- Liberty Group
Pagan Holidays Brief Overview
Updated: Jan 29
7 Pagan Holidays Adopted by Christianity
Paganism is an ancient religion that was prevalent in Rome before Christianity was adopted as the official Roman religion. Very different from Christianity, Pagans believed in multiple gods ruling over specific aspects of life. From these beliefs came Pagan holidays. Pagan holidays are days of celebrations that Pagans often dedicated to their many gods or to celebrate different walks of life among their followers.
You may be thinking, “What pagan holidays have Christians adopted that the Ancient Romans also celebrated? You might be surprised by some of the days on this list! Some of the most popular Pagan holidays include Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, the Roman version of Halloween, May 1st (Labor Day), Epiphany, and Saint John’s Eve.
Let’s look at the 7 most popular Pagan holidays adopted by Christianity worldwide:
Sol Invictus, sun god of the Roman Empire. While the Romans didn’t celebrate Christmas as we know it, they celebrated the birth of the sun god on December 25th.
We all know about Christmas and why it’s celebrated, so we think, right? The birth of Jesus Christ, the savior and the namesake of Christianity. That’s the Christian version of the holiday, but Christmas was celebrated as a Pagan holiday by the ancient Romans who practiced polytheism back in the 3rd century.
For Pagans, Christmas was a celebration of the sun god, Sol Invictus. In the late 3rd century, Roman emperor Aurelianus had a massive temple constructed to please Sol Invictus, and it was inaugurated on, you guessed it, December 25th. So as a Pagan holiday, Christmas is a celebration of the “birth” of the sun god Sol Invictus. These ancient Romans knew this day as Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, translating to the “birthday of the Unconquerable Sun”.
December 25th was believed to be the sun god’s birthday because of its proximity to the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice (December 21st) is the shortest day of the year, after which the days start to have more and more sunlight. For this reason, the ancient Romans believed that this is the time when the sun won its battle against the darkness, hence the name the "Unconquerable Sun."
With the Winter Solstice as the true focal point, the Pagan Holiday of Christmas was a week-long celebration, splitting up the Solstice by adding celebrations four days before and four days after. The Pagan celebration began on December 17th, leading up to the Solstice. After the "Unconquerable Sun" won its battle on the 21st, four days later, the celebration ended and culminated with jubilation and the exchanging of gifts on December 25th. Quite a bit different than what’s celebrated on Christmas these days. We merely slapped “Christianity” over paganism. More than likely, the true birth of Jesus Christ to place September 11th or there about.
New Year’s Day
Today we all celebrate New Year’s Day as the first day of the new year (shocking, we know). Everyone wants to celebrate the opportunity for the new year ahead and look back on the previous year, but Julius Caesar created the "Julian Calendar" in 46 BC, which established January 1st as New Year’s Day, good or bad. Though this holiday has been adopted by Christianity and most other religions and faiths, the celebration was not always on January 1st during the days of Ancient Rome. Looking back 2,000 years ago, we can see how this Pagan celebration used to be celebrated and how it’s been changed over the years.
The first day of the new year has not always been in January. This may seem a bit odd since we're used to January as the first month on our annual calendar, but that wasn’t always the case. During the time of Ancient Rome, Pagans celebrated the start of the new year in March. This is because the month of March was dedicated to the Roman god of war, Mars. In Ancient Roman mythology, Mars is Romulus’ heavenly father. Mythology has it that Romulus was the founder of Rome, therefore, Mars was held in high regard and so in honor to him, the new year began in March.
This didn’t change until 153 BC, when Roman consul Quintus Fulvius Nobilior was forced to move New Year’s Day to January 1st because of extenuating circumstances caused by war. This was not widely accepted through ancient Rome, and it wasn’t until Julius Caesar revealed his Julian Calendar in 46 BC that January 1st was officially established as New Year’s Day. The namesake of January, Janus, stems from the Latin word for “door.” As the god of doors, Janus was thought to represent new beginnings and new opportunities, so it made sense that the celebration of the first day of the new year would start with his month in celebration of the opening of the door to the new year. Throughout the adoption of Christianity in Ancient Rome, New Year’s Day remained on January 1st, and that tradition has survived for over two millennia.
One of the most popular holidays Easter is celebrated by Christians all over the world. Supposedly, this is the celebration of the day that Jesus rose from the dead. It is said to be one of the most important days of the Christian calendar but Christianity was not why this holiday was originally celebrated. The fact that it doesn’t fall on the same date every year goes back to its Pagan roots representing fertility and rebirth.
