The December 25th birthday of the sun god is a common motif globally, dating back at least 12,000 years as reflected in winter solstices artfully recorded in caves.
"Nearly all nations," says Doane, commemorated the birth of the god Sol to the "Queen of Heaven" and "Celestial Virgin."
The winter solstice was celebrated in countless places, including China and Persia, the latter regarding the solar Lord and Savior Mithra's birth.
In Rome, a great festival called "Saturnalia" was celebrated from December 1st to the 23rd. The winter solstice festival in Egypt included the babe in a manger brought out of the sanctuary.
Regarding the date of the "Christmas Feast," the Catholic Encyclopedia ("Christmas") remarks:
The well-known solar feast... of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date....
The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in Cypr., "De pasch. Comp.", xix,
"...O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born... Christ should be born."
In the fourth century, Chrysostom, "del Solst. Et Æquin." (II, p. 118, ed. 1588), says:
"...But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December... the eight before the calends of January [25 December]... But they call it the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord...? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice."
Already Tertullian (Apol., 16; cf. Ad. Nat., I, 13; Orig. c. Cels., VIII, 67, etc) had to assert that Sol was not the Christians' God; Augustine (Tract xxxiv, in Joan. In P. L., XXXV, 1652) denounces the heretical identification of Christ with Sol.
Pope Leo I (Serm. xxxvii in nat. dom., VII, 4; xxii, II, 6 in P. L., LIV, 218 and 198) bitterly reproves solar survivals - Christians, on the very doorstep of the Apostles' basilica, turn to adore the rising sun.
Ancient Greeks celebrated the birthday of Hercules and Dionysus on this date, as the ancient authority Macrobius (c. 400 AD/CE) maintained.
Even the Greek father god, Zeus, was supposedly born at the winter solstice. The "Christmas" festival was celebrated at Athens and was called "the Lenaea," during which time, apparently,
"the death and rebirth of the harvest infant Dionysus were similarly dramatized."
This Lenaea festival ("festival of the wild women" or menaeds) is depicted in an Aurignacian cave-painting in Spain, with a,
"young Dionysus with huge genitals," standing naked in the middle of "nine dancing women."
The Aurignacian period extended from 34,000 to 23,000 years ago.
In The White Goddess mythologist Robert Graves states:
The most ancient surviving record of European religious practices is an Aurignacian cave-painting at Cogul in North-Eastern Spain of the Old Stone Age Lenaea.
Cave painting at Roca dels Moros at El Cogul, Lerida
A young Dionysus with huge genitals stands un-armed, alone and exhausted in the middle of a crescent of nine dancing women, who face him.
He is naked, except for what appear to be a pair of close-fitting boots laced at the knee; they are fully clothed and wear small cone-shaped hats. These wild women, differentiated by their figures and details of their dress, grow progressively older as one looks clock-wise around the crescent...
By using the term "Dionysus," Graves is not stating that it was written on the walls of the cave. He is using it to describe an archetype that is very ancient.
The Greco-Syrian sun god Adonis - the "Adonai" of the Bible - was also born on December 25th, a festival,
"spoken of by Tertullian, Jerome, and other Fathers of the Church, who inform us that the ceremonies took place in a cave, and that the cave in which they celebrated his mysteries in Bethlehem, was that in which Christ Jesus was born."
Nor is the winter solstice celebration a purely "Pagan" concept, as the Jews also observed it in reference to the birth of their god, Yahweh.
The "Feast of Illumination,"
"Feast of Lights" or "feast of the Dedication," occurred in winter (John 10:22-23; Josephus's Antiquities XII, 7.7)¹ and represented the "ancient Hebrew Winter Solstice Feast."
The reference in the gospel of John states:
"It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; it was winter..."
The passage in Josephus's Antiquities (XII, 7.7) refers to the eight-day festival celebrated by the Jewish hero Judas Maccabeus (190 BCE-160 BCE), the "festival of the restoration off the sacrifices of the temple."
This 8-day festival is called by Josephus simply "Lights," as in the "festival of Lights." Known as "Hannukah," this "feast of Lights" represents a "restoration" of the ancient temple sacrifices.
Regarding this Hannukah feast, in The White Goddess (469), Graves further says:
The rabbinical account is that this eight-day festival which begins on the twenty-fifth day of the month Kislev, was instituted by Judas Maccabeus and that it celebrates a miracle: at the Maccabean consecration of the Temple a small cruse of sacred oil was found, hidden by a former High Priest, which lasted for eight days.
