Pagan festival predating christmas
Christmas has always been a holiday celebrated carelessly.
An eyewitness account reports, Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators.
They ran amid Rome were forced to wear clownish outfits and march through the city streets to the jeers of the crowd, pelted by a variety of missiles.
Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace.
The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavor by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas (see below). There Nicholas supplanted a female boon-giving deity called The Grandmother, or Pasqua Epiphania, who used to fill the children's stockings with her gifts.
When the Jewish community of Rome sent a petition in1836 to Pope Gregory XVI begging him to stop the annual Saturnalia abuse of the Jewish community, he responded, It is not opportune to make any innovation.