Influence Of Pagan Traditions On Christian Holidays
People always believe in something. And it was always in the same way. Today people who are followers of Jesus Christ are called Christians. This religious movement appeared more than two thousand years ago when Baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This man brought a new teaching and his life was a shining example to others. Since His birth a new era in the history of the world started.
But before Jesus was born were different other religions which eventually transformed or disappeared altogether. We call them pagans religious. Some moments of these beliefs and some holidays we can still find in the Christian holidays. Of course, they changed a lot but the origin is still the same. Today we are going to come back to the world’s religious history and find out something interesting holidays which we celebrate now and don’t even think that they came from the ancient times, from pagans.
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You are wrong if you think that paganism did not influence on our life. This religious beliefs disappeared but not without leaving a trace. Saying “pagan” I mean anything that is not monotheistic. When Jesus came to the people of Israel, then all other nations were still pagans. And only some year later two apostles Paul and Barnabas went to the other nations and started to preach the gospel. It took hundreds of years to change the world and the pagan belief system. During the fourth century the Roman Impair started to profess the Christianity. The model of new religion was created on the base of many well-known traditions and actions. People left the traditions but changed the ideas and purposes.
The Holidays With Pagan Roots
When I am talking about the holiday which Christians have borrowed in pagans I don’t meant that they are the same and have the identical idea of celebration. Of course, not, many things have changed and were transformed but some ideas are still the same.
From the very beginning let us talk about the main Christian holiday – Christmas. The main idea of this holiday is celebration the Jesus birth (according to the European tradition it is on the 25th of December). But this great holiday is accompanied by several characters and actions that are not found in the Bible. Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus, the shepherds, the wise men, manger, barn, animals, in other word the den demonstrates the arrival in the world of unusual baby. But what can you say about Santa Claus, the sled with reindeer team, the Christmas tree, the tradition of making presents, singing Christmas carols? Believe me or not but most of this actions came from pagans. The information about the history of this holiday you can check in one of the essays on our website – https://livecustomwriting.com/blog/christmas-the-history-of-the-holiday.
During ancient times the week (17-24 of December) was the celebration of the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice. The main idol was Mithra. People sing, dance and make presents, have a lot of fun. The idea was to ask the land to grow again in spring. At this celebration the main colors were green and red (like in modern Christmas) and they represented the male and female beings. At that time people also made decorations using the red berries, leaves of holly, mistletoe and wreaths.
1) Santa Claus. Everybody knows who Santa is. A lot of people believed that at first he was the St. Nicolaus and later turned into Santa. But do you know that pagans had the god called Odin? It was the old man with long white beard and dressed in a long cloak. He is the prototype of the modern Santa Claus. In childhood we believe in fairy tales but when we became adults we understand that maybe it is good that there is no Santa in reality.
Some people also think that the name Santa is the same as Satan. You know that Santa came to the house at night, while everybody is sleeping. Maybe something mysterious is hidden in this tradition. I don’t know.
2) The Christmas tree. Pagans did not have the Christmas tree like we have now. But they decorated other trees in their own way and they worshiped these trees, made them idols, danced and sang around them. They believe that every tree has the own spirit.
3) Carols. In pagan society people also sang special songs which were well-known for everybody. They worshiped their gods and idols. In songs they asked the trees to make fruits, earth to bring the harvest, the sun to shine and the rain to irrigate the land etc.
Easter is the second great Christian holiday. Modern Easter among the resurrection of Christ includes also the Easter bunny, Easter cakes, painted eggs etc. We don’t find this symbols in the Bible and they have nothing to do with the Easter. But many years ago pagans also has the holiday which meant the beginning of everything new. As Christians are sure that Jesus was the Beginning and His birth, death and resurrection change the world, people added these ancient symbols to this great holiday. We know that in the egg is born a new life that is why on Easter people in some countries give each other painted and funny eggs as a present. It is the symbol of the beginning of the new life.
The Easter Bunny came from Germany. The tradition was that the animal brought the eggs as presents. In some countries it could be fox, cuckoo etc. But the bunny superseded all others. Why the bunny? Hare also considered a sacred animal of the German goddess Eostre (Eastre), from her name the word "Easter" appeared in English and in German. And the ancient Celts and Scandinavians rabbit was a symbol of the mother goddess. Nowadays people believed that the Eater Bunny brings colorful eggs as well as chocolate and other sweets to children who were doing well all the year. Many people in this day dress in costume rabbit and give gifts to passers-by. But this tradition and animal has nothing to do with the Christ and Bible.
I don’t think that these traditions are really very bad in the Christian world. Modern people don’t worship the pagan’s idols. Jesus Christ should be the main person during celebration of Christmas and Easter.
The St. Nicolaus Day
The holiday has no Christian roots. The legend tells the many years ago was the very kind man. He helped the poor families and loved children. But in Bible we don’t have the story about him. During this holiday people believe that at night St. Nicolas comes to each house where there is at last one child and bring presents. St. Nicolaus is not alone he has the helpers – two angels and two devils. The angels tell the good deeds of the child and the devils – bad.
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The St. Valentine’s Day
This holiday is full of love. The origins of today's celebration are rooted in "of Lupercalia" - an ancient Roman festival in honor of the goddess of eroticism and love Juno Februata. During the celebration the animals were sacrificed and at the end naked men beat women. The women went to these tortures voluntarily because they believed that now they will have an easy birth.
In ancient Greece, this holiday was called Panurge - ritual revels in honor of the god Pan (in the Roman tradition - Faun) - patron of herds, forests, fields and their fertility. He was a humorist and playboy, perfectly playing the flute. All this information can be considered a contribution to the pagan tradition of Valentine's Day. Later the Valentine appeared, he was killed for his preaching. I think that you know the legend of his life and death.
Hope this essay helped you to understand a little the root of the main Christian holidays. The traditions are good but let us never forget who the main person in the Christianity is! Remember that academic essay proofreading services are always ready to help you with your essays.