The Facts Behind Christmas, Easter, and Halloween
THE Bible shows that Jesus was 33 1/2 years old when he was impaled in the early spring of the year 33 C.E., at the time of the Jewish Passover. This means, counting backward, that he was born in the early fall of the year.
Pagan Rome’s celebration of Saturnalia, the birthday of the invincible sun, was some three months later. How did the celebration of Jesus’ birth get pushed forward to December 25, to make it coincide blasphemously with the pagan celebration of the birthday of the sun?
The ever-shorter days of December stirred up superstitious panic among the sun worshipers, who feared that their god was dying. They burned candles and lit bonfires to help revive the ailing deity. It seemed to work. Following the winter solstice of December 21, the sun-god appeared to regain his strength as the days grew longer.
“December was the major month of pagan celebration, and Dec. 25 was the high point of the winter revelries,” explains Church Christmas Tab. “Some believe the bishop of Rome chose Dec. 25 as the birth date of Christ in order to ‘sanctify’ the pagan celebrations. What resulted was a strange mixture of the pagan and the Christian festivals that the world now calls Christmas.” The article admits: “The word ‘Christmas’ does not appear in the Bible. And Scripture gives no mandate for celebrating Jesus’ birth.”
No wonder theologian Tertullian complained: “By us, who are strangers to Sabbaths, and new moons and festivals, once acceptable to God, the Saturnalia [and other pagan feasts] are now frequented, gifts are carried to and fro, . . . and sports and banquets are celebrated with uproar.”
Pope Gregory I continued this defiling trend. According to Natural History magazine, “instead of trying to obliterate peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope’s instructions were, use them. If a group of people worship a tree, rather than cut it down, consecrate it to Christ and allow them to continue their worship.”
No Mixing of Truth With Falsehood
Did this policy of compromise have divine approval? Note God’s warning to his people poised to enter pagan Canaan: “Watch out for yourself . . . for fear you may inquire respecting their gods, saying, ‘How was it these nations used to serve their gods? And I, yes, I, will do the same way.’ You must not do that way to Jehovah your God, for everything detestable to Jehovah that he does hate they have done to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:30, 31) The same warning is repeated in the Christian Greek Scriptures: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Belial [footnote, Satan]? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever?”—2 Corinthians 6:14, 15.
What does God find so offensive about these false gods and the worship of them? Saturn was the Roman sun-god honored by the Saturnalia. Was he worthy? Simon Schama, professor of history at Harvard University, calls him “the orgiast of eating, drinking and other kinds of naughtiness.” Lear’s magazine calls the holiday “the most famous wine orgy in the ancient world.”
Cult worship of the sun-god Mithra spanned Asia. According to anthropologist Gabriel Seabrook, he was “a warrior god, who hurled life-destroying arrows and incurable diseases at his enemies on the battlefield.”
Sun worship among the Aztecs was particularly bloody. Natural History magazine explains that “unless victims were sacrificed to the sun gods, all life—including that of the gods—would die.”
Upon reviewing the origins of this celebration (see box below), it may perhaps come as no surprise to you that witches and Satan worshipers still revere December 25. The San Francisco Chronicle of December 21, 1991, quotes a witch and popular pagan writer as saying: “It is one of our more strenuous holidays. We stay up all night.” A member of the group Covenant of the Goddess stated: “We do a ritual enactment. . . . Members of our clergy perform a mystery play about the birth of the solar child.”
Will God or his Son accept such honor, which mirrors the worship of false gods?
Is It Easter—or Astarte?
This family’s holiday festivities begin early in the morning as they rise to greet the sunrise with reverent awe. The children are decked in the best new finery, complete with new bonnets. The celebration includes emblems of rabbits, baskets full of gaily colored eggs, and hot cross buns. It must be Easter. Or is it?
Springtime was sacred to the sex worshipers of Phoenicia. Their fertility goddess, Astarte, or Ishtar (Aphrodite to the Greeks), had as her symbols the egg and the hare. She had an insatiable thirst for blood and immoral sex. Her statues variously depicted her as having rudely exaggerated sex organs or with an egg in her hand and a rabbit at her side. Sacred prostitution was part of her cult. In Canaan, the sex goddess was styled the wife of Baal. She was honored by drunken sex orgies, the worshipers believing that their sexual intercourse helped to bring about the full awakening and mating of Baal with his wife. According to the book Recent Discoveries in Bible Lands, “in no country has so relatively great a number of figurines of the naked goddess of fertility, some distinctly obscene, been found.”
Beneath memorials to her in Carthage, brightly colored urns were discovered containing the charred bones of little children. Their parents, commonly people of rank and title, sought the blessing of the gods on their wealth and influence. Some of the urns were found to contain the remains of several children of different ages, perhaps of the same family.
A look at the box above will show how thinly disguised the modern versions of these ancient rites are. Even the name Easter is barely different from the ancient pagan name. Is this, then, the way to honor the holy Son of God?
Halloween—Ancient Night of Terror
It is the last night of October. By the light of the moon, a small group of costumed figures move from house to house stating their demands with dire threats. Guarding some doorsteps are grimacing pumpkin heads glowing with burning candles—made from human fat. Other doors drip with human blood. It is the night of Samhain, Celtic lord of the dead.
Perhaps in no other “Christianized” celebration does Satan so blatantly honor himself and memorialize his war dead. The writer J. Garnier suggests that celebrations of suffering and death can be traced back to the ancient destruction of all of his human followers, as well as the hybrid sons of fallen angels, at the time of the Flood. Cultures the world over have festivals for the dead, “held by all on or about the very day on which, according to the Mosaic account, the Deluge took place, viz., the seventeenth day of the second month—the month nearly corresponding with our November.”—The Worship of the Dead, by J. Garnier.
The Druids were no exception. On October 31, Samhain was said to release the spirits of the dead to mingle with the living. Druids roamed the streets with lanterns, and on coming to a house, they demanded money as an offering for Satan.
Halloween is a major satanic ritual day. “It’s a religious holiday for the underworld, with satanists performing sacrifices and witches quietly celebrating with prayer circles or meals for the dead,” according to a USA Today article. It quoted Washington witch Bryan Jordan as saying, “[Christians] don’t realize it, but they’re celebrating our holiday with us. . . . We like it.”
Parents, do you want your children imitating these sinister rituals?
[Box on page 12]
The Symbols of Christmas
The Christmas tree “has precious little to do with Christian celebration and a lot to do with the stubborn survival through the millennia of pagan rituals of winter light and rebirth.” (The Boston Herald) “Trees with trinkets hanging on them were part of the pagan festivals for centuries.”—Church Christmas Tab.
Holly was popular with the Celts “to keep the house goblins in order at winter solstice time. . . . It could deflect evil, help in the divination of dreams, defend a house from lightning.”—Beautiful British Columbia.
Mistletoe “came from the Druids in England who used it in strange worship relating to demonic and occult powers.”—Church Christmas Tab.
On December 25 “the Mithraists celebrated the birth of Mithra . . . There is absolutely no biblical authority for December 25 as having been the day of the Nativity.”—Isaac Asimov.
Gift giving was a feature of Saturnalia. “You were expected at this festival to make some present to all your friends.”—Ancient Italy and Modern Religion.
The star “atop the tree was worshiped in the East as a symbol of purity, goodness and peace 5,000 years before the nativity of Christ.”—United Church Herald.
The candle “does not come . . . from the Christian sanctuary. We took it from a much earlier altar, the Druid oak.”—United Church Herald.
Santa was stolen “from ancient German mythology: ‘Thor was an elderly man, jovial and friendly, of heavy build with a long white beard. He drove a chariot and was said to live in the Northland . . . His element was fire, his color red. The fireplace in every home was sacred to him, and he was said to come down into it through the chimney.”—United Church Herald.
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The Rites of Spring
Easter was “originally the spring festival in honor of the Teutonic goddess of light and spring known in Anglo-Saxon as Eastre.” (The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible) “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament.”—Encyclopædia Britannica.
The rabbit “was the escort of the Germanic goddess Ostara.”—Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend.
Eggs “were said to be dyed and eaten at the spring festivals in ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome.”—Celebrations.
The Easter bonnet originally “was a wreath of flowers or leaves. The circle or crown expressed the round sun and its course in the heavens which brought the return of spring.” The new Easter outfit developed because “it was considered discourteous and therefore bad luck to greet the Scandinavian goddess of Spring, or Eastre, in anything but fresh garb, since the goddess was bestowing one on the earth.”—The Giant Book of Superstitions.
Hot cross buns: “Like the Greeks, the Romans ate bread marked with a cross . . . at public sacrifices.” They were eaten by pagan Saxons in honor of Easter.—Encyclopædia Britannica.
Sunrise services parallel rites “performed at the vernal equinox welcoming the sun and its great power to bring new life to all growing things.”—Celebrations.
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Halloween’s Horrible Roots
Masks and costumes: “The Celts left out food, drink and other treats for the spirits and then tricked them into leaving by donning masks and costumes and parading to the edge of the village.”
Bonfires were “literally ‘bonefires’” wherein “the priests sought to appease the sun god by sacrificing animals and, often, people too.” (The Tampa Tribune) “By observing the way the sacrifices died, the Druids looked for omens of the future.”—Beaumont Enterprise.
Trick or treat: “The cry of the Druids was comparable to the modern day ‘Trick or Treat.’”—Central Coast Parent.
Scary stories: “The bloody Druid rites live on in the youthful emphasis on ghosts and spirits. . . . Halloween parties and the telling of scary tales also have their origin in the Druid times when spirits were believed to be abroad in the land.”—The Tampa Tribune.
Despite the pagan origins of these holidays, some will recoil at the thought of denying children the fun of modern celebrations. After all, what do informed children know of ancient Saturn, Astarte, and Samhain? Some know quite a bit. They also know that they want no part of them.
[Pictures on page 12]
Mithra: Musée du Louvre, Paris
Thor: The Age of Fable by T. Bulfinch, 1898
[Picture on page 13]
[Picture Credit Line on page 14]
Skull: U.S. Forest Service photo