Before ChristmasThe early Roman Empire celebrated the wintersolstice, which is shortest day of the year (usually 21stor 22nd December).The Romans – before Christianity –worshipped a Persian god calledMithra who was born on25th December. He was the sungod, or the bringer of light.His rebirth after the solsticesignified the beginning of longerdays and more sunlight.
Before Christmas – part 2The Romans celebrated the resurrection of Mithra, the wintersolstice, and the god Saturn at the same time. The festivalwas called Saturnalia and lasted from 17th - 23rd December. Itcould be celebrated anywhere in Europe, and people atefeasts and exchanged gifts.Germanic Pagans hada similar festival calledYule.When Christianity tookover the Roman Empire,they absorbed bothfestivals and renamed itChrists Mass, orChristmas.
Today Christmas is a similar celebration, but usuallywithout the religious aspect. In the UK it is a family event –though younger people now ignore this, and instead theyvalue the presents more. We have forgotten the truehistory of Christmas.Some typical things you would see in England atChristmas...
It is very common for children and adults to singin the streets. You have probably heard someEnglish Christmas carols!
Like the Romans, we alsotend to eat a lot of food atChristmas...