Origins of Christmas
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2007 at 02:02 PM UT
The ancient Assyrians celebrated three major festivals as part of the ritual of the changing seasonal cycles. One of these festivals was the Assyrian New Year, the Akitu, celebrated in Assyria on March 21st, the Vernal Equinox. The second was the Autumn Akitu Festival, celebrated on September 21 st, which signified the end of the harvest. The third major festival was the Winter Solstice, which signified the birth of the sun. These three major celebrations in Assyria were inspired by the Assyrian religious belief system, and each one of them had their roots in the Mother-Goddess worship.
Going all the way back to the Paleolithic era, we find that Neanderthalensis as well as Homo Sapien Sapien worshiped the Mother-Goddess in exactly the same manner, no matter where they lived geographically. To these early men and women, she represented fertility, fecundity, and fruitfulness. She also became associated with the caves in which they dwelt, and the cave symbolized the womb of the Goddess which bore them. Every cave excavated from France to Siberia to Shanidar in Bet-Nahrain, the 130 Goddess figurines found outside of the caves proved the ritual of worship would be conducted outside, while the inside of the cave was the holy temple in which fantastic drawings of animals were found, depicting the various life forms born out of the womb of the Mother-Goddess. Among the various life forms drawn on the cave walls, the Bull/Bison was more common than any other life form. To these early cave dwellers, the Bull/Bison horns resembled the crescent moon, which is why the Mother-Goddess was always sculpted wearing a crown of Bull horns, or holding the Bull horn in her hand, while looking at the moon. In this manner, the Mother-Goddess became closely associated with the moon worship in Mesopotamia.
In Sumer, the Mother-Goddess was Inanna. In Ashur, Calha, and Nineveh she was Ishtar. In Arbella, (modern Arbil) she was referred to as Ishtar Arbella. All the first temples of worship in ancient Assyria were erected for the Mother-Goddess worship, and most of the old temples were associated with the worship of the moon, which was later called Sin. To look at the early sculptures found in Nineveh by Archaeologist Sir Henry Layard, the Mother-Goddess is nearly always depicted wearing a crown of horns. In the ancient Assyrian language, the Bison or “Bull” was called Tur, as in A Tur, (The Bull). It also meant “ruler” as in descending from the holy royal family of rulers or “Gods”. Tur in the sense of the “Bull,” becomes Taurus in Latin, and in the sense of “ruler,” it becomes Tauranus. The same word in Assyria for bull was also for ruler, or prince. Hence the horned bull signified the “Mighty Prince”, thereby pointing back to the first of those “mighty ones”, who under the name of Guebres, Gabara, or Cabiri, “mighty,” occupied so conspicuous a place in the ancient world, and to whom the deified Assyrian monarchs covertly traced back the origin of their greatness and might.
In every ancient culture, we find the horn symbol used to deify rulers and monarchs. The founder of Babylon, Pelus, or sometimes referred to as Belus, or Pel, or Bel, or even Baal, “the confounder of language”, and the “scatterer abroad” who was no other than Cush, the father of Nimrod, was actually deified and given a crown of Horns. His son, Nimrod, also known as Queen Shamiram’s husband, and later is reincarnated as Ninos, sometimes referred to as Tammuz, was said to have been the actual father of the Gods, and we see him as being the first of deified mortals wearing the horned crown reserved for rulers of divine nature. Nimrod was called, the “mighty one” and his name means “mighty hunter of Lions.” Kronos, was also called the “Horned One” and depicted wearing a crown of horns. Similarly, the Greek God, Bacchus, was also depicted wearing a crown of horns and his epithet reads “Bull-horned.” The King of Seljukian Turks, who originally came from the Euphrates region, was in a similar manner represented with three horns on his head. Similarly, Zernebogus, (Zer-nebo-gus) the “Black” malevolent, ill-omened divinity of the Anglo-Saxons, was depicted wearing horns. The Abyssinian chiefs adorned their heads with horns. The Hindu God Vishnu wears a crown of the open circle or band, with three horns standing erect from it. The Red Indian chiefs also have their heads arrayed with horns during the Buffalo Dance. The Hebrews wrote that Moses was to have come away from the burning bush with horns on his head, which in fact is how Michael Angelo depicts him. The Assyrian Bull of heaven, Lamasu, wears a crown of the tri-horn, representing divine authority. Even today, the Assyrian patriarchal hat, (kirikhta) carries that very symbol, of the tri-horn, which has been modified to look like a three-tiered fez or hat.
The tradition of deification of ancient rulers was based on the Sumerian concept of reincarnation, where the holy “husband king” dies and is reincarnated as the “son” via a virgin birth, as in the case of Enlil. In this manner, the son and the mother become holy, and are both deified. The most familiar example of deification of the mother and son, is the virgin mother Mary and her holy son, Jesus, (the reincarnated God). Such was the case of Queen Shamiram and her deified son, the Babylonian messiah, long before the Christian era. The story was described on clay tablets found By Henry Layard in Nineveh, as well as Greek and Roman Classical literature. The scriptural accounts of Nimrod and the Armenian version of the “Chronicles of Eusebius” confirm the identity and the time period in which Ninos is made the son of Belus, or Bel, and where the historical Bel is Cush, and this is further confirmation of Ninos being Nimrod.
When we look at what is written about Semiramis, (Queen Shamiram) the wife of Ninos, the evidence receives full development. In Daniel xi 38, we read of a God called Ala Mahozine, (i.e. the God of fortifications). In the records of antiquity, there is no such a God, but ample evidence of a goddess of fortification does exist. That goddess is Cybele, who is universally represented with a turreted crown, or with a fortification on her head. Ovid asks “Why was Rhea or Cybele thus represented?” Ovid answers his own question by stating that the reason why the statue of Cybele wore a crown of towers is, “because she first erected them in cities.” The first city in the world after the flood, that had towers and encompassing walls, was Babylon. Ovid himself tells us that it was Semiramis, the first queen of that city, who was believed to have “surrounded Babylon with a wall of brick.” Semiramis, the first deified queen of that city must have been the prototype of the goddess who “first made towers in cities.” When we look at the Ephesian Diana, we find evidence to the very same effect. In general, Diana was depicted as a virgin, and the patroness of virginity; and she was the mother of the gods, who wore a turreted crown, such as the one that can be contemplated without being forcibly reminded of the tower of Babel. This tower-bearing Diana is by ancient scholars expressly identified with Semiramis. When, therefore, we remember that Rhea or Cybele, the tower-bearing goddess, was, in fact, a Babylonian goddess, and that Semiramis, when deified, was worshipped under the name of Rhea.
There is no reason to believe that Semiramis alone built the battlements of Babylon. We have the express testimony of the ancient historian, Megasthenes, as preserved by Abydenus, that” it was “Belus” who “surrounded Babylon with a wall.” As Bel, the “confounder,” who began the city and tower of Babel, left both unfinished. Who finished them? This could only have been his son Ninos, who inherited his father’s title, and who was the first actual king of Babylon, and consequently Nimrod. The real reason that Semiramis, the wife of Ninos, gained the glory of finishing the fortification of Babylon, was, that she became esteemed to the ancient people to hold a prepondering position, and to have attributed to her all the different characters that belonged to her husband. Having ascertained, then, one of the characters in which the deified wife was worshipped as the mother-goddess, we may form the conclusion what was the corresponding character of the deified husband. Layard distinctly indicates his belief that Rhea or Cybele, the “tower-crown” goddess, was the female counterpart of the “deity presiding over the bulwarks or fortresses; and that this deity was Ninos or Nimrod”. We have more evidence, still, from all the scattered notes of antiquity, which all indicate that the first deified king of Babylon, under a name that identifies him as the husband of Rhea, the “tower-bearing” goddess. That name is Kronos or Saturn. It is well known that Kronos, or Saturn, was Rhea’s husband; but it is not well known who was Kronos himself.
Traced back to his original, that “divinity” is proved to have been the first king of Babylon. Theophilus of Antioch shows that Kronos in the east was worshipped under the names of Bel and Baal; and from Eusebius we learn that the first of the Assyrian kings, whose name was Belus, was also by the Assyrians called Kronos. Kronos signifies the “horned-one.” As a horn is a well-known symbol in the Middle East for power or might, which applied to the scriptural Nimrod, the Geber, or (gabbara in modern terms) “the mighty one,” (Genesis x. 8). “He began to be great on earth.” The name Kronos, as the classical reader is well aware, is applied to Saturn as the “Father of the Gods”. Nimrod was known as the “Father of the Gods” as being the first of deified mortals.
The meaning of the name Kronos, “the Horned One” as applied to Nimrod, fully explains the origin of the remarkable symbol, so frequently occurring among the Nineveh sculptures, the gigantic horned man-bull, (Lamasu) as representing the great divinities in Assyria. The word Zar-Nebo-Gus is the ancient Assyrian phrase and means the “seed of the prophet Cush,” (in modern dialect, “zara d’Nabo Cush”). Most Biblical and antiquity scholars believe that, under the name Bel, as distinguished from Baal, Cush was the great sooth-sayer or “prophet”, worshipped in Babylon. But some scholars have written that Bel and Nebo were two different titles for the name God, and that is a “prophetic” God. Kitto comments on the words written in Isiah xlvi 1, “: Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth”and writes, “The word seems to come from the ancient Assyrian word “nibba,” to deliver an oracle” or to prophesy, and hence would mean to prophesy. Thus, Nimrod inherited the title, “Zer-Nebo-Gus,” the “great seed of Cush.”
Turning to Layard for a moment, we first find “the Assyrian Hercules,” that is Nimrod, the giant, as he is called in the Septuagint version of Genesis, without club, spear, or weapons of any kind, attacking a bull. Having overcome it, he sets the bull’s horns on his head, as a trophy of victory, and a symbol of power. Hence, the hero is not only represented with horns and hoofs above, but from the middle downwards, with the legs and cloven feet of the bull, like the Lamasu.
In many countries, horns became the symbols of sovereign power, as Babylon became the “center of the world.” As sovereignty in Nimrod’s case was founded on physical force, so too were the symbols of the horns of the bull were the symbols of that physical force. In accordance with this, we read in “Sanchuniathon” that, “Astarte put on her own head the head of a bull as the ensign of royalty.” In Assyria, the three-horned cap was one of the “sacred emblems. The power connected with it was of “celestial” origin, as it represented the Assyrian trinity. To this mode of representing the mighty kings of Babylon and Assyria, who imitated Nimrod as his successors, there is manifest allusion in Isiah viii. 6-8: “For as much as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son; now therefore, behold the Lord bringeth upon them the waters of the river, strong and mighty, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his banks. And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over; he shall reach even unto the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.” This attests to the position of Nimrod as the first “mighty one.”
Nin, or Ninos, which means “the son” in ancient Assyrian language, held the same position in Babylon as Cupid, the son of Venus, as she becomes the mother of gods, and her son becomes the “boy God.” Thus, when Nimrod dies, he is reincarnated as his son, the “boy god” the son of Shamiram. In this manner, the woman that bore him of virgin birth, Shamiram queen of Assyria, becomes the deified mother. The historian Apollodorus states that, “Ninos is Nimrod.” And then in conformity with the identity of Ninos and Nimrod, we find, in one of the most celebrated sculptures of ancient Babylon, Ninos and his wife Semiramis represented as actively engaged in the pursuits of the chase, “the quiver bearing Semiramis” being a fit companion for the “mighty Hunter before the Lord”.
