Christmas is a widely famous festival celebrated around the whole world on the 25th of December every year. Christmas has gained popularity in recent years due to the influences of mainstream media and their culture.
People decorate their homes with Christmas trees, put up Christmas trees at local markets and retail malls, dress as Santa Claus, and hand out a variety of gifts.
The precise date of Jesus’ birth is unknown. Given that the Bible doesn’t specify a day, why do we observe it on December 25? Jesus was born not in the year 1 (there isn’t a 0 – the years go from 1 BC/BCE), but rather a bit earlier, perhaps in the year 4 BCE/BC.
For the first time recorded, Christmas was observed on December 25 in 336AD, during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor).
However, there are many traditions and justifications for why Christmas is celebrated on December 25. According to early Christian beliefs, the Annunciation, or the day Mary learned she would give birth to Jesus, was allegedly on March 25. The Annunciation is still celebrated on this day. The 25th of December occurs nine months after the 25th of March.
The world was formed on March 25, according to early Christians, Jesus died as an adult on that day, and the two events happened on the same day of the year. The date was chosen since it was close to the March/Vernal Equinox.
The Jewish calendar states that Jesus died on Nisan 14, which is also the day of the Passover feast. Because it is lunar, the Jewish calendar adheres to the Gregorian calendar’s dates (based on the moon rather than fixed dates). According to Saint Ephrem the Syrian (306-373), Jesus was born on Nisan 10! The 25th of March was made a “fixed” date on the Gregorian calendar to represent these “movable” days on the Jewish calendar.
The custom of sending gifts to family members became well-established by the end of the 18th century. The coming of the Magi to Bethlehem raised the possibility that Christmas was somehow connected to presenting presents. Still, theologically, the feast day served to remind Christians of God’s gift of Jesus to humanity. Christmas was perceived as a secular celebration with a strong emphasis on family and friends because of the tradition of giving gifts, which dates back to the 15th century.
The tradition of celebrating Christmas as a secular family celebration is well-illustrated by a number of English “Christmas” carols, including “Here We Come A-Wassailing” and “Deck the Halls.” Another example of it is the tradition of sending Christmas cards, which began in England in the 19th century. By naming the Christ Child as the giver of gifts to the family, countries like Austria and Germany further solidify the connection between the Christian festival and the family holiday. It makes an appearance in some European countries on December 6, the feast day of Saint Nicholas, giving children little presents of candy and other things.
It makes an appearance in some European countries on December 6, the feast day of Saint Nicholas, giving children little presents of candy and other things. The pre-Christmas role of the Christian saint Nicholas was altered in North America into the more prominent position of Santa Claus as the source of Christmas gifts for the family.
Santa Claus is seen as a secular figure. Despite the fact that his name and attire—a modified version of the traditional bishop’s garb—betray his Christian roots and that his job—asking children about their prior behavior—is similar to St. Nicholas’. Santa Claus dons red swimming trunks and a white beard in Australia, where people enjoy free outdoor performances of Christmas carols and have their Christmas meal on the beach.
To honor the belief that the infant Jesus was born on the night of December 24, gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve, which falls on December 24 in the majority of European nations. However, in North America, Christmas morning has taken over as the time for gift-giving. A small gift exchange took place when the family arrived home from Christmas service in the early hours of December 25th in 17th and 18th-century Europe. The Christmas liturgy was moved to the afternoon of December 24 when it was decided that the evening of December 24 would be the time for gift-giving. The morning of December 25 has become a crucial time for families to open presents in North America.
In North America, the morning of December 25 has become the customary time for families to open gifts, except in Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopal churches, thereby ending the practice of holding church services on that day. This is a striking example of how cultural customs influence liturgical procedures.
The majority of European countries mark December 26 as a second Christmas holiday because it is one of the most important Christian feast days. This practice dates back to the early Christian liturgical principle that Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost should all be observed in the same week. The lengthy celebration, however, was progressively reduced to just Christmas Day and one more holiday on December 26.
As Christianity spread outside Europe and North America, the custom of celebrating Christmas spread to non-Western countries. The religious holiday has not developed into a national holiday in many of these countries because Christians do not make up the majority there. Christmas celebrations in these societies usually adopt Western customs because the people there were exposed to Christianity as a religion and a cultural artifact of the West.
Historically, Christmas was a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus. But it has also become a secular family holiday since the turn of the 20th century. The secular festival, which is celebrated by both Christians and non-Christians, is characterized by an increasingly ornate gift-giving custom. Santa Claus, a legendary character, is central to the secular Christmas celebration.