Sun temples don’t celebrate in winter.

Why is Christmas on December 25? Did Christians make use of a pagan festival date when they decided to celebrate Christ’s birth? Very unlikely, as you will understand if you read William J. Tighe’s  “Calculating Christmas.”

“In the Julian calendar, created in 45 B.C. under Julius Caesar, the winter solstice fell on December 25th, and it therefore seemed obvious [to some] that the day must have had a pagan significance before it had a Christian one. But in fact, the date had no religious significance in the Roman pagan festal calendar before Aurelian’s time, nor did the cult of the sun play a prominent role in Rome before him.

“There were two temples of the sun in Rome, one of which (maintained by the clan into which Aurelian was born or adopted) celebrated its dedication festival on August 9th, the other of which celebrated its dedication festival on August 28th. But both of these cults fell into neglect in the second century, when eastern cults of the sun, such as Mithraism, began to win a following in Rome. And in any case, none of these cults, old or new, had festivals associated with solstices or equinoxes.”

Tighe explains that “…the pagan festival of the ‘Birth of the Unconquered Sun’ instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the ‘pagan origins of Christmas’ is a myth without historical substance.”

If they didn’t choose December 25 for that reason, why did they? For reasons we never would have thought of in modern times. Read the whole brief article to find out.

6 thoughts on “Sun temples don’t celebrate in winter.

  1. I suppose when it comes right down to it it is not that important ( to me, anyway) exactly when our Lord was born. The great and important thing is that He WAS born, lived, and died for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know people who are pretty typical Christians in some ways, but who do not celebrate Christmas because of this supposed pagan origin of the date. They are the only ones I’ve known who obviously thought about it.

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  2. Adam has made a big deal of this in his teaching over the years, that it’s ludicrous to think that early Christians would falsify — or even ignore — the date of Jesus’s birth. It was in their interest to prove all of his life events factually with support, and to be accurate. Why would they choose a different date?

    Like

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