Roots of Christmas


Gloria Perez, Senior Editor

It’s that special time of the year where the streets are lit and families are coming together. Many people around the world celebrate Christmas and other holidays throughout the month of December. But have you ever wondered where it all started? The origins of Christmas date all the way back to 336 AD. This holiday was created by Europeans who lit up the dark days of winter. Many Europeans celebrated the winter solstice during the month of December. 

In Scandinavia, the Pagans celebrated Yule on December 21, and would have a feast until their logs burnt out. Each spark in their fire symbolized the coming of new cattle in the new year.  In Rome, the Romans celebrated Saturnalia. This holiday was the coming of plentiful amounts of food and water, and enslaved people were free during this time. Later these traditions were adopted by Christians around the world. 

All of this ties into what is known now as Christmas because people put lights up to decorate for the holiday, and December 25 is known to be the birth of Jesus. Before Christians celebrated this holiday, all they did was celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, Easter day. Although Jesus’s real birthday is unknown, Pope Julius decided to declare it on December 25 because the church decided to follow the traditions of Saturnalia. 

Modern Christmas reflects the Roman traditions and officially became a holiday in America in the 1800s. Thanks to the Romans, we’re able to celebrate this wonderful holiday, while still holding our own traditions.