When we compare the Egyptian Khonso, the “Huntsman” with the Latin Consus, the God of horse races, who “produced the horse,” and the Centaur of Babylon, to whom was attributed the honor of being the author of horsemanship, we see all the roads leading to Babylon. Khonso, the son of the great goddess-mother, Isis, seems to have been generally represented as a full-grown God. The Babylonian divinity was also represented very frequently in Egypt in the same way as in the land of his nativity, (i.e. as a child in his mother’s arms). This way, Osiris, “the son, the husband of his mother,” was often exhibited, and what we learn of this God, equally as in the case of Khonso, shows in his original, was none other than Nimrod. The connection is that Nimrod, as the child of the Babylonian mother-goddess, Shamriam, was worshipped in the character of Ala mahozine, “the God of fortifications.” Osiris, in like manner, the child of the Egyptian Modonna, was equally celebrated as “the strong chief of the buildings.” He was worshipped in Egypt with every physical characteristic of Nimrod.
Semiramis, (queen Shamiram) gained glory from her dead and deified husband, Nimrod, and in the course of time both of them, under the names of Rhea and Nin, or “Goddess-Mother and son” were worshipped with enthusiasm that was incredible, and their images were set-up everywhere and adored. According to the ancient Assyrian doctrine of transmigration of souls, all that was needful was just to teach that Ninos had appeared in the person of a posthumous son, of a fair complexion, supernaturally borne by his widowed wife after the father had gone to glory. The same concept was used to deify Osiris in Egypt, and was depicted as a baby in the arms of his mother-goddess. In Babylon, the posthumous child, as identified with his father, and inheriting all of his father’s glory, yet possessing more of his mother’s looks, came to be the favorite type of the Madonna’s son.
The son, thus worshipped in his mother’s arms, was looked upon as vested with all the attributes of his father, and called by almost all the names of the promised messiah. As Christ is called in the Hebrew Old Testament, Adoni, (the Lord) so was the reincarnated infant, Ninos called Adon or Adonis. In Babylon as in Egypt, the “boy God” was held as the great object of love and adoration, as the God through whom “goodness and truth were revealed to mankind.” He was regarded as the predestined heir of all things, and on the day of his birth, it was believed that a voice was heard to proclaim, “The Lord of all the earth is born.” In this character, he was styled “King of kings and Lord of lords.” He was regarded as Lord of the invisible world, and “judge of the dead,” and it was taught that, in the world of spirits, all must appear before his dreaded tribunal, to have their destiny assigned them. As the true messiah, he was prophesized under the title of the “Man whose name was the branch.”
Ninos was not only celebrated as the “branch of Cush,” but as the “Branch of God”, graciously given to earth to “free mankind from the “fear” of God” so that mankind can go about their business of building the earth, which is what the Akitu is all about, and it means “building life on earth”. The Assyrian messiah was worshipped in Babylon under the name El-Bar, or “Son of God.” Under this very name, he is introduced by Berosus, as the second of Babylonian sovereigns. Under this name he has been found in the sculptures of Nineveh, as testified by Layard, the name Bar, “the son”, having the sign denoting El or “God “prefixed to it. Under the same name, El Bar was found by Sir Henry Rawlinson, the names Beltis and the “Shining Bar” being in immediate juxtaposition. Under the name Bar, he was worshipped in Egypt, as well. In Rome he was worshipped under the name the “Eternal Boy”.
Diodorus Siculus tells us that, “there stood three images of the great divinities of Assyria, and one of these was of a woman grasping a serpent’s head”. The same image was transferred to the Greek tradition is of Diana grasping the head of a snake, for Diana and Semiramis were one and the same. As time wore away, and the facts of Semiramis’s history became obscured, her son’s birth was boldly declared to be, “miraculous.” That the birth of the Great Deliverer was to be miraculous was widely known long before the Christian era. Similarly, in the Buddhist tradition it was foretold that a virgin was to bring forth a child to bless the world.
In Assyria as in Egypt, Greece, India, or Rome, the ancient mother-goddesses were referred to as the “queen of heaven.” Every quality of beauty, mercy, and gentleness was regarded as centered in her; and when death was upon her, she was fabled to have been deified and changed into a dove, “D’Iune” in ancient Assyrian, or “yona” in modern Assyrian dialect. In Babylon, the queen of heaven became known as “Z’emir-amit” meaning “the branch bearer,” and in this way her image was immortalized as the olive branch bearing dove, which is also an epithet for the “first queen” after the flood. In the sculptures found in Nineveh, this tradition also represents the third member of the Assyrian trinity. In confirmation of this view, the Assyrian “Juno” or the “virgin Venus” was identified with air. Thus, Julius Firmicus, in “De Error” writes, “The Assyrian and part of the Africans wish the air to have the supremacy of the elements, for they have consecrated this same element under the name Juno, whose symbol was that of the third person of the Assyrian Trinity. Why? Because the same word in the ancient Assyrian, which signifies air, signifies also the “Holy Ghost,” thus Semiramis was the holy ghost in the Assyrian trinity.
The Assyrian holy trinity comprised of the dead but deified Nimrod/Ninos, who was slain but was then reincarnated as the “Nin” the holy child, born of virgin birth, through the virgin mother-Goddess, Queen Shamiram, queen of Assyria. This holy trinity was carried into Egypt, where Nimrod was renamed Osiris, who also died and was reincarnated as the holy child Osiris, born of virgin birth through the “virgin” mother-goddess, Queen Isis. This tradition became part of the entire orient, including the Indus Valley, and later the Roman Empire, which gave birth to the Roman Catholic tradition of the Papacy at Vatican.
Without exception, all the Deified mortals or “Gods” of the ancient world were said to have been conceived during the Spring Equinox and born on December 25 th, (the Winter Solstice). If we count from March 21st to December 25th we would conceive the traditional 9 months of gestation.
The son of the Babylonian queen of heaven, Shamiram was said to have been conceived during the Assyrian New Year, the Akitu, and born on December 25th, the Winter Solstice. “Yule” in ancient Assyrian is the name for “infant” or “little child” as the 25th of December was called “Yule day” or child’s day. Since it was Nimrod that is reincarnated as the “Yule” or in modern dialect, yala or yaluda, and the child in Assyria was first known as the unconquerable sun, which is why he must be born during the Winter Solstice. He is reincarnated as “Tammuz,” but also as the “branch of the tree,” (as in the tradition of the Assyrian Tree of Life). The divine child born at the winter solstice was born as a new incarnation of the great God, (after that God, Nimrod, had been cut down to pieces by the enemy). Thus, the great God, cut-off in the midst of his power and glory, was symbolized as a huge tree, stripped of all its branches, and cut down almost to the ground. But the great serpent, the symbol of life restoring, wraps itself around the dead stock of the tree, and lo, at its side, up sprouts a young tree, of an entirely different kind, that is destined never to be cut down by hostile power, and which is Ninos. This tree was most often a palm tree in southern Mesopotamia, which is why the messiah was called Baal-Tamar, but in the Nineveh plains it was a cedar, or as it is called today, “an evergreen,” which is why in northern Mesopotamia, the messiah was known as Baal-Berith. To the Assyrians, the tree symbolized the new-born God, Baal-Berith, (Lord of the covenant) and thus shadowed forth the perpetual and ever-lasting nature of his power, now that after having fallen before his enemies, he had risen triumphant over them all. Therefore, the 25 th of December, the day of the birth of the unconquered sun/son, represented the death of the slain Nimrod, deified as the Sun-God. Now the Yule log, or the Christmas Tree is Nimrod redivivus, the slain God come to life again, but this time as Ninos.
We see two key figures in the origin of Christmas are Nimrod, a great grandson of Utnapishtim,(Noah) and his mother and wife, Semiramis, also known as Ishtar and Isis. Nimrod, known in Egypt as Osiris, was the founder of the first world empire at Babel, later known as Babylon, Genesis: (10: 8-12, 11: 1-9). From ancient sources such as the "Epic of Gilgamesh" and records unearthed by archeologists from long-ruined Mesopotamian and Egyptian cities, scholars have been able to reconstruct subsequent events.
As we have shown, after Nimrod's death (c. 2167 BC), Semiramis promoted the belief that he was a god. She claimed that she saw a full-grown evergreen tree spring out of the roots of a dead tree stump, symbolizing the springing forth of new life for Nimrod. She said, “On the anniversary of his birth, Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts under it.
A few years after Nimrod’s death, Semiramis bore a son, Ninos who sometimes called Gilgamesh. She declared that she had been visited by the spirit of Nimrod, who left her pregnant with the boy. “Nin” child or Ninos, which she maintained was Nimrod reincarnated. With a father, mother, and son deified, a trinity was formed in Assyria.
Semiramis and Ninos were worshipped as "Madonna and child" in ancient Assyria. As the generations passed, they were worshipped under other names in different countries and languages, as mentioned. Many of these are recognizable to this day: Fortuna and Jupiter in Rome; Aphrodite and Adonis in Greece; and Ashtoreth/Astarte and Molech/Baal in Canaan.
Writers of the Old Testament have left us further proof that Pre-Christian Assyrians did decorate an evergreen in honor and memory of the birth of their Messiah, as written in Jeremiah 10:2-4:
In ancient Assyria, the night before the birth of the messiah was known as Mother-Night. Twelve candles were ordered by Queen Shamiram to be lit on the evergreen tree, representing the 12 holy and celebratory days of the birth of her son and the reincarnation of the sun, as he was called “the light of the world.” The day of the birth, December 25th, was known as Lady-Day, as Shamiram gives birth to the “savior of the world” and becomes the Mother-Goddess. For 12 days, the ancient Assyrians celebrated the birth of their sun and the son of the virgin mother-goddess, and gifts were exchanged among the citizens. A goose was served on Lady-Day, representing the “child” and Nimrod/Ninos’ favorite food, and nur-cakes, meaning birth-cakes (sometimes called Yule-cakes) were also served. These traditions were carried into Europe, and to this day, the Scotts call these nur cakes.
Roman Christianity was based entirely on the Assyrian system, and the Assyrian traditions of sun/son worship were implemented, changing the Assyrian Messiah’s name to Jesus Christ. All the Assyrian traditions of Lady-Night and Lady-Day, were incorporated into Christianity, including the present Christmas traditions, and can be found at the Vatican.
At approximately the same time as the Assyrians, the Hindus celebrate the Winter Solstice as the day Surya, or “sun” is born, and Surya is Ashur whose light lit the world and inspired the Assyrians to build the earth, which is why the Hindus to this day call the Assyrians Asurayas, “The Builders.” The Zoroastrians, called in Mesopotamia Zardasht, (meaning the seed of the woman) still celebrate the birth of light or “fire” in Iran, and this tradition is traced back to the times when they celebrated the birth of Ninos, the seed of Queen Shamiram. The Muslims celebrate the Winter Solstice as Eid Al Athha, (Ath ha) meaning “light” or sun. The Jews celebrate Hannukha, which is literally the festival of “light” or sun, and Shamash is the candle that lights all the other Hannuka candles. In Rome, the Romans celebrated the Winter Solstice as Saturnalia, (the birth of the Sun/Son) and the tradition goes all the way back to the ancient Assyrian celebration of the birth of the sun/son and the messiah, Ninos. These traditions of the religions of the world all have their roots in the Assyrian religious belief system of Ashurism.
Note: All the books listed in Bibliography are according to their original publication date, to provide Assyrians with a glimpse of who is the custodian of our history, culture, and religion.
The translated works of:
The translated quotes of Apollodorus, Berosus, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Megasthenes, Julius Firmicus, Nonnus, Theophilus, (Patriarch of Alexandria).