Coca-Cola did not create the legend of Santa Claus & it wasn't until around 350 AD that Roman Pope Julius I officially declared December 25th the birthday of Christ & what's up with Christmas if your multicultural & non-Christian?
The Very Non-Christian History of Santa & Christmas
Did Coke create Santa Claus?
Coca-Cola did not create the legend of Santa Claus, but Coca-Cola advertising did play a big role in shaping the jolly character we know today. It all started in 1931, when Coca-Cola commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to paint Santa for Christmas advertisements.
Is Christmas 'Pagan' and are there alternative traditions to Christmas?
Paganism is a religion.
The only thing that distinguishes Paganism from Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Shintoism or Judaism is the number of people that have signed up for the newsletter.
Christmas is a holiday that has evolved due the passage of time and the influence of various cultures as the idea of Christmas has entered their lives.
Each of those cultures has enriched the holiday, giving us more traditions with which to celebrate it.
People have, for thousands of years, celebrated astronomical markers that help them regulate things in their lives, like agriculture.
The solstices and equinoxes helped people know when to plant their seeds and harvest their crops.
The winter solstice marks the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night.
To quote a 'Pagan' called Doctor Who;
“On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs, as if to say, well done. Well done, everyone. We’re halfway out of the dark. Back on Earth, we called this Christmas, or the Winter Solstice.”
If we travelled to the ancient world, we would find some kind of celebration at that time of the year, in many places, each at first independent of the others.
For the ancient Romans, that holiday was called Saturnalia, named for the god Saturn.
Saturnalia was celebrated by feasts, the giving of gifts, and a brief sense of equality through role-reversal as the masters tended to the servants.
The ancient historian, Livy, tells us that Saturnalia began in 497 BC.
Modern historians believe it probably started earlier than that.
So, at least half a millennia after the origin of Saturnalia, Jesus Christ was born.
His birth was not initially a holiday, because birthdays were not then celebrated in Jewish culture.
It would be a few centuries until early church leaders decided it was a day to put on the calendar and commemorate.
It would also be a few centuries until they decided to pick a day for that celebration, because the gospels do not tell us on what day he was born.
On December 25th, 274 AD, the Emperor Aurelian consecrated the temple of Sol Invictus, creating a holiday called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti – the birthday of the Sun – officially elevating the Sun to the highest position among the gods.
Around 350 AD, Pope Julius I officially declared December 25th to mark the birth of Christ.
There was no evidence that was the actual day of birth, to the contrary, the gospel of Luke, says:
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”
Shepherds watch their flock by night during lambing season, which is the spring.
But there’s no rule that says a day of celebration has to coincide with the actual date of origin.
So, in Rome in the fourth century, there were three big holidays being celebrated on December 25th – Saturnalia, Dies Natalis Sol Invictus, and the Dies Natalis of the Christ.
It’s only natural that elements from these celebrations would cross-pollinate each other, especially when they fit so well – for example, the gift giving of Saturnalia could be adopted by Christians as symbolic of their God giving his only son to them as a gift on that day.
As Rome faded and Christianity grew, the people that celebrated those holidays would take their traditions to new areas.
As those early Christians moved into Northern Europe and introduced Christmas to the native Germanic peoples, the practices of Christmas were influenced by the practices of those peoples for their winter solstice holidays.
Over time, traditions like the Yule log, mistletoe, tree decorating, and evergreen wreaths were absorbed and became thought of as Christmas traditions.
The Saxons, the Vikings, the Victorians, and the capitalists have all added traditions to the rich tapestry of the holiday we all call Christmas.
As for Coke - When it's Christmas day down on Port Macquarie's Town Beach, 40c in the shade, and you pull a ice cold one out of the Xmas red & white Esky, you might be inclined to think that maybe Coke did invent Santa - and perhaps Christmas as well ! It's the real thing - right !