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Major Christian festival, celebrating the birth of Jesus.

December the 25th is the start of TheTwelveDaysOfChristmas, immortalised in the song.

It's at that time of year because early Christian missionaries hijacked the local pagans' WinterSolstice? celebrations to help convert them - "Look, you can be a Christian and still party at the end of December...".

evidence? request!
http://de.essortment.com/christmaspagan_rece.htm, although it may not have been the WinterSolstice? that was hijacked, but a range of midwinter feasts... --M-A
AlexChurchill finds it entertaining that Christmas Day and New Year's Day are both claimed to be anniversaries of the birth of JesusChrist? :)

Is Christmas actually widely claimed to be the anniversary of the birth, or just a day to celebrate said anniversary on? ISTM the wording in most "true meaning of Christmas" tracts can be read as the latter, although that may well involve giving the matter far more thought than those who write the tracts ever do. - MoonShadow
Dunno about "widely claimed" - by whom? I'd certainly expect JoeBloggs? to say that Jesus was born on Christmas Day AD 0. A well-educated JoeBloggs? will probably say Christmas Day AD 1. People who actually study it may well choose not to be more specific than 7 BC to 4 BC. Last time PeterTaylor studied it seriously, he considered that 10th September 4 BC was the strongest candidate, although the evidence was by no means overwhelming. (Can't remember what calendar corrections that date took into account, either. If you're that interested, study it yourself and post your findings here).

Precession? ISTR something about Christmas and Easter being in danger of colliding, which prompted the ChurchOfRome? to modify the WesternCalendar?.

I've never heard New Year's Day was the date of the birth of Jesus... - SunKitten

Lots of swapping of /Presents and /Cards goes on.

Is Atheism a religion?

Gah, NO! - MoonShadow

If not, is there a better term than "Religious Agnostic" to mean "independent of which religion, if any, you follow" ?  "A-religious" perhaps?  --DR

[Wikipedia lists lots of Winter Festivals].  But how do you decide when two festivals are equivalents?

In the case of Christmas (the Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ), there is fair evidence that we don't actually know when exactly he was born, and the 25th of December was chosen for political reasons, because Saturnalia was already celebrated on that day.

So are all winter celebration equivalent?  Or only ones that are on or over 25th of December, or does it being a religion's major winter festival count?  (the festival of lights was tempting, but it is more than a month out).

Or is a thematic similarity more important than the precise date?  Since the modern Christmas celebration includes many bits of pagan symbolism, does that make all Solstice festivals equivalent to it? --DR

The important thing is why you are holding the celebration. If you are holding it to celebrate the end of the year or midwinter or whatever, then it is the same event for you as for all the other people doing that - whatever you or they may call it. If you are doing it to celebrate the birth of Christ, then it's, well, Christmas. It is possible for two or more different festivals to happen on the same date. - MoonShadow

Pallando writes: And on a fluffier note...

  1. [World's Largest Snow Flake]
  2. [A frost flower]
  3. [Hoar Frost crystal]
  4. [types of snowflake]
  5. [snowflake basics]
  6. [advanced snowflake physics] (pdf)


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Last edited December 27, 2008 4:55 am (viewing revision 14, which is the newest) (diff)