Sunday has long been the Pagan day of worship to the Sun God Mithra. Christians use to worship on Saturday, as is referenced by the fact that Saturday is the last day of the week, and they rest on that day because according to Genesis, God rested on the seventh day. The Law of Moses dictated Christians follow a Saturday worship/rest. This went on for hundreds of years, until the 4th Century when Roman Emperor Constantine, himself a Pagan at the time, ruled that the official day of worship in Rome would be Sunday. At that time most Christians changed their day of worship. Later a law was made by the Church of Lacedonia in 364 AD, stating that Christians were to worship on Sundays, and work on Saturdays. Jews also worshiped on Saturday and were often subject to persecution by the Roman government, they did not change their day of worship.
Christians have since been told their day of worship was changed to honor Christs rising on a Sunday, but historically this reason is inaccurate.
Easter was a fertility holiday, a time to worship the Goddess Eastre (there are many spellings of this name, including Ishtar, Oester, and Eastur). As you can see this Goddess also gave her name to such things as Estrus, the female reproductive cycle, and Estrogen, a female hormone. This holiday was amazingly popular and in Pagan times, rabbits, and eggs, were fertility symbols used to celebrate this holiday. Even Hot Cross Buns predate Christianity by over one thousand years.
Around the Mediterranean, even before Jesus, the death and rebirth of Attis, was celebrated at this time. Attis was born to a virgin (sound familiar?). He is the god of Vegetation, the lover of the fertility Goddess, and he dies and is reborn annually at this time (sound familiar?).
This holiday was too popular for early Christians to ban, so over time they simply reassigned meaning to the traditions and let people continue to celebrate.
Most people, even Christians, realize that December 25 was not Christs actual birthday. In the old calendar December 25 was the winter solstice, a day to celebrate the returning of the sun. In Rome December 17 was the start of a seven day holiday to celebrate the birth of the god Saturn. The Iranian sun God Mithra (also linked with Helios) was born of a virgin birth, on December 25. In many parts of the world the holidays’ original name was Saturnalia. Saturnalia was a celebration that lasted several days and involved feasting and the exchange of gifts. Evergreens, which represented life, were brought into the homes and decorated. Nearly every Christmas tradition, from the wreath to the star, have pagan origins, there are too many to list here, but a link is provided at the bottom. As with Easter the holiday was too popular, so rather than forbidding newly converted Christians from celebrating it, the Church renamed the day and over time reassigned meanings to the traditions, for example, the nativity scenes which were originally made to honor the birth of Saturn where now referenced to worship Jesus.
All Hallows Day was originally celebrated in the spring, but with the Celtic Holiday of Samhain being celebrated October 31, a move was made to place All Hallows Day on November 1. Thus October 31 became known as All Hallows Eve, eventually, Halloween. Indeed Samhain was a pagan holiday, one where people dressed up and reversed roles. They pulled pranks and partied with the people who had died during the year. Pagans were not afraid of their dead as many of us are today. Rather these spirits were welcomed. It is not true that masks were worn to ward off the dead. It is also entirely untrue that sacrifices to the Devil were made by Pagans on this day. The Devil is a Christian belief, Pagans did not worship the Devil. Some Christians do not view Halloween as a Christian Holiday, which, of course, it is not, but then (as we have learned) nor are Easter or Christmas).
Halos were used on images of Pagan Gods and Goddesses, long before Christianity arose. The halo symbol is a clear reference to the Sun.
The Baptism of infants was practiced in the ancient Greek mystery religions long before John the Baptist did it. In fact the use of water for ritualistic purification was mentioned by Homer, a poet. Some 800 years before Christ, he wrote “The Iliad”, an epic poem. In it he mentions the purification of an entire army with water (Iliad 1. 313).
Very likely you, the reader, are either saying to yourself that this is untrue, it contradicts with everything you have been told, or you are wondering “why”. To answer the question “Why?” we have to realize that hundreds of years ago Christianity was a new religion, in its efforts to gain converts they had to give people incentive to follow their religion rather than anything that had come before, and indeed many had come before. In fact you will find many religions also had virgin birth stories, miracle, and “Son of God”, legends associated with them too.
Undoubtedly Christianity borrowed from Paganism, Mirthaism, and a handful of other mystery religions of the time.
To get people to convert, Christian leaders had to make it easy for the people to keep their traditions, they just incorporated them into the Christian myth, and over time some people forgot the real meaning of things. But not everyone did forget, due to a push by the Puritans, Christmas was banned in Massachusetts for 22 years because of its pagan origins.
Photo by Author.
Ever wonder why Christians are referred to as “The Flock”? Perhaps it is because they are easily led to believe in groups, things that an intelligent individual, with the correct information, would put question to. Such is the behavior of sheep. If this link contradicts every thing you have been told it simply means you have not done your own research into the truth, and are blindly following what your Shepherd has been telling you.
For further reading consider the book The Pagan Christ by Tom Harper, himself a Christian, who has traced Christianities roots to the use of a Pagan God, and Pagan legends and beliefs, to create the figure Christians worship as Jesus. http://www.tomharpur.com/books/books_thepaganchrist.asp
http://www.pocm.info/ Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth