The ancient origins of Christmas traditions

Ever wondered where some of our Christmas traditions came from? A lot of them go back further than you think

Sean Williams
Wednesday 09 December 2009 16:49
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The lights are up, Noddy Holder's voice is ringing in your ears and you've already eaten all your advent chocolate in a gluttonous frenzy.

Yes it's Christmas; that time of year reserved for frantic last-minute shopping, burnt turkeys and half-drunk carols in the front room. It's also the Christian celebration of Jesus' birth, of course: and even that bears more than a passing similarity to the ancient god Mithra. So where did some of the Christmas traditions we take for granted actually come from? The truth stretches back a lot longer than you might think. Here are ten yuletide customs born in the ancient world.

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