Fact of the Day
Originally, Saturnalia was celebrated around December 16th for an entire week. The holiday originally paid homage to seeds and sowing. During early Roman times, the calendar allowed this week to sacrificial mythology. The Gregorian calendar moved this week to around the 25th. Once Rome was Christianized Emperor Aurelian designated the 25th as Christmas Day. Jesus was born in the spring, Christmas is not his real birthday.
The reason that this time of year was chosen in the first place is the winter solstice. This holiday, Saturnalia, is still celebrated today by Neopagans such as Wiccans or those who follow the Old Religion. Oddly similar, ancient tradition has some of these ceremonies performed by a jolly old man and his respective wife in red cone shaped hats. Also, this is a time of gift-giving. In keeping with the Pagan traditions, the candles during Saturnalia are stood in soil to symbolize fertility.
Before Christianity, this time was ironically referred to as the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.
View All Facts