Get Schooled: Myths And Quick Facts About Christmas
We are here again, another Christmas to celebrate and as expected, everyone is excited as we get ready for the festivities.
We agree that Christmas is a time to celebrate and show some love but it should also be the time to be informed. Despite Christmas’ popularity among Christians and non-Christians alike, little-known facts like this and even outright myths abound.
From the holiday’s religious origins to Mr. and Mrs. Claus to that great, evergreen symbol, the Yuletide trees. Well, here are some enduring Christmas myths, exposed at last.
As a bonus, we threw in some facts about Christmas as well!
December 25 is Jesus’ birthday!
Oh, that golden day when Jesus was born. Scratch that, when Jesus was supposedly born because we need to face the cold hard truth, December 25 is not Jesus’ birthday. What a bummer yeah? The idea that Jesus was not born on December 25 puts a dent into some of our popular beliefs about Christmas but hey, it is what it is.
There is no mention of December 25 in the Bible as Jesus’ birthday and most historians believe that he was born in the spring.
The date actually comes from scholar Hippolytus of Rome, who determined it early in the third century, assuming that the conception of Jesus took place at the Spring equinox, which he placed on March 25. He then added nine months, taking advantage of winter festivals that were already celebrated around that time.
December 25 was borrowed from pagan festivals in Rome. December 25 coincides with the ancient pagan festival Saturnalia, which celebrated the agricultural god Saturn with partying, gambling and gift-giving.
December 25th was not celebrated as Christmas until at least the 4th Century CE when it became a vehicle to deter Christians from celebrating the Pagan winter solstice.
Christmas trees have meaning relative to Jesus
Most families like to celebrate their Christmas with a Christmas tree and some do so with the erroneous belief that it is associated with Jesus. The reality is that evergreen trees were already popular in Pagan rites before Jesus’s birth, but they did not become a widely-held symbol of Christmas until the Renaissance. The custom spread when German Protestants began bringing home and decorating the large trees that grew in their local forests.
Christmas is the most important Christian holiday
Although more fanfare greets the coming of Christmas, the holiday does not hold a candle to Easter as a powerhouse Christian holiday. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas but Easter commemorates Jesus’ rising from death into eternal life, which was not only a coup for Jesus personally but for all of humankind, as his resurrection is said to have contained the promise of eternal life for all who believe in him.
It is also interesting to note that so scared is Easter, that Christians spend nearly two months of the year celebrating the Easter season, which is far longer than they celebrate Christmas.
Jesus was born in Year Zero
There is an age-long debate by both religious and historic scholars on the chronology of Jesus’ birth. The modern calendar places his birth in 2014 years ago (as of 2014). Both the Gospels of Luke and Matthew place his birth around the time King Herod the Great died. As most scholars agree, this took place in 4 BCE, which would put Jesus’s birth around that time, possibly as late as 6 BCE.
There is also the possibility that Jesus was born around 30 years before King Herod the Great died because if one uses a reference in the Gospel of Luke, it puts Jesus’ birth at having taken place in 33 CE. That leaves a window of about 7-8 years in which Jesus could have been born – but probably not in 1 BCE or a mythical “year zero.”
Christmas is illegal
Due to its roots in pagan festivals, the religious did not immediately accept Christmas. In fact, from 1659 to 1681, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in Boston, America. You were fined if you were caught celebrating. Boston church leaders tried to have the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” banned in the 1950s because they thought it “promoted physical intimacy.” Singer Jimmy Boyd had to fly to Boston and explain to them why it was not obscene.
The Queen of Christmas
Dubbed the Queen of Christmas, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” holds the Guinness World Records title for the highest-charting holiday song. In the music video, Santa is played by her then-husband, Tommy Mottola. Meanwhile, “White Christmas” is the best-selling song of all time.