Christmas: So far as I understand, at the time of 1st century AD, (and before) Pagans celebrated the winter on or around the 21st December and they called it Yule. This was a celebration of the longest day and dark returning to light, so celebration of the sun. (it is probably still the same)
Although Pagans have so often presumed that the date for Christmas was pinched by the Christians, I think that not to be quite so true.
During the same period, Rome and it's Empire had a festival around 17th Dec called the Festival of Saturnalia. Saturn was the Roman god of agriculture. The next celebration was for Mithras, the Roman god of light on the 25th December. That was a solstice feast .
During the reign of the Roman Emperor, Constantine The Great in the first half of the 4th century AD, Christianity was beginning to flourish, becoming the dominant religion in the Roman Empire.
He set up the First Council of Nicea (Turkey, Asia Minor region)and it was they, under Rome's direction that 25th December was chosen as the date to celebrate the birth of Christ and symbolised 'hope'.
They thought this would a) incorporate the Pagan festival of Yule and be a transition for the Pagan's to Christianity at the same time it would combine the Festivals of Rome too, basically for the same reasons.
New Year's Eve, originally dedicated to the two-faced Roman god Janus, who looked both forward and back sounds more like our Christmas. At this festival there were torch lit processions, lots of songs, present giving, fortune telling and people would decorate their houses with all sorts of greenery to symbolise new life. Having said that, New Year was not at the same date as we know it to be now. At the time they used the Julian calendar, that was 10 days behind our now used Gregorian calendar, so I assume that New Year would have been on the present 21/22nd December which coincides with the Pagans celebration of the winter solstice.
The Roman festival of Saturnalia also included customs of eating too much, giving presents ,songs, dancing and having fun. Gifts were to symbolise giving from the rich to the poor and feasts were prepared by the rich for the poor, to help hardship during the worst times in the year.
So although there are 4 different festivals during the month of December, similar in enjoyment ,3 were from different origin at that time.
How do I know this ? I've just read up on it, but it could be all lies because although there are mountains of written records and documentation of the same period, it might not be true because we are far more educated than they were back 2000 years ago, and they didn't really know what they were talking about. All lies and no proof ?
You enjoy Edd, being happy with love around you and hope, will just about fit the bill. You could call it the festival of Saturnalia or Mithras.
One of the strangest things is that no one has ever painted a picture of a baby in a manger, with a witch viewing from the roof. First time for everything I suppose. ...and yes, Ive had a glass