The day of Christmas is a day of celebration in Christianity, which celebrates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the central figure in the religion. It is an annual festival, celebrated on the 25th of December each year. It is both treated as a religious and cultural festival, is celebrated for two millennia.
Origins and Historical Context
Originally, this event was not named “Christmas”. It was called “Yule”, which was derived from the Germanic word “jol
” or the Anglo-Saxon word “geol
”. At the start, the Christian community had to distinguish between identifying the accurate date of birth of Jesus and deciding for a day for holding the public worship celebration. In those days, there was a bit of controversy regarding the issue since the Christian fathers were against the “pagan” celebration of birthdays. Eventually, the 25th December day was made formal.
The fact that this celebration occurs in winter is of significant importance. Even before the birth of Jesus, throughout Europe, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the extreme period of winter. Particularly the winter solstice, the point of the sun is the highest in the sky from the North or South Pole, were important because that indicated that the worst days of winter were over. The periods of the sun and warmth would be extended now.
This holiday is celebrated all around the world according to the culture of each country. However, the common practices are having a tree, visiting friends and family, exchanging gifts and decorating their houses with lights. Oftentimes, it is combined with traditions from before Christmas. A great deal of festive food is also prepared.
The tree itself is a cardinal element in the celebration, and the tradition began in the 16th century. The type of tree chosen is usually an evergreen conifer, with its conical shape. People decorate it with ornaments and figurines of different colors, but red and green are the most important and prominent. An angel or a star is also put at the very top of it.
Also important to the holiday is the legendary figure by the name of Santa Claus. Santa Claus is depicted by a jolly old man and according to history and tradition; he brings gifts to good children on the night of Christmas Eve and in the early morning hours of Christmas day.
Preparations for the holiday start long before the holiday itself, sometimes even weeks before. Despite their being similarity in how it is celebrated, traditions still vary from region to region. For example, in England, on Christmas Eve, there is a midnight mass in Church and a morning service on the day itself. Filipinos sing carols by visiting and eat a large amount of food. In France, the gifts can either be given on the 6th of December or the 6th of January. This is how we see how celebrations differ across the world.
Christmas is an old and ancient celebration that holds a great deal of importance to Christians. Sometimes it is even celebrated by non-Christians simply because it is part of their culture. It’s a time of giving, happiness, and thanks.
As Washington Irving says –
“Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.