Christmas – The Birth Date of Jesus Christ

The date of Christmas had been declared to be the same day as that of a popular festival of an ancient religion in Rome predating Christianity. This was done by the Roman Catholic Church to promote its mission of conversions and to take away from people’s memory the then popular ancient Roman culture predating Christ.

December 25 is NOT the birth date of Christ. Here’s why.

Why NOT December 25?

Why was December 25 declared as the birthday of Christ by the Church?

The celebration of December 25 as Christmas was started by the Church in Rome, and officially declared by Constantine I , (first Christian Roman Emperor) in 314 CE, which was more than three centuries after the birth of Christ! Constantine himself was more than 40 years old when he first declared himself as a Christian!

In the first two centuries of Christian history, no mention has been made about the date of Jesus’ birth. The earliest reference to Christmas being celebrated on December 25 is in the Philocalian Calendar, which represents the Roman practice of the year 336 CE.

In fact Origen (185CE-254CE), the christian scholar who taught in Alexandria in those days opposed declaring December 25 as the birthday of Christ saying,
In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world (Ref Catholic Encyclopedia 1908, Vol. 3, p. 724, Natal Day)

Mithraism

Mithraism was the religion that was practised by the ancient Romans (Pagans) before they converted to Christianity. Mithra is an ancient vedic deity who was worshipped along with Varuna. Varuna was worshipped in the ancient vedic times as the lord of heavens, and Mitra was worshipped as the lord of light. The birth day of Mitra was celebrated in those days in Rome as the Sun Festival (called dies natalis solis invicti meaning Birth of Invincible Sun) on the Winter Solstice which was on December 25 in those days. Note that winter solstice is one of the most important sacred days in the vedic hindu calendar too. The celebration is to mark the longer days that arrive in the northern hemisphere after winter solstice.

Mithra was popularly called Sol Invictus in ancient Rome. Mithra’s worship spread from ancient India to ancient Iran ( Zoroastrianism/Parsis where Varuna and Mithra were worshiped), and from there to ancient Rome.

Mithraism carvings in ancient Rome

Ancient Roman carvings of Mithraism - dated between 300-400 CE. Note the similarity of this with vedic/hindu representation of these deities.

The Church wanted to make it easy for the roman pagans to convert into Christianity and also override their existing popular fests and hence declared December 25 as the Birthday of Christ with three major intentions,

First, making it easy for the romans to continue celebrating their festival while being Christians.
Second, to make Sun Festival of Paganism (of ancient Romans) irrelevant!
Third, to make Christian celebrations on different dates than that of Jewish festivals.

Its propaganda of December 25 being the birthday of Christ has worked, as we witness all over the world today!

Theodosius I – The Person behind it all

Theodosius I (well refer to him only as Theodosius from now), another Christian Roman Emperor of the fourth century declared in 391 CE, Christianity the state religion of Rome, in fact making it the only legitimate religion, and banned all other religions including pagan Mithraism which was pretty popular and was practiced all across Rome then.

In fact through a series of Theodosian decrees in 389 CE he declared that all those Pagan/Mithraic festivals of Rome that had not yet been declared as Christian ones by Church were now to be working days and there would be no official holidays declared to celebrate them. December 25 which was celebrated as the birthday of Mithra escaped this law because it was declared by Church as Christmas! Finally two years later, in 391 CE, Theodosius declared all other religions illegal in Rome.

Destruction of Mithraism/Paganism/Ancient Roman Rituals/Shrines and Temples

Since none of the Mithraic festivals were celebrated and all romans slowly converted to Christianity, the Mithraic temples became ruins. Theodosius had declared no one is to go to the sanctuaries, walk through the temples.. , and those temples were closed and abandoned. Bishop Theophilus of Alexandria immediately applied for permission to demolish such temple sites and cover it with Christian churches. Thus started the era of churches in Rome. Ancient Roman Pagan sites like the gigantic Serapeum of Alexandria and its library were destroyed by the Church led, state supported actions.

