Christmas Day, on December 25, is one of
the most festive Christian holidays in many countries around the world. It
celebrates Jesus' birth.
It's a special time when children get presents from family, friends and Santa Claus, or Father Christmas. Christmas cards are also given or sent out prior to Christmas Day.
For some, Christmas is an exclusive family affair, while others invite friends to a Christmas buffet or pot luck meal. Churches have special services and may include a crèche or miniature Nativity scene.
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the son of God. His birth date is unknown because there is little information about his early life. There is disagreement among scholars on when Jesus was born. Christians celebrate Jesus’ birthday on December 25. Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas Day on or near January 7.
Some jurisdictions of the Eastern Orthodox Church, including those of Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Jerusalem, mark feasts using the older Julian calendar. As a result, December 25 on the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 7 on the calendar used by most governments and people in everyday life.
It it also possible that the celebration of the birth of the “true light of the world” was set at the time of the December solstice because this is when the days in the northern hemisphere begin to grow longer. Christmas holiday customs derive from various cultures, including Teutonic, Celtic, Roman, West Asian and Christian.
The origin of the word "Christmas" comes from "Christ" and the "Holy Mass" . It is believed that the day commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ although a lot of people doubt that the Day corresponds to the actual date of his birth. In spite of its Christian origin, Christmas is also celebrated by a lot of non Christian countries and the celebration includes a lot of non religious customs. People exchange gifts and greeting cards. Homes are decorated with Christmas trees, light and garlands. Dinners are planned with special food and all the families gather to have a lot of fun.
A central imaginary figure in Christmas is Father Christmas, also called Santa Claus. He is believed to fly on his sleigh bringing gifts for children.
Christmas is also an opportunity for economic growth. It has become an important period for business activity. Shops make a lot of profit and a lot of countries realized this economic impact.
· Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.
· Christmas wasn't always on December 25.
· Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 to 14 days after the 25th. This is because Western churches use the Gregorian Calendar, while Eastern Churches use the Julian Calendar.
· In the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were rowdy and