Since time immemorial, 25th December is known for the Christmas Day celebrations all around the world. Christmas is the Christian festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Jesus, believed by Christians to be the Son of God. Christmas is often referred to as the ‘Feast Day of Christ’.
Origin And History Of Christmas
According to a Christian tradition and view, March 25th was the day when Annunciation took place which is when angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that by the power of the Holy Spirit she would conceive a son. Nine months after March 25th is December 25th and thus, this day is celebrated as Christmas worldwide.
Many other communities and cultures of the world celebrate Christmas on December 25th or around the Winter Solstice which occurs on December 21st. Sextus Julius Africanus, the first Christian historian, identified December 25th as Jesus’ birth date in 221 AD. This was later recognized as the universally accepted birth date.
Christmas Day Celebrations: Famous Traditions
Various traditions have become a part of Christmas Day Celebrations all around the world. Let us have a look at some of the most common ways in which Christmas is celebrated.
- Christmas Tree
Decorating the Christmas tree is one of the most common ways of celebrating Christmas. The tree is decorated with fairy lights and small items associated with Christmas such as candy canes, small drums, bells, stars, miniature figures of Santa Claus, and other beautiful items.
- Mistletoe At Christmas
The tradition of hanging a Mistletoe at Christmas in your house is very common. This is because Mistletoe is believed to have mystical powers which can bring good luck to the household and is helpful in warding off evil spirits. In Norse mythology, it is seen as a sign of friendship and love.
- Mass and Carol Service
‘Mass of Christ’ or Christ’s Mass was shortened to get the name ‘Christmas’. Ever since Christmas is being celebrated, this Mass is the only one that has been taking place after sunset and before sunrise the coming day. Thus, the Midnight Mass takes place on Christmas Eve on the 24th of December in Church where a carol service is also organized.
- Gifts And Santa Claus
Christmas is a time when people exchange gifts with loved ones. It is believed by many that on the night of Christmas, Santa Claus comes down the chimney and leaves gifts for little children around the Christmas tree. Often, children hang stockings near their beds or by the fireplace for Santa to drop in their presents. In a lot of households, a treat of cookies and milk is left for Santa Claus at night. However, very few people know the story behind Santa Claus. Here are five interesting and unknown facts about Santa Claus.
- Fact 1
Also known as Father Christmas, his story comes from Bishop Saint Nicholas of the fourth century from a place known as Myra which is today known as Turkey. Nicholas’ parents died early leaving him their wealth. Nicholas was known to be a kind man always ready to help those in need and he was made a Saint because of his kindness. His acts of kindness continued throughout his life but no one knew how he died.
- Fact 2
In the 16th century, St. Nicholas became unpopular and the people in the UK started referring to him as St. Christmas, Father Christmas, or Old Man Christmas. In the early USA, he was called Kris Kringle. Later, the Dutch who settled in the USA took St. Nicholas’ old stories with them and soon St. Nicholas and Kris Kringle became Sinterklaas or as we now call him ‘Santa Claus’.
- Fact 3
The red-colored suit of Santa also comes from St. Nicholas who used to wear red Bishop Robes.
- Fact 4
Santa Claus is believed to live at the North Pole. In Finland however, people claim that Santa lives in the northern part of the country in a place called Lapland.
- Fact 5
It is believed that Santa rides through the skies on a sleigh that is pulled by Reindeers. One interesting fact is that there is a possibility that the reindeer’s which pull Santa’s sleigh are all female because only female reindeers are believed to retain their antlers throughout the winter season while male reindeers discard theirs.
The True Meaning Of Christmas
The truest meaning of Christmas for those who celebrate the festival is to celebrate the birth of their Savior, Jesus, who paid the price for the sins of others. It reminds people how God gave people a gift in the form of his son and how Jesus Christ gave the gift of life to the people by saving them from the punishment of their sins. Thus, Christmas Day Celebrations take place all over the world and it is a festival that helps ward is celebrated together by families praying to God, thanking God for the blessings in life, and seeking forgiveness for the sins.
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