One of the things I love about Passover, is that as part of the holiday, you read about the origin and tradition. When I celebrate things, I want to know why. So, sitting at my dad’s house Christmas morning, I wanted to know more about Christmas.
What I already knew is that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus (even though it isn’t really his birthday) and that the timing was chosen because it corresponded with other “pagan” celebrations around the solstice.
What I found, is that one of the traditions that Christmas replaced was the Roman celebration of the God Mithras, “the god of the unconquerable sun“. Roman Mithras celebrations evolved from Persian Mithra worship, which may have first evolved from reverence of the god Mitra, mentioned in the Rig Vedas. “The Vedas expounded a diverse set of practices, ideas and concepts; among them was an primitive form of yoga as well as one of the world’s oldest, diverse and complex spiritual philosophies.”
So you might say, that in celebrating Christmas, we are all, in a sense, engaging in some form of ancient yoga!