Every Year in December, we are busy shopping, decorating, and cleaning our houses. For a whole month, we prepare for the most awaited Christmas season! But why do we celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is a Christian festival (the followers of Jesus Christ) that is celebrated every year on December 25th in remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The word Christmas comes from – “Christ,” and “mass” means the follower of Christ. It is said that the holy virgin Mary was chosen by God himself to bring Jesus into this world. Christians celebrate Christmas to welcome the king of humanity.
Jesus Christ has over 2 billion followers all over the world (2020). There are 3 main Christian holidays in a year, Christmas being the most important of all.
December 25th is a popular holiday all over the world. Many countries in the West see it as a cultural festival, so it is also counted as a cultural holiday.
To your surprise, Americans did not celebrate Christmas as a federal holiday until the 1870s. The native Puritan tribe banned the Christmas holiday as they considered the day associated with pagan traditions.
1. The 25th December- Christmas Day
Christmas Day is celebrated on the 25th of December of every year. But it is an interesting fact that the exact date when Jesus was born is unknown. But why do we celebrate Christmas on 25th December only?
There are many theories we can find revolving around Christmas Day.
1.1. A Message From an Angel
Although the birth of Jesus Christ is not known, it is somewhere between 6BCE and 2BCE.
But it is said that Mother Mary was told by an angel on March 25th that she was conceiving a special child who is the Son of God.
Exactly after 9 months comes December 25th.
1.2. Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the winter. It is a day of celebration in many countries since ancient times.
The Roman Empire celebrated winter solstice on 25th December with the birthday of the Lord Sun, popularly known as Sol Invictus, which was a part of Pagan traditions.
The Sun God or Sol Invictus, also known as the unconquered sun, held a high position in the roman empire. It was the symbol of victory over darkness.
The Romans also recognized Christmas and started to celebrate Christmas on December 25 in the fourth century under the Roman emperor Constantine. This was my first Christmas celebration.
The Roman Emperor Constantine had his political ambitions to reduce the importance of Pagan rituals by giving more space to Christmas traditions.
The Iranians also celebrate a festival of winter solstice called Yalda. The term ‘Yalda‘ means birth that comes after the birth of Jesus. The population of Iran has less number of Christians today, but early Christians gave the name.
Apart from this, many kingdoms adopted Christianity on December 25, and many kings were coronated on the same.
The Jewish festival ‘Hanukkah‘ is also celebrated in December on the eve of 25 Kislev (based on the Hebrew calendar).
1.3. The Birth of Jesus
Jesus is known as the Messiah, the Savior, and the Son of God. The prophecy of Jesus’s birth happened 2,000 years ago.
It is said that the Angel, whose name was Gabriel, appeared in front of a Jewish woman of Nazareth – Mary.
Gabriel told Mary that she would be blessed with a holy child, the Son of God, and that God himself chose her. The child would be named Jesus, and his kingdom shall never end.
Mary was a religious woman and believed in God. So, she accepted the Will of God happily.
It was the time of the Roman Empire. Mary and his to-be-husband Joseph had to go to Nazareth to register the census as ordered by the King.
Both of them traveled a long way from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where originally they belonged. After reaching there, they could not find a place to stay, so they had to stay in an animal stable. It was the same night when Jesus was born.
Jesus was kept in a bed of fresh hay. An Angel told the nearby shepherds about the birth of the holy child- Jesus. Hearing the news, the shepherds ran up to the manger to see the Holy Child of God.
The night was full of Angels lightening up the sky and singing God hymns. The Messiah was born. The position of stars in the sky was auspicious, and a new star also emerged.
Three wise men saw this event, and they immediately went to search for the holy child.
The three wise men landed in the kingdom of Judea and asked for the newborn king of Jews. At the time, Herod was the king of Judea.
Herod was angry hearing the news of the new king of Jews as he thought that it was a risk to his throne. He wanted to kill the child.
He didn’t mention his insecurities to the three wise men but asked them to let him know whenever they find Jesus Christ.
But, the wise men were told in a dream about Herod’s bad intentions and were asked not to go back to Judea.
But three wise men’s wishes to see the Messiah failed as Joseph was warned by Angels of the baby’s enemies and was asked to escape to Egypt till the enemies, aka – Herod, died.
Meanwhile, Herod ordered to kill all the infants of 2 years and below, but he couldn’t kill the baby, Jesus.
After Herod’s death, Joseph was again told in a dream to go to Israel. Joseph went back to the city of Nazareth. Jesus is also called Jesus of Nazareth.
1.4. Crucifixion of Jesus
Apart from Christmas, Christians also commemorate the day Jesus died and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Both are important holidays among Christians.
Although there were followers of Christ who believed in what he said, many did not believe him and wanted him to be crucified. Most of them were from the Jewish community, who accused him of blasphemy.
Jesus Christ was summoned before the court of Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor. The governor found Jesus innocent, but the local public wanted him dead. Under the pressure of the public, the governor had to order the crucifixion of Jesus.