By this legend the authors of the Talmud hoped to conceal the antiquity of the feast, which was originally Jehovah's birthday as the Sun-god and had been celebrated at least as early as the time of Nehemiah.
(Maccabees, I, 18)
The citation in Graves concerning the antiquity of this feast should be 2 Maccabees 1:18, which states:
Since on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev we shall celebrate the purification of the temple, we thought it necessary to notify you, in order that you also may celebrate the feast of booths and the feast of the fire given when Nehemiah, who built the temple and the altar, offered sacrifices.
The biblical figure Nehemiah is reputed to have lived during the fifth century (fl. 430 BCE), and 25th of the month of Kislev (November/December) is indeed the time of the celebration called Hannukah/Chanukah.
As 2 Maccabees recounts, during this earlier sacrifice by Nehemiah, the Persians to whom he had sent for the sacred fire had only given him a "thick liquid" (oil?). After the liquid was sprinkled on the wood, the sun - previously hidden by clouds - beamed brightly, causing a great fire to blaze up, "so that all marveled."
At this point, the priests offered fervent prayers to the Lord God.
From the account in the biblical book of Ezekiel concerning the Temple priests holding secret rites - sacrilegious in Ezekiel's opinion - we know that there is an esoteric tradition within Judaism that is not made known to the masses.
Graves is apparently suggesting that this esoteric tradition included the knowledge of Jehovah/Yahweh as a sun god - as asserted and demonstrated by numerous authorities and researchers - and that, as a sun god, he too was typically considered as born on the winter solstice. It would appear, therefore, that this "festival of Lights" and "feast of the dedication" was a winter-solstice celebration based on the solar aspect either of the old Israelite gods or elohim, as they are repeatedly termed in the Old Testament, or of the Jewish tribal god Yahweh.
(These inferences make for further studies by interested parties. The solar attributes of the main Jewish god Yahweh are brought out in detail in The Christ Conspiracy and Suns of God.)
In addition, Indians for millennia have celebrated the winter solstice, as a cardinal point, the new year and, presumably, the birth of the sun god. In the Indian solstice celebration - a "great religious festival" - there is "rejoicing everywhere."
As in the West, the Indians,
"decorate their houses with garlands, and make presents to friends and relatives," a "custom of very great antiquity."
One way the Brahman priests of Orissa have celebrated the solstice is by carrying images of,
"the youthful Krishna to the houses of their disciples and their patrons, to whom they present some of the red powder and tar of roses, and receive presents of money and cloth in return."
Thus, in India the winter solstice has been as much a major holiday as it was anywhere, which is to be expected in a land permeated with sun worship for millennia.
Regarding the Persian sun god Mithra and his sacrifice, in the 19th century respected christian author Rev. J.P. Lundy remarked:
"For let it be borne in mind that it was precisely at the season of this sacrifice, near the beginning of the new year, that the birth of Mithra was celebrated over all Persia and the world, in temple-caves, on the night of the 24th of December, the night of light.
Even the British Druids celebrated it, and called the next day, the 25th of December, Nollagh or Noel, the day of regeneration, celebrating it with great fires on tops of their mountains.
In fact, all nations, as if by common consent, at the first moment after midnight of the 24th of December, celebrated the birth of the sun-god, type among the Gentiles of Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, as the Desire of all nations and the Savior of the world."
Lundy was thus well aware of the sun gods, whom he deemed "types of Christ," indicating Christ's solar nature as well.
Concerning the winter solstice festival in Ireland, the author of christian Mythology Unveiled relates:
"The Baal-fire feast, or meeting, was a great festival in Ireland, on the 25th of December, and midsummer eve. Baal, or Bel, was a name of the sun all over the east."
It is important to note that the "December 25th" birth-date only applies to the age and hemisphere in which the winter solstice falls on December 21-24. In other ages, the solstice month is different, changing with the precession of the equinoxes every 2150 years.
The December 25th birth-date is that of the sun, not a "real person," revealing its unoriginality within christianity and the true nature of the christian godman. "Christmas" was not incorporated into christianity until 354 AD/CE.
In reality, there is no evidence, no primary sources which show that "Jesus is the reason for the season."