The African Origins of Christmas

the african origins of christmas

   #1. Christmas Did Not Originate in Europe

Christmas is considered by many to be of European origin. Many believe it began in Rome, some three hundred years after the birth of the Christ . That however is furthest from the truth.

#2. Early Christians Did Not Celebrate Birthdays

Christmas actually begun in ancient Egypt about four thousand (4,000) years ago. In fact, the first people known to celebrate birthdays were the ancient Egyptians. The bible records one such event taking place. In Genesis 40:20 there is the story of a birthday celebration. ‘Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials…’ At these birthday celebration, very much like we do today, there was feasting and gifts were given to the celebrant.

#3. The Egyptian Christmas

In the early days of the church, as late as 330 A.D., birthday celebrations were considered pagan and were not celebrated by Christians. However, on the 25th December each year the ancient Egyptians celebrated the birth of Horus. He was the ‘Son of God’, born of the virgin Isis. It was referred to as: ‘The Day of the child in his cradle’. (See video below) To celebrate his birthday the Egyptians gave gifts, feasted and placed palm branches in their homes. These branches represent eternal life. Sounds like our Christmas celebration, does it not?

#4. Fruit Cake Originated In Ancient Egypt

Another of our Christmas customs that finds its origin in ancient

Christmas Fruit cake originated in Ancient Egyptian
The Metropolitan Museum of Arts Exhibit: Fruit Cake from the New Kingdom, includes raisins and dates.

Egypt was the fruit cake. Though it was a bit different from our present fruit cake, being more bread like, it is where our present edition had its origin. It is important to note that, there is no evidence that they used it in the celebration of the birthday of the ‘Son of God’. Because of its ability to last a long time, they placed it in the tomb of the Pharaoh. The belief being that if he became hungry, he had some nourishment while on his long journey to the other side.


For more on the Egyptian influence on the church today visit: Egyptian Obelisks Hidden In Modern Day Religions and Egyptian Influence on Modern Religions II

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