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Dec 25, 326 CE

Lupercal_grotto
The Lupercal

That was probably the date when Christmas was celebrated on Dec 25th for the first time and now we have a theory on the location where Christmas was first celebrated on the “official day.” The place is Basilica of St. Anastasia and the basis for the theory is the discovery of a pagan shrine, the Lupercal, dedicated to the founders of Rome – Romulus and his brother Remus. The Basilica of St. Anastasia was built around 326 CE near the Lupercal shrine  and the location was chosen to link pagan practices to Christian celebrations.

According to Roman mythology, the brothers were abandoned by their parents and was bought up by a wolf. They were discovered by shepherd, Faustulus who raised them as his own children. In January of this year, archaeologists found the Lupercal believed to be the one where the brothers were bought up by the wolf, and in November, the first photos were released. This cave is located between one of the seven hills of Rome and the Basilica of Santa Anastasia.

In the early days of Christianity, the practice was to appropriate pagan practices and celebrations.  The Roman emperor Constantine presided over the First Council of Nicaea and it was there that Dec 25 was picked as the birth date of Yeshua. During those times, two important pagan festivals were celebrated – the first one starting on Dec. 17 honored Saturn, a major Roman deity of agriculture and harvest and the second one starting on Dec 25, celebrated the birth of Mithras, the Persian god of light. Constantine combined both and we now have Christmas.

See Also: Merry Christmas!

2 Responses to Dec 25, 326 CE

  1. Nitin December 25, 2007 at 11:44 pm #

    So you are saying Christmas is an Indian festival?

  2. JK December 26, 2007 at 10:46 am #

    Nitin,

    Indians never seem to have celebrated the birthday of Mithra, but the Persians seem to have.

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