Christmas is without a doubt one of the most important festivals celebrated the world over. Christmas is celebrated by Christians across the world on the 25th of December every year. It is not just Christians, even people of other denominations celebrate the occasion.
Do you know why people celebrate Christmas and what is its significance? Do you know when and how this tradition commenced? There are many interesting facts about Christmas that most people are not aware of.
In this definitive guide, we tell you all you want to know about Christmas.
The Christmas festival
Christmas is a festival celebrated worldwide on the 25th of December to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. The celebrations start on the previous day with Christmas Eve. People decorate their homes with lights and ornaments, creating a festive atmosphere that brings cheer to all. One popular tradition is getting a Christmas tree and decorating it with colorful baubles and twinkling lights. As the excitement builds, the exchange of gifts becomes a central part of the festivities, bringing smiles and happiness to loved ones. People tend to plan thoughtful presents for their loved ones. If someone loves a specific actor, they may be gifted with movie tickets for that actor by their family. In a similar way, if you are an anime fan and your friends and family know about it, you’ll probably get anime merchandise (like chainsaw man figures) as gifts from them. This tradition of exchanging gifts adds an element of surprise and delight, catering to the fandoms and hobbies of those receiving them.
The highlight of Christmas is a feast where families and friends get together to enjoy a great lunch. Usually, turkey is the main item on the menu. Christmas cakes are cut for the celebrations. People visit churches for mass. There is also a tradition of welcoming Santa Claus who is supposed to bring gifts.
The Origin of Christmas
While Christmas has been celebrated for a very long time, an interesting fact is that the word Christmas is fairly new. Earlier, it was referred to as Yule, the feast of the winter solstice. The word Christmas means ‘mass on the day of Christ’. The festival has been secularized of late and some people do not use religious symbols. People of all faiths celebrate the festival nowadays.
There is an interesting story about the origin of Christmas. It was in the year 221 that it was decided that December 25th was when Christ was born. The credit for this is given to the historian Sextus Julius Africanus. It is believed that this was done to Christianize the holiday celebrated on 25th December. That day was a celebration of the winter solstice and marked the start of winter.
It was decided that celebrating this day as the birth of Christ would convert a popular Roman holiday into a Christian celebration. Doing this helped in the growth of Christianity. A pagan festival was thus adopted by the Church and used to promote Christianity.
There is another story about the origin of Christmas. According to this, March 25th was the fourth day of creation when light was created. It was believed that this was the day when Christ was conceived. So, the day that came nine months later – December 25th was the day when Christ was born.
Significance of Christmas
Christmas has great significance for Christians since this is an occasion to commemorate the man responsible for the Christian religion. It was Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, who declared 25th December as Christ’s birthday.
Initially, there was opposition to celebrating Christ’s birth. In those days, only martyrs were celebrated and their martyrdom day was commemorated. Initially, it was Easter that used to be celebrated. But in the fourth century, the Church with the support of the Roman Empire decided that December 25th would be a public holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ.
The significance of Christmas is in the fact that it celebrates a man whose birth transformed people’s lives. He showed the world how purity and devotion could dispel darkness from their lives. The teachings of Christ that helped people to seek spirituality are what makes this festival special. And if you are someone eager to delve deeper into Christ’s teachings, it would be in your best interest to consider participating in online bible studies or those offered by your local church.
Some interesting facts about Christmas
Christmas is also referred to as Xmas. This is because ‘X’ in the Greek language referred to Christ.
The tradition of the Christmas tree is believed to have originated in Germany during the 16th century. People decorated a tree with fruits and nuts.
The Christmas wreath is a symbol of the crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus’ head. The three colors of red, blue, and green represent blood, life, and light.
Santa Claus did not wear red clothes always. It was the brand Coca-Cola that dressed him up in red to match their brand colors. That’s how the tradition started.
The tradition of caroling has its origins in England. It is based on the English tradition of wassailing, where songs are sung to toast someone’s good health. It was St. Francis of Assisi who started the practice of carol singing.
There are no plums in the plum cake eaten for Christmas, it has raisins only!