Today in the Middle Ages: Christmas Legends

In addition to the birth of Jesus, Christmas Day is associated with many other period beliefs and tales.

Mithra, Dionysus and Cernunnos, all gods associated with sacrifice, were said to have been born on this day. It is also the day when Merlin placed the sword Excalibur in the stone to wait for Arthur, its destined master, to draw it forth.

Looking farther back, Decmber 25 was the final day of the Roman Saturnalia. It was set as the official date of Christ's birth by Constantine, the first Christian emperor.