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27-Nov-2017 20:55

In 1725 Henry Bourne, a Newcastle clergyman, commented that many people in the North of England lit huge 'Christmas candles' on Christmas Eve.[...] The Scots and] the Irish were also fond of them.Sun worshippers and nature religions held major celebrations at the Winter Solstice the victory of the strength of the Sun over the forces of darkness that try to suppress it. was the pagan sun- worship, Mithraism" JQPU_Content="Roman mystery religion that believed that the Son of the Sun was a saviour who was sacrificed for the good of all About Mithraism" href=" . In these solemnities and festivities the Christians also took part." Practically all the known Sun-deities were born on the 25th December. Therein we also read of the Scandinavian goddess Frigga in whose honour a "Mother-night" festival was held at the winter solstice ( - 25 December), as well as a similar great feast of Yule, where a boar was offered at the winter solstice in honour of Frey.Osiris-Dionysus represented and was represented by the sun, as was Jesus, whom the Church father Clement of Alexander calls 'The Sun of Righteousness'Sir James Frazer says, "The largest pagan religious cult which fostered the celebration of December 25 as a holiday . What the Scots did emphasize, in common with many of the English, was light.The festivities are largely led by commerce and retail outlets: The relevant decorations, cards, food and goods are all marketed for Christmas, and it is the High Streets that press Christmas upon the populace way before the populace itself is ready.It is a frequent complaint that stores start Christmas "too early" and too aggressively.Christmas is the celebration of the time when the days start to lengthen, which in the Northern Hemisphere, is in the middle of winter.

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A sensible and modern refrain is that Christmas is simply a secular midwinter holiday season; it is important to all families as one of the three holiday seasons in between children's school terms.

The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1908 states that "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church.