[1BCH] “The true origin of Christmas”

[RCW01] Nuestro primer texto para practicar la «reading comprehension» y el «writing».
Por cierto, la Universidad ha decidido aumentar el mínimo número de palabras hasta 100 (máximo 150), así que apuntaremos a estos límites. Recordad que tenéis que contestar aquí con un comentario; los plazos y demás, lo negociamos en clase… 🙂

You have to choose one of these tasks:
1) Make a brief summary of the text.
2) What impressions has this text caused on you?


Why do people think that Christmas is wonderful? Most never reflect on why they believe what they believe or do what they do. We live in a world filled with customs, but few ever seek to understand their origin. We generally accept them without question. Most people basically do what everyone else does —because it is easy and natural!

Let’s carefully examine the roots of Christmas. Let’s look at why people follow the customs associated with it. Why is it kept on December 25th? Did the early Church keep it? This article is filled with facts from history that, when placed together, paint a complete picture. Let’s avoid all assumptions and only accept what can be proven!

Pagan origin

Nearly all aspects of Christmas observance have their roots in Roman custom and religion. Consider the following admission from a large American newspaper (The Buffalo News, Nov. 22, 1984): “The earliest reference to Christmas being marked on Dec. 25 comes from the second century after Jesus’ birth. It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice —the return of the sun— and honored Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time, much opposed by the more austere leaders among the still-minority Christian sect. Christmas developed, one scholar says, as a means of replacing worship of the sun with worship of the Son. By 529 A.D., after Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian made Christmas a civic holiday. The celebration of Christmas reached its peak —some would say its worst moments— in the medieval period when it became a time for conspicuous consumption and unequaled revelry.”

Consider these quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition, under “Christmas”: “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church… the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.”Further, “Pagan customs centering around the January calends gravitated to Christmas.” Under “Natal Day,” Origen, an early Catholic writer, admitted, “…In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world”.

The Encyclopedia Americana, 1956 edition, adds, “Christmas… was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth… a feast was established in memory of this event [Christ’s birth] in the fourth century. In the fifth century the Western Church ordered the feast to be celebrated forever on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the close of the Saturnalia, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed.”

Was Christ Born on December 25th?

Christ was born in the fall of the year [that means in Autumn]. Many have mistakenly believed He was born around the beginning of winter —December 25th! They are wrong! Notice the Adam Clarke Commentary, volume 5, page 370, New York edition: “It was custom among Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts about the Passover [early Spring], and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain.” The first rains began in early-to-mid fall. Continuing with this same quote: “During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As… the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November [it begins some time in October], we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact…”

Now read this quote under “Christmas”: “In the Roman world, the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchanging of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birthdate of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. II, p. 903).

Origin of the Christmas Tree

No article about Christmas is complete without some explanation of the “Christmas tree.” We have touched on it without directly focusing on it. The modern Christmas tree originated in Germany. But the Germans got it from the Romans, who got it from the Babylonians and the Egyptians.

The following demonstrates what the Babylonians believe about the origin of the Christmas tree: “An old Babylonic fable told of an evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump. The old stump symbolized the dead Nimrod, the new evergreen tree symbolized that Nimrod had come to life again in Tammuz! Among the Druids the oak was sacred, among the Egyptians it was the palm, and in Rome it was the fir, which was decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia!” (Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs, p. 242).

[This is an abridged version of the article published in “The Real Truth“; you can read the complete article here. This is a publication of one of the many evangelic sects, “The Restored Church of God“.]

27 comentarios en “[1BCH] “The true origin of Christmas”

  1. I am going to write about the impressions of the text about «The true origin of Christmas».
    My main impression about the text I that Christmas has changed q lot since Jesus’ birth.
    Firstly, we can see that the first Christmas was different from the Christmas that we live actually.
    Secondly, there are some customs which has changed.
    For instance, the first of January the people gifted presents to the children and the poor.
    Furthermore, there was a merrymaking about the flocks. It consisted in going out them in the field until the first rain.
    In addition to this, the Pagans had other feast whose name was Saturnalia.
    In conclusion, we have many customs which we do not know their roots.

