What Is Christmas and When Did it Start?
Christmas is the yearly Christian celebration commemorating Christ’s birth, hung on December 25 in the Western Church. The traditional date of December 25 goes back as far as A.D. 273. 2 pagan festivals honoring the sun were also commemorated on that day and it is possible that December 25 was selected to combat the influence of paganism. To this day some people feel uncomfortable with Christmas due to the fact that they believe it is in some way polluted by the pagan festivals held on that day. Christians have long believed that the gospel not just goes beyond culture, it likewise transforms it. In A.D. 320 one theologian addressed this criticism by keeping in mind, “We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of him who made it.”
Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th?
The Roman Christian historian Sextus Julius Africanus dated Jesus’ conception to March 25 (the same date upon which he held that the world was created), which, after nine months in his mother’s womb, would result in a December 25 birth.
There are 2 particular theories for why we use the date of December 25th for Christmas.
People and religious beliefs of the day celebrated some sort of holiday around that time. From Jewish Chanukah to Pagan Winter Solstice to Germanic Yule to Roman Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Birth of the Unconquered Sun); the sheer variety of event days with trees, decorations, yule logs, mistletoe and banquets seem to point to a season of celebration to which Christians added the birth of Jesus as a counter-cultural event and perhaps even an escape from the pagan holidays for early followers.
December 25th was the Saturnalia Festival of emancipation, gift giving and the accomplishment of light after the longest night. The Christian sees the fact implicit in this pagan tradition that shows: Christ the Light of the world, His triumph over the night of sin in Luke 1:78 -79:
” …Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
The second theory centers around the date “accepted” by the Western Church of March 25 as the Annunciation or Immaculate Conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb. December 25 is 9 months later and hence commemorated as the birthday of Jesus. Regardless of the possible factors for the date, the church calendar was set in the West throughout Constantine’s reign while the Eastern Church held onto the date of January 6 for a long time.
Who declared December 25 Jesus birthday?
In the late 330s AD, Pope Julius 1 declared: “December 25th, Christ born in Bethlehem, Judea.”
Who actually invented Christmas?
The first recorded incidence of Christmas being celebrated actually dates all the way back to the Roman Empire in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine – so technically the Romans invented it, although there’s no specific person who is credited with having done so.
How long does Christmas last?
The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a festive Christian season celebrating the Nativity of Jesus. In most Western ecclesiastical traditions, “Christmas Day” is considered the “First Day of Christmas” and the Twelve Days are 25 December through 5 January, inclusive.
What Zodiac is Jesus?
With the story of the birth of Christ coinciding with this date, many Christian symbols for Christ use the astrological symbol for Pisces, the fishes. The figure Christ himself bears many of the temperaments and personality traits of a Pisces, and is thus considered an archetype of the Piscean.
What is Jesus real name?
Jesus’ name in Hebrew was “Yeshua” which translates to English as Joshua.
Where did Jesus buried?
Jewish tradition forbade burial within the walls of a city, and the Gospels specify that Jesus was buried outside of Jerusalem, near the site of his crucifixion on Golgotha (“the place of skulls”).
Was Jesus born on Christmas or Christmas Eve?
Since tradition holds that Jesus was born at night (based in Luke 2:6-8), Midnight Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve, traditionally at midnight, in commemoration of his birth.
How many children did Mary have after Jesus?
Jesus’ brothers and sisters
The Gospel of Mark (6:3) and the Gospel of Matthew (13:55–56) mention James, Joseph/Joses, Judas/Jude and Simon as brothers of Jesus, the son of Mary. The same verses also mention unnamed sisters of Jesus.
What is the true message of Christmas?
“to give up one’s very self – to think only of others – how to bring the greatest happiness to others – that is the true meaning of Christmas.”
Who celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve?
Christmas Eve has many of its own customs and traditions. The most widely practised one that still exists today is going to a Midnight Mass Church Service. In many countries, especially Catholic ones such as Spain, Mexico, Poland and Italy, this is the most important Church service of the Christmas season.
Is Christmas Eve more important than Christmas?
No way, because Christmas Eve celebrations are so much better than the official holiday itself. … It’s still a major part of the holiday without being the actual holiday. You can do everything you normally do on Christmas Eve that you do on Christmas Day, but you also have a lot more to look forward to.
What is seven fish dinner on Christmas Eve?
This Christmas Eve, invite friends and family to celebrate one of the most iconic Italian-American traditions around. The Feast of the Seven Fishes—also known as Festa dei Sette Pesci or La Vigilia—is a huge dinner that features seven courses of fish and seafood dishes, plus a classic Italian dessert.
Why does Santa come on Christmas?
Santa Claus, legendary figure who is the traditional patron of Christmas in the United States and other countries, bringing gifts to children. His popular image is based on traditions associated with Saint Nicholas, a 4th-century Christian saint. Father Christmas fills the role in many European countries.
Is Santa Claus real?
Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa, is a legendary character originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts on Christmas Eve to well-behaved children or coal for naughty children.
Why does Santa wear red?
The legend goes that Santa’s suit is red because of a hugely successful advertising campaign for Coca-Cola that featured a big Father Christmas wearing red robes with a white trim, the soft drink’s colours.
Why do we give gifts at Christmas?
Christmas Presents. One of the main reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas, is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. Gold: is associated with Kings and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings. These important lessons must be taught to children on this occasion
Why do we eat 7 fish on Christmas Eve?
Every year in the U.S., many people celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. … The ancient tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic custom of abstinence from meat and dairy products on the eve of certain holidays, including Christmas.
Why do we not eat meat on Christmas Eve?
The long tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from eating meat on the eve of a feast day. As no meat or animal fat could be used on such days, observant Catholics would instead eat fish (typically fried in oil).
The Origin of Christmas Eve
For centuries, Christmas was commemorated not as a single day, but as a whole season in parts of the world, starting with this day, December 24, Christmas Eve. Possibly the practice of commemorating the evening before the special day is an echo from ancient Jewish reckoning. Amongst earlier Jews, a day started at six in the evening and ran up until 6 the following evening. Had not Moses written: An evening and a morning were the first day”?
Christmas suggests “Christ-mass.” The date is a guess, the custom of observing it goes back to at least the fourth century. Under the influence of the church, Christian traditions changed pagan solstice celebrations throughout Europe. Frequently the more innocent pagan practices (such as generating a Yule log, decorating with holly and so forth) were carried over into the Christmas observance, transfigured with new meaning.
What is Christmas tree?
The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Christians use it as a sign of everlasting life with God.
What is the meaning behind the Christmas tree?
The Royal Roots of the American Christmas Tree
Long before the advent of Christmas—and even before the birth of Christ—ancient civilizations embraced evergreen boughs, wreaths and garlands as symbols of eternal life amid the darkest days of the winter solstice. From these pagan roots sprouted the modern Christmas tree.
The Origin of the Christmas Tree
Amongst the many accounts declaring to discuss the origin of the Christmas tree, the three most popular are from Germany– making it the likeliest place of origin. The stories span from the 8th to the 16th century. All three have some aspect of historic reality, and they may even loosely link from one to another.
- The very first story is about St. Boniface. In the 8th century, he was a missionary to a few of the remotest people of Germany. He is most likely best known for what is called the “Felling of Thor’s Oak.” It is stated that upon going into a town in northern Hesse (Hessia), Boniface learned that the people worshiped the god Thor who they thought resided in a fantastic oak tree amongst them. Boniface determined that if he wanted to make an audience with the people, he would have to face Thor. He revealed prior to individuals that he was going to cut down the oak, and he openly challenged Thor to strike him down. Miraculously, as Boniface began to slice the oak, a mighty wind blew and tossed the tree to the ground. Custom holds that a fir tree was growing in the roots of the oak, and Boniface claimed the tree as a sign of Christ. Needless to say, the people readily accepted Boniface’s message, and the tree eventually came to be connected with the birth of Christ and an event of the day when the magnificent God (who might toss a massive oak to the ground) chose to humbly get in the world as a babe.
- Another possible source of the Christmas tree originates from medieval spiritual plays in Germany. Amongst the most popular of these plays was the “Paradise” play. It began with the creation of man, acted out the first sin, and showed Adam and Eve being expelled from Paradise (the Garden of Eden). It closed with the pledge of a coming Savior, which made the play a particular preferred during the Christmas season. In the play, the Garden of Eden was most often represented by a fir tree hung with apples and surrounded by candle lights.
- A third tradition about the origin of the Christmas tree attributes it to Martin Luther, a prominent leader of the Reformation. Some say that on Christmas Eve, Luther was walking through the woods near his house. He was struck by the charm of how the snow sparkled in the moonlight on the branches of the trees.
What is the most traditional Christmas tree?
Alongside the Fraser fir, the balsam fir is probably one of the most well-known and popular holiday tree varieties. Characterized by its beautiful soft dark-green needles, it’s native to the northern-most part of the United States but is often trucked in from Canada around the holidays, where it grows plentifully.
What is the most famous Christmas tree?
