December 25th, the “Birthday of the Sun”

Posted: December 21, 2014 in Articles
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Science time! Not really. We all know that days get shorter and longer throughout the year, and that that is due to the earth’s axial tilt. At the spring and autumnal equinox, all places get sunlight for an equal amount of time. Their nights are 12 hours, and their days are 12 hours also. The spring and autumnal equinoxes are March 20 (or 21, depending on the year) and September 22 or 23, respectively.

The axial tilt is also responsible for seasons, and the fact that the seasons are reversed depending on what hemisphere you are in. For the Southern Hemisphere, their summer happens during our winter and their winter during our summer, etc. But at least for the Northern Hemisphere, after the spring equinox, the days keep getting longer until June 21 or 22, when we have days that are over 12 hours long. At the same time, the Southern Hemisphere has days less than 12 hours long. But after June 21/22, the days for the Northern Hemisphere get shorter and shorter, until they have days shorter than 12 hours, on December 21/22.

End of science time. The pagans in the Northern Hemisphere who worshiped the sun noticed that the days did get shorter and longer throughout the year, and they knew that in the early 20’s of December, the days started getting longer again. Because of this fact, the pagans called it the “birthday of the sun.” They actually thought the sun was “reborn” on that day, because the duration of its light had been less and less, and suddenly started increasing. By the time the length of the day was definitely noticeable, unfortunately, it was December 25th. Anything familiar about that date?

That’s right. It’s Christmas! So how did it come to be what it is now? Well, when Christians came to the pagans’ land, they wanted to make the “birthday of the sun” a bit more related to Christianity, so they changed the name of the holiday to the Birthday of the Son. So even though people are almost positive that Jesus was born in April, we celebrate the Birthday of the Son on December 25th.

‘Tis the season!

  1. Jeff says:

    I lean more toward late September, early October. Around the time of Yom Kippur.

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