    (correct)

    Me gusta

    • I am going to write about the impressions of the text about «The true origin of Christmas». [not necessary; it would have been enough: «Task #2»]

      My main impression about the text I that Christmas has changed q lot since Jesus’ birth.
      Firstly, we can see that the first Christmas was different from the Christmas that we live actually.
      Secondly, there are some customs which has changed.
      For instance, the first of January the people gifted presents to the children and the poor.
      Furthermore, there was a merrymaking about the flocks [?!?]. It consisted in going out them in the field until the first rain.
      In addition to this, the Pagans had other feast whose name was Saturnalia.
      In conclusion, we have many customs which we do not know their roots.

      [lack of structure; what do you want to say?; Google translations]

      Me gusta

      • I am going to write about task 2.
        My main impression about the text is that Christmas has changed a lot since Jesus’ birth.
        Firstly, we can see that the first Christmas was different from the Christmas that we live actually.
        Secondly, there are some customs which have changed.
        For instance, the first of January people used to gift presents to the children and the poor.
        Furthermore, there was a flock of sheep, which were going out them in the field until the first rain.
        In addition to this, Pagans had other feast whose name was Saturnalia.
        In conclusion, we have many customs which we do not know their roots.

        Me gusta

      • [Task #2]
        My main impression about the text is that Christmas has changed a lot since Jesus’ birth.
        Firstly, we can see that the first Christmas was different from the Christmas that we live actually.
        [Si quieres decir «actualmente», eso es «currently» or «presently»; «actually» significa «de hecho». Different… how?]
        Secondly, there are some customs which have changed.
        For instance, the first of January people used to gift presents to the children and the poor.
        Furthermore, there was a flock of sheep, which were going out them [??? «go out» es «salir», que es intransitivo] in the field until the first rain.
        In addition to this, Pagans had other feast whose name was Saturnalia. […so what?]
        In conclusion, we have many customs which we do not know their roots. [That’s not a conclusion; you needn’t use «firstly, secondly…» as if you were writing an argumentation; this is just an opinion, a personal impression.]

        Me gusta

  2. First of all, I have already heard about some of the origins of this festive tradition, like it starts as a Roman tradition, or the fact that Jesus dind’t born in 25 of december, but anyways, I’m still surprised with the fact that it doesn’t always have one of the most know features which is Santa Claus, or how many part of it came from differents clutures from the world. Also, I think is so sad that its history isn’t represented in the actuallity and only focused in the always known tradittions, like the gifts, the big dinner or Santa Claus.

    Before I leave, Did you know about the chritmas tree has somethings in common with the Yggdrazil, the tree form the nordic mytology?

    Me gusta

    • First of all, I have already heard about some of the origins of this festive tradition, like it starts as a Roman tradition, or the fact that Jesus dind’t born in 25 of december, but anyways, I’m still surprised with the fact that it doesn’t always have [?] one of the most know features which is Santa Claus, or how many part of it came from differents cultures from the world. Also, I think is so sad that its history isn’t represented in the actuallity and only focused [?! subject? auxiliary?] in the always known tradittions, like the gifts, the big dinner or Santa Claus.

      Before I leave, Did you know about the chritmas tree has somethings in common with the Yggdrazil, the tree form the nordic mytology?

      Why don’t you revise and correct your text before publishing!?! 😦

      Me gusta

  3. I choose the second option:
    At first, I didn’t know that Christmass was such an old tradition, also I thought that the Christmass had the same traditions in all place.
    Thanks to this text I have learned that Christ wasn´t born on December 25, as in school the teachers tell children that he was born on December 25, I have never given much importance to it.
    And then, I think the origin os the Christmass Tree is awesome, The belief of the Babylonians that from a dead tree can grow another, and that this symbolized that Nimrod had come to life again, is really interesting.
    To end, I think the ancient traditions are importants to know the functioning of other cultures.

    Me gusta

    • I choose the second option:
      At first, I didn’t know that Christmass was such an old tradition, also I thought that the Christmass had the same traditions in all place.
      Thanks to this text I have learned that Christ wasn´t born on December 25, as in school the teachers tell children that he was born on December 25, I have never given much importance to it.
      And then, I think the origin os the Christmass Tree is awesome, The belief of the Babylonians that from a dead tree can grow another, and that this symbolized that Nimrod had come to life again, is really interesting.
      To end, I think the ancient traditions are importants to know the functioning of other cultures.

      A bit messy… and with very serious mistakes. Correct it and follow my 7 pieces of advice.

      Me gusta

  4. I have chosen option one; make a brief summary of the text.

    This text talks about the origin of Christmas, something that many people don’t know today. Order to celebrate the harvest at the winter solstice and honored Saturn, the god of sowing.
    The Christian religion doesn’t know the exact day of the birth of Jesus, although his birth is celebrated on December 25. He also tells us how they knew that Christ was not born at the beginning of January, this was because of the sheep, which was customary among the Jews to send their sheep to the deserts around Passover and bring them home at the beginning. of the first rain.
    Finally, the article tells about the origin of the Christmas tree. This tradition comes from the egyptians. This tree is decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia.

    I think that we must inform ourselves about the traditions of today, since they have a very long history and it is important to know what we celebrate.

    Marina Martinez.

    Me gusta

    • I have chosen option one; make a brief summary of the text.

      This text talks about the origin of Christmas, something that many people don’t know today. Order [?!?] to celebrate the harvest at the winter solstice and honored Saturn, the god of sowing.
      The Christian religion doesn’t know the exact day of the birth of Jesus, although his birth is celebrated on December 25. He also tells us how they knew that Christ was not born at the beginning of January: this was because of the sheep, which [?!? agrammatical] was customary among the Jews to send their sheep to the deserts around Passover and bring them home at the beginning of the first rain.
      Finally, the article tells about the origin of the Christmas tree. This tradition comes from the egyptians. This tree is decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia. [What a mess! How is it related?!]

      I think that we must inform ourselves about the traditions of today, since they have a very long history and it is important to know what we celebrate. [<— This is an opinion; no opinions in a summary]

      Me gusta

  5. I am going to write about this text,
    It is said that the first Christmas celebration was a reaction from the Roman Saturnalia,
    and that the Christmas wasn’t the first feast of the church.
    This festival is always celebrated on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the end of Saturnalia because the exact day of the birth of Christ was not known.
    The Christmas tree originated in Germany.

    In this text what more call me the atencion is that it said that Christ was born in autumn not in December, this surprises me a lot of,
    This text too said that among the Druids used as an Christmas’s tree an oak, in Egypt a palm and in Rome a fir that they decorated with nuts, something that I see very strange.

    Me gusta

  6. I am going to give my point of view of the text “The true origin of Christmas”.
    First of all, people have many customs and we do not know their origin. Many of them of religious origin.
    Secondly, Christmas is developed to change the worship of the sun for the worship of the Son. It was not one of the first religious holidays, at first it was not religious. Christmas became a religious holiday with the birth of Christ. But Christ is not born on the 25th but he is born in the fall.
    To finish, in New Years the houses used to be decorated with vegetation and lights. In addition, gifts were given to poor children. With this beginning comes the Christmas decoration so characteristic with the birds and lights.

    Me gusta

  7. First of all, I’m goning to talk about my opinion about this text.
    This text is perfect to know what is the origin of one of the most extended traditions of our culture, Christmas.
    It is incridible how a tradition can have a lot of variety of posible origins that make sense about the actual celebration. Maybe on the future the Christmas will be celebrated by another way.
    Also I’d liked to know how the day was setted by pagan traditions like the Christmas simbol by excelence,the Christmas tree, whose origin is from Babilonia.
    Always is interesting to know how the traditions are setted and the past of this ones

    Me gusta

    • First of all, I’m goning to talk about my opinion about this text. [Don’t tell what you are going to do; DO it.]
      This text is perfect to know what is the origin of one of the most extended traditions of our culture, Christmas.
      It is incridible how a tradition can have a lot of variety of posible origins that make sense about the actual celebration. Maybe on the future the Christmas will be celebrated by another way.
      Also I’d liked to know how the day was setted by pagan traditions like the Christmas simbol by excelence, the Christmas tree, whose origin is from Babilonia.
      Always [subject!?!] is interesting to know how the traditions are setted and the past of this ones

      Rather bad: lacking of structure and previous planning, apart from checking and correcting before publishing. Serious grammar mistakes. Revise following my 7 pieces of advice. 😦

      Me gusta

  8. I choose the option one.
    Nearly all aspects of christmas have their roots in Roman custom religion.
    It is said that the first reference to Christmas was on 25th December two centuries after Jesus’ birth. The first celebration of Christmas was held in Roma as a civic holiday. The first evidence shows us that the festivity of Christmas is from Egypt.
    In the first centuries of the christan church, christian usage was used to celebrate the death. However, in the fourth century , the church celebrated christ’s birth and this feast is celebrated the day of the “Mithraic rites». Christ wasn’t born on December 25th because he couldn’t have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night.