The eternal fire in the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum was extinguished by Theodosius. The ancient cult of Vestas in Rome, had considered this fire to be sacred and had kept tending this holy fire for centuries. They believed that extinguishing it would result in a great disaster to Rome. One can just imagine the kind of feelings of those ancient Romans that would have been hurt by this action of writing off ones beliefs and practices. The disaster soon followed after the extinguishing of the holy fire, where by the entire Roman empire ended with Theodosus, and was permanently split into two!

Ruins of Roman forum

The ruins of the Roman Forum where the Temple of Vesta existed

Temple of Vesta

The ruins of the Temple of Vesta where the sacred fire once existed

Contrary to the common belief, Olympic games were actually played in ancient Rome BEFORE the Christian era. After the last Olympic Games in 393, Theodosius even canceled those games!! That was because there were ancient roman rituals that were practiced as a part of these games. So, the Christian Clement of Alexandria declared it illegal saying Olympian games are nothing else than the funeral sacrifices of Pelops! And Theodosius banned these games. (NOTE: Pelops was the king of Olympia to whom offerings were made during the games).

There has been ample archaeological , historical, textual evidence which provide ample evidence about the Mithraism practiced by ancient Romans. In fact, Ernest Renan said in his book The Origins of Christianity that if the growth of Christianity had been arrested by some mortal malady, the world would have been Mithraic

Similarity between Mithraism and Christianity

Franz Cumont was the first scholar who observed the similarity of Christianity with Mithraism. He said that Christianity had borrowed iconographic themes from Mithraism, like the Mithraic images of the Heavens, Earth, Ocean, Sun, Moon, Planets, signs of the Zodiac, Winds, Seasons, and the Elements all are found on Christian sarcophagi, mosaics, and miniatures between the third to the fifth centuries, not before that!

According to Cumont, the Christian story of Moses striking Mount Horeb (Sinai) with his staff to release drinking water was inspired by the earlier Mithraic reference to Mithras shooting arrows at rocks causing fountains to spring up. This is again a pretty common event in the stories of vedic deities in the ancient Indian texts.

Read in detail about the Ancient Mithraism here .

If NOT December 25, When?

First of all Christ was not born in 0 CE, for there is nothing called 0 CE, after 1 BCE its directly 1 CE. Next, the Gospels record Jesus being born during the reign of Herod the Great. Herod the great died in the spring of 4 BCE (New Testament History, F.F. Bruce, Anchor Books, p.23), so Jesus was born before 4 BCE.

There is no specific date mentioned anywhere in the ancient scriptures about the actual date of the birth of Christ. However there are ample number of indications about the possible period of the year during which he was born.

First, there is the information about the shepherds keeping their flocks out in the fields on the night on which Christ was born.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night (Luke 2:8).

Even today in that region it is a common practice by shepherds to leave their flocks out in the warm summer/spring nights between April to October to feed in the green fields. After the month of October they will not leave their sheeps out in the night, and will lock them inside stables since the winter will be very cold and/or rainy. This itself proves that Jesus was born somewhere between April and October, and NOT in December.

No Shepherds will be out in the cold freezing nights of December!

Also it is said that Mary and Josef returned to Bethlehem because of a census ordered by Augustus. Now no king orders for a census to be carried out in peak winter!

In spite of all these evidences against December being the month of Jesus birth, the church still went ahead with it.

The Roman Catholic writer Mario Righetti admits, to facilitate the acceptance of the faith by the pagan masses, the Church of Rome found it convenient to institute the 25th of December as the feast of the birth of Christ to divert them from the pagan feast, celebrated on the same day in honor of the Invincible Sun Mithras, the conqueror of darkness (Manual of Liturgical History, 1955, Vol. 2, p. 67).

The Encyclopedia Americana says, In the fifth century, the Western Church ordered it [Christ's birth] to be observed forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol [the sun god], as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed (1944 edition, Christmas).

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church says, Though speculation as to the time of year of Christ’s birth dates from the early 3rd century, Clement of Alexandria suggesting the 20th of May, the celebration of the anniversary does not appear to have been general till the later 4th century. The earliest mention of the observance on Dec. 25th is in the Philocalian Calendar, representing Roman practice of the year 336. This date was probably chosen to oppose the feast of the Natalis Solis Invicti [nativity of the unconquerable sun] by the celebration of the birth of the Sun of Righteousness and its observance in the West, seems to have spread from Rome (1983 edition, Oxford University Press, New York, 1983, p. 280, Christmas).

