The Pagan Celtic Roots of Christmas

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8

Today, most of the world celebrates Christmas as the birth of Christ on the twenty-fifth of December. However, the actual date of Christ’s birth cannot be determined with absolute certainty. There is, however, biblical evidence that suggests Jesus was born in the fall. Moreover, if we were to celebrate Christ’s birth, the Holy Bible would command us to do so. Yet nowhere in the Bible are we told to do that. As for the celebration of December 25, it traces its roots directly to the pagan world.

Alban Arthuan: The Celtic Origin of Christmas

“Nearly every holiday celebration we have today can be traced back to Celtic history and traditions. Samhain (sow-in) has influenced the time of year and celebrations of Halloween and All Souls Day (November 2).

Celtic traditions have also blended with Christianity to influence Christmas celebrations. The Yule, the New Year, Hogmany, Christmas, and the Winter Solstice have uniquely blended over time and fit into Christmas celebrations.

The Celtic Festival of Alban Arthuan
The Celtic festival of Alban Arthuan, held on the Winter Solstice on December 21, was a Druid festival celebrating the re-birth of the sun. It means “Light of Arthur” according to the Arthurian legend.

The Winter Solstice celebrated the return of the Divine Child, the Mabon, the rebirth of the golden solstice Sun. King Arthur was symbolized by the Sun.

The Celts believed this great ritual was needed to revert the course of the sun. The day after the winter solstice, the sun began to move higher into the sky; proof to the Celts it had been reborn.

The return of the Sun was more than just a celebration to the Celts, it was a matter of life or death. The alignment of light at Newgrange, (Bru no Bhoinne) a tomb and temple structure in Ireland, has been interpreted as a ray of light by the Sun God into the womb of Mother Earth to bring about the creation of new life in spring.

Monuments in the British Isles Aligned with the Winter Solstice
Knowth and Loughcrew, also in Ireland
Maes Howe in Orkney, Scotland
Seven Mile Cursus in Dorset, England
Stonehenge in England.

More Celtic Traditions
Another Celtic tradition was the belief in the perpetual battle between the Oak King, the God of waxing light or the Divine Child and the Holly King, the God of the waning light or the Dark Lord. Each year at the winter solstice the Oak King won the battle and ruled until he was defeated by the Holly King at the time of the summer solstice.

The deities of Alban Arthuan were Dagda and Brighid. The cauldron of Dagda was a symbol for the promise that nature would bear fruit once again and care for all beings living on earth. Brighid was the bearer of the flame of inspiration which penetrated the darkness of mind and soul.

Again, the central and essential celebration of Alban Arthuan was that of renewal. The Celts believed in leaving the past behind and greeting the new present.

It marked the celebration of both the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year. It is considered to be a time of increased fertility and is one of the Celtic fire festivals as well. It is also where we get the tradition of the Yule Log.

The Yule Log
Yule and the Yule Log runs the eve before the winter solstice to New Year’s Day, or Hogmany to the Celts. It was a time of introspection and planning for the future.

Early Celtic calendars measured months according to the moon’s revolution of the earth. The custom of burning the Yule Log was performed to honor the Great Mother Goddess. The log was lit on the eve of the solstice, the darkest night, using the remains of the log from the previous year and burned for twelve days for good luck. The Celts believed the sun stood still for the twelve days. It symbolized the continuity of life and light, from the “dark night of our souls” would spring the new spark of hope, the Sacred Fire and the Light of the World. This is where we get the contemporary “twelve days of Christmas.”

During this coldest season of the year the Celts sought to connect the old and new through song and dance representing the death and re-birth of the new year. The birth of the sun worked well with the Christian celebration of birth of the Son of God who brings light to the world.

The decorating of a Yule tree also originated with the Celts. Brightly colored decorations were hung on a tree, usually a pine tree to symbolize life, which were of significance to the Celts such as the sun, the moon and the stars. The tree also represented the souls of those who had died the previous year.

The modern practice of gift giving evolved from the Celtic tradition of hanging gifts on the Yule tree as offerings to various pagan gods and goddesses.

