The ancient Romans were pagan religion for the first 300 years of existence of Christianity. In fact, Christianity has assumed various pagan festivals, especially when the dates of some Christian holidays where the same..
“Io Saturnalia!” Two thousand years ago this was the greeting use it in particular to the place of our modern “Merry Christmas.”
Almost all aspects of the feast of Christmas have roots in the tradition Ancient Roman and pagan religion. It is likely that the first Christmas celebrations were then in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice (the return of the sun) and in onor of Saturn, considered by the Roman god of agriculture.
The Saturnalia was a time of parties and a lot of noise, and not good for Christianity, it was still the minority. Many historians argue that Christmas is later developed a painless way to replace the worship of the sun with the worship of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
But only after 529 A.D. Emperor Justinian made Christmas a public holiday.
The Christian religion comes from illegality many years before, when April 30 and 311 AD, in Nicomedia, also in the name of Constantine and Licinius, Galerius published an edict by which it grants to the Christians freedom of worship and the rebuilding of churches. In 391-392, new decrees (“Theodosian decrees“) soured prohibitions to the pagan cults and their members. Such acts were defined by some persecution of Paganism.
The edict of Constantine, also called rescript so strongly influenced by that of Galerius, opened the doors of a new historical era that gradually is getting stronger until in 380 AD Emperor Theodosius, with the Edict of Thessalonica, proclaimed Christianity the state religion, and recognized the two episcopal sees of Rome and Alexandria primacy in matters theological.
DECEMBER 21st is the “Winter Solstice”
Between music, words and images, the evocation of ancient symbols forgotten.
Pagan Saturnalia by the Christian Christmas.
Readings from texts pagan and Christian, music from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance Choir Johannes Ockeghem, Director Maestro Roberto Ciafrei,
speakers Adelaide Secure and Roberto Ciafrei, readings of texts Giancarla Goracci Sunday, December 21, 2014
Days when people follow a script, somewhat similar to each different family, and each family has its own internal customs which eventually form a field of movement – of gestures and words – which crystallizes, which is perceived by the younger generation and, usually, will be reproduced uncritically, or with some tip reference creed to justify a better way, literally, an evolution of the ritual itself.
In relation to the pagan roots of our Christmas, the meeting today takes the opportunity for an introduction that will examine the most important holiday of the pagan Roman calendar, ie the Saturnalia, days spent in December, to the god Saturn, ancient gods in exile in Lazio, which will bring the Golden Age to the people who will welcome him, to which, as a god sator, will leave the legacy of agriculture and productivity, symbolized by its attribute represented by the sickle.
These are days when you observe the astronomical phenomenon of the Winter Solstice, at the time when mankind was afraid of the cosmic dark and exorcised it with the expectation of Sunlight, through the use of light candles in the longest night of the year. The return of the Sun was a symbolic return of the god Saturn but also the birth of Sol Invictus cult of Mithras.
We will cover the birth of the festival with their rituals associated with it, that will create a cult very rooted in the Roman world until the late ancient age, at which time the overlap Christian will tend to a deliberate coincidence both and above all in terms of the calendar, a coincidence of rituals and traditions that still remain unchanged.