Jesus was made to wear a tiara of thorns and crucified on the cross. When Jesus died, the sky went dark, and people saw an earthquake. It was then the people of Judea realized that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.
The day when Jesus died is called Good Friday because he died for the good of humanity. He took all the sins of humanity upon him.
Before the crucifixion, Jesus ate his last supper with his 12 apostles. There is a famous painting, ‘The Last Supper’ by Vicente Juan Masip, depicting Jesus eating his last supper on a table laid out with meals.
Easter is celebrated on the third day after a good Friday to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. It is a cultural holiday for the whole Christian community.
1.5. Christmas Celebrations
Christmas is one of the most loved and celebrated festivals in the world. With 2 billion worldwide following Jesus, Christmas is also celebrated by other religious people.
In many countries, Christmas is seen more as a cultural festival than a religious festival. Hence, most countries recognize a holiday celebration on December 25.
There are many different Christmas traditions in various parts of the world. Let us check out some of the popular Christmas traditions –
1.5.1. Midnight Mass
Christmas Eve is the most important night for Christians. The baby Jesus is due. The followers of Christ go to church for midnight mass carols and prayers. They lay a helping hand in church services.
The holy communion also takes place where followers of Christ consume bread and wine as a symbol of the sacrifice of his body and blood.
The whole night is a night of celebration of lord Jesus’ birth. The holy celebration of Christmas begins.
1.5.2. Christmas Carol
Christmas carol is a song and hymn people sing as a part of the Christmas tradition. Christmas carol singing has been a part of the Christmas tradition since Roman times.
In some parts of the country, the children dress up like those three wise men and go house to house and sing carols, and in return, they are offered sweets and money. It is the best part of Christmas for children!
1.5.3. Exchanging Gifts
The gift-giving tradition is an ancient practice to celebrate the winter solstice. The family and friends enjoy the festival by exchanging gifts, Christmas cards, and sweets.
As Christians spread to other parts of the world and revolutions changed the economic structure of the world, the month of December became very profitable because of the gift-giving ceremony. That was great news for the middle-class factory workers and retailers.
We have also heard many stories of Santa Claus giving Christmas gifts to the needy. Later, it became a tradition to keep Christmas gifts near the Christmas trees.
1.5.4. Christmas Trees
The early Egyptians and Hebrews decorated Christmas evergreen trees during the winter solstice as a sign of eternal life and prosperity.
The idea of decorating a Christmas tree also originates from the concept of the “tree of life“, as per the biblical scriptures, a tree of good and evil.
1.5.5. Christmas Dinner
Christmas dinners are organized among families and friends. It is an old-age Christmas tradition to meet your loved ones and celebrate Christmas on a special day.
Christmas dinner can be organized on Christmas Eve or the very day of Christmas. Every country has its recipe for Christmas dinner according to the region.
But the most famous delicacy is the Christmas rum cake. There is an interesting story of cake being the center of the Christmas tradition.
In early times, on Christmas, people ate plum porridge after fasting. But soon, they replaced oats with flour and made a sweet mixture with dry fruits and honey that turned out to be a cake!
1.6. The Story of Santa Claus
This is the story of the most famous man, Saint Nicholas. Also known as the father of Christmas and Santa Claus of children.
It is said that there lived a Santa Claus who used to deliver gifts to the children secretly from the chimney.
Many believe that Santa Claus is just a fictional character to please children with Christmas gifts. However some believe that Santa Claus was a real person and helped the poor and needy.
A long time ago, there lived a family with all the money and resources. Only after 30 years of their marriage were they blessed with a child whom they named “Nicholas.” But he was very young when his parents died.
Nicholas turned out to be a religiously devoted boy, so he decided to leave all his wealth and become a saint. He joined a Christian church with his uncle. From there on, he came to be known as Saint Nicholas.
Saint Nicholas was extremely caring and helped others. One day, he came to know about a man who had 3 daughters who were to get married off but had no money. Hearing this, Saint Nicholas felt bad and wanted to help the man.
He secretly went to his house and hid a packet of gold in his pocket. The man found the packet and happily got his 3 daughters married. Later, when he came to know that it was Saint Nicholas who helped, he thanked him a million times over.
Saint Nicholas always helped people whenever he could. Soon, he was exiled by Emperor Diocletian. The Christians were persecuted under his power.
He died between 340 BC and 252 BC.
Christians have always enjoyed Saint Nicholas’ story at Christmas time. As a result, Christians in the UK started a tradition of delivering presents to children under the name of Santa Claus. He was called Father of Christmas.
Since then, every Christmas, Santa Claus is seen as a man with a white beard, red hat, and red clothes riding on the sleigh, delivering gifts to children secretly from the chimney.
Has Santa ever been to your house??
1.7. Colors Of Christmas
Have you ever wondered why Christmas is mostly green, white, and red? We always thought that red and green were the basic theme of the Christmas celebration.
But it was not until the 1930s when a Coca-Cola advertisement commercial showed a red-dressed Santa Claus with a green fir tree.
