Date, custom of the birthday
As mentioned in a previous column, we do have the Roman empire to thank, if you will, for assisting in creating and perpetuating some of our beliefs. The Romans celebrated the return of the sun god to Earth. As a matter of fact, for several hundred years, early Christians, members of the “way,” did not even celebrate the birth. The spread of Christianity was logistically aided due to the orders of the emperor Constantine. It was in the year 337 that reference was made to the birth of Christ and the date selected was Dec. 25. This was quite agreeable to early Christian leaders who were more than aware that pagan celebrations occurred at the same time, so “switching” or substituting holidays was almost natural. Celebrations at and around Dec. 25 were also existent in other cultures, including those who observed the winter solstice.