Seasonal Celebrations: 12 Days of Christmas Pagan Significance by Linda Seekins

Seasonal Celebrations, 12 Days of Christmas, Solstices,

by Linda Seekins

You may have heard of the 12 days of Christmas which begin on Christmas day and end on January 6. This originally came from the 12 days of Yuletide which began at sunset on December 20, known as Mother Night, and ended on the night of December 31, the Night of the Oak King and the Roman day of Hecate. There is no coincidence that the true Twelfth Night is now celebrated as New Year’s Eve and with the same old revelry as when it was known as Twelfth Night. Typically, the Christians changed the date to January 6 in hopes of doing away with the Pagan revels of the night, but this ploy obviously failed. [Katia writes:  Well, I wouldn’t call it a “ploy” of Christianity since the earliest Christians did celebrate Jan. 6 as Jesus’ birthday.  It wasn’t for three centuries after Jesus lived that it was switched to Dec. 25.  Linda is a tad bit pagan-friendly here and isn’t too fond of Christianity sometimes, but she has good information, so we enjoy her articles].

It’s interesting that almost every day of the 12 days of Yuletide have some old Pagan commemeration which is celebrated on them: 21–nativity of the Sun God and the God of the waxing year, Horus and a number of others (which, by the way, the Christians made into the day of St. Thomas, and for a very good reason if you know about the fact that Thomas, also known as Judas Thomas, was the twin brother of Jesus, see “The Bible Fraud” by Tony Bushby for more about this).

Dec. 22–Earth Renewal and Roman Janus Day.

Dec. 23–Fool’s Day when Saturnalia begins, also known as the Roman Larentalia.

Dec. 24–Festival of Light.

Dec. 25–was originally the nativity of Mithras, also known as Dies Natalis Solis Invictus or the Day of the Nativity of the Invincible Sun, which was applied to Jesus by the Christians. This is also the German Yule Feast of Frau Holle, and some Pagans refer to this as the Festival of the Returning Sun, because this is when the days are first observed as getting longer.

Dec. 26–the nativity of Osiris, Roman day of Saturn, Greek day of Chronos.

Dec. 27–Nativity of Isis (and which the Christians gave to St. John the Evangelist, and when you consider the connections that Mary Magdalene had with Isis, see “The Templar Revelation” by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, and how “John” was used to cover up her relationship to Jesus in John’s Gospel as the beloved apostle, see , it is obvious why this day was given to St. John).

Dec. 28–day of Freya (borrowed from your calendar).

If there were commemerations on the days 29, and 30, I haven’t come across them. (If you have something which can fill in the missing days, please let me know.)

Similarly, Midsummer also has a twelve-day celebration which begins at sundown on Midsummer Eve on June 20.

June 21 was the nativity of the God of the waning year, the British day of Cerridwen, and the Day of the Green Man (and of course its now known as Prince William’s birthday).

June 22–the Festival of Herne.

June 23–Celtic Day of the Green Man (borrowed from your calendar).

June 24–the Nativity of Janus, Dianus, Oannes and Enki, and the Day of Danu (the Christians made this day into the Day of John the Baptist for the reason that John the Baptist was said to have been born six months before Jesus, so this is exactly six months from Christmas, but John also represents the god of the waning year just as Jesus represents the god of the waxing year);

June 25–Well-Dressing Festival

June 26–unknown

June 27–Roman Day of the Lares (borrowed from your calendar)

June 28–unknown

June 29–St. Peter’s Day (from your calendar) which may connect with an older Pagan holiday now unknown. this is also Runic New Year in the Northern calendar.

June 30–St. Lucina, originally the Moon Goddess Lucina

July 1–Night of the Holly King. According to Masonic lore, this is the day that Christ’s ministry began, being the eighth day after St. John the Baptist’s Day, which is a sacred day in the Masonic calendar.

Considering June 24, the day of John the Baptist, its interesting that 12 days later on July 5 is what is referred to as Old Midsummer’s Day, which may have once been the summer equivalent to the Christian Twelfth Night on January 6, which has been pretty much forgotten now.

So, as the two solstices had 12-day celebrations, the two equinoxes may also have had 12-day celebrations as well, though this isn’t as clear now. And because the equinoxes move in some years, it’s harder to trace.

If Sping Equinox Eve is on 19th, then the twelfth night of Spring would be on March 30 which is Roman Concordia and German Eostre’s Day (borrowed from your calendar). If Spring Equinox Eve is on the 20th, the twelfth night of Spring would be on March 31, the Roman Day of Luna which was the celebration of Isis as moon goddess.

Similarly, if Autumn Equinox Eve is on September 21, then the twelfth night of Autumn would be on October 2, Day of the Holy Guardian Angels, Gnostic Daemon Day, the Wiccan Festival of the Guardian Spirits, and the Druidic Feast for Spirits of the Air (borrowed from your calendar). If Autumn Equinox Eve is on the 21st, then the twelfth night of Autumn would be on October 3, which is the Roman and Greek day of Dionysus/Bacchus.


The above was posted to GoddessChristians list 10-4-05 here: