Christmas day and the pagan "Sol Invictus"

(Jon) #141

But you have made the “3 day pause” the crucial issue, specifically to try and get to December 25.

But you haven’t provided evidence that there was any pagan festival on December 25.

But you still haven’t shown this.

(George Brooks) #142


It’s past 1 am and all you are doing is repeating yourself… and making me repeat myself.

See ya.


Yes, there was sun symbolism. Where does that get you?

You can say could-a and might-a as much as you want. But the one thing Hijmans does not say is that the Pagans never had any interest in December 25.

Who cares? That’s extraneous to my argument. December 25th in Christmas doesn’t come from pagans. Hijmans never disagrees with that.

I know the point of Hijmans article. I’ve read it.

Furthermore… we haven’t even begun to discuss the ancient Pagan cultures whose astronomy and mythology was well established even before the rise of Alexander the Great.

I simply don’t care about that right now. Christmas doesn’t come from a pagan date. The pagan date probably came from Christmas!


@gbrooks9 @Korvexius

Here are the sunrise azimuth numbers for Jerusalem for a longer period of time. They don’t match my previous numbers exactly because I didn’t write down the lat/long I used the last time. The azimuth becomes larger (more southerly) until the solstice when it begins to become smaller (more northerly). Notice the daily change in the sunrise azimuth. They are in the hundredths of a degree. The question is how large of a change is needed before a human would notice a change and decide the sun is returning. That is totally subjective. Could be 3 days, could be 6. Comparing the change to the angular diameter of the sun, 0.5 degrees, I would say 6 days would result in a noticeable change. Clear as mud now?

Sorry, don’t know how to get a table into this post.

Date Sunrise Az
18 Tue 117.23
19 Wed 117.26
20 Thu 117.28
21 Fri 117.29 Change from solstice
22 Sat 117.29 0
23 Sun 117.28 0.01
24 Mon 117.27 0.02
25 Tue 117.24 0.05
26 Wed 117.21 0.08
27 Thu 117.16 0.13
28 Fri 117.11 0.18
29 Sat 117.04 0.25
30 Sun 116.97 0.32


It looks like these numbers show continuous change that has no significance with a December 25th date in particular.


The significance would be how long after the solstice would it take for someone to notice that the sunrise is now moving more towards the north. But I don’t think it was the changing sunrise that people noticed. It was the length of day. But it likewise changes slowly at this time of year and without accurate clocks you have the same problem of how long did it take someone to notice.


Possibilities are possibilities. The ancients of course did not even have a solidified understanding of the winter solstice as being on the 22nd. Some accounts place it on the 20th. So we can have little confidence if any arguing for a connection here between the birth on 25th, which has no speciality among the rates of days, and the solstice.


It is hard to talk about the solstice as being on the 22nd when the calendar that defines the 22nd wasn’t even in existence. It is more accurate to say “3 solar days after the observed solstice” The ancients did observe the solstice and where aware of the changes in the sun’s position at this time of the year. Stonehenge appears to function as a way to determine the day of the solstice for example.

Once the calendar was in place and adjusted to stay in sync with the earth’s rotation around the sun you then get into the fact that the solstice could be on the 20, 21, 22, or 23 depending on the year. Of course the calendar wasn’t this accurate until the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century.

I read somewhere that the Hebrew lunar calendar was kept in sync with the moon by observing the day of the full moon. Problem being that there can be two days for which the moon appears to be full. This was solved by requiring two people to make the observation and agree with each other. Then when the Jews were spread out from Israel you had the problem of observations at different locations might pick different days. Which is the point at which my memory plays out so I don’t know how they solved that issue.


The current calendar has obvious equivalents in the ancient calendrical dates. An ancient Egyptian calendar can be translated into a modern calendar. So the ancient calendars had equivalents to December 20th.

The Gregorian Calendar wasn’t a huge change from the Julian Calendar (I think). The Stonehenge relation to astronomy is a bit outdated. It’s probably some kind of burial site.


I’ve also now written an article explaining the origins of the December 25th date.