Another theory also suggests that red on Christmas is the symbol of Jesus Christ’s blood, and green is the symbol of eternal life. In fact, in Pagan traditions, green has always been associated with the power that nature holds.
The white represents snow, as Christmas comes in winter. The winter solstice in Pagan rituals also celebrated white as a holy color.
1.8. Christmas Decoration Ideas
Christmas celebrations are fun and calming. Bring all your friends home and start decorating your house! Here are some ideas –
1.8.1. Making Wreath
A few people focus on wreath-making for Christmas decorations. The wreath is a ring made of leaves, flowers, and figs decorated on the outer wall.
But you can decorate the wreath with dry fruits and candies as well. You can also use it as a wall hanging or fix light into it.
1.8.2. Christmas Trees Decoration
Don’t skip this idea if you have a big garden or a backyard! You start decorating Christmas trees and plan a Christmas dinner there!
Firstly, bring an evergreen tree instead of an artificial one. Do not hesitate to experiment with Christmas tree decorations. It is not necessary that you just bring one tree.
You can bring as many Christmas trees as you want. Secondly, just do not decorate it with ready-to-make decorative items, but try using food items like candies and bars.
You can also prepare a game around the Christmas tree with gifts and Christmas cards.
1.9. Things To Do In Holiday Season
Not just Christmas, but the winter holiday season is a vacation to reset yourself. Get things done during holidays.
1.9.1. Cleaning House
Christians celebrate Christmas as per the Gregorian calendar. Having said that, the world also celebrates the new year officially as per the Gregorian calendar. The advent season of festival and joy offers the best time to clean up your house and reset everything for future endeavors.
Not much to your surprise, the Christmas season is probably the best time for shopping. The festive season can get you shopping discounts as heavy as up to 70 percent.
1.9.3. Learn To Cook
The Winter holiday season is a month-long vacation. Learning to bake and cook is a good way to utilize time. Prepare cakes, muffins, mashed potatoes, and mushrooms for Christmas celebrations.
1.9.4. Discover New Christmas Carols
Stop wasting time during the holiday season! Go to your grandparents and ask them about the classic Christmas carols and enjoy it with your cousins.
1.9.5. Visit Orphanage/Old Age Homes
You are certainly lucky to have a good family and caring siblings, a home to live and some food to relish. But, many can’t enjoy any of them.
This Christmas, make sure you invite all those people who lack family and love. Spending time with such people can make their Christmas Eve memorable and joyful.
1.9.6. Write a Letter
If you are away from your friends and family, consider preparing lovely Christmas letters. Anyone can buy Christmas cards from the shop and hand them to people, but handmade Christmas letter has their charm.
You can prepare letter scrolls and homemade cookies and gift them to your loved ones. Add more creativity to your gift-giving ideas!
1.9.7. Christmas In Disneyland!
Don’t miss this! Disney throws Mickey A Very Merry Christmas Party every year. It is one of the best celebrations ever, with Fireworks, Christmas parades, and lots of fun activities.
Check out the prices and tickets on their official website.
1.9.8. Exploring Christmas events
Don’t forget to visit Christmas events in Birmingham. Explore the city’s vibrant holiday celebrations by checking local event listings and dedicated websites. Birmingham offers a variety of festive activities, from Christmas markets to dazzling light displays and entertaining performances. Experience the magic of Christmas in Birmingham!
1.9.9. Curate Your Playlist
Christmas time is party time! I bet you don’t want to ruin your party with sad songs popping up between the fun songs.
Sort out your playlist before your Christmas party, and thank us later 😉
1.9.10. Prepare a Christmas Skit
The most fascinating Christmas moment for children is the Christmas story play. Conduct flashmobs and street play depicting the story of the birth of Jesus.
Christmas plays are not only a joy to watch but also give insightful lessons about the life of Jesus.
1.10. Best Christmas Watchlist
- Home Alone – An American comedy-drama is a must-watch on this list. The story of the little boy who lives all alone in the house and celebrates Christmas will make you burst out laughing.
- Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean – No one can say they haven’t seen the Mr. Bean Christmas episode. Even after watching it a hundred times, it still makes you laugh. Sitting down with your family on Christmas Eve and enjoying Mr. Bean’s funny moments is a different feeling.
- COCO – All Disney movies are worth watching. But COCO is an emotion. This movie gives a beautiful message of being with family and loving it. Watching it with your family will leave your hearts warm and cozy.
- The Grinch – A family comedy movie that is based on an annoyed grump who wants to steal a town and ruin the Christmas festival.
- Baby’s Day Out – A sweet family comedy movie of 1994 is about a rich baby who was kidnapped by men posing as photographers. Everything turns out funny as the child discovers a whole new world for himself.
- The Christmas Chronicles– Yet another series of Christmas comedies, the movie revolves around a family discovering Santa Claus in the living room.
- Harry Potter – This does not even need a mention, but still, here is the most iconic movie series for you to enjoy.
- Friends – The best pastime show ever. Prepare delicious food and sit down with your friends; watch all day long!
Here is everything you should know about Christmas. Kindly subscribe to Icy Tales for more such Articles.