Then we have the information of the new star that was visible on the night when Jesus was born. Some researchers today believe that the new star that was visible on that day (and only on that day) was actually a conjunction of venus and jupiter which made it look like a new bright object in the sky.

Some others believe that the new star was actually a conjunction of venus and the two day old crescent of moon, which made it look like a comet with tail.

Some other biblical experts, based on the astronomical and other circumstantial evidences suggest that Jesus was born in the April month of the year 5 BCE. But they do not mention any specific date, since there is still no solid evidence about the exact date on which Jesus was born.

  • Merle Burbaugh Jr

    It is a REPRESENTATIVE day. Like Thanksgiving. It is not, nor ever was claimed to be, the exact birthday of Christ. I was taught that in my church 60 years ago. Got to love the morons who claim to be smart. So sad in their ignorance as they try so hard to find reasons to not have to follow the common sense guidance of Christianity.

    • itzguru

      Righto, so what does a REPRESENTATIVE DAY actually mean? What about all the “proofs” surrounding it then?

      Take a sample survey among random 1000 regular church goers, ask them when is the “exact” birthday of Christ. Forget them, take a random survey among the priests in the churches, ask the same question. Then look at the results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sury007 Suresh Balaraman

    it appears to me,its a mysterious secret.moral is,keep lying continuously then it becomes the truth for future generations.

    • Sullivan

      Interesting article. Here is my take on it. I came across this in on intern. And Indian pastor after going

      through scriptures mentioned made a very good analysis that Jesus early part of life

      has been copied directly from the life story of Lord Krishna with necessary “masalas” to make people belive its authentic. Jesus was never known until he was grown up, and he returned from his trip from India where he went to study great Indian knowledge, which most of the people of that time used to do, mainly Takshashila etc(google Jesus

      in India). There is not mention about the date he was born in any scriptures.

      He was born when some bright start was shining in the sky, just like the Rohini nakshatra was visible in the sky when Krishna was born. Jesus was as sheperd boy just like Krishna was cow boy, some changes were made to make it authentic.

      When Jesus was born the king orderedr that all new borns less the 2 years need to be k illed, which is same as orders given by Kamsa to kill all the new borns. Kamsa had a valid reason but not in case of Jesus. There was no reason provided in bible or any scriptures.

      Its funny to see the similarities.

      Let me look at the article and come back to give updates.

  • Jay

    Gurudev, if possible read Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon triology 
    1st Angel and demons
    2nd Da Vinci Code
    3rd The lost symbol
    Lost symbol has information on many new scientific (re)discoveries related to bhagvatgita , Upanishads

    And please please REPLY

    • Anonymous

      Sure Jay, thanks a lot for that information. I have read the Da Vinci Code.

      • CRITIX

        Sir, can you elaborate it? I guess Mithra was Persian GOD and NOT Roman.

        • Sans D Sandy

          Mithra=sun in Sanskrit…Romans worshiped sun..

  • john turner

    great information. Also, there is information about the birthyear for 1 b.c. and that the star may have been uranus that the 3 wisemen from the east saw.
    and that jesus was born in the month of april.

    but i wonder, could he not have been born in the zodiac that represents the lion? i don’t know, just thinking.

    as for the wisemen: what star did they see? I just would like to know. and who were thes wisemen?

    • http://www.hitxp.com Gurudev

      Some researchers say that these wisemen were the buddhist monks who had come in search of the next-incarnation of their chief spiritual leader – the Lama. Everytime the chief Lama dies, it is said that the monks would know via celestial hints as to where he would get reincarnated again, and then these monks would go to that place where the Lama has got reincarnated and then bring the baby back to their buddhist center and make the baby their Lama again who would grow to learn buddhist teachings and the duties of a Lama. So these researchers say that Jesus was one such incarnation of the Lama and the wisemen who came searching were the buddhist monks.

      • Crhummons

        Gurudev, did you notice that theWise Men and the Shepherds have some how through time have been lumped into one. Check it out they are totaly different. The Shepherds according to the book of (Luke) show up at the manger and the Wise Men according to the book of (Matthew) show up at house much later. Through study I realized that The Greek meaning for for wise men mangos, which means magician, oreiental scientist and sorcerer. When you get a chance check out “Fort Fairfield Journal, Christ’s Real Birth Date 

    • Crhummons

      john turner the wise men were known as the Magi, which cam from the Greek meaning of wise men: mangos, meaning a magician. They were a Median race who acted as priests of the Persians that liked to cause violent conflicts. They were priests of Zoroaster, giving there time largely to astrology interpretating dreams and things of that nature

  • Prince

    the beginning of the article exposed your so called knowledge….it may appear good to people who know nothing about history and religion …but to people who are well versed with this it appears a trash taken from other websites…use your brain when you write and before you write think whats do you want to convey ..thanks and regards

    • http://www.hitxp.com Gurudev

      Well, I would be glad if those who know lot more about history and religion had come up with some FACTS which would prove what I have written WRONG / INCORRECT

  • robert

    very interesting article – not surprised  the emperor of Rome became the pope to control/enslave people through this new religion – the jews done it, christians done it and the arabs done it

    • http://www.hitxp.com Gurudev

      very true robert – emperor of rome post had a key post in Europe – probably equivalent to chakravarthi of India in those days.

  • http://google carla

    hay this picture is great

  • http://www.webmonkey.com/user/profile/Squirt Drorseselsduh

    I agreed with you

  • Deepak

    Hi Gurudev,
    You are simply great. The kind of knowledge you share and its depth is amazing. Please keep on posting these kind of articles and on various different topics. There are many many more facts to be revealed.

  • http://searchwarp.com/swa250876.htm Christian

    Hi Gurudev
    This is the first time I’m reading an Indian blog on Christ its very glad to read this, you have gathered a very good info on Roman early Churches I’m surprised with your scrip in your article thanks for sharing this info.

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Yes Veronica
    This has entered India too. The youth here have become slaves of their credit cards. I myself had 4 cards few years back, but then realized the trap, gave back all and kept just one with very limited credit amount for my online shopping.

  • Rajasekhar

    Hi guys,

    I do not know if you have noticed that Lord Krishna is being said to be born to virgin Devaki in the movie zeitgeistmovie, which is false as far as my knowledge goes. Devaki is married to Vasudev and they lived in the same prison cell. Don’t you guys think this casts doubt on the authenticity of the facts presented in the video? I must admit that I haven’t yet watched the full video, I will soon watch it though.

    Raja

  • Veronica

    Hi Guys, it seems a few souls are broadening their horizons by looking past all the commercializing of things and choosing the lifestyle most befitting them. More Europeans are leaving Europe than people coming to Europe.

    A few fashion designers dictates what we wear, how we smell, our hairstyle etc. Politian dictates our lives on another level, they make laws which restricts us, they invent more ways to tax us, while they spend our taxes foolishly. They create wars and send other peoples children to fight it. We march to the tune of the few and call it progress, not realizing we are losing all our freedom by doing so. Next year the chip in our passports will have our fingerprints, in a few years time our medical history. In Holland people are encourage to pay more and more with their bank card instead of withdrawing money after all it costs money to make money. A while back was mentioned chipping sickly elderly and children, everyone was against it, it reminded them of the concentration camp tattoo. Lots of si-fi films ideas are rapidly becoming reality.

    Hope you guys tell others about the movie.

  • Abhilash Menon

    Thanks Veronica, for the links, especially the zeitgeistmovie. Its shocking to say the least. Really thought provoking. :D

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Yes Veronica, its scary too. Scientists are doing research about saving mankind and life on earth from asteroids, comets etc. Where as the need of the hour is to save mankind from mankind :)

    For me 9/11 was a real shock when I saw it for the first time long back. Can somebody really go this level? What I realized is the need to create multiple institutions with distributed powers which will keep check on each other and ensure that absolute power does not rest with any person or a group of individuals at any given point of time.

