Happy Birthday to the Sun
Happy Birthday to the Gods of the Sun and Light
Sol Invictus "the Unconquered Sun" is the name of a Roman sun (sol) god popular from at least the 3rd century. Before Sol Invictus came to prominence, the Romans already had a sun god, Sol Indiges, who had been worshiped since the period of the Roman Republic. (The meaning of "Indiges" is debated. Sol Indiges could mean the indigenous sun.) The Emperor Nero had built a colossal statue associated with a sun god Sol. Sol Invictus may have been an import from the East. The Roman emperor Elagabalus worshiped a Syrian sun god, but it is Emperor Aurelian who is particularly associated with the Invictus because he, having attributed to the god his victory over the Palmyrenes, set up a temple to Sol Invictus in the Campus Martius, established a priesthood for the god, and created games in his honor (ludi solis), in 274. Aurelian tried to establish Sol Invictus as supreme god of the Romans, particularly among the military. During the period of the tetrarchy, Jupiter and Hercules regained prominence in the Roman pantheon, but then, with the accession of Constantine, Sol Invictus became top god until Rome's conversion to Christianity. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to AD 387, and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.
The idea, particularly popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, that the solstice date of 25 December for Christmas was selected in because it was also the date of a Roman festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Birthday of the Unconquered Sun).
Huitzilopochtli is Aztec God of war, sun, human sacrifice and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He was also the national God of the Mexicas, also better known as the Aztecs, of Tenochtitlan. Many in the pantheon of deities of the Aztecs were inclined to have a fondness for a particular aspect of warfare. However, Huitzilopochtli was known as the primary war god in ancient Mexico. Since he was the patron god of the Mexica, he was credited with both the victories and defeats that the Mexica people had on the battlefield.
Panquetzaliztli (7 December to 26 December) was the Aztec month dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. People decorated their homes and trees with paper flags; there were ritual races, processions, dances, songs, prayers, and finally human sacrifices. This was one of the more important Aztec festivals, and the people prepared for the whole month. They fasted or ate very little; a statue of the god was made with amaranth (huautli) seeds and honey, and at the end of the month, it was cut into small pieces so everybody could eat a little piece of the god. After the Spanish conquest, cultivation of amaranth was outlawed, while some of the festivities were subsumed into the Christmas celebration.
Amaterasu (天照) is in Japanese mythology a sun goddess and perhaps the most important Shinto deity. Her name, Amaterasu, means literally "(that which) illuminates Heaven." Amaterasu is seen as the highest manifestation of Kunitokotachi, the unseen, transcendent yet immanent, spirit of the universe. Amaterasu was born from the left eye of Izanagi, as he purified himself in a river, and went on to become the Ruler of the Higher Celestial Plane (Takamagahara), the abode of all the kami (gods). Her triumph over the storm god, Susano-O, secured her place as ruler of the world. Now the idea of the sun as a goddess, instead of as a god, is rare and it may be a survival from the most archaic stage of world mythology. What is even rarer is She is the Ruler of the Heaven and the Gods when other cultures have male rulers. Especially in modern time, the Sun Goddess is still being worship.
Shamash was a native Mesopotamian deity and the Sun god in the Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Early Hebrew pantheons. Shamash was the god of justice in Babylonia and Assyria, parallel to the Sumerian god Utu. Shamash is frequently associated with the lion, both in mythology and artistic depictions. In Canaanite religion a "son of Ba'al Shamash" is known for slaying a lion (the son himself possibly an aspect of the god), and Shamash himself is depicted as a lion in religious iconography.
Belenus meaning 'bright' or 'brilliant', refers to the Continental Sun-God of the Celts. He is also a healer and associated with healing springs and the healing power of the Sun. The fire festival Beltane is one of Belenus’s festivals. He is Cognate with the Roman god Apollo, their prime Solar deity and also a healer. Often referred to as Apollo-Belenus, pre-Roman inscriptions are known.
The great British chief of the Trinovantes, Cunobeline which translated to the 'Hound of Bel', honored him in the 1st century CE. The image above is taken from a bronze coin of Cunobeline illustrated above. The obverse has a typically Celtic face with oval, staring eye, prominent brows and a walrus moustache. The hair radiates from around the face like the rays of the sun. The reverse displays a boar, a common Celtic symbol of ferocity, war and hunting as well as of feasting and Celtic hospitality. Great symbols for a Chief who had had to deal, probably successfully, with the increasing Roman influence in the 1st century AD.
Jesus Christ was born circa 4 B.C.? in Bethlehem. Little is known about his early life, but his life and his ministry are recorded in the New Testament, more a theological document than a biography. According to Christians, Jesus is considered the incarnation or Son of God and his teachings are followed as an example for living a more spiritual life. Christians believe he died for the sins of all people and rose from the dead. Pagan Romans see him a Sun God of Compassion, Love and Healing.