Christmas is an annual commemoration of the Jesus Christ birth,celebrated generally on 25th December of every year as a religious and cultural holiday by billions of people around the world. who is believed to be born on the same date at Bethlehem, the land of Jews. The festival is celebrated as a mark of respect to Lord Jesus, who is considered as the son of God and founder of the Christianity religion. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide. Christmas is a civil holiday in many of the world’s nations, is celebrated by an increasing number of non – Christians, and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.
Christmas is a global festival and though people around the world celebrate this festival with the same sentiments and feelings but the way it is celebrated varies from place to place. It is interesting to see how different countries celebrate Christmas. The traditions surrounding the celebration of this season are almost as numerous as the people who celebrate it. Through the years, the celebration has been adapted to local customs, culture, and history and so has produced an amazing variety of Christmas traditions around the world.
Some, such as the giving of gifts or the use of a star, arose directly or indirectly out of the biblical nativity stories. Some, such as the legends of Saint Nicholas, have their origin in church history, historical fact that became legendary as it was embellished in story. Others, such as the use of Christmas tree evergreens and the Yule log, have pagan origins but were transformed into distinctively Christian traditions.
Others, such as the use of a crèche or caroling, arose first as local traditions in certain countries or regions that became widely adopted. And still others, such as, reindeer, elves, the North Pole, etc., have largely secular origins and are only loosely associated with the holiday in popular imagination or marketing techniques.
There are legends associated with each and every Christmas symbols and its origin. Each of them has a special significance in the festive celebration. As far as Christmas in India is concerned Christians in India decorate banana or mango trees. They also light small oil – burning lamps as Christmas decorations and fill their churches with red flowers. They give presents to family members and money, or charity, to the poor people.
In India, the poinsettia is in flower and so the churches are decorated with this brilliant bloom for the Christmas Midnight Mass. In South India, Christians put small clay lamps on the rooftops and walls of their houses at Christmas, just as the Hindus do during the festival of Diwali. In some countries, especially the United Kingdom, France, and the Scandinavian nations, many families burned a Yule log at Christmastime, as there are some legends associated with it. Though the ways of celebration are different but the Christmas spirit is the same around the world. Irrespective of our individual customs and traditions we should celebrate Christmas as bond of love, care and togetherness.
Peoples are decorates Christmas tree, snow covered hills, carolers singing, jingle bells and the evergreens, which are all parts of winter wonder to admire. To give a bright festive look to your home you can use lots of candles, which are available in the market in different shapes and sizes. You can choose Poinsettia and Holy candles scented with pine or bayberry for this festive decoration.
A candle will brighten up even a simple Christmas decoration. Nowadays decorating your place has really become easy as you can choose from a wide range of decorative items available in the market. Ranging from artificial Christmas trees, fancy lights, musical decors, stars to wreaths. You can also decorate your place with different kinds of lights because proper kind of lighting gives a bright and colorful look to your decor. Coming to Christmas tree it is very important how you decorate your tree depending on the kind of tree you are opting.
Once your tree is selected you can spend time on its decoration part like choosing a particular style and color theme for your tree. For instance a copper theme could use metallic color ribbons, wooden decorations painted in copper, pine cones, a doll theme with miniature dolls and doll furniture, a bird theme with clip on birds, twigs, nests etc. It is your tree and it is up to you to decide on the look. But the best decor is the one that you create; yourself after all the spirit of Christmas is all about being together, loving and sharing.
Christmas Decoration Items
- Christmas tree
- Christmas Wreaths
- Christmas greenery
- Christmas ribbons
History of Christmas
The history of Christmas dates back over 4000 years. Many of the Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ child was born. The 12 days of Christmas, the bright fires, the Yule log, the giving of gifts, carnivals ( parades ) with floats, carolers who sing while going from house to house, the holiday feasts, and the church processions can all be traced back to the early Mesopotamians.
These traditions began with the Mesopotamian celebration of New Years. Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. No one knows the exact day of the Christ’s birth it has never been pinpointed. Traditions say that it has been celebrated since the year 98 AD. In 137 AD the Bishop of Rome ordered the birthday of the Christ Child celebrated as a solemn feast.
In 350 AD another Bishop of Rome, Julius I, choose 25th December as the observance of Christmas since than it is celebrated on this day around the world. Fundamentally Christmas celebration is based on the intertwining of two ethnic patterns, Roman transition rites and Germano – Celtic Yule ( jiuleis ) rites – feasting and mortuary practice. On this day, many go to church, where they take part in special religious services. During the Christmas season, they also exchange gifts and decorate their homes with holly, mistletoe, and Christmas trees.
The word Christmas comes from Cristes maesse, an early English phrase that means Mass of Christ. The first mention of 25th December as the birth date of Jesus occurred in 336 A.D. in an early Roman calendar. The celebration of Jesus’s birth date as Christmas, was probably influenced by Pagan ( unchristian ) festivals held at that time. For most Christians, the Christmas season begins on the Sunday nearest 30th November.
This date is the feast day of Saint Andrew, one of the 12 apostles of Christ. The nearest Sunday is the first day of Advent, a four – week period during which Christians prepare for the celebration of Christmas. The word advent means a coming and refers to the coming of Jesus on Christmas Day. For Christians, the Christmas season reaches its climax at midnight Mass or other religious services on Christmas Eve, which is the ‘D’ day of celebration.
Churches are decorated with candles, lights, evergreen branches, and bright red poinsettias. People sing Christmas carols and listen to readings from the Gospels of Saint Luke and Saint Matthew. Priests and ministers speak to the congregations about the coming of Christ and the need for peace and understanding among all people. Most churches also hold services on Christmas Day. The Christmas season ends on Epiphany, 6th January. In Western Christian churches, Epiphany celebrates the coming of the Wise Men to the Christ child.
Christmas Festival Celebrations – Special Prayers
Churches hold a special Midnight Mass, attended by most people of the community. People especially look forward to this Mass, as this is not only a sacred prayer ceremony but an important social event as well. Men and women wear new clothes and come for the Mass looking and smelling their absolute best. The Mass goes on for over a couple of hours and people fondly remember the Saviour who gave up his life so that they may live. The ceremonies held in Calcutta, Kottayam ( this town in Kerala has the headquarters of the Syrian Church and also a sizeable Roman Catholic population ), Delhi, Sardhana ( U.P ), Martandam (T amil Nadu) , Aizawl ( Mizoram ), Kohima (Nagaland), Shillong ( Meghalaya ), Panaji ( Goa ) and Pondicherry are worth a special mention.
The beginning of gift giving during Christmas started from the three wise men, with their three gifts for the Christ child. Since then people have made up different things to tell their children where their Christmas presents came from. The historical Saint Nicholas was known in early Christian legends for saving storm – tossed sailors, standing up for children, and giving gifts to the poor.
The whole persona of Santa Claus is well etched out and is a very attractive icon of children. Christmas is a festivity most awaited by children and this has immensely helped in the survival of the legends of Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The American version of St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus originally came from the Dutch version called Sint Klaas. The Dutch settlers in New York brought this fun and lively tradition to America.
This version of Santa has given the current myth its visual form and some very curious traditions. A merry old man with red and white clothes, along with eight flying reindeer, which is later joined by Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. The home of Santa Clause is located on or near the North Pole and he is in habit of filling socks or stockings with presents on the night of 24th December. Santa Claus is also said to possess the habit of entering houses through the chimney.
The basis for the Santa Claus is Bishop Nicholas of Smyrna ( Izmir ), in what is now Turkey. Nicholas lived in the 4th century A.D. He was very rich, generous, and loving toward children. Often he gave joy to poor children by throwing gifts in through their windows. The modern day image of Santa Clause has been very much evolved and has attained a commercial status. But nonetheless this image has still preserved the essence of the old cult. Actually the old “cult” of Santa Claus incorporates many traditions : Christian and Pagan, Old Catholic, Scandinavian, Dutch, German and English.
The Christmas Feast
On Christmas day, the year’s greatest feast is served. The feast is started off with drinks and music, followed by a procession of the food. Once everyone is seated, the food is served and eaten, after dessert, people drink and dance. Some of the food that are generally served include : beef, meat pies, roasted duck, geese, pigs, plumb porridge, fancy cakes, bowls of wassail, and toast.
The Tradition of Gifting is the best way to celebrate the festive season that make every moment memorable. The day of Christmas comes with the message of peace for the home, the nation and the world as Jesus Christ taught the humanity about giving peace and happiness to others. The effervescent mood of Christmas gets an added zest with the exchange of gifts, how so ever small or simple it may be.
People enjoy this festival with lots of love and enjoy the cherish of Christmas with sweets and gifts.
Every country is having a unique way of celebrating Christmas,but certain customs are same throughout the world people exchange gifts and sweets, decorate their houses and illuminate it with light, decoration. ‘Christmas trees’ will also be decorated with lights and Christmas ornaments.
From December onwards it is impossible to forget that Christmas is coming. Colored lights decorate many town centers and shops, along with shiny decorations, and artificial flowers. Shops are decorated in a new and impressive way,people start planning before the Christmas it needs a lot of care before the purchasing of Christmas gifts your gifts selection choice will do the right the job and bring cheer in your life.
On Christmas when you decide the shopping place to buy a gift because there are countless of shops are reflecting their product it is essential to choose peculiar one from a huge market. it is essential to keep in mind the person for whom it is presented, whether it is special presents for close friends and family or corporate gifts for business customers. Nowadays,people used to purchase a specific gifts for their mother, father, kids, teenagers and any one special for you.
Christmas home made gift can save money, depending on the materials, but they definitely cost you in time, so it’s an even trade off. But there is an additional benefit to hand – making this year’s Christmas gifts. You can be definitely sure that the gift you give will be an original. When you make your own gift, you have the luxury and comfort of knowing that this will never happen to you. Enjoy this Christmas with kids and with your relatives with new gift and make this Christmas a memorable and delighted.
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