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"Postage services became affordable and people wanted to keep in touch with people," Professor Cusack said.

"Card companies like Hallmark became big by launching images of cute little rabbits and Easter eggs on cards."The first edible Easter bunnies made from sugared pastry were made in Germany in the 19th century.

25 was celebrated in the early church by the third century and suggests a North African rather than Roman origin for the feast and its dating.

There were both theological and historical principles at work in arriving at that date.

Sol Invictus dates to 274, about a century after we have evidence of some Christian churches already celebrating the feast of the nativity of Jesus on Dec. So Christmas is not from its beginnings a "Christianization" of a pre-existing pagan festival.

It is instead an extension of the central Christian story of the crucifixion of Jesus, “Christ our Passover” sacrificed for us. A typical claim one finds about Christmas as a “Christianized pagan holiday” relates to the Roman observance of Sol Invictus.The problem with this assertion, based on Talley’s findings, becomes historical."The spring equinox is a day where the amount of dark and the amount of daylight is exactly identical, so you can tell that you're emerging from winter because the daylight and the dark have come back into balance."People mapped their whole life according to the patterns of nature." Following the advent of Christianity, the Easter period became associated with the resurrection of Christ."In the first couple of centuries after Jesus's life, feast days in the new Christian church were attached to old pagan festivals," Professor Cusack said."Spring festivals with the theme of new life and relief from the cold of winter became connected explicitly to Jesus having conquered death by being resurrected after the crucifixion." In 325AD the first major church council, the Council of Nicaea, determined that Easter should fall on the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.The assertion that Christmas is merely a “Christianized” pagan holiday simply isn't true.