There are many different Christian holidays that we often celebrate, but many people do not realize that these are not in the Bible at all. The ones that are in the Bible have been considered by most people, for several generations, to be Jewish, and are only celebrated by the Jews. The holidays that Christians celebrate today are really a form of syncretism, where one religion, Christianity, joins with another religion, in the case of today's Christian holidays, Paganism.
Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day are all modern holidays and have no real basis in religion, other than the fact that America is predominantly Christian. These are secular holidays and are celebrated by people regardless of their faith. One Pagan holiday, Halloween, has changed little, and its meaning is still fairly clear.
These Holidays are not in the Bible
Christmas isn't in the Bible, and Jesus never celebrated His birthday. In Biblical times, the only people to celebrate their birthdays were royalty. Jesus also wasn't born at that time of year. His Resurrection also wasn't celebrated, but before His death, He explained that people should observe Passover in a new way. He never said it was not to be celebrated again, or replaced. But Passover was replaced with Easter Sunday.
So why are these two holidays, Christmas and Easter, observed by Christians? Old habits die hard, and when the Christians were attempting to convert their Pagan neighbors to Christianity, the Christians took different Pagan holidays and added Christian meanings to them.
Pagan Origins of Christmas
Christmas used to be the winter festival in many different Pagan cultures. The Norse god Odin was also called the Yule One. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, festival of their god Saturn, from mid-December until what is now considered to be Christmas. In addition to human sacrifices, they also made and ate baked treats, much like they do today. They still, today, have the same human shape. We call them gingerbread cookies.
After the combination took place and it was impossible to tell a Pagan from a Christian, there began a history of abusing the Jews around Christmas time. Jews were believed by many to have been the reason why Jesus was crucified. While this is true, Jesus Himself said it must happen that way, and asked God to forgive the Roman soldiers. In reality, Jesus was crucified to bring us all to God. We are all guilty, but that is for another article.
The tortures that were laid upon the Jewish population in any given area were varied, with many priests and bishops in charge of what would take place. Often, it was simple mocking, where Jews were made to run naked through the streets while Christians made fun of them. Other times, it was mass rape, killing, robbing, burning homes, and destroying shops that made for a Christmas celebration.
Easter isn't in the Bible, Either
Easter, the Christian holiday of resurrection, is actually based on Pagan festivities, too, according to many Biblical scholars. Some claim that even the day is wrong, simply because Jesus said three days, and counting from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is not three days. These scholars explain that there were also Sabbaths that fell during the week, not just on Saturday.
Another aspect of Easter is that it sounds a great deal like Ishtar, the Pagan goddess of Spring and also fertility. She is mentioned in the Bible in I Samuel and also in I and II Kings. The Greeks believed she came from a giant egg that fell from the heavens and was hatched by doves.
There are many other aspects that can be studied about different Christian holidays, particularly Christmas and Easter, that will show similarities between Christian celebrations today and Pagan festivities of the past.