My Craft name is Ben Gruagach. I'm an eclectic Wiccan author and have been active in the Pagan community for a few decades now.
I'll be posting thoughts, musings, and links to things that catch my eye. Please feel free to ask questions or post comments!
I’ve seen some modern Pagans stating that Christianity didn’t take from pre-existing Pagan celebrations in their newer Christian holidays. The argument is that they just happen to have things in common since the holidays are coincidentally at the same times, celebrating similar themes.
I’m sure there is some truth to that but it is also true (and in the written historical record for anyone who wants to look it up) that Christians explicitly and purposefully adopted Pagan holidays and even Pagan holy sites and temples as a way to try and ease the local Pagan citizens over into Christian conversion. So yes, Christianity did take Pagan holidays and claimed them as their own.
Budding historians who want to learn more should look up Pope Gregory and his 601 CE letter to Mellitus, the Epistola ad Mellitum. Pope Gregory instructed his representatives in the British Isles to take over existing Pagan temples and convert them to Christianity (after destroying the religious idols inside first, of course) and to co-opt the local Pagan holiday celebrations into Christian ones in order to increase the conversion rate.
There’s more that Christianity adopted from previous Pagan religions too, including quite a few of the widely accepted details about Jesus (like the virgin birth, miracles attributed to him, symbolism associated with him, etc.) There’s info on that at sites like http://www.pocm.info
Wicca was originally the word for a male witch (Wicce is the word for female witch.) It was resurrected in the last hundred years and changed into the name of a religious form of witchcraft. Wicca is a witchcraft religion so that means all Wiccans are witches. There are other ways of practicing witchcraft though (some religious, some not) so not all witches are Wiccans.
Some people choose to always capitalize the words Witch and Witchcraft to indicate their use to refer to religious practice. Using the terms without always capitalizing them usually indicates the craft not necessarily done as a religion.