The Christmas is an annual festival which is celebrated by Christians and many non-Christians. It is also called as Noël, Nativity, Xmas. The importance of December 25 is due to the celebrations of Merry Christmas around the world for commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ annually. It is generally observed in the Church services around the world and celebrated by exchanging gifts, social gatherings, symbolic decorations, feasting Christmas special cuisines, listening music and carols, goodies etc. The festival is associated with charity, spreading joy and spending time with family and friends. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world’s nations.
Celebration Time and Date of Christmas:
The month and date of his birth are not known, but the church in the early fourth century fixed the date as December 25. This corresponds to the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. Most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, which has been adopted almost universally in the civil calendars used in countries throughout the world. In 1870, the United States declared Christmas a federal holiday.
The History and Myth of Christmas:
December 25 is celebrated as Christmas to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. As per traditional Christmas tale, the Nativity (birth) of Jesus, explained in the New Testament reveals that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with messianic prophecies. When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who then further disseminated the information.
History of Jesus Nativity:
The gospels of Luke and Matthew define Jesus as being born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary. In Luke, Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, and Jesus is born there and placed in a manger. Angels proclaimed him a savior for all people, and shepherds came to adore him. Later Matthew adds that the magi follow a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, born the king of the Jews. King Herod orders the massacre of all the boys less than two years old in Bethlehem, but the family flees to Egypt and later returns to Nazareth.
Celebrations of Christmas:
The traditional colors of Christmas decorations are red, green, and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold is the first colour associated with Christmas, as one of the three gifts of the Magi, signifying royalty.
During the festival of Christmas, people often go door-to-door in small groups singing carols. This adds to the festive cheerfulness. Decorations is the main attractions of Christmas. People decorates their houses, even offices, with candles, wreaths, candy canes, bells, mistletoe, angels and stockings. Both the displaying of wreaths and candles in each window are a more traditional Christmas display. Mainly, a Christmas tree is placed in every home which becomes really tall or tiny with colourful ornaments. Candles in each window are meant to demonstrate the fact that Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate light of the world. Clad in their best, devotees also attend midnight mass at churches on the eve of Christmas. Christmas lights and banners may be hung along streets, music played from speakers, and Christmas trees placed in prominent places.
Many persons and churches set up a nativity scene, portraying the birth of Christ. A manger or barn is recreated, and there are figures representing Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. They are usually surrounded by angels, the biblical Magi, shepherds, and animals like a donkey, ox and camels.
On the occasion of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day church services often came to feature Nativity plays, as did schools and theatres.
On the occasion of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the songs now known specifically as carols were originally communal folk songs sung during celebrations such as “harvest tide” as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols began to be sung in church. Customarily, carols have often been based on medieval chord patterns, and it is this that gives them their distinctively typical musical sound. Some carols like “Personent hodie”, “Good King Wenceslas”, and “The Holly and the Ivy” can be traced directly back to the Middle Ages.
The fairytale of Santa Claus:
When we talk about the Christmas, Santa Claus can’t be far behind. As little kids are told, Santa, or St Nicholas, lives in the North Pole. He has a flowy white beard to complement his pot belly, and often goes “Ho ho ho!” in a fun-loving manner. On the eve of Christmas, he visits the houses of people who have been nice throughout the year and leaves behind gifts for them. Young children are encouraged to leave out empty stockings for presents, before going to bed.
The legend of Santa Claus goes back hundreds of years to a monk named St Nicholas. He is said to have been born sometime around 280 AD in Patara, near Myra in present-day Turkey. He became the subject of legends as he was respected for his piousness and kindness.
Traditional Cuisine, food and drinks for Christmas:
A special Christmas family meal is customarily an essential part of the holiday’s celebration, and the food that is served differs greatly from country to country. Some regions have distinctive meals for Christmas Eve, such as Sicily, where 12 kinds of fish are served. In the United Kingdom and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal includes turkey, goose or other large bird, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, sometimes bread and cider. Special desserts are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding, mince pies, fruit cake, Panettone and Yule log cake. Traditional Christmas meal in Central Europe is fried carp or other fish.
Generally, Christmas scores high on the dessert quotient, what with gingerbread, cookies, plum cakes, marzipan, rum balls, and candies in abundance. Also bebinca, guava cheese and dodol are also popular during this occasion. Some of the commonly prepared foods during Christmas include roast chicken, pork and beef curries, vindaloo, sorpotel, mutton stew, mince pie and duck roast. Many also love pairing the celebratory feast with home-made wines.
We wish all Merry Christmas and joyful New Year ahead.