The ancient calendars were lunar calendars that don’t stay in sync with the modern calendar or even the seasons. So any equivalent date would be highly variable.

The initial reason for Stonehenge may well have been for burial but there are stones that line up with the solstice sunset. Hard to believe that was accidental.


The initial reason for Stonehenge may well have been for burial but there are stones that line up with the solstice sunset. Hard to believe that was accidental.

I simply don’t think that they do align with the solstice at all. It seems to be pretty random. The claim is pure speculation. The only conclusion that can be made on verifiable evidence is that there was a burial function.

The ancient calendars can line up with ours. Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, for example, is our April.


I was working off my memory of reading Gerald Hawkins’ Stonehenge Decoded in which I will admit he did go a little overboard. I seem to remember the book had a very impressive picture of a solstice sunset as seen through Stonehenge.

From Wikipedia:

And from Wikipedia for Newgrange:

A lunar calendar can occasionally line up with ours. The Gregorian calendar months always start on same point in the earth’s orbit around the sun. A lunar calendar begins each month based on the phase of the moon. Nisan usually falls in March-April. Varies from year to year.


Alright. I’d like to see some recent scholarly quotations on the Stonehenge thing before going in.


A quick search on turned up a bunch.

Here is one abstract I found. Sorry but I don’t have access to the full paper.

Sims, L. (2006). The ‘Solarization’ of the Moon: Manipulated Knowledge at Stonehenge. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 16(2), 191-207. doi:10.1017/S0959774306000114

Recent archaeological research now views the northwest European Neolithic and Early Bronze Age as a period of separation from a resilient complex of traditions of Mesolithic and even Palaeolithic origin. Extending this insight to recent findings in archaeoastronomy, this article treats the sarsen monument at Stonehenge as one among a number of monuments with lunar–solar alignments which privileged night over day, winter over summer, dark moon over full. The aim of the monument builders was to juxtapose, replicate and reverse certain key horizon properties of the sun and the moon, apparently with the intention of investing the sun with the moon’s former religious significance. This model is consistent with both current archaeological interpretations of burial practices associated with the monument, and with recent anthropological modelling of hunter-gatherer cultural origins.

And another that is available online here.

N. Mörner and B. Lind, “Stonehenge Has Got a Younger Sister Ales Stones in Sweden Decoded,” International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 2 No. 1, 2012, pp. 23-27. doi: 10.4236/ijaa.2012.21004.

(George Brooks) #156


But that isn’t where you made your complete and undeniable error:
You said there was never any Pagan interest, anywhere, at any time, in December 25.

You even said that it was all made up by those who hated Christmas. And you were, of course, in error. I’ve got the quotes where you said it. I’ve got the quotes where I encouraged you to re-think your assertions. And I’ve got the quotes where you doubled-down to say that I was completely wrong about the pagan interest in December 25.

(George Brooks) #157


I’ve been off the list for a day or so… and I note with interest your posting on New Grange!

So, based on just this one sentence: "Once a year, at the Winter Solstice, the rising sun shines directly along the long passage, illuminating the inner chamber and revealing the carvings inside, notably the triple spiral on the front wall of the chamber."

So you have identified an astronomical furnishing, for an illiterate society, built around “3200 and 3100 BCE”, which predates Cheops and about was about 8 to 9 centuries before the collapse of the Sumerians, where the solar-related architecture was so precise, it was able to distinguish the exact day of the Winter Solstice, despite the very very tiny difference between the solstice and the day leading up to the Winter Solstice.

Very impressive! Nice work!

I guess it isn’t surprising that @Korvexius and @Jonathan_Burke have offered no comment or concession regarding your posting.

(Jon) #158

I haven’t offered any comment on it because it’s irrelevant to your already disproved claim.

(George Brooks) #159

It is relevant only in that the archaeological site shows the ancients were capable of distinguishing between the actual day of the Winter Solstice, and all the other days of the year, to include December 25, if they were so inclined.



Problem for you is this means they know the exact day of the solstice so anything that happened 3 days later would be meaningless. They would be able to see the change the day after the solstice and know the sun was returning to life. No pause.