Christmas is the jolly time of the year celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. It is observed on 25th December all across the world and holds a religious significance. Christians celebrate Christmas with traditions and practices that are religious.
Popular customs for Christmas celebrations in India and across the globe include attending Church, decorating houses, setting up Christmas trees, getting together with friends and family, exchanging gifts, and waiting for Santa Claus of course. People start preparations well in advance by decorating their houses with lights and Christmas symbols like bells, wreaths, stars, candy canes, and candles.
Read further to know the history of Christmas and understand how it all started.
History of Christmas
As we all know, Christmas is celebrated on 25th December to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, who people believe to be the Son of God. The word Christmas comes from the Mass of Christ. But nobody knows the real birth date of Jesus Christ. For the first three centuries of the existence of Christianity, Jesus Christ’s birth wasn’t celebrated at all.
The first year when Christmas was celebrated on 25th December was in 336 AD, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Even in the Bible, the exact day of Jesus’s birth is not mentioned. Now you must be thinking then why do we celebrate it on the 25th of December.
There are different theories as to why Christmas is celebrated on 25th December. According to a famous Christian tradition, on 25th March, Mary was told that she would give birth to a special child. Nine months after the 25th of March is 25th December. Hence, 25th December was chosen as a day to celebrate the festival of Christmas. However, Church officials appointed 25th December as the date for the Christmas celebration because they wanted it to coincide with existing pagan festivals honouring Satan and Mithra.
Satan was the Roman God of Agriculture, and Mithra was the Persian God of light. It became easier to convince the Romans to accept Christianity as the official religion of the empire. Christmas in India and across the world is celebrated with great fun and fervour that allow people to get together with their loved ones and create everlasting memories.
Significance of Christmas
Christmas, in general, is celebrated as the birth of Jesus Christ. But in the real sense, it symbolizes the truth of the spiritual life. When Jesus Christ was born, the world was full of hatred, greed, ignorance, and hypocrisy. His birth transformed the lives of the people. He taught them the importance of spirituality, purity, and devotion and how it could change their lives for the better. The festival of Christmas shows us that a life full of knowledge and light can take over the darkness spread in the corners of the world.
Jesus Christ taught people that they could only awaken their spirituality if they seek it. He taught them to live a humble and simple life and give up the desire for worldly pleasures because satisfaction comes from within and not from the things we seek outside.
Christmas eve celebration in India and across the world has its customs and traditions. One of the most widely practiced traditions is going to the Midnight Mass Church Service. In many countries, people do not eat or drink during Christmas Eve, and then the main meal is eaten after the Midnight Mass Service. Like several traditional events and festivals in India, Christmas is the time to relish delicious food and desserts like Christmas cake with friends and family.
People follow the tradition of singing Christmas carols with the dedication that shows their love for God. They put up a Christmas tree; decorate it with twinkling fairy lights and ornaments. It brings in festive vibes and fills the heart of people with joy and enthusiasm. And nothing can beat the fun of exchanging Christmas gifts with loved ones that make the occasion even more exciting.
Interesting Facts About Christmas
Further, we are sharing with you all some interesting Christmas history facts:
1. The word Xmas came from the ancient Greek language where Christ begins with the letter ‘X.’ Hence, Xmas means Christmas Initially, Santa Claus wore clothes that were green, blue, or purple. Coca Cola dressed Santa Claus up in red colour to match with their brand, and the idea got stuck
2. The song ‘Jingle Bells’ was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont that was supposed to be played during Thanksgiving
3. Santa Claus was known by the name of Sinterklaas in Dutch
4. The origin of Christmas trees goes back to ancient Egyptians and Romans. The use of modern Christmas trees started in Germany in the 16th century when they were decorated with fruits and nuts