The Tradition of “Father Christmas”
The tradition of “Father Christmas” or “Santa Claus” also an be traced back to Celtic roots. Santa’s elves are the modernization of “Nature Folk” or faeries of pagan religions.

Even Santa’s reindeer are associated with the “Horned God” one of the Celtic deities. The “Horn Dance” was performed from All Souls Day (November 2) to Twelfth Night (January 6) in hopes of bringing in luck for the New Year.

This tradition comes from Celtic Britain where eight men danced through their village with antler horns on their heads in order to “bring luck” to the new year. It was thought to have origins in the pre-Christian fertility rites.

The tradition of Christmas caroling comes from the Celts as well. A carol is a dance of a song of praise and joy. The song was meant for dancing especially to honor the changing of the seasons, not just the winter season, but every season. The music and dancers went from dwelling to dwelling performing their solstice songs.

The Laying of the Holly
Holly is one of the plants that is one of the symbols commonly associated with Christmas. It has been part off the Winter Solstice and Christmas celebration for more than two thousand years.

Today, as in Celtic times, holly is laid around the house and used in Christmas wreaths. It is associated with the sun god (Saturn) from ancient Rome. It was also important in Druidic religion and customs.

In Celtic times it was customary to place holly leaves and branches around their homes and dwellings during the winter. It was believed that tiny faeries that inhabited the forests would come to their homes and use the holly as shelter against the cold.

The Druids believed holly remained green to help keep the earth beautiful when deciduous trees had lost their leaves. The red and holly berries were believed to represent the sacred menstrual blood of their Mother Goddess.

The Celts also laid holly around their homes and dwellings to decorate doors and windows so it would capture evil spirits before they entered the house.

As the British Isles converted to Christianity, early Christians adopted the tradition of decorating their homes with holly. Christians began to incorporate holly into their own religion and the red holly berries now symbolized the blood of Christ.

The Hanging of the Mistletoe
The Celts used mistletoe as a healing plant as their superstitions and mythical beliefs told them mistletoe bestowed miraculous healing powers. It was known to mean “All Heal” in Celtic languages.

In Celtic times, it was believed that mistletoe held the soul of the oak tree, its host tree. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows in the boughs of trees, one of them being the oak tree.

Mistletoe was believed to have the power to heal diseases, make poisons harmless, give fertility to humans and animals, protect them from witchcraft, ban all evil spirits, and bring good luck and great blessings.

Mistletoe was so sacred to the Celts, that enemies who happened to meet beneath it in the forest, would lay down their arms and exchange a friendly greeting and keep a truce until the following day.

From this old custom grew the practice of suspending mistletoe over a doorway or in a room as a token of good will and peace to all. The tradition and custom of kissing under the mistletoe did not start until English Victorian times when this became a popular item.

Druids held a special five day ceremony after the new moon following the Winter Solstice. They would cut boughs of mistletoe from the sacred Oak tree with a golden sickle. It was important that the mistletoe branches did not touch the ground and become contaminated.

The Druid priests would then divide up the mistletoe boughs into sprigs and distribute them among the people who believed it protected them from storms and evil spirits.

St. Stephen’s Day and the Hunting of the Wren
St. Stephen’s Day, December 26, and the Hunting of the Wren, are Irish Celtic traditions. St. Stephen’s Day celebrates the death of the first Christian martyr. It was believed by the Celts that the “chattering” of the wren betrayed St. Stephen to his enemies as he tried to hide from them in a bush.

Thereafter, the wren was to be hunted down and stoned to death. Celtic men armed with sling shots would hunt down the wren and kill it. Today, the wren is captured and thought to bring good luck for the new year. It was believed the wren was the cleverest bird of all.”

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:11

…For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

The following diatribe was written by Andrew Sheets:

“The purpose of this Blog is to Refute and Rebuke so called Christians attacking Christmas. They are unwittingly aligning with the enemy in more ways than they can imagine. To steal the hope and joy of Christmas with the focus on the joy of our Savior’s birth is evil.

