Why we actually celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December will shock you

Have you always assumed that Christmas was celebrated on Jesus’ birthday?

Perhaps you know that a Pagan festival on the 25th was changed to a Christmas festival in order to help convert Pagans to Christianity?

I was aware that it used to be a Pagan festival, but what that festival involved and how we have kept many of its nasty traditions I did not know.

Prepare to be shocked and educated.

II.     How Did Christmas Come to Be Celebrated on December 25?

A.    Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25.  During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the week long celebration.  The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.”  Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week.  At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.

B.    The ancient Greek writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) describes the festival’s observance in his time.  In addition to human sacrifice, he mentions these customs: widespread intoxication; going from house to house while singing naked; rape and other sexual license; and consuming human-shaped biscuits (still produced in some English and most German bakeries during the Christmas season).

I don’t know about you but I don’t think I will ever look at a gingerbread man in quite the same way that I used to.

A gingerbread family -photo bbc.co.uk

A gingerbread family
-photo bbc.co.uk

C.    In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it.  Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.

D.    The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.

E.      Christians had little success, however, refining the practices of Saturnalia.  As Stephen Nissenbaum, professor history at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst, writes, “In return for ensuring massive observance of the anniversary of the Savior’s birth by assigning it to this resonant date, the Church for its part tacitly agreed to allow the holiday to be celebrated more or less the way it had always been.”  The earliest Christmas holidays were celebrated by drinking, sexual indulgence, singing naked in the streets (a precursor of modern caroling), etc.

Drunk Santa -photo

Drunk Santa photo -vice.com

F.      The Reverend Increase Mather of Boston observed in 1687 that “the early Christians who  first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens’ Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones.”  Because of its known pagan origin, Christmas was banned by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681.  However, Christmas was and still is celebrated by most Christians.

The Puritans banned Christmas Photo-

The Puritans banned Christmas Photo- toptenz.net

G.    Some of the most depraved customs of the Saturnalia carnival were intentionally revived by the Catholic Church in 1466 when Pope Paul II, for the amusement of his Roman citizens, forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city.  An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators.  They ran… amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily.”

H.     As part of the Saturnalia carnival throughout the 18th and 19th centuries CE, rabbis of the ghetto in Rome were forced to wear clownish outfits and march through the city streets to the jeers of the crowd, pelted by a variety of missiles. When the Jewish community of Rome sent a petition in1836 to Pope Gregory XVI begging him to stop the annual Saturnalia abuse of the Jewish community, he responded, “It is not opportune to make any innovation.”  On December 25, 1881, Christian leaders whipped the Polish masses into Antisemitic frenzies that led to riots across the country.  In Warsaw 12 Jews were brutally murdered, huge numbers maimed, and many Jewish women were raped.  Two million rubles worth of property was destroyed.


A piece of history of which Catholics should be be heartily ashamed. I wonder if the Pope has ever issued an apology to the Jewish people?


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • dgrogan

    Merry Christmas everybody. Thankfully, Christians have moved on and we’re a lot more civilised. If we could only encourage others to leave there savagery behind in the 21st century.

  • Benoni

    The romans murdering the innocent “Lord of misrule” to overcome the forces of evil has its parellel in the corn god myths of the middle east. The corn god died and was buried and came to life again. We can see these ideas in their fullness in the story of Jesus Christ. A more recent example of these ideas is in the Harry Potter series of books.

  • Effluent

    John Paul II did make an aopolgy forthis, as well asmanyother issues where theRC CHurch had been responsible for similar errors

  • Andru

    Saturnalia was to celebrate Saturn. In astrology, Saturn represents things that are finished, last, rest, endings, delays, dirt, land, seriousness and if poorly placed then it indicates sorrow, laziness, evil, pain, lawlessness, confusion, destruction, etc. It is a distinct archetype – a whole identifiable personality. People who have Saturn prominently positioned in their horoscope display these qualities.

    Astrology also indicates why the Sabbath should actually be on Saturday (Saturn day) because Saturn is the natural indicator of rest.

    In the old Eastern and Western astrological traditions, they believed that life was created in six days and then a day of rest – like it says in Genesis. The seven days are:


    The correlation between the planets and Genesis is described here:


  • Priam

    Here’s an idea – why don’t all Christians (instead of only a small minority) actually obey God and have nothing to do with a pagan celebration that has absolutely nothing to do with Christ?

    Deuteronomy 12:30 But that’s when you must be especially careful not to ask, “How did those nations worship their gods? Shouldn’t we worship the LORD in the same way?”

    Deu 12:31 No, you should not! The LORD hates the disgusting way those nations worship their gods, because they even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices.

  • MrBarrington

    I’m all for Saturnalia… maybe not the rape and human sacrifice parts, but it sounds like a hell of a party!!!

    • Phoenician

      The people today (mis)called the Minoans had much greater parties (but all for fun; no force or sacrifices involved). But they left few records of them, just nice murals. But that was long ago when I was very young.

  • Cadwallader

    Are you sure we’re not a celebrating The Chosen One’s birthday? I refer of course to David Cunnliffe’s descent from the Heavens.

  • Chris W

    I’m not entirely convinced by this old chestnut. I’ve heard Chrstian scholars argue that aspects of the nativity story would have put it at around this time of year.
    It’s quite possible that the early church knew or believed the 25th to be the date of Christ’s birth, and that they subsequently tried to accommodate aspects of an existing festival occurring at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    • Priam

      You can do figurings based on the approx. birthdate of John the Baptist. His father was of the priestly order of Abijah (Luke 1:5) This means that John the Baptist was conceived just after Pentecost. He was six months older than Jesus Christ (Luke 1:26). This brings us to a birth date for Jesus possibly in September. Likely it was around the Feast of Trumpets which is in the Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and not around December 25th.

      • Another Middleagedwhiteguy

        Also, Caesar Augustus called for a census over the “entire world” (Roman empire) and this was why Joseph & Mary were in Bethlehem the day Jesus was born.
        Would even a heartless emperor order a census be carried out in mid-winter? Not likely.

  • More from your source page

    Christmas is a lie. There is no Christian church with a tradition that Jesus was really born on December 25th.

    December 25 is a day on which Jews have been
    shamed, tortured, and murdered.

    Many of the most popular Christmas customs –
    including Christmas trees, mistletoe, Christmas presents, and Santa Claus – are
    modern incarnations of the most depraved pagan rituals ever practiced on earth.

    December 25th is 9 months after March 25, which is traditionally the day of Christ’s conception (the Annunciation) and the traditional date of the Jewish beginning of the world.

    The writer of your link has a special hatred of Christ that goes beyond very real grievances that the Jewish people have of Christians, and so has written a very biased account of what he or she believes that Christmas represents. Many of the points made can be refuted, by looking at Wikipedia (check out Saturnalia), by checking what Advent means in Catholicism (a month of fasting and prayer in preparation for coming of Jesus), by wondering where these debauched traditions that we apparently had went to if they existed not that long ago, ie they’re not really around.

    A full on attack on Christianity is not what I expected from the Whale Oil blog. Maybe Cameron needs to give SB a bit of a talking to.

    • Fidosoup

      Christianity has been on a full on attack on humanity since forever..

    • Richard

      Don’t confuse Christianity with Catholicism.