Home Religion & Spirituality Christmas Eclipse: The Festival of Saturnalia

Christmas Eclipse: The Festival of Saturnalia


Christmas—the time, you and me, the whole globe is dipped with white and red combinations, sometimes green too. A mark to say- winter is finally here in its genuine stature and that a new year is about to commence. Christmas— a festival when globe denies its differentiating patterns and comes as one plain blanket of togetherness, as all wait for the wishes on their lists to come true. Not personally, but that’s what this whole world does. And I cannot not mention, Racism-DIES (not that racists stop doing what they do-racism). Black Santa- is what a new trend is; helping little or more towards making the racists suffer in their own spun web.

With Christmas coming and leaving us with mouth still packed of yummy trifles, candy canes, Christmas puddings, eggnog, fruitcake, mashed potatoes, butter tarts, and…(Well, those are my personal favourites, you could name yours), a new bond, that there is a day, when amidst those high-end fights, wars and scuffles we are in, we come as ‘A’ human race. I remember, for good, in my ones unit age, I studied in a purely, entirely Christian-population school, back in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. As a child, I never knew what Christmas had special bond with my Christian friends, I tried getting the best gifts from Santa and I had a thing for Santa, maybe that I missed my grandfather whom I never saw. And that, I definitely got 10 times more excited with Christmas round the corner than Ami (my Christian friend).

However, now I do know certain things I wish I had known before (not that those are bad memories).

What if I tell you—Christmas, has no definite roots with Christianity, and no branches to Jesus of course? I apologise in advance for having to prick your balloon of Christmas adore, I too got that burst years back.


Saturnalia— a festival popular in ancient Rome was observed to give honour to their deity ‘Saturn’, whom Romans acknowledged with Greek God – Cronus.

What was Saturnalia all about?

A week stretching from December 17th to December the 25th, Saturnalia could be identified with downright lawlessness and havoc round the streets. The period brought with it rules which spoke up to break rules – Roman courts remained closed and law dictated ‘no penalty’ for any crime, from property damage to murders, from brutality and inhumane behaviour to destruction, as found in historical texts. Also, it is believed, the prime Roman authorities chose an enemy of the people whom they represented as ‘Lord of misrule’, all but as a ‘festival’.

Selecting a ‘victim’ from each Roman community was a thing of common conduct during the period, which they forced to indulge in all horned sides of sadistic acts.

Lucian, an ancient Greek writer, historian, poet, satirist, in a dialogue of his entitled ‘Saturnalia’ depicts and describes the festival and what it enfolded.

We get to know the most of brutalities, callous acts, rapes, tortures and murder stories that came out as a ‘festival’ during Saturnalia, conclusion of which was observed on 25th of December.

How did Saturnalia become Christmas?

With average intellect and logic power, we do know from the Christian as well as Islamic texts that Jesus (peace be upon him)/ Isa (AS) was born in a warm weather, clearing the spilled ink of doubt that nowhere could we find he was born in winter. So how come do we celebrate 25th of December as his birth? Let us take help of history for the same.

Christian leaders, in the 4th century CE, succeeded in converting the pagan masses into Christianity by promising them that they could celebrate saturnalia the way they used to. In the row, they brought in saturnalia as a largely celebrated festival it is today – Christmas. Since, Saturnalia had nothing to do with Christianity, to make it okay, December 25th was named as the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) or Christmas. This was how Saturnalia became Christmas – one of your favourite holidays. Though, according to historical texts, there are many more given roots of the festival, watered in the same urn.

Look closely at the celebrations, foods, decorations and beliefs, does anything remind you of Jesus? Not really. Because we do know, Jesus – was not born at this time.moloch

Santa Claus=Saint Nick=Chemosh?

Santa Clause – a character dear to children, is a mysterious one; a mix between various evils as found in the historical texts (as no Christian text supports it). It is said, the prominent figures that Santa is a mix between, are Saint Nick/Nickel/Nickolas and Chemosh – a pagan idol; God of prosperity. Chimosh has been represented as a huge deity, seated on his throne, made of cast iron. He has a huge belly, and hands that come out extended as though they want something. Historical texts support a characteristic associated to this idol – people used to make a ‘list’ of the things they wished to have (we get hints of it from today). Chemosh would then be heated up and often, children and babies be given to it with a hope to receive things on the list.

Another related fixation believed is that the ‘demon’ worshiped behind Chemosh was ‘Krampus’ – an ugly dangerous looking devil. It was said that Krampus used to take and put children in his bag.

Saint Nick was another major consideration, a constituent to the mixture that made today’s Santa Claus. Different historical texts claim different figures to be Santa, but meet at a point that all figures were evil and that Santa Claus, the ‘good’ character given to, has evil roots and branches and leaves.

How Christmas was ‘accepted’

In 1644, England – Christmas was banned in the Puritan-populated part. The festival along with its activities, from singing carols to dancing and games, everything was stopped. Tree decorations were considered as ‘unholy’ (as it was not a part of Christian belief). Also, the Christmas ‘holiday’ was put on hold.

In 1660, when Charles II took the throne, Christmas became acceptable again and all the activities and holiday became legal.

With time, people started forgetting that Christmas was not a Christian festival, that Santa had evil roots, that the whole festival enfolded a dark past. And today, even after knowing the truth, we continue celebrating and enjoying the festival.

Let us spread the word– Christmas, is not the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) and Christmas is not actually Christmas, it is more a pagan festival – Saturnalia.


  1. Among MANY other things, this article gets the dates of Saturnalia wrong. It was never extended to a date any later than December 23, and the 17th was the original date.

    Christians were also associating (by their own mistaken but sincere calculations) the birth of Jesus with December 25th as early as Turtellian in A.D. 200. So no, the Christmas holiday was not first created as an attempt to usurp Saturnalia. The replacement actually happened more naturally.