An ancient festival and time of merriment celebrating the Roman god Saturn and believed by many to have influenced the early Catholic Church’s decision to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th.
The Roman’s celebrated their god Saturn. Their festival was called Saturnalia which began the middle of December and ended January 1st. With cries of “Jo Saturnalia!” the celebration would include masquerades in the streets, big festive meals, visiting friends, and the exchange of good-luck gifts called Strenae (lucky fruits)…*
*source: Christmas on the Net – History of Christmas
photo credit: via flickr