    The modern Christmas tree was originated in Germany. However, the Germans got it from the Romans and Romans got it from the Babylonians and Egyptians.

    Me gusta

    • I choose the option one. Summary:
      Nearly all aspects of christmas have their roots in Roman custom religion.
      It is said that the first reference to Christmas was on 25th December two centuries after Jesus’ birth. The first celebration of Christmas was held in Roma as a civic holiday. The first evidence shows us that the festivity of Christmas is from Egypt.
      In the first centuries of the christan church, christian usage was used to celebrate the death. However, in the fourth century , the church celebrated christ’s birth and this feast is celebrated the day of the “Mithraic rites» [?!?]. Christ wasn’t born on December 25th because he couldn’t have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night.

      The modern Christmas tree was originated in Germany. However, the Germans got it from the Romans and Romans got it from the Babylonians and Egyptians.

      —>Improve the structure and correct the mistakes.

      Me gusta

  9. I have chosen the first option, the summary of the text.
    In the first place, the text introduces us a little to the theme of Christmas, a well-known theme and to which we don´t look for the meaning.
    The text continues talking about the first origin, the pagan, an origin that was based on the Roman roots, which came from the Roman religion.
    The second part of the text deals with the birth of Christ, and raises some questions related to autumn.
    Finally the text ends by talking about the origin of the Christmas tree, something essential in the tradition. The article says that the current Christmas tree comes from the Babylonians and Egyptians, which years later was adapted by the Romans and finally by the Germans, thus ending in the tradition.

    Me gusta

  10. I am going to give my opinion on the second text, called, Was Christ Born on December 25th ?.
    In the first place, I didn’t know anything about what I read in the text, since we were little we have been taught that Christ was born on December 25 and that Christmas began there.
    Secondly, I find it interesting to know where the tradition of decorating places with Christmas trees and lights comes from when Christmas comes and giving gifts.
    Finally, it never hurts to know a little more about where the cultures or traditions that we celebrate come from and to know about other cultures that may seem interesting.

    Me gusta

  11. At first, I thought I´ve heard it before, but after I read the text, I noticed it´s quite the opposite, becasue I don´t remember that many things the text mention.
    I didn´t know that Jesus was born in the autumn and I didn´t know that the first christmas celebracion was in the reaction to the roman Saturnalia, and I think that this is so important and interesting because a lot of people are wrong, even I think that a lot of peoplo who celebrate it have a little knowlegde about this things and they continue to practice christmas on 25th December because «all the world» do.
    About the origin of the tree, I´ve never thought that the christmas tree we know has this history which is very different and how Germans took it from Romans and Romans took it from Babylonians and how it arrive in our society and we use it like a christmas tree, It was interesant, I read the text and I´m still surprised.

    Me gusta

    • At first, I thought I´ve heard it before, but after I read the text, I noticed it’s quite the opposite, becasue I don’t remember that many things the text mention.
      I didn’t know that Jesus was born in the autumn and I didn’t know that the first christmas celebracion was in the reaction to the roman Saturnalia, and I think that this is so important and interesting because a lot of people are wrong, even I think that a lot of peoplo who celebrate it have a little knowlegde about this things and they continue to practice christmas on 25th December because «all the world» do.
      About the origin of the tree, I´ve never thought that the christmas tree we know has this history which is very different [different from?] and how Germans took it from Romans and Romans took it from Babylonians and how it arrive in our society and we use it like a christmas tree. It was interesant, I read the text and I´m still surprised.

      Me gusta

  12. I choose the second text, «Was Christ Born on December 25th?»
    In the first place, I didn´t hear about Christ born in autumn but when I was a child people tell me that Christ born on December and that´s why I think that Christ born in autumn is very strange but this could be true and the people are wrong.
    About the decoration, I think is very interesting know why we use Christmas trees and lights or bright things to decorate our houses on these dates.
    Finally, I think that is very important inquire about traditions we do since we are child. And in my opinion text like these are very interesting and give us with a lot of things that we didn´t know and that are really curious.

    Me gusta

  13. Pingback: Commentaries | The Duck Side

Deja una respuesta

Introduce tus datos o haz clic en un icono para iniciar sesión:

Logo de WordPress.com

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de WordPress.com. Salir /  Cambiar )

Imagen de Twitter

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Twitter. Salir /  Cambiar )

Foto de Facebook

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Facebook. Salir /  Cambiar )

Conectando a %s