Over the past decade there’s been an overwhelming attack on Christmas. It started, it seems even further back some thirty years ago when we started seeing Merry X-mas. Taking Christ out of Christmas. But for the past decade a slew (slew: a violent or uncontrolled sliding movement) of fake Christians have been shaming us for celebrating Christmas. For even mentioning the word “Christmas” those of us who believe Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ are demonized for worshipping Satan. I’d mention them and call them out one by one, but I’m not going to waste my time.

I’m sickened and fed up with these “bas***ds”… Read about the bible account of a bas***d begin with Hebrews 12:8 KJV and follow with the Bas***d of Ashod of Zechariah chapter 9 which is a direct reflection of our Coming King, Jesus Christ.

These pathetic fake Christians who attack Christmas are actually current day
Pharisees white and pious and religious on the outward but are dead inside.

We true Christians who choose to celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ do NOT base our Holiday after the pagan rituals of the Roman Saturnalia, but rather as is always the case, Satan is a copy cat and that the pagan Roman Saturnalia was placed on the original Christmas and Hanukkah celebration by the Pagans. To get hung up with trees and gifts and Santa Claus is answerable by reading scripture Colossians 2:16 KJV. If these things bother you then do not do them, but do not place your burdens on others. Simply run along and enjoy your miserable existence in religious works.”

“To get hung up with trees and gifts and Santa Claus is answerable by reading scripture Colossians 2:16.” – Andrew Sheets has twisted the clear teaching of Scripture to suit his own purpose.

What does Colossians 2:16 mean?
Paul starts this new passage off with the word “therefore.” This means the upcoming thoughts are the result of his prior statements. In earlier verses, Paul explained that our relationship with God is through Christ, not through physical rituals such as circumcision. The salvation we have, through Christ, is complete and total. Not only does it remove the penalty of sin and restore our relationship to God. (Colossians 2:13–15).

This verse uses those prior thoughts to refute a claim made by false teachers. These deceivers were telling Colossian Christians that they must follow specific rituals, rules, and regulations in order to be saved. In the next verse, Paul will call these concepts “a shadow of the things to come,” or something much less important than Christ Himself. In contrast, Paul writes, “let no one pass judgment on you,” with regard to four specific areas.

First, Paul notes dietary restrictions. The Mosaic law included many dietary aspects, such as not eating pork, an unclean food for Jews.

Second, Paul mentions holidays and feast days. Jewish laws included many specific celebrations such as Passover and the Day of Atonement, which were referred to as “festivals.”

Third, a “new moon” refers to the new moon celebrations in the Mosaic law (Numbers 29:6).

Fourth, Paul mentions the Sabbath day. In Judaism, Saturday, the seventh day, was a holy day from sunset Friday till sunset Saturday, during which no work could be done (Exodus 20:8–11).

Paul clearly states, in this verse, that these kinds of rules are not requirements for saved believers. The passage immediately before this verse explained that Christ removed all sin and penalty through His sacrifice. As a result, there are no possible works we can do, or need to do, in order to be made righteous with God. This is an idea Paul gave additional detail to in Romans chapter 14.

It is also a notable fact that Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration not mentioned in the Holy Bible. The story of how Hanukkah came to be is contained in the unbiblical Apocrypha books 1 and 11 Maccabees and the Oral Babylonian Talmud.

Hanukkah in the Book of Maccabees

“The Hasmoneans…searched and found only one small cruise of oil, hidden away under the seal of the High Priest. It contained but enough oil to light [the menorah] for one day. Yet a miracle occurred: the menorah was kindled from this oil for eight days. From then on, these days were set aside as a festive occasion for rendering praise [Hallel] and thanksgiving.” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 21b)

If you do not know the Living Lord Jesus as your Saviour you can right now by repenting (having a change of mind), and putting your faith in Jesus Christ who paid the full penalty for the sins of the world by shedding His precious blood on the cross. Your trust in Him alone for your salvation can assure your receipt of this blessed atonement.

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