Today, Christians celebrate Easter with a combination of Lent followed by Holy Week culminating on Easter Sunday to commemorate the day that Jesus was resurrected. In Ancient Rome, Easter was celebrated for a different reason: it was based on the moon’s cycle as it falls on the first Sunday of spring following the new moon. Not only does it follow the moon’s cycle, Easter gets its name from "Eostre," the goddess of spring.
Even the seemingly innocuous Easter bunny and all the Easter Eggs we know and love have Pagan origins dating back to ancient societies. The eggs associated with Easter were originally associated with Eostre as symbols of rebirth and fertility. Easter was not always celebrated the same way it is today. Over the last couple thousand years, the true esoteric holiday has been transformed from its pagan origins covered up to what we see today as the version adopted by Christianity.
The Roman Version of Halloween
Halloween is a favorite holiday around the world for people of all ages. Kids trick or treating in creative costumes, adults dressing up and attending parties to have fun. It’s a great time for all, right? Except that the Halloween that most people know (October 31st) is not a Christian holiday at all, much less the way creepier version of Halloween from the days of Ancient Rome.
Halloween is actually “All Hallows; Eve,” named so because of November 1st, All Hallows’ Day (or All Saints Day). Another supposed Christian holiday that was created in memory of those "dearly departed" on November 2nd known as All Souls’ Day. This is nothing more than necromancy or prayers for or talking to the dead. During Halloween, almost nobody thinks of the Christian celebration of All Souls’ Day, but that’s the one that was adopted from Paganism.
Pagan practices in Ancient Rome, included multiple times throughout the year celebrating those who had died. For more than a week (February 13-22) they dedicated themselves to talking and praying to the dead. During these days, Romans would bring food to the graves of loved ones as an offering and even sit and eat lunch at the graves with their loved ones’ spirits. During certain luncheons, it was reported that tables and chairs would levitate.
The Romans believed that the dead needed access to the world of living from time to time. So they would open the gateway between the underworld and the world of the living so the dead could walk among them. This was done by way of human or animal sacrifice to open up portals allowing the dead to pass. If that sounds a bit creepy, that’s because it is.
May 1st — May Day
May Day might seem as a strange inclusion on a list of pagan holidays that became Christian, especially since it’s mostly celebrated as International Workers Day or Labour Day in the UK.
What does May Day have to do with religion? The May 1st holiday dates back to Ancient Rome, and the worship of the goddess of fertility and the element of fire, Maia. As you might have guessed from the name, Maia is the namesake of the month of May, just like Janus above is the namesake of January. According to Pagan beliefs, May 1st was a day dedicated to the goddess. These gods and goddesses were very important to the Ancient Romans, so the first days of the months were celebrated to honor them. May 1st was no exception.
When Christianity took over as Rome’s official religion, the celebration of May 1st was repurposed to make more sense with the new religion. Since Maia was seen as a motherly figure among the Roman gods and goddesses, Christians later adopted and transformed the holiday and the celebration of May 1st into a celebration of the most-motherly figure of Christianity, the Virgin Mary. Even though May 1st is no longer celebrated in Maia’s honor, the concept was adopted by Christians and used to honor their religion’s motherly figure.
Epiphany or Three Kings Day
Epiphany — or Three Kings Day — is a well-known holiday among Christians today, and the Ancient Romans celebrated on January 6th every year. For those who don’t know what the Epiphany is, it’s essentially a celebration of the day the three Magi Kings visited baby Jesus after he was born; in other parts of the world, it is also recognized as the day that Jesus was baptized. In Italian culture especially, Epiphany is one of the most important days of the year.
In Italy, the Epiphany is held in the highest regard and is seen as the most important day of the holiday season, even more important than Christmas.
In Italian culture, most families do not exchange gifts on Christmas like many other parts of the world, but instead, they wait until January 6th to give gifts. This is because that is when it is believed that Befana — a witch — rides around on her broom and gives gifts to the good children and coal to the naughty ones. Pagan origins of the holiday do not have anything to do with a witch flying over the country and handing out gifts or coal, but it was still important to the Ancient Romans.
To the Romans, January 6th was celebrated following the twelve nights after the Winter Solstice. During this time, it was believed that the Roman moon goddess Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt was accompanied by the personifications of satiety and abundance.
Supposedly, these deities would fly over the fields and make them fertile for the year ahead. They believed that the year ahead was the personification of an old lady who would use her last breath to give food and seeds to Italy’s people to provide for them throughout the year. This is where the legend of Befana came from for Italian children, which is, of course, very similar to the legend of Santa Claus.
Saint John’s Eve
Although St. John’s Eve may be less known even among Christians in the modern world, it’s one of Christianity’s oldest holidays, celebrated since the 4th century or before. This ancient Christian tradition is celebrated every year on June 24th to commemorate the life of Saint John the Baptist. One of the most famous saints of all time, John the Baptist, can be found worldwide in artwork, universities, and even as the namesake of many grade schools.
