Christmas is celebrated on 25 December because it is the birthday of the Roman sun god Mithras, whose stories bear a striking resemblance to the basic mythology of Christianity. Characteristics of the Mithras cult included:
- Mithras being a saviour sent to Earth to live a mortal whom it was possible for sinners to be reborn into immortal life.
- He died for human sins but came back the following Sunday.
- He was born of a virgin on 25 December in a manger (or perhaps a cave), attended by shepherds and became known as the light of the world.
- He had 12 disciples whom he shared a last meal before dying.
- His devotees symbolically consume the flesh and blood of him.
- Because he was a sun god he was worshipped on Sundays.
- He is often depicted with a halo around his head.
- Worshippers of Mithras gave each other gifts on 25 December.
- The leader of the religion was called a “Papa”, and their headquarters was Vatican Hill in Rome.
As for December 25 being Jesus’ birthday, no-one is certain on what date Jesus was born – that is, should he indeed have existed. According to Islam, Jesus was born in the summer, while Jehovah’s Witnesses claim he born on the 1st of October. Speaking of which, according to the Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain, the Jehovah’s Witnesses must be right since presumably they were there.
“Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? ” ― Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes