Christmas...pagan? or non-pagan?

by FreedomFrog 31 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • FreedomFrog

    I just read a thread where one of the posters was saying Christmas is not Pagan. From my research and what I remember reading up on it, it was taken from the Pagans.

    Let me explain. First, I apologize because I researched this about 4 years ago and I don't have all of my research material at hand. What I remember when I did the research is a very long time ago Pagans (the country dwellers) would do their normal winter celebration called Winter Solstice. The Roman rulers wanted to start up the Christianity part and wanted to convert the Pagans to their way. In order to persuade the Pagans to their new belief system they introduced Christmas to make it where Pagans didn't have to give up their celebrations, hence where Christmas started from.

    Here is what I found in Wikipedia so far about it. I had about 20 pages of where and how the holiday came from but from moving I lost it all. So, I'll start here.


    Pre-Christian winter festivals
    Main article: List of winter festivals
    A winter festival was traditionally the most popular festival of the year in many cultures. Reasons included less agricultural work needing to be done during the winter, as well as people expecting longer days and shorter nights after the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. [11] In part, the Christmas celebration was created by the early Church in order to entice pagan Romans to convert to Christianity without losing their own winter celebrations. [12] [13] Most of the most important gods in the religions of Ishtar and Mithra had their birthdays on December 25.

    Christmas may not be (in general) celebrated today as a pagan holiday but I do believe, from what I understand, Christmas was started only to convert pagans to the Roman belief system. If that's the case, then wouldn't it be of "Pagan Origin"? JW's talk of Pagan's as bad "demon" worshippers but if a bit of research is done on the history of Pagan's, they were actually just country people celebrating their seasonal holiday.

    What's your take on it? And can you back it up with a bit of research? Thanks


  • Roddy

    Yep. I started re-evaluating and checking a lot of stuff for myself too. And as regards Christmas - it is of pagan origins. In fact, Christian denominations only started to "celebrate" Christmas just in the last three centuries or so since it was looked down upon as riddled with pagan and wordly customs.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    My mother (born Vienna 1911) told me that the children celebrated Christmas on December 5 and 6. You will need to research words such as Grampuss, Black Peter and such. I think this is the case in some European countries today.

    Here is one reference I got some years ago:

    The history of the celebrations is complex and reflects the conflicts between Protestantism and Catholicism. Since Nicholas was a Catholic saint, Martin Luther replaced the Catholic festivity with a "Christkind" (Christ child) celebration on Christmas Eve. The Nicholas celebrations still remain a part of tradition among many Protestants, however, albeit on a much lower scale than Christmas. The Protestant Netherlands, however, retain a much larger Saint Nicholas tradition. Many Catholics, on the other hand, have adopted Luther's Christkind. ( /Saint_Nicholas.htm).

    Here is another reference I dug up those years ago:

    The Feast of Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, December 6th, is observed in most Roman Catholic countries primarily as a feast for small children. Towards December 5th, St. Nicholas poems pop up everywhere in the Netherlands: in the press, in school, at work and in both Houses of Parliament. On the day of the 5th, most places of business close a bit earlier than normal. The Dutch head home to a table laden with the same traditional sweets and baked goods eaten for St. Nicholas as shown in the 17th-century paintings of the Old Masters. Large chocolate letters - the first initial of each person present - serve as place settings. They share the table along with large gingerbread men and women known as "lovers". A basket filled with mysterious packages stands close by and scissors are at hand. Early in the evening sweets are eaten while those gathered take turns unwrapping their gifts and reading their poems out loud so that everyone can enjoy the impact of the surprise. The emphasis is on originality and personal effort rather than the commercial value of the gift, which is one reason why Sinterklaas is such a delightful event for young and old alike. (

    It is interesting to see the Catholic/Protestant divide on this. In addition, Scotland plays more interest on New Year's Day (the January 1 date, not the new year's day in April by the Julian calendar).

    In his book "The Watchtower Files", Duane Magnani provides some interesting quotes re Xmas (X is the first letter of Christ's name, when written in Greek):

    The Watchtower, Dec 15 1903, page 457; Dec 1 1904, page 364; Nov 15 1907, page 351; Jan 15 1919, page 31; Dec 15 1926 page 371


  • WTWizard

    Here is some common sense about it. A trip to Luke 2:10-14 in any Bible translation (including the New World Translation) reveals that the angels were in fact celebrating Christmas. While they didn't have the tree and the gifts like we do today, they did observe the birth of Christ, which is the original meaning of Christmas.

    It is true that the early Catholic church borrowed dates from pagan festivities. And it is true that Christmas falls on the day that they worshiped the sun. To back it up, google "Christmas and sun-worship". However, these days it is not commonly associated with worshiping the sun, regardless of the origins. These days, most people associate the whole ritual with honoring Christ's birth. Whether they abuse it and max out all their credit cards (or worse, drink and drive) or not makes little difference. People can celebrate the holiday however they feel like it.

    Before I came into the "truth(??)", I never thought of Christmas as an act of worship to the sun. I saw the proper act as honoring Jesus. I put up the decorations because of the aesthetics, and for no other reason. Not because I wanted to worship the sun, either. Nor do I remember when I was little associating the gifts and the vacation from school with worshiping the sun. All I remember is the toys I would get and the pretty decorations that led to it.

    If they wanted to be strict with anything with pagan origins, they would have to eliminate every common activity that used to happen pre-Christ. Business, for instance, is pagan (in fact, all those who excelled at it were lambasted by the Bible). So why not ban all business? And so is eating most any food that has even a tenuous association with any pagan festival--I think if they would get on the Internet that they bash so much, they could link just about every food with some pagan activity and ban it. Even water! Marriage itself, as well as the wedding ring and band, are pagan. And yet they still practice these things. I can't figure how Christmas is any worse, since most people today do not worship the sun when they put up the Christmas tree. And if they do, it's a slap in the Watchtower Society's face.

  • Vernon Williams
    Vernon Williams


    One of the first things my family did, after we were booted, was to celebrate Christmas. I am a Christmas junkie. Our little guy, Levi, and I wait for the first of December. The historic church has a "calander" of events all year and, if you follow it, the time leading up the the date chosen to remember the aniversary of the birth of our Lord is so rich in appreciation and love. The JWs poison the opportunity to enjoy this measure of spirtual refreshment.

    I just "puke out" on the WT slant on bringing condemnation to this "memorial" of the birth of Christ. That night, the angels sang. Heaven was interanaly and externaly in rapture over this miacle. Messiah had arrived!! What a night to remember! Can you imagine NOT setting aside a momment each year to consider God's blessing to mankind in this wonderous event??

    I can not.

    Our old buddy, "The Judge" could.

    I will stick with my position of rememberence and joyful appreciation.

    A few thoughts,


  • RebelWife

    I thought this was interesting: First, it was on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislev (corresponding to our December) that Antiochus chose to desecrate the Temple and establish worship of his god because it was already an existing heathen holiday. Therefore, l and 2 Maccabees go out of their way to stress the fact that it was exactly three years later, to the day, that the Temple was cleansed and rededicated (the 25th of Kislev). Now when the Church, long after the actual date of the incarnation had been lost in antiquity, chose the date to commemorate the incomparable occasion when deity dwelt within a human body, what better association than the Temple, where deity had also dwelt, and the 25th of Kislev, which was an already established date commemorating the cleansing and rededication of the Temple as a dwelling place for God?

  • IP_SEC

    Hi FF!

    Well Christianity (never mind just Christ Mass) seems to be birthed right out of paganism.

    Christianity seems to me atleast to be nothing more than Hellenized Liberal Judaism.

    Basically the backdrop for the story remained Jewish and only Quasi-Monotheistic. The Gospels (All of them, extra-cannon too) smack of Greek and earlier customs about their gods.

    Zeus regularly impregnates mortal women. Can you imagine the Hebrew god having relations with Mary? But jump forward a few hundred years to the 1st century AD and thats just what the Christians have him doing?

  • Lady Liberty
    Lady Liberty

    Dear Freedom Frog,

    Here is some interesting information I found when doing my is three thread:

    Hello everyone,

    My Mother and I were talking about Christmas being in December, and how the Christians felt it was truely a victory to have Christ Jesus birth still celebrated, unlike the pagan Sun god that was celebrated by the Pagans at the same time. We got to talking and realized that if you count backwards from when scholars really feel Jesus was most likely really born (in September), and count back 280 days of pregnancy, it would actually be late December!!! So I did some research, and came across this article. Could it be that the birthday was from the date of conception, not delivery??? Makes sence to me?? How about you?? Here it is...

    December 25th has absolutely no biblical foundation as a day of Christian worship?
    Or does it!

    Conception would have taken place 9 months prior, (modern research studies show 266 days has been determined as average human gestation time). 6

    Sept. 22, 3 B.C. ( 15 Tishri 3759 )
    -266 days
    =December 30, 4 B.C. = 14 Tevet 3758
    This falls well within the range of Dec. 25 for the day of conception.

    By celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25th, we may well be celebrating the conception of Jesus. Remember the miricle was not in the Birth of Jesus but in the conception of Mary by the Holy Spirit.

    The transcendence of time for God allows him to know the future as well as the past. In this knowledge, God knew the issues facing our generation. This information puts a new spin on the abortion issue, when does life begin? Many courts say that life doesn't begin until birth, but here we see that God considers the day of conception shall be the day that life begins. Do you know anybody who would allow children to be killed after birth. And yet the issue of life and the fetus seems to create such a gray area that many courts have settled on the birth date as the day for the beginning of life and in many areas of the world abortion is legal and used as a form of birth control. Therefore, Christmas day may be Gods answer to our modern dilemma about life beginning in the womb.

    Heres the site, there is more to the article then what I posted here.


    Lady Liberty

  • FreedomFrog

    I guess you can "decide" which origin to go with and what one makes you comfortable celebrating..

    I stumbled upon many "origins" and how and why different ones celebrate.

    Personally, I don't believe in the Bible...I guess that's why I just call it (to myself) a "winter celebration".

  • Scully

    What does it matter if it's pagan or non-pagan?

    If you want to celebrate, fine. If you don't want to celebrate, fine.

    Just because something started out as a pagan ritual, doesn't mean that its pagan origin enters our realm of meaning, value or thinking now.

    Who thinks about the pagan origin of the wedding ring - symbolizing the sexual act - or the pagan meaning of placing it on the third finger of the left hand? Or the pagan origin of the wedding party, the white dress, the flowers, the veil, the honeymoon, the eating of cake, the bride and groom feeding each other cake, etc. etc.??

    Are marriages where these traditions are employed as part of the ceremony somehow of less value to the people entering in the marriage, than a couple who goes before a justice of the peace, pays the fee and signs a legal contract to marry in front of two witnesses?

    JWs very conveniently disregard the pagan origins of practices that they want to keep, yet condemn others that serve the purpose of bringing people together and strengthening ties with extended family. The WTS wants to take away these traditions that help us bond with other people, and inserts their own versions that serve to bind people to the WTS. Circuit assemblies, district conventions, special assembly days, all serve the purpose of gathering together, and simulate the same excitement that celebrations like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving generate, but the focus is NOT on loyalty to the family, but on loyalty to the WTS.

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