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I got this in my Facebook timeline today and it seems to be viral

Gods born on December 25th

Gods born on December 25th:

  • Happy Birthday Horus (c. 3000 BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Osiris (c. 3000 BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Attis of Phrygia (c. 1400 BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Krishna (c. 1400 BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Zoroaster (c. 1000 BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Mithra of Persia (c. 600 BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Heracles (c. 800 BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Dionysus (c. 186 BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Tammuz (c.400 BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Adonis (c. 200 BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Hermes (c. 400s BCE)
  • Happy Birthday Prometheus (Born at the beginning of mankind)

Jesus (if he actually lived) however, was born sometime in June, probably the 16th, according to most scholars, but is celebrated on December 25th because some early church leaders wanted to seize the enthusiasm from crowds gathering on a day holy to many people.

BCE = Before Common Era (Sometimes written as CE)

We have already shown that we don't know when Jesus was born, thus the claim that he was born in June is false. On the other hand, the claim that the Christian celebration of Christmas falls on a pre-existing holiday seems correct.

What about the rest of the image? How many of these deities' birthdays were celebrated at Christmas?


Let's paraphrase the claim as "a bunch of other deities' nativities were celebrated at Christmas, such as these". For this reason:
(a) any deity in the list above whose birthday was believed to be or celebrated around the winter solstice, or Christmas or New Year's eve should count as "close enough"
(b) I'd like to see the overall stats in a single answer (finding one which doesn't fit does not disprove the claim)

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    If the last line is also confused. BCE is "sometimes" (i.e. practically always) written as BC, not CE. – Oddthinking Dec 26 '13 at 22:17
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    The first couple I checked i.e. Hermes and Dionysus are IMO wrong, in that the stated year of birth is much too late. Do you expect a separate answer per god, or should one answer address every one, or is "disproving" only two of them enough to show that the claim is false? – ChrisW Dec 26 '13 at 22:27
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    Does it mean anything to say someone's birthday is on December 25th, 1000 BCE when the concept of December didn't appeared until the Roman calendar, which didn't appear until at least 753 BCE? – Oddthinking Dec 26 '13 at 22:37
  • I'll answer in the question. @Oddthinking – Sklivvz Dec 26 '13 at 22:39
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    Do you want to ask, instead, whether it's true that Christmas is on December 25 because that's the same date as a previous pagan holiday (as is alleged in the image)? Or if you don't want to ask about Christmas and instead want to ask about pagan holidays, what's the point of your 2nd-last paragraph (from "We have..." to "seems correct.")? – ChrisW Dec 26 '13 at 23:22
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Without working my way on through to the end of the list, in summary IMO this list is low-grade rubbish, which doesn't stand up to casual fact-checking.

The (alleged) link between Dionysus and Christianity is wine, not birthdays.

People have compared Christianity to various other religions and mythologies. IMO someone has taken this list of "comparable" figures and fabricated the above by saying that "what they have in common is that they were all born on December 25".


For completeness' sake:

  • Tammuz says yes -- death celebrated at the summer solstice and he lived for 6 months of each year

  • Adonis suggests possibly -- "Adonis was certainly based in large part on Tammuz"

  • Hermes says that the year is wrong (too late) again -- because he's described by Homer he dates from at least 700 BCE; no record of his birthdate, but his festival the Hermaia was celebrated in different months in different cities (February in Boetia, November in Crete)

  • Prometheus -- I found no record of a birth-date; there was a festival in Athens in his honour called the Promethea but I don't know its date


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attic_calendar#Names_of_the_months says that Greeks celebrated birthdays monthly rather than yearly:

Athenian festivals were divided between the 80 or so annually recurring celebrations and a set of monthly holy days clustered around the beginning of each month. These were often the birthdays of gods, the Greeks thinking of birthdays as a monthly rather than a yearly recurrence. Every month days 1-4 and 6-8 were all sacred to particular gods or divine entities, amounting to some 60 days a year:

Day 1: New Moon
Day 2: Agathos Daimon
Day 3: Athena's Birthday
Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

  • Dionysus could have been born in 186 BCE, but not worshiped until the 13th century. – Flimzy Dec 27 '13 at 8:03
  • @Flimzy I meant 13th century BCE: i.e. he was already known more than 1000 years before 186 BCE. – ChrisW Dec 27 '13 at 10:49
  • Brutal debunking here, well done. – Sklivvz Dec 27 '13 at 17:14

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