What is strange about this holiday is that it is the only holiday that celebrates a saint’s birthday rather than the date of his death. The only one. His day is important in Christianity because of the similarities between the date and the date of Christmas. John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin, so Saint John’s Eve’s importance is even more prevalent.
Just as Christmas is celebrated following the sun’s rebirth after the Winter Solstice, Saint John’s Eve is used to mark the lessening of the sun following the Summer Solstice. In Ancient Rome, however, Saint John’s Eve was not celebrated as the birthdate of John the Baptist, and the Pagan origins of June 24th are vastly different from the Christian version.
The museum in Palestrina, Italy is built on the foundations of an ancient Roman temple to Fortuna.
In Ancient Rome, June 24th was actually celebrated as a day dedicated to the Roman goddess of luck, Fortuna. This day was used as a way for Romans to do everything they could to please Fortuna, hoping that she would bestow good fortune upon them. However, Fortuna was rarely pleased so, most Romans are said to never have received the good luck that they so desperately hoped for.
Prayers Against Witchcraft
Heavenly Father, in the name of your son Jesus, I bind and break all witchcraft, curses, spells, and all powers associated with it. Through the blood of the Lamb, I destroy the works of every witch, warlock, wizard, sorcerer, and all other powers of darkness.
Through the blood of Jesus, I break their powers including the influences of witchcraft, evil powers, spells, hexes, vexes, voodoo, hoodoo, roots, potions, or any such things off me, my family, and all future generations. Christ has redeemed me and my family from the curse of the law that I may receive the blessings of Abraham.
Through the blood of Jesus Christ, I also rebuke, bind up and destroy all the spirit-guides, helps, and shields of these workers of evil, and leave them without any strengths – stripped of their evil powers and influence, in the name of Jesus.
Thank you Father for delivering me.
Prayer for Those Involved in Witchcraft
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I come against every spirit that is not the spirit of God. I bind the strongman in the name of Jesus.
I come through the blood of the Lord Jesus and in the name of Jesus. I paralyze you and silence you, forbidding you from influencing or strengthening [them or name the witch or witches if known] in the name of Jesus, right now!
We are destroying your very works: the spirits of hate, bitterness and murder, spirits of wizardry, sorcery and all your co-spirits, your works, your powers, all your influences are destroyed in the name of Jesus!
In the mighty name of Jesus, I paralyze you all right now. You will not be able to use this soul any longer against [a church and/or a particular person].
I come against the spirit of blindness, binding the spirits of bondage and heaviness, fear and hate and break your power in the name of Jesus.
I pray, Lord, that You will open their eyes so they can see the glory of Jesus. Open their hearts so that they can hear Your voice. Break the yokes in their lives and give them liberty in their souls, that they may be free to repent. Show them every evil work and every evil deed they are guilty of, and Lord Jesus, convict their hearts unto repentance. Bring these souls out of darkness; save these souls so that You may have the glory.
Satan and all demons, I silence you in the name of Jesus, binding all your interference. You will not interfere with these souls, and they will have their own free will choice so as to make up their own minds if they want to repent. They will do it without your interference.
Also, Lord, I pray that you will release warring angels to wage war against these demonic activities, and send ministering spirits to minister to their souls, in Jesus’ name.
Thank you and praise you God for delivering me.
Faith Exercising Prayer Over Witchcraft
Heavenly Father, I have repented of any and all sin in my life and in the life of my ancestors that have resulted in a curse especially in the areas of witchcraft, idolatry or any occult involvement. I renounce all the works of idolatry, witchcraft and the works of the occult in the name of Jesus.
I have received your forgiveness and cleansing through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every day I take authority over and break any and every curse upon my life in the name of Jesus. I exercise my faith in the blood of Jesus and loose myself and my descendants from any and every curse. I claim my deliverance and freedom right now in Jesus’ name.
Therefore, I confess that Abraham’s blessings are mine. I am not cursed but blessed. I am the head and not the tail, above and not beneath; I am blessed coming in and blessed going out. I am blessed, my family and future generations are blessed and what God has blessed cannot be cursed.
Every shackle, cord, habit, chain and cycle is broken that has been a result of the curse of witchcraft, in the name of Jesus.
Thank you Heavenly Father for delivering me.
Prayer from “Exposing Spiritual Witchcraft” [by Jonas Clark]
Heavenly Father, thank You for the authority to battle against the attack of controlling powers of witchcraft, in the precious name of the Jesus. I bind every negative, unscriptural word against my life. I break the power of confusion, torment, fear, control and manipulation. I take captive every vain imagination and high thought that is contrary to the word of God in my life in the name of Jesus.