One of the top Christmas trees in the United States, according to The National Christmas Tree Association, Douglas Firs are popular because of their perfect pyramid shape. Also, since they radiate needles in all directions, Douglas Firs tend to be nice and full.
Best and most beautiful Christmas Trees
Colorado Blue Spruce
Scots Pine/Scotch Pine
Eastern White Pine
Easter Red Cedar
What is the biggest Christmas tree ever?
By the way, Guinness World Records says the tallest cut Christmas tree ever was a 221-foot Douglas fir displayed in 1950 at a shopping center in Seattle. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City stands just 77 feet tall. The blue Norway spruce is topped with a Swarovski star.
Where should I put the Christmas tree?
For maximum exposure, your Christmas tree should be placed where it can be seen from the outside, as soon as you walk inside your doorway or down the staircase, when you’re having a meal at the dinner table, or relaxing with the family. It’s also important to know where to not put your tree.
Can a Christmas tree be planted?
You may wonder, “Can you plant your Christmas tree after Christmas?” and the answer is yes, you can. Replanting a Christmas tree requires some planning, but if you are willing to plan ahead, you can enjoy your lovely Christmas tree for years to come.
10 Facts about Christmas
1) Christmas is a Christian festival that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians think was the son of God. For most people, it happens every year on 25 December– the day that the Roman Catholic Church picked to mark Jesus’ birthday. However, in fact, nobody in fact understands the exact date Jesus was born!
2) Did you know that not all Christians celebrate Christmas on the same day? In nations with large populations of Orthodox Christians *, such as Russia, the Ukraine and Romania, Christmas Day falls on 7 January. Some Greek Orthodox Christians commemorate Christmas on 7 January, too.
3) The name ‘Christmas’ comes from the old English phrase Cristes maesse, which means ‘Christ’s mass’. However what about ‘Xmas’? Lots of peoples think this is simply a modern-day abbreviation– however it actually goes back to the 16th century! The ‘X’ is said to represent the Greek letter ‘Chi’– the very first letter in the Greek word for Christ, Χριστός (noticable ‘Chritos’).
4) Come Christmas, people around the globe take pleasure in all sort of jolly-good fun! A lot of the joyful customs we have in the UK today happened in the Victorian age– such as Christmas cards, gift-giving and crackers, in addition to conventional foods like mince pies and roast turkey! Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert were big fans of Christmas, in fact!
5) Christmas trees also ended up being popular in Victorian Britain. But these were first seen in 16th Century Germany where, at Christmas time, people decorated fir trees with fruit and nuts– and later on sweets, paper shapes and candles. Incredibly, historians believe the origins of this festive custom might go back to the Romans and Ancient Egyptians, who utilized evergreen plants and garlands as signs of everlasting life. Wow!
6) Check this out– every year, Norway sends a beautiful home-grown Christmas tree to London, where it is embellished with lights in Trafalgar Square. Standing a towering 20m high, the terrific tree is a gift to say thank you for the assistance the UK provided Norway during World War II. What a tree-mendous gift!
7) We can’t discuss Christmas without a mention to the big bearded, rosy-cheeked jolly male … Father Christmas! But have you wondered how he got the name Santa Claus? It’s from Sinterklaas, which implies Saint Nicholas in Dutch, the language of the Netherlands. St. Nicholas was a Christian bishop who resided in the 4th century– known for being kind and generous, he later on became the patron saint of kids.
8) But Santa isn’t the only Christmas character– there are a lot more around the world! In Italy, for instance, a kind witch called La Befana is stated to fly around on a broomstick providing toys to children! And in Iceland, kids leave shoes under the window for 13 mischievous trolls called the Yule Lads. If the kid has been good, they’ll find sugary foods in their shoe– however if they’ve been bad, the Yule lads will leave them a rotten potato!
9) We all enjoy to sing along to Jingle Bells, but have you ever discovered that the song doesn’t have the word Christmas in it? Or Jesus or Santa Claus? That’s due to the fact that it wasn’t initially a Christmas tune! The jolly anthem was composed in 1850, entitled One Horse Open Sleigh, for the American holiday, Thanksgiving!
10) Now, think of if there was no Christmas. Does it feel quite strange? Unfortunate, perhaps? Well, think it or not, in 1644 Christmas celebrations were made unlawful in England, and not long after, in the English Colonies in America, too! At that time, members of the federal government felt that the religious significance of Christmas had been forgotten, therefore prohibited the holiday celebrations. Some people still commemorated in secret, however, up until Christmas was once again legal … practically 20 years later!