Where Did Christmas Come From?
We all know, Christmas is a day on which the birth of Jesus Christ is commemorated. According to existing records, Christmas was first celebrated on December 25th in 336 AD. Christmas is a Christian religious holiday and festival, which was originally intended to celebrate the birth of the Sun God in the annual winter solstice, but was adapted by the Catholic Church in the 3rd century AD. Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on December 25th.
Christmas Is Much More Than A Religious Festival Now:
In today’s globalised world, Christmas is not only a religious festival for Christians, but also a festival that the world celebrates together. A lot of new rituals and cultures have been raised through decades and have shaped Christmas to its present state. The most famous elements of Christmas are the carols and the Santa Claus.
A Christmas carol is a carol (song or hymn) whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas, and which is traditionally sung on Christmas day itself or during this holiday season. In the 13th century, in France, Germany, and particularly Italy, under the influence of Francis of Assisi, a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in the native language developed.
Christmas carols in English first appeared in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who listed twenty five "Carols of Christmas", probably sung by groups of “wassailers”, who went from house to house. The songs we know specifically as carols were originally, communal songs, sung during celebrations like harvest tide as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols begun to be sung in church, and became specifically associated with Christmas.
"Jingle Bells" is one of the best-known and commonly sung American Christmas songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" in the autumn of 1857. Even though it is now associated with the Christmas and holiday season, it was actually originally written to be sung for American Thanksgiving. Other famous Christmas Carols includes In The Black Midwinter, The Holly and The Ivy, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Cherry Tree Carol, I Saw Three Ships, The Huron Carol, Ding Dong Merrily on High, Silent Night, Mary’s Boy Child, O Christmas Tree, The Christ Child’s Lullaby, Joy To the World and many more.
Every Christmas, a fat jolly guy with red suit visits children all over the world who is known as Santa Claus. He is the reason why children wait for Christmas eagerly. His classic “Ho Ho Ho” laugh not just brings joy to children but adults around the world as well.
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins who, in many Western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children on 24th December, the night before Christmas Day on his sleigh with reindeer.
St. Nicholas’ Day:
However, in some European countries children receive their presents on St. Nicholas’ Day, 6th December. Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man, sometimes with spectacles, wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots and who carries a bag full of gifts for children. Images of him rarely have a beard with no moustache. This image became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of the 1823 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" and of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast. This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children's books and films.
Santa Loves Food:
In the United States and Canada, children traditionally leave Santa a glass of milk and a plate of cookies, in Britain and Australia, he is sometimes given sherry or beer, and mince pies instead. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, it is common for children to leave him rice porridge with cinnamon sugar instead. In Ireland, it is popular to give him Guinness or milk, along with Christmas pudding or mince pies. In Hungary, St. Nicolaus (Mikulás) comes on the night of 5th December and the children get their gifts the next morning. They get sweets in a bag if they were good, and a golden coloured birch switch if not. On Christmas Eve "Little Jesus" comes and brings gifts for everyone. In Slovenia, Saint Nicholas (Miklavž) also brings small gifts for good children on the eve of 6th December. Božiček (Christmas Man) brings gifts on the eve of 25th December, and Dedek Mraz (Grandfather Frost) brings gifts in the evening of 31st December to be opened on New Year’s Day. New Zealander, British, Australian, Irish, Canadian, and American children also leave a carrot for Santa's reindeer, and were traditionally told that if they are not good all year round, that they will receive a lump of coal in their stockings, although this practice is now considered archaic.
We All Love Rudolph:
The legend of the reindeer rose with the fiction written by Robert L. May. Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was born over a hundred years after his eight flying counterparts. In 1939, May wrote a Christmas-themed story-poem to help bring holiday traffic into his store. Using a similar rhyme pattern to Moore’s “It was the Night Before Christmas,” May told the story of Rudolph, a young reindeer who was teased by the other deer because of his large, glowing, red nose. But, When Christmas Eve turned foggy and Santa worried that he wouldn’t be able to deliver gifts that night, the former outcast saved Christmas by leading the sleigh by the light of his red nose. Rudolph’s message, that given the opportunity, a liability can be turned into an asset, proved popular.
It doesn’t matter that in which culture how the rituals are done, but the important thing is that Christmas brings happiness every year along with Santa Claus, the jolly guy in a red suit with bags full of happiness.