I submit my will, thoughts and life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and apply the blood of Jesus over my mind, commanding stability and order to prevail in my soul.
I break the power of witchcraft’s deception, seduction, sorcery and intimidation, knowing that at the name of Jesus every knee must bow.
I decree freedom from dark powers, Jezebel, false teachers, false prophetic words, controllers, manipulators, sorcerers, witches, counterfeits, soul ties, spiritual folly, soothsayers, lying spirits, lying dreams and visions.
I repent of sin, both known and unknown, and submit myself thoroughly to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and his word.
I clothe myself with God’s armour and take up the weapons of my warfare that are not carnal, but mighty in the pulling down of strongholds.
I dedicate myself to the will of Jesus Christ alone for my life.
I repent of rebellion, pride, arrogance, spiritualism, control, manipulation, vain desires, and forsaking fellowship.
In the precious name of Jesus, I renounce wrong associations, carrying witchcraft’s message, false motives and hidden agendas.
Lord, Your Word says: “If I confess my sins You are faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and cleanse me of all unrighteousness.”
Thank you Jesus that You said You would never leave me nor forsake me, even to the end of the age.
Witchcraft/In the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior,
I bind all principalities, powers of the air, wickedness in high places, thrones, dominions, world rulers, and strong men exerting influence over [insert name], and I forbid them to operate against him/her/them, or against the one praying this prayer.
In the name of Jesus, I bind and break witchcraft, witchcraft control, mind-binding spirits, spirits that block and/or bind the will, mind control, destruction, lust, fantasy lust, perversion, intimidation, rebellion, rejection, schizophrenia, paranoia, anger, hatred, wrath and rage, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, slander, unteachableness, deception, doubt, unbelief, passivity, pride and false humility.
In the name of Jesus, I bind and break the spirits of Ahab and Jezebel, fear, hypnosis and hypnotic trance, rock music, greed, addiction, drugs, alcohol, and all compulsive behaviors.
(Pause and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any other spirits which should be named.)
In the name of Jesus, I bind kings, princes, and world rulers for each spirit named. I strip each spirit, and his hierarchy, of power, armor and rank, and separate each from the other. I speak confusion to the ranks of the enemy, and declare their assignments against [insert name] are hereby rendered null and void.
In the name of Jesus, I bind and break all evil affecting the sense of sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing; all evil against the emotions; and all evil against the seven points of body used by witchcraft—the base of the spine, spleen, navel, heart, throat, between the eyes, and top of the head.
In the name of Jesus, I bind and break all evil on the systems of the body—reproductive, skeletal, muscular, digestive, excretory, endocrine, respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems.
In the name of Jesus, I bind and break any and all evil powers giving aid or pulling these systems in our bodies toward evil, by means of energy drawn from the sun, moon, stars, planets, constellations, earth, air, wind, fire, water, light, darkness, matter, elements, or from lines, squares, circles, symbols, artifacts and/or potions against us.
In the name of Jesus, I bind and break any transference of spirits in family, friends, or associates of [insert names of the people whom you forbid transference of spirits—those that would curse you or others in this way]. With the sword of the Holy Spirit, I sever all evil soul ties between these negative persons and [insert names of those you wish to protect]. I declare that the blood of Jesus covers [insert name]’s mind, emotions, and will, preventing these soul ties from ever being re-established.
In the name of Jesus, every spirit in this prayer is bound off each person prayed for, as well as for the person uttering this prayer. This prayer is also in effect for every person with whom those praying and those prayed for have contact.
In the name of Jesus, spirits from the netherworld, spirits between, over and around those praying and those prayed for, and all familiar spirits are completely bound and forbidden to manifest—in the name of Jesus.
In the name of Jesus, I bind and break the power of all curses spoken, all rituals or sacrifices committed, all divination, spells, incantations, meditations, and all sorcery or magic.
I release and call upon:
The Spirit of the Lord The Spirit of Wisdom The Spirit of Understanding The Spirit of Counsel The Spirit of Might The Spirit of Knowledge The Spirit of Mercy The Spirit of Grace The Spirit of Peace (Isaiah 11:2)
I call for the fear of the Lord upon the persons praying this prayer and the persons being prayed for.
In the name of Jesus, I place Shields of Faith over the minds of those persons to protect against infiltration from end-time mind control.
Thank you Father, that no weapon the enemy forms against us shall prosper because we are covered by the blood of Jesus, and you have put all things under his feet. Because Christ dwells in us, we declare that greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.
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