Christmas is one of the most universally recognized holidays in the world, celebrated by billions of people of different faiths and cultures. For many, it is a time to decorate houses and trees with lights, buy gifts for family and friends, and sing holiday carols. For many others, it is recognized as the celebration of the birth of Jesus and the foundation of the Christian faith.
But did you know that ancient Africans were the first in the world to recognize and celebrate Christmas and did so thousands of years before the birth of Jesus? You may wonder, “How could that be?”
It all starts with the physical sun. On the 25th of December, the Sun is known to be symbolically born given that sunlight increases approximately one minute on this day. In fact, every year between August 18 and December 21, we lose approximately one minute of sun light per day. December 21 is the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, known as the Winter Solstice. Ancient Africans saw this as darkness winning over the powers of Light.
On December 25, daylight begins to increase by one minute each day, which was recognized by ancient Africans as the beginning of day light over darkness, symbolically known as the “birth” of the sun. This became an annual celebration given the importance of the sun in growing crops for food and energy. It wasn’t until over 300 years after the death of Jesus that Roman Emperor Constantine officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on December 25th. But, the Africans had already been celebrating this day for thousands of years before Constantine’s edict!
Therefore, the world owes a great deal of thanks to the ancient Africans who were the first to celebrate this important day in world history.
* “An Appeal To the African Church In America: Beware of False Profit$” by Devin L. Walker (2002)
* “From the Browder Files,” Anthony Browder (1989)