Now, I don't mind at all if people celebrate Christmas as their God's birthday and give it a significance they can live with and which they can enjoy, I am not against Christians celebrating Christmas as their holiday, not at all. I am also not saying one word about how they should be doing that. Christians have been celebrating Christmas for a very long time now, and have given a Christian symbolical meaning to most of their Christmas, so it is theirs.
What I do mind is the Christmas fanatics, who get offended when people wish them "Happy Holidays" and complain about the national post office publishing stamps that aren't "Christian enough" to their liking, and other such things. These people try to push THEIR ways down everyone else's throat, and THAT is what makes me boil. What you do inside the walls of your home is your business, and if you have a warm and lovely Midwinter, I'm happy for you. Sincerely I am, even if it means "stealing Yule". What ever fits your personal, private purposes, is fine with me, as long as it doesn't harm anyone or anything else. But when you start DEMANDING that YOUR personal preferences MUST be followed in PUBLIC sphere, you have gone too long, my friend. You can count on me, telling you how your so called Christian ways are anything but Christians.
So - which Pagan Gods are you actually worshiping by celebrating Solstice? Oh, don't make the mistake of believing that you are NOT celebrating the Winter Solstice, because that's usually on December 21st and you are celebrating December 25th. 25th of December was established as the Winter Solstice 45 BCE, and even when the calendar has been adjusted several times after that, the date remained. I celebrate Winter Solstice on the exact time of Winter Solstice, ignoring the calendar all together. I know it's December 21st this year and it will be December 22nd in a couple of years, like it was a couple of years ago, but the date itself doesn't mean anything to me. The centuries old feast days that have been put in the calendar on the other hand do follow the Julian Calendar, back at 45 BCE, with all the important Pagan feast days "rededicated" to Christian characters. Summer Solstice is given to John the Baptist, Autumn Equinox is given to Archangel Michael, Spring Equinox is Virgin Mary's and Winter Solstice Jesus'. The early Christians weren't stupid, they chose a character from the Christian mythology that best corresponded with the Pagan Deity celebrated at the time of the year. John the Baptist replaces several artisan Gods, Michael replaces Mabon, Virgin Mary replaces Goddess Herself and Jesus... yes, whom did Jesus replace?
Everyone knows by now about Mithra or Mithras, the Son of God in the Zoroastrian mythology. His name means "contract", "deal", "agreement", "covenant" - He was the embodiment of the covenant between God and His people, fulfillment of the promise God made. He is the ultimate defender of Truth, the Judge.
His feast day, Mehregan, is celebrated at the time when taxes are collected, and people gave each other gifts. The king, of course, received very valuable gifts, like gold and rare incenses and such, everyone else gave what they could afford. The poor people gave each other apples. This Mehregan is always on the 16th day of the 7th month, the day and the month named after Mithra. That happens usually in the beginning of October. It is the first day of the second half-year, Nowruz or New Year being celebrated on the first day of the first half-year, in March. The Jewish people has this same division of the year into two half-years, but they celebrate the New Year in Autumn; Rosh Hashanah.
Now, in Persia (Iran) they still celebrate Yalda, Winter Solstice, as the birthday of Mithra and "the triumph of Light and Goodness over the powers of Darkness". This feast, with that name (yalda - birth) was actually celebrated thousands of years before Zoroastrianism, but today we don't know what was the "reason for the season" at that time.It was probably the birth of Sun.
December 25th was "natalis Invicti" - the birthday of Sol Invictus - the invincible Sun. This date was made a state holiday by emperor Aurelian, (215-275 CE) who worshiped the Sun, as many other Roman soldiers. Romans had a habit of combining the mythology they encountered with their own, and as the Roman soldiers found Mithra very appealing deity, they combined what they knew of him with what they knew of every other Sun God, and created Sol Invictus Mithra, with birthday on December 25th, the Winter Solstice, when Sun is born, because the Romans did celebrate birthdays, contrary to Hebrews and Persians.
Other Sun Gods the Romans collected to this group were Horus of Egypt, Apollon of Greece, and Attis of Phrygia. All these deities were believed to have been born of December 25th.
Attis of Phrygia was the son of the Virgin Goddess Nana and there's a very fascinating mystery connected to His father... That is, that He is actually Himself His own Father. (Sounds familiar? You have no idea of how familiar it is going to get...). Attis was a shepherd, and so beautiful that the Goddess made Him Her lover. She was a jealous Goddess and when She believed He was having other women, She made Him sacrifice his male organ, which He did, tied on a pine tree and He bled to death, on March 25th (Spring Equinox, Ostara, or Easter) and His blood gave life to the barren earth. The Goddess regretted and brought Him back to life, on a Sunday as Sun God. The followers of Attis tied an image of the God to a tree, which they carried along in a procession to the temple, escorted by "reed bearers" carrying reeds symbolizing God's organ. This happened on Friday near Spring Equinox, which day they called the Black Friday or Day of Blood. They mourned the next day and on Sunday they had a huge feast celebrating their Savior God who was dead but lives. They used to bake a bread in shape of a man, name it Attis and share and eat it, to get Attis' blessings.
Horus is an Egyptian Sun God, born from Queen of Heavens, Isis and Her brother Osiris, whom she brought back from death just to father the child. It is believed that Osiris spirit was transferred into Isis to be reborn as Horus. This happened at Winter Solstice.
And so on and so forth. Most bits of "Jesus' story" can be found in one way or another in another "God story" in Rome during the time of the spinning of the "Jesus' story" - virgin mother, birthday, epithets and symbolism, significance, life, companions, miracles, death, resurrection... everything. We have Dionysos of Greece, Krishtna of India, Apollonius of Tyrana...
Everyone knows today the Pagan origins of "christmas", but to those who still question, here's somethings to watch:
The Catholic church argues that 25th of December is "simply 9 months after 25th of March, the Annunciation" - but how do the Christians came up with March 25th as the day of Annunciation? The Bible says ""Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin...".
March would be six months from Rosh Hashanah, and if one pinpoints Rosh Hashanah on September 25th (Autumn Equinox), March 25th (Spring Equinox) is 6 months after that. But Rosh Hashanah doesn't start the first month of Hebrew Calendar. It is celebrated on the SEVENTH MONTH of the Hebrew Calendar. That makes "sixth month" August, not March. If the author of the Gospel of Luke is following the Greco-Roman calendar, that would make the 6th month June - or perhaps August, as "November" is "ninth month".
The Christians say that March 25th is a very important Biblical day, because God also made Adam and Jesus died on that day. The Persians believed that Adam was created on Mehregan, the Persian second New Year, just as the Jews believe the world was created in Tishri - in Autumn. Why did the Christians change this belief?
I'm sorry, but this claim of the church is just false. 25th of March was chosen as the date of Annunciation BECAUSE the 25th of December, the Roman birthday of Sun, was 9 month after that day, not the other way around.
Does it matter what you CALL the God you are worshiping at Midwinter? Of course it doesn't. As C.S.Lewis lets Aslan say in The Last Battle,
"Not because he (Tash) and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services thou hast done to him. For I and he are such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted."I happen to think that this is actually the Truth. It doesn't matter if you serve the "Pagan Gods" at Midwinter, because there is only One True God, what ever you choose to call Her and how ever you choose to worship Her and celebrate Her mercy and miracles. That the Sun rises every morning IS a God's Miracle worthy to be celebrated, the seasons and the turn of the year from summer to winter and back again, over and over, spinning years to eons is a Miracle, every year we get to live is a Miracle and a Gift from God, and Yule is truly a wondrous and lovely time, whoever you dedicate it and in which ever name you do the good deeds you are inspired to do at this time of the year.
Just you remember that.