  • Veronica

    Yes and I find it scary. Well Guru, you should have laughed your head off with the Jesus part. The 9/11 part is not a shock since Ive seen buildings demolished through explosives and seen buildings collapse through earthquakes. The chip part is being implemented right now for lots of reasons, this is the scary part.

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Thank you very much veronica for these interesting links. Life becomes more interesting every time we come to know that, what we thought to be isnt really what it is :)

  • Veronica

    Hello Guru here is few sites that’s very interesting especially the zeitgeistmovie, not that much of a shock to me because I have read a book written by David Icke
    http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

    http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html
    http://www.theforbiddenknowledge.com/

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    You are welcome Vicky!

  • Vicky

    Thankz for ur response, guru, that sure answers my question…

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Vicky
    Yes the holy books of most of the religions also talk about the contemporary history of their times.

    The Catholic Christian bible more popularly referred today as just ‘bible’ is old testament + new testament + other contemporary works.
    Old testament belongs to the pre christian era and is actually the hebrew bible (based on the greek translation of hebrew bible), but the interpretations in old testament differ from that of Judaism.

    New Testament on the other hand belongs to post Christian era and centers around Jesus Christ. Its believed to have been written by the close associates of Jesus Christ and by those who lived in the early days of Christian faith. It contains about 27 books including the Gospels.

    As for the actual authors, even though there is some clarity on the new testament, very little is known about the old testament and still a lot of research and debates are on. Definitely its not of any one single author. Thats for sure.

  • Vicky

    Really good article Guru…. I was wondering… wat is the fact about bible i haven’t read it.. but are all the holy books a fact our history or set of sotries…. Or wat…
    Who worte bible and when…
    Could u plz help me wid this……

  • vijay

    Hi Guru,
    yesterday night I by chance happened to switch on to channel 4 and guess what, the following programme was running,

    http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/C/can_you_believe_it/debates/hidden.html

    I could record only half of it. I will try and get it to you if possible. They talk of exactly what you have said here, making your article unquestionable. They talked about the missing years being traced back to Jesus being a budhist disciple. They also showed an old man in Kashmir who had many manuscripts related to Jesus in many languages including sanskrit. They also showed Jesus’s final resting place in Kashmir. But like the first para in the URL, there were false stories related to Lord Krishna, that was quite disturbing to me. Its a pity that even today these weterners spread false and stupid stories about Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. Its evident in their website by the way they talk rubbish about AIT. Anyway if we can forgive them for these grave mistakes and just concentrate on the facts about Jesus that they present, then there is no doubt in any way about your article. I have started appreciating your article more after seeing the facts with my own eyes thru this program. The truth about Jesus will come out in near future thanks to guys like you.

  • sainath

    once again a gr8 article gurudev…thanks…again a chapter to be included in history books to make indians aware of the celebration or pooja of Sun or Winter solstice and the actual fact :)

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Yes of course, Mithra of ancient romans and Mithra in ancient vedic India are not similar, they are SAME. Note that its not the people who migrated out, its the culture/practices that was already spread across the globe in those days.

    Its not limited to Rome either, we find the vedic culture in ancient Egypt, sumerians, Persia, ancient Russia, etc. It was a global phenomenon in those days (considered to be prehistoric era today!), which is why we dont find many western intellectuals interested in the past history of or before Sumerians!

    • CRITIX

      I guess Mithra was a Persian GOD. Are you sure he was Roman?

      Regarding Indian idea to rest of the world, please read Huston Smith’s World Religions. Do you know there is a place far flung than any civilization in this world known as Easter Island? The symbols there were exactly same as those of ancient Indus – Saraswati civilians.

  • vijay

    Excellent article Guru, just amazing the amount and width of info you have gathered here. Keep it up. The truth of 25th Dec eventually came out ;)

    I never knew about this Mithraism, very interesting indeed. So, are there any chances of Mithraism originating from Vedic India and then slowly finding its way to rome. Guru, can you draw similarities between the dieties worshipped by them and things such as zodiac signs used by them, to the vedic periods. If yes, then perhaps that would be the most crucial missing link to lead us to the Out Of India theory.