Christmas: Origin, History, Traditions & Celebrations

Christmas is an annual festival celebrated by Christians all over the world on 25th December. It’s a festival celebrated as God came to earth in the form of human “Jesus Christ.” 25th December is primarily observed as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. The classical Christmas narrative, the Nativity of Jesus, depicted in the New Testament says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, following divine predictions. Joseph and Mary couldn’t find any room in Bethlehem, so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child was born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who then further circulating the information. No one knows the actual date for the birth of “Jesus Christ,”.

Why Christmas is celebrated on 25th December and not on any other day?

birth of jesus christ
The Birth of Jesus Christ

As the exact date of birth of Jesus Christ is unknown, Church in the early 4th century fixed the date as 25th December. Most Christians celebrate on 25th December in the Gregorian calendar, which has been adopted throughout the world. However, some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas according to the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to a date in January of the Gregorian calendar. For Christians, God came to the earth in human form to the right for humanity, rather than knowing Jesus’ exact date-of-birth is considered to be the primary purpose as celebrating on 25th December.

In the early days of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not honored. In the 4th century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible has no mentioned date for his birth (a fact Puritans later pointed out to deny the legitimacy of the celebration). Although some proofs indicate that his birth may have occurred in the springtime (why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?), Pope Julius I chose 25th December. It is believed that the church decided this date to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival.

What are the different Christmas celebratory traditions around the world?

The celebratory traditions associated with various different countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. The popular modern customs include gift-giving, having a feast at friends/relative’s houses. During the celebration, the yule log is burnt as it has become a tradition that is followed years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Customs are different in different countries, regions, and even tribes. According to the English tradition, people go to church sing prayers, wishing each other a Merry Christmas, drink wine with a piece of cake. At night they celebrate with their friends and relatives, by singing carols, eating meat, drinking wine, dancing and enjoying in their own way.

People in Europe celebrate the festivities after mid-December as the days become shorter and the nights grow longer, as due to the darker nights people would gather around at one home and burn the huge log of yule tree. And to remove the fear of darkness people used to sing, dance and have a feast which includes fresh meat, wines, and chocolates. Their party continues until the log is fully burned. This festivities would begin from 21st December to 7-8 January, as this was the period when sunlight reaches less to earth and earth observes winter seasons with colder winds and darker nights.

The tree that is traditionally used for Christmas is an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir. Long before the Christianity, plants, and trees that remain green all year, also called, evergreen trees, had a special meaning for people in the winter, just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with fir, pine, and spruce trees. In many countries, it was believed that evergreens would keep away evil spirits, illness, ghosts, and witches. The tradition was established in the medieval Livonia (at-present Estonia and Latvia) and in early modern Germany, where Protestant Germans brought decorated trees into their homes. Traditionally evergreen trees are decorated with “tinsel, roses made of colored paper, sweetmeats, apples, [and] wafers.”

Christmas tree decoration & Gifts
Christmas tree decoration & Gifts

In the 18th century, it began by lighting candles, which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the invention of electricity. Today, there is a wide variety of traditional ornaments, such as baubles, tinsel, garlands, and candy canes. An angel represents Angel Gabriel, or a star represents the Star of Bethlehem is also placed at the top of the tree from the Nativity. Edible items such as chocolate, gingerbread, and other sweets are also top-rated. They are tied to or hung from the tree branches with ribbons.

What is Santa Claus and how it became so popular among children’s?

The thing that today everyone knows about Christmas is due to Father Christmas, also popularly known as “Santa Claus.” Father Christmas is the popular English name for the personification of Christmas, now known as a Christmas gift-bringer. Until Victorian times, Father Christmas was concerned with merry-making and adult feasting. It had no particular connection with children, nor with the giving of presents, nightly visits, or chimneys.

Santa Claus
Santa Claus

But as later Victorian Christmases developed into child-centric family festivals, Father Christmas became a gift-bringer. The famous American myth of Santa Claus arrived in England in the 1850s, and Father Christmas started to take on Santa’s attributes. By the 1880s, the new customs had been fixed, with the nightly visitor sometimes being known as Santa Claus. He was often seen wearing a long red hooded gown trimmed with white fur.

Which places should you visit on the Christmas holiday?

The list of the best places to visit during the Christmas holidays should probably start with the Holy pilgrimage to Jesus Christ birthplace “Bethlehem West Bank,” near Jerusalem. The city is observed with lots of light and energy can be seen in public with their happy faces as they are celebrating Christmas. Surely the second place for a must-visit at Christmas would probably New York City; the world’s tallest Christmas tree is lit at the Rockefeller Center, as December starts. Ice Skating is considered a must for wintertime visitors.

The next places for a must-visit are Zurich, Switzerland. The reason for choosing this place is their famous chocolates, cheese fondue, mountains, and beautiful snow. You can also visit the Christmas market (the one inside the train station), Christmas-themed city strolls, and the enchanting Christmas tree that comes alive on Weed Muhlen Platz makes this place a must-visit during Christmas.

Some other places that you can visit are the famous Vatican City, Italy. Santa Claus village, Finnland. Dublin, Ireland. Nuremberg, Germany. And to enjoy the sun, sand, surf, and enjoy the refreshing beer during Christmas Bondi Beach Australia, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Goa, India are excellent places to visit.