Yuletide Traditions: Exploring the Ancient Pagan Origins of Christmas
This class will explore the ancient pagan traditions that have been borrowed and adapted from ancient cultures in the celebration of Christmas.
97 total reviews for this teacher
6 reviews for this class
Completed by 17 learners
learners per class
How does a "One-Time" class work?
Meets once at a scheduled time
Live video chat, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Great for exploring new interests and different styles of teachers
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So you think you know a little about Christmas? What you think you know and what you don't know may astound you. Did you know that Christmas is a pagan holiday? The majority of traditions that are part of Christmas and other celebrations during the winter solstice are largely of pagan origin and have deep roots in ancient history. These celebrations were centered around the Winter Solstice and the rebirth of the sun. Remnants of many of these traditions are still practiced as part of...
Students will be introduced to the cross-cultural similarities that all cultures share in our collective humanity. Students will learn about the pagan origins of the traditions celebrated during Christmas. Students will learn about the significance of the winter solstice amongst pagan cultures and how many of the traditions that are part of the holiday are hold-overs from ancient sun cults. Students will be presented with a cross-cultural perspective that includes and exploration of ancient traditions, from many ancient cultures, surrounding the cross-cultural significance of the winter solstice. Students will learn about contributions from Egyptian, Greek, Roman, German, and Norse mythologies. Students will learn about mythology and the constellations and how they shaped the nativity story. Students will learn about the significance of the virgin earth-mother goddess. Students will learn how Santa Claus was based on a Germanic seafaring god and eventually became the white-bearded, gift-giving man in red. Students will learn about the tradition of leaving cookies out for Santa and where the charity of gift-giving arose. And students will learn how Christmas trees came to be, why children hang their stockings on the fireplace mantle, why couples kiss under the mistletoe, and how holly was was hung in windows and doorways.
I am a professional archaeologist for over 20 years that has worked at sites throughout the United States and the world. I am currently the tribal archaeologist for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. I also teach archaeology/anthropology classes at Sitting Bull College and am a historic interpretive guide at On-A-Slant Mandan Indian Village at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park in Mandan, North Dakota. I have been engaged in teaching youth about the science of archaeology since AD 2000. My research interests include how mythologies are inscribed on the sacred landscape. I specialize in rock art and ancient mythologies.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
No formal assessment.
1 hour 30 minutes per week in class, and maybe some time outside of class.
This class will include a discussion on the pagan models upon which the nativity story is likely based. The premise of the content is that the nativity story (i.e. birth of Jesus) was largely adapted from pre-Christian pagan sun-gods and later incorporated into narrative of the nativity story. The content may challenge the beliefs of younger students that may be sensitive to suggestions that the birth of Christ was largely borrowed from other religions. The class will also include a discussion of the pagan beliefs and traditions that eventually became Santa Claus. This is includes the origin of Santa Claus was based on Germanic deities and through the aggregation of various traditions eventually evolved into Santa Claus. Parental discretion is advised for students that may be sensitive to discussions about Santa Claus.
Ratsch, Christian and Claudia Muller-Ebeling 2003 Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide. Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont. Seabrook, Lochlainn 2018 Christmas before Christianity: How the Birthday of the "Sun" Became the Birthday of the "Son". Sea Raven Press, Nashville, Tennessee.
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🇺🇸Lives in the United States
97 total reviews
120 completed classes
Jeremy is currently the staff archaeologist for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. He is the founder and archaeological program coordinator for Archaeology Learning Group. He received his B.A. in anthropology at Heidelberg College...