The common sense answer is that we celebrate Christmas to commemorate the birth of Christ, but many historians disagree that December 25 is the actual date of Jesus' birth, in fact, no one has yet managed to say when exactly he was born.
Without taking away the beauty and charm of this date, we will reveal below the story behind the celebration of Christmas, check it out!
Christmas and the creation of the world
There are scholars who say that the date of December 25 was determined by the historian Sextus Julius Africanus. Around the 2nd century, Julius established that the conception of the baby Jesus would have been March 25, the same date as the creation of the world and that, therefore, 9 months later he would be born.
Natalis Solis Invictus
Another hypothesis is that the date comes from an ancient pagan celebration called Natalis Solis Invictus (birth of the invincible sun), which celebrated Mithra - a Persian god much worshiped by the Romans -, and the long days that would come after the winter solstice and would bring new "good fruits".
There were this and other festivals in the same period because, in the winter, the population had less work and much to celebrate: because of the cold the harvest was already done, the animals had already been slaughtered and the drinks were already fermented, therefore the subsistence of this people was already guaranteed - so, why not celebrate ?!
Based on this second hypothesis, it is believed that the date of December 25 to commemorate Christmas would have been in the reign of Constantine, Roman Emperor, in the 4th century. And that it coincided with these pagan celebrations on purpose, precisely to weaken them.
It took centuries for this to happen, as December 25th was actually recognized as a Christian celebration only in the 9th century. Until then, Christ's birthday was celebrated on several unmatched dates, one of which was January 6, when today we celebrate Kings Day.
But what about Christmas as we celebrate today?
Well, the tradition of gift exchange originates from the story in which the wise men presented the baby Jesus when he was born. Already, the so iconic Santa Claus that we know today, is based on a beautiful story of solidarity: São Nicolau, he was a gentleman who presented the children on his birthday, which was the same month as Christmas.
But one thing is certain, all the Christmas customs of the present times - the exchange of gifts, the Santa Claus dressed in red, the lights and the decorations - are the result of a mixture of traditions adopted by different peoples who were amalgamating and resignifying themselves to the long time, becoming our modern Christmas culture, with all its magical and familiar symbology, which we love to celebrate!
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