Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Christmas ornaments and all other Christmas symbols make this Christian celebration one of the most famous and celebrated in the whole world. However, few are those who know the truth behind the mysterious origins of Christmas. In an attempt to unveil the true origin of Christmas LocalNomad will take you on a journey to Egypt, and relate stories about Roman Gods and the birth of Christ.
Origin of Christmas in Babylon
One of the most amazing legends regarding the origin of Christmas tells of a time in ancient Babylon. On the 25th December, one of the most important festivals occurred in celebration of the birth of Nimrod, the founder of Babylon and descendent of Noah. Following his death it emerged that he wanted presents to be left under a tree to commemorate his birthday, a tradition that bears notable resemblance with that of the Christmas trees and Christmas presents we know and love today.
Origin of Christmas in Ancient Rome
The origin of Christmas seems to also be related with the festival of Saturnalia, one of the most popular ancient Roman festivals. Saturnalia was held in honor of the agricultural deity Saturn during the winter solstice in celebration of the end as well as the beginning of a new agrarian year. Saturnalia, usually celebrated between the 17th and 23rd of December, comprised a huge festival involving great feasts and sacrifices, as well as fun masks and curious inversions of social classes whereby slaves would swap clothes with their masters and not work.
Christian Origins of Christmas
During the Christian era the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia became known as the Brumalia. Comprising a celebration of the birth of the Sun God, Brumalia also took place around the winter solstice calculated then to be on December the 25th.
The origin of Christmas related to the birth of Christ emerged when the Roman Empire tried to do away with pagan festivals. December 25th was thus associated with the birth of baby Jesus to replace the traditional festival of Brumalia. This is how the Christian Christmas, deriving from the Latin term “Natalis” (birth), came about.
Did you know……..
- Santa Claus is related to Nicholas (Saint Nicholas), a Catholic bishop who filled bags with coins and dropped them down the chimney to help the poor during the winter.
- Santa Claus, according to Nordic tradition, lives in Lapland, Finland. Santa Claus’ Office is a major tourist attraction. All the letters sent to Santa Claus at 96930, Arctic Circle, Finland are answered in 8 languages. On the other hand, according to American tradition, Santa Claus lives in the North Pole.
- Santa Claus was previously depicted in a green, fur-lined robe until a very successful advertising campaign by Coca Cola encouraging the sale of soda in winter, portrayed him wearing red to match the color of the brand.
In short, the origin of Christmas is shrouded in mystery. As for those who want to know more about Christmas traditions come discover the Christmas markets in Paris, Christmas in Rio de Janeiro and delicious German Christmas Sweet Treats. Merry Christmas!