Christmas now almost like a pagan festival
Brian McClinton (DebateNI, December 18) points out that Christmas was originally the Roman pagan festival of Saturnalia, which was "hijacked" by the early Christians.
Even the modern tradition of gift-giving comes from that festival, not from copying the Magi. Further, the candles also come from that tradition. Wikipedia states "Saturnalia is a festival of light...with the abundant presence of candles symbolising the quest for knowledge and truth".
Christmas is, in theory, a religious festival, but does this sound familiar: "...continual partying and a carnival atmosphere"? Yes, that was Saturnalia again.
The pagan connection continued into the later Roman Empire, when the renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus - the "Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun" - on December 25.
One might well argue that Christmas is now again a pagan festival, as the worship seems to be more of Mammon than of God.
Let those who can do so, enjoy it.
Newtownabbey, Co Antrim