What Started Christmas: From Jesus’s Birthday to Commercialism

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Ever wonder where Christmas came from? I mean, we all know it is supposed to be about the birth of baby Jesus, but how’d Santa Claus and fir trees get involved? And why do we spend so much time shopping?

How Christmas Got Started

Just because we celebrate Jesus’ birthday on December 25th doesn’t mean that was his birthday. In fact, although we don’t know the exact day Jesus was born, one thing historians do know is that it was not December 25th. Most likely He was born in the fall.

So why December 25th?

Winter Solstice

Winter Scene
Source: Flickr

The Roman name of the winter solstice was “birthday of the unconquered sun”. It was a popular pagan festival celebrating Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture which spanned December 17-25th.

At the same time, the Persian god of light was honored on the winter solstice with important rituals.