With those who fear His holy Name
If you really are a Christian, Cease from this worldly game
Luke 16 tells the story, Verse 13 is specially true,
You cannot serve two masters. Choose today which one for you!
“We’re saved, it doesn’t matter”, You may hear some preacher say;
But all will find out differently, When comes the judgment day!
If you were blind, He could forgive, But since you say you see
The consequences you will reap, For all eternity!
In vanity you worship Him, Traditions for to keep
Protesting barks and oinks I hear, Aren’t coming from the sheep!
In Revelation 3:16 The fate of many lies
Not bold enough to take a stand They yield to compromise!
And then they wonder why He says; “Lukewarm! I’ll spew thee out!”
They’ve let the standard so far down, They may not hear this shout!
Every Word of God is pure, And we must be the same
Let’s seek to reach this standard, And be worthy of His name!
The Pilgrims would not celebrate This date the world holds dear,
They boldly stood against it, Sound in truth, they did not fear!
My friend if you love Jesus, If He reigns within your heart,
Forsake this Christmas garbage, And refuse to take a part!
For one day soon we’ll give account, For all we’ve said and done
Have we stayed steadfast in the Lord? Or bowed to Satan’s “fun”?
If you really want to please your Lord, Refrain this wicked way,
Love and honor His holy Name, Each and every day.
Bow your head and ask the Lord, “Forgive me, I have strayed;
I’ve worshiped Christmas idols, Into their hands I’ve played?”
“Oh, Father, we cry out to Thee, In these last dangerous days
Give us strength and courage, To repent our evil ways!”
If you don’t know the Savior, And you’re sick of all your sin
Just open up your heart’s door, For He’s promised to come in!
Repent! And He will wash your sins, Much whiter than the snow
When you take on His righteousness, To Heaven you will go!
Don’t wait until you’re “good enough”, That good you’ll never be!
Let Jesus save your wretched soul, He sets sin-captives free!
You cannot offer anything, To One Who is all wise
Cain’s offering was evil, Abel’s was the prize
No matter how you are and give, How lavishly you bestow
Won’t keep you from that fiery fate, The lake of fire, you know!
And giving gifts to needy folks, You think rewards may bring,
But all your works mean nothing, ‘less you serve the King of kings!
In Matthew 7 verse 22, And also 23
Show “holy works” done “in His Name”, Can be iniquity
It’s those who hide behind a mask, Doing works for all to see
That may impress their fellow man, But fail to well please Thee
So before you do another work, Before comes end this day
Think long of who is glorified, When Christmas games you play
Jesus Christ, the Holy One, Righteous, Pure and True…
I won’t put Christ in Christmas, To dishonor Him. Should you?
–Author Unknown–

Scriptures to remind you of what can happen to you if you keep on practicing the worldly Christmas holiday!

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
(10) If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
(11) For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

2 John 1:9-11

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; {11} And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:10

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. {11} And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and here was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:10-11

God has offered us Salvation from the same eternal punishment as Satan if we believe in Jesus. He gave his life and paid the price so that we will not meet the same end as Satan, allowing us to obtain eternal life with Him forever.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. {25} Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. {26} For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; {27} And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. {28} Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, {29} And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

John 5:24-29

More Reasons NOT to Celebrate Christmas

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Colossians 2:8

Since the world loves this season, it should be a reason for us not to love it.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(16)  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
(17)  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.

1 John 2:15-17

Christmas holiday has basis in pagan traditions

The origins of Christmas can be traced back to ancient pagan celebrations such as Deus Sol Invictus (observed Dec 25), the Kalends (Jan 1-5), and Saturnalia (Dec 17-23). The Christian Church disapproved of these festivals and co-opted the holidays by declaring Dec 25 as Jesus’ birthday. Pope Julius I, the bishop of Rome, originally proclaimed December 25 the official celebration day for Jesus’ birthday back in 350 AD.

As the multi-colored lights and decorative wreaths disappear from house fronts, and mistletoe and holly say their seasonal adieus, their symbolic origin easily slips by undetected. Although it is modern custom to relate lit trees, mistletoe, holly and caroling with Christmas, these, among other symbols, do not stem from Christianity. Most of these symbols have  pagan roots and were borrowed by Christians, who later altered them to fit the new faith. While Christianity is a monotheistic religion,  paganism is polytheistic, worshipping nature and many gods. Ancient Greeks and Romans were   pagans and celebrated seasons to please different gods. The celebration Christians mimicked was called Yule, modernly referred to as Winter Solstice.

“Winter Solstice is definitely our biggest holiday,” said Bethany Harring, former president of Pagan Life at UNL. “Everyone gets together to survive the night. It’s a renewal of hope and reassures that harsh times will get better.”

During this season, on Dec. 25,   pagans celebrated the birth of their sun god, Mithras. The lengthening days were a symbol of hope and triumph over tough times. In 350 A.D., Pope Julius I declared the same day to be the official Christian celebration of Jesus’ birth: The birth of the Son, instead of the sun. Some believe this was the Christians’ attempt to convert   pagans, but others believe it was simply an attempt by the Catholic Church to cover up  pagan rituals. Stephen Lahey, a religious studies professor at UNL, said, “Christians weren’t trying to convert the   pagans, but it isn’t a coincidence that the birth of Jesus is celebrated around the same time.” Lahey explained, “Yule was a time of celebration and merry-making and drinking.”

Christians wanted in on the fun, so they chose to celebrate a Christian concept, the birth of Jesus Christ, around the same time, Lahey said.  Whichever is true, Christians succeeded in spreading  pagan traditions globally. The fake Christmas tree on display in the local department store is a prime example of the world’s ever-increasing melting pot. Pagans’ Yule tree is the ancient ancestor of Christians’ Christmas tree. The Yule tree is a symbol of hope to   pagans, serving as a reminder that spring will come again. It has been worshiped and decorated since ancient history.
 “The Yule tree represents the passing from the old to the new. It reminds us that life will return,” Harring said. The tradition of putting lights and stars on the tree is also a  pagan idea. 

“The stars and lights are a symbol of the sun coming back to earth,” Harring said. In Christianity, Jesus Christ is referred to as the “light of God.” To Christians, the traditional adorning of lights on an evergreen tree may also represent hope, but one invested in the “Son of God” instead of the “sun god.”

The custom of gift-giving derived from an ancient Roman celebration called Saturnalia. The festival was held in honor of Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture and plenty. The wealthy gave to the poor during this time to help alleviate winter’s hardships. It took place between Dec. 17 and 24.

Even traditional Christmas colors find their origin deep in  pagan practices. The colors red and gold represent god, the male aspect of the creator, and green and silver represent goddess, the female aspect. In pagan history, kissing under mistletoe, which combines the male and female colors, was a common fertility practice. Holly was thought to be the food of the gods and was commonly displayed during the Yule season.

Yuletide carols originated in Rome during the Saturnalia festival. Costumed singers traveled to neighboring houses and sang to celebrate the prospect of longer days.    Christmas carols stemmed from this  pagan tradition.

Yule logs were burned to represent the sun, and modern   pagans still celebrate in this fashion. “During Winter Solstice, we make huge bonfires and stay up all night with family and friends,” Harring said. Not too far from the stereotypical Christian family sitting by the fire, drinking cocoa deep into the night.

Christmas has not always been the paramount Christian holiday. “The most important Christian holiday is the resurrection of  Jesus, known as Easter,” Lahey said. “Christmas wasn’t a big deal until about 250 years ago.”

In America today, Christmas is more than just a Christian holiday; it is also an economic season, a marketing frenzy and cause for long vacations from work and school. Religion evolves over time, just as culture and technology do.  Christianity has adopted the religious practices of other cultures and regions as their own.

“Even when Christianity moved to the New World, it adopted a sort of god/goddess worship with Saints and the Virgin Mary,” Lahey said. “Those were not original Christian concepts.” …

ellenhirst@dailynebraskan.com

Short List of Christmas Pagan Traditions

  • Santa Claus – Given his ethnic roots, Santa Claus should be a symbol of multi-culturalism! Early illustrations of Santa Claus pictured him as a stern, commanding disciplinarian holding a birch rod. The jolly old elf we know and love today was created by artist Haddon Sundblom for a Coca-Cola ad.  Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 CE and later became Bishop of Myra.  He died in 345 CE on December 6th.  He was only named a saint in the 19th century. Nicholas was among the most senior bishops who convened the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE and created the New Testament.  The text they produced portrayed Jews as “the children of the devil” who sentenced Jesus to death. In 1087, a group of sailors who idolized Nicholas moved his bones from Turkey to a sanctuary in Bari, Italy.  There Nicholas supplanted a female boon-giving deity called The Grandmother, or Pasqua Epiphania, who used to fill the children’s stockings with her gifts.  The Grandmother was ousted from her shrine at Bari, which became the center of the Nicholas cult.  Members of this group gave each other gifts during a pageant they conducted annually on the anniversary of Nicholas’ death, December 6. The Nicholas cult spread north until it was adopted by German and Celtic pagans.  These groups worshipped a pantheon led by Woden –their chief god and the father of Thor, Balder, and Tiw.  Woden had a long, white beard and rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn.  When Nicholas merged with Woden, he shed his Mediterranean appearance, grew a beard, mounted a flying horse, rescheduled his flight for December, and donned heavy winter clothing. In a bid for pagan adherents in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church adopted the Nicholas cult and taught that he did (and they should) distribute gifts on December 25th instead of December 6th.  In 1809, the novelist Washington Irving (most famous his The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle) wrote a satire of Dutch culture entitled Knickerbocker History.  The satire refers several times to the white bearded, flying-horse riding Saint Nicholas using his Dutch name, Santa Claus.  Dr. Clement Moore, a professor at Union Seminary, read Knickerbocker History, and in 1822 he published a poem based on the character Santa Claus: “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hope that Saint Nicholas soon would be there…”  Moore innovated by portraying a Santa with eight reindeer who descended through chimneys.  The Bavarian illustrator Thomas Nast almost completed the modern picture of Santa Claus.  From 1862 through 1886, based on Moore’s poem, Nast drew more than 2,200 cartoon images of Santa for Harper’s Weekly.  Before Nast, Saint Nicholas had been pictured as everything from a stern looking bishop to a gnome-like figure in a frock.  Nast also gave Santa a home at the North Pole, his workshop filled with elves, and his list of the good and bad children of the world.  All Santa was missing was his red outfit. In 1931, the Coca Cola Corporation contracted the Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sundblom to create a coke-drinking Santa.  Sundblom modeled his Santa on his friend Lou Prentice, chosen for his cheerful, chubby face.  The corporation insisted that Santa’s fur-trimmed suit be bright, Coca Cola red.  And Santa was born – a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, and commercial idol.  Disney Studios, and Cocoa-Cola drew on Scandinavian images of elves with red tunics and pointed hats, with sleighs and reindeer. Before that, the Italian/Greek/Spanish/Turkish story of St. Nicholas and the Germanic god Odin appear to have merged to create the Dutch figure, Sinterklaas, who rides through the sky on a white horse. His mischievous black-faced helpers listen at the chimneys to help him figure out whether children have been bad or good.
  • Krampus – St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, or Santa Claus is the weirdest Christmas tradition ever, but he is so well known and so well documented that his origins are beyond the scope of this particular post. As a tool to encourage good behavior in children, Santa serves as the carrot, and Krampus is the stick. Krampus is the evil demon anti-Santa, or maybe his evil twin. Krampus Night is celebrated on December 5th, the eve of St. Nicholas Day in Austria and other parts of Europe. People dress as Krampus and roam the streets looking for someone to beat with a stick. Since it is also a night for drinking, the beatings probably don’t hurt much.
  • The Christmas tree – While Christmas trees have been around for a millennium in northern Europe, the first one did not appear in the UK until the 1830s. When Prince Albert put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1841, he started what became an evergreen trend. However,  the first record of a decorated Christmas tree dates to 1521, in Germany. At the time, a prominent Lutheran minister protested: “Better that they should look to the true tree of life, Christ………….”Just as early Christians recruited Roman pagans by associating Christmas with the Saturnalia, so too worshippers of the Asheira cult and its offshoots were recruited by the Church sanctioning “Christmas Trees”. Pagans had long worshipped trees in the forest, or brought them into their homes and decorated them, and this observance was adopted and painted with a Christian veneer by the Church. We are told that pagan Romans decorated living trees with fragments of metal and images of the fertility god Bacchus. Twelve candles on a tree honored the sun god. The writings of one early Church father, Tertullian, discuss early Christians who imitated their neighbors by decorating their homes with candles and laurel at the turn of the year. In the North of Europe, Germanic people honored Woden by tying candles to evergreen branches, along with fruit. For many Pagan peoples of Europe, evergreen trees were symbols of enduring life. Their branches had the power to fend off evil spirits. Druids held ceremonies while gathered around sacred trees. Cutting entire trees and bringing them indoors may have been too destructive, but we know that Pagans brought in evergreen boughs. Because trees are so strongly associated with Pagan celebrations some Christians have opposed them being a part of Christmas festivities.
  • Origin of Christmas Presents – In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia (in December) and Kalends (in January).  Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace.  The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavor by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas. The tradition of giving gifts at this time of year may owe some to the Roman god Saturn, patron of agriculture and plenty, and to his festival Saturnalia. For agricultural people, mid-winter can be a time of scarcity, and gift-giving during Saturnalia redistributed bounty from those who had excess to those who had little. Like feasting, though, giving gifts during celebrations is a tradition that has roots in many cultures, and perhaps even in biology. Our urge to give gifts is one that fascinates anthropologists, and one that many of us tackle with something between enthusiasm and exasperation. Whatever the roots, and however mixed we ourselves may feel, holiday merchants find the tradition a source of pure seasonal joy.
  • Mistletoe – Hanging mistletoe in the home is an ancient pagan practice adopted by early Christians. The word itself is Anglo-Saxon and the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe originated in England. Each kiss required a berry to be plucked until none remained.  Mistletoe was held sacred by the Norse, the Celtic Druids, and Native American Indians, because it remains green and bears fruit during the winter when other plants seem to die. Druids thought the plant had the power to cure infertility and nervous diseases, and to ward off evil. The magical status of Mistletoe goes so far back that it is lost in the mist of history. It played a role in Greek mythology and was likely the Golden Bough in the story of Aeneas. Across pagan Europe it was seen as a sacred symbol of male vitality and fertility. In one Norse story the goddess Frigga extracts a promise from each element and plant that it will not harm her son Balder, the god of the summer sun. But she overlooks the mistletoe, which lives not on the earth nor in the sky, but in between, in the arms of oak trees. The evil god Loki makes an arrow tip out of Mistletoe and gives it to Hoder, the blind god of winter, who kills Balder. For three days the other gods try in vain to restore him to life. Finally Frigga succeeds. Some versions of the story say that her tears turn into the mistletoe’s white berries and that afterwards Frigga kisses anyone who passes beneath a branch on which mistletoe grows.
  • Christmas carols – Carols were songs and dances of praise and joy in pagan times and the practice of carol singing carried over into the Christian era. Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago, but these were not Christmas Carols. They were pagan songs, sung at the Winter Solstice celebrations as people danced round stone circles. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, usually taking place around 22nd December. The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy! Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived. Early Christians took over the pagan solstice celebrations for Christmas and gave people Christian songs to sing instead of pagan ones. In 129, a Roman Bishop said that a song called “Angel’s Hymn” should be sung at a Christmas service in Rome. Another famous early Christmas Hymn was written in 760, by Comas of Jerusalem, for the Greek Orthodox Church. Soon after this many composers all over Europe started to write ‘Christmas carols’. However, not many people liked them as they were all written and sung in Latin, a language that the normal people couldn’t understand. By the time of the Middles Ages (the 1200s), most people had lost interest in celebrating Christmas altogether. This was changed by St. Francis of Assisi when, in 1223, he started his Nativitu Plays in Italy . The people in the plays sang songs or ‘canticles’ that told the story during the plays. Sometimes, the choruses of these new carols were in Latin; but normally they were all in a language that the people watching the play could understand and join in! The new carols spread to France, Spain, Germany and other European countries.
  • Wreaths – In Scandinavia, the traditional Yule Wreath symbolized the “Wheel of the Year,” which was also honored around the calendar with festivals marking winter and summer solstice and each equinoxes. Some ancient groups believed that the great wheel stopped turning at the point of the winter solstice and so it was taboo to turn a butter churn or wheel on the shortest day of the year. For Germanic people, wreaths decorated with small candles encouraged the return of spring: the circle of the wreath representing the seasons, and the candles representing warmth from the sun. When made of holly and ivy, a wreath was thought to provide protection to any household where it hung on the door.
  • Holly and ivy – Synonymous with Christmas and the subject of a traditional British folk carol, both holly and ivy were originally used in pre-Christian times to celebrate the winter solstice. Long before there were Christmas trees, the pagans revered evergreens as symbols of eternal life and rebirth. Because of their pagan associations, holly, ivy, and other evergreen boughs conventionally used for holiday home decoration were banned by the sixth-century Christian Council of Braga.  As Christianity spread across Europe, the red berries and spiny leaves of the holly plant became spiritual symbols representing the red blood of Jesus and his crown of thorns. But as with many other holiday favorites, Holly already had special meaning for local people. The familiar Christmas carol, “The Holly and the Ivy” contains vestiges of Celtic tradition in which a males and females were dressed in Holly and Ivy leaves and enacted a dance or ritual representing male and female energy. In the mythology of the British Isles, the Holly King was said to rule over the waning half of the year, from the summer solstice to the winter solstice, whereupon he fought with the Oak King, who ruled the season of planting and growth. In fact, the Holly King may be the Green Knight who Sir Gawain rose to fight at King Arthur’s Christmas feast.
  • Stockings – Leaving stockings out at Christmas goes back to the legend of St Nicholas. Known as the gift giver, on one occasion he sent bags of gold down a chimney at the home of a poor man who had no dowry for his unmarried daughters. The gold fell into stockings left hanging to dry. St Nicholas was later referred to by the Dutch as Sinterklaas and eventually, by English-speakers, as Santa Claus.
  • Christmas cards – Having helped set up the Public Records Office (now the Post Office), Sir Henry Cole and artist John Horsley created the first Christmas card in 1843 as a way of encouraging people to use its services. Cards cost a shilling (equivalent to almost £5.75 now) and stamps a penny (about 40p at modern prices). Advances in printing brought prices down, making cards hugely popular by the 1860s. By 1900 the custom of sending Christmas cards had spread throughout Europe.
  • Mulled Wine and Cider (wassaling) Some folks lament that wine is wasted by heating, but hot spiced wine and cider are long-standing staples of winter feasts. Traditional spices include cinnamon, mace, ginger, cloves, and orange, along with fortifications like black currant syrup and gin. Spiced wine dates back at least to the 1500s, when a version called “Hippocras” (named after Hippocrates) was sold to help heal muscle injuries. By early 1600, King Gustav I of Sweden was drinking a version of mulled wine he called “glodgad vin” known today simply as “glögg,” which means “to glow.” English villagers drank mulled cider while they went caroling or wassaling the apple orchards, where they banged together pots and pans to drive out evil spirits and then poured offerings of cider over tree roots.
  • Plum Pudding – (plum porridge ) Earliest form of Christmas plum pudding – since the middle ages. In those days it was made of shin of beef or veal, stewed with dried fruit, spices, sugar, lemon juice and claret. The tradition of stirring it on the Sunday before advent was well established by the 1800s. Children would stir in silver Christmas charms including coins, a ring to foretell a marriage, a horseshoe for luck and a thimble for a life of blessedness. Twigs of variegated holly with berries were placed on each side to keep away the witches. At Coughton Court in Warwickshire, the puddings were made with stout then given out to the local old people.
  • Yule Log – a large log of oak would be brought in that had to be too heavy for one man to lift. They would put it on hearth in the houses like Tyntesfield. If it was still smouldering on Christmas Day then it was said that the home would be prosperous for the coming year. A New Year’s Eve tradition was that just before midnight the master of the house and all his guests would go from room to room opening every door and window, however cold the weather. The story went that the ‘burden’ of the old year could be let out, leaving everything new for the time to come. The tradition of choosing a particularly hard, large log to burn, called the Yule Log is a long-enduring English tradition that was adopted from the Germanic peoples of the Continent. British clergyman Robert Herrick wrote in the mid 17th Century that the young men who carried the log into the farmhouse were rewarded with free beer. With big enough fireplaces and dead trees and beer kegs this tradition alone might be enough to cheer some folks all the way through to the New Year.
  • Pickle Ornament – The story goes that when German families decorate the Christmas tree, the last ornament to be hung is the Christmas pickle – usually a blown glass ornament that may have been passed down through generations. It is tucked away in a hard-to-see spot (it is green, after all). The first child who finds the pickle on Christmas morning gets a special gift and good luck all the next year. …These ornaments became very popular in America when F.W. Woolworth began importing them in the 1880’s. An old German legend no doubt helped to sell more glass ornaments!
  • Zwarte Piet – or Black Peter is Santa’s helper in the Netherlands. Sinterklass arrives on the eve of St. Nicholas Day in a steamship with his slave Zwarte Piet, portrayed in public processions in several cities. Since about 1850, children who don’t behave during the year were told that Black Peter might take them back to Spain, where Sinterklaas lives. The racist aspects of the custom have been downplayed in recent decades, and the tale of Black Peter now describes him as a chimney sweep instead of a slave, which explains the blackface. But charges of racism still follow Black Peter, as he is often portrayed with an Afro and exaggerated features.
  • Bells Ringing at Midnight – According to old English folk tales, the Devil died when Jesus was born. So some towns developed a Christmas Eve tradition of ringing the church bells near midnight to announce the Devil’s demise. In England this custom was called tolling or ringing “the Devil’s knell.”

Hard to Believe this horrible tradition

Caganer – The name “El Caganer” literally means “the crapper” or “the shitter”. Traditionally, the figurine is depicted as a peasant, wearing the traditional Catalan red cap (the barrentina and with his trousers down, showing a bare backside, and defecating. Caganer (Catalan pronunciation: [kaya’nel] is a figurine depicted in the act of defication appearing in nativity scenes in Catolonia and neighbouring areas with Catalan culture such as Andorra, Valencia, and Northern Catalonia (in southern France. It is most popular and widespread in these areas, but can also be found in other areas of Spain (Murcia), Portugal, and southern Italy (Naples). The exact origin of the Caganer is unknown, but the tradition has existed since at least the 18th century. According to the society Amics del Caganer (Friends of the Caganer), it is believed to have entered the nativity scene by the late 17th or early 18th century, during the Baroque period. An Iberian votive deposit was found near Tornabous in the Urgell depicting a holy Iberian warrior defecating on his falcata.  ….In Catalonia, as well as in the rest of Spain and in most of Italy and Southern France, traditional Christmas decorations often consist of a large model of the city of Bethlehem, similar to the Nativity scenes of the English-speaking world but encompassing the entire city rather than just the typical manger scene. This pessebre is often a reproduction of a pastoral scene—a traditional Catalan masia (farmhouse) as the central setting with the child in a manger, and outlying scenes including a washerwoman by a river, a woman spinning, shepherds herding their sheep or walking towards the manger with gifts, the Three Wise Men approaching on camel back, a scene with the angel and shepherds, the star pointing the way, etc. Commonly materials such as moss will be used to represent grass, with cork used to represent mountains or cliffs. Another variant is to make the setting oriental, with the Wise Men arriving by camel and the figures dressed accordingly.  The caganer is a particular and highly popular feature of modern Catalan nativity scenes. It is believed to have entered the nativity scene by the late 17th or early 18th century, during the Baroque period. Eminent folklorist Joan Amades called it an essential piece and the most popular figure of the nativity scene. … There is a sculpture of a person defecating hidden inside the cathedral of Ciudad Rodrigo, Province of Salamanca, though this is not part of a nativity scene. Accompanying Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the shepherds and company, the caganer is often tucked away in a corner of the model, typically nowhere near the manger scene. A tradition in Catalonia is to have children find the hidden figure. Possible reasons for placing a figure representing a person in the act of emptying his bowels in a scene which is widely considered holy include: The Caganer, by creating feces, is fertilizing the Earth. According to the ethnographer Joan Amades, it was a “customary figure in nativity scenes [pessebres] in the 19th century, because people believed that this deposit [symbolically] fertilized the ground of the nativity scenes, which became fertile and ensured the nativity scene for the following year, and with it, the health of body and peace of mind required to make the nativity scene, with the joy and happiness brought by Christmas near the hearth. Placing this figurine in the nativity scene brought good luck and joy and not doing so brought adversity.” Many modern caganers represent celebrities and authority figures. By representing them with their pants down, the caganer serves as a leveling device to bring the mighty down. As to the charge of blasphemy, as Catalan anthropologist Miguel Delgado has pointed out, the grotesque, rather than a negation of the divine may actually signify an intensification of the sacred, for what could be more grotesque than the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a bloody public torture and execution as the defining moment in the story of Christianity?

Excerpts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caganer

New Year’s Eve – Scotland  has historically made a much bigger deal of celebrating Hogmanay (the last day of the year, a.k.a. New Year’s Eve) than Christmas. In fact, the latter holiday was banned by the country’s Parliament for more than 300 years, and was only made legal again in 1958. The Grinch who Scrooged Scotland out of Christmas was 16th century minister John Knox, leader of the Reformation and founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. He believed Christians should only celebrate holidays mentioned in the Bible. So Christmas was strongly discouraged starting in 1583, and officially prohibited by law in 1640.

Learn more about Biblical Feasts

Christmas Playlist from FOJC Radio on You Tube

Outside source of Christmas information.