The hidden meaning of Christmas
Christmas is many people’s favourite holiday, yet most don’t know exactly why we celebrate the way we do. So many of our Christmas symbols have origins in pagan or other religious traditions; so many of the foods we eat (or have heard of but haven’t actually tried) and the customs we follow have surprising histories as well. Read on to find out the history of favourite Christmas traditions, as well as unexpected Christmas info every holiday enthusiast should know.
Does the Bible state when Jesus was born?
The Bible does not actually state when Jesus was born. The Gospels leave specific dates and even seasonal references to Jesus’s birth out, but mention shepherds tending their flocks when Jesus was born. This leads some to believe that he was more likely an Aries (spring) than a Capricorn (winter) baby, as spring is the season when lambs tend to be born. Another Christmas story not in the Bible: that Jesus was visited by three kings. In the original writing, the wise men, or magi, came to see him some time after he was born, but a number or names aren’t specified. The number three probably came from the fact that there were three gifts given: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Why we celebrate Christmas on December 25 then?
With no date specified in the Bible, Christians debated the topic of Jesus’s birth date for years. They first thought it was January 6, because April 6 was assumed to be the day Jesus died, and there was a corresponding belief that prophets died on the same day as their conception. But by the fourth century, they changed their minds to December 25. Some sources say this new date was purposely chosen to draw attention away from a pagan winter solstice ritual that fell on the same day. Others say that’s not true. All we know for sure is that regardless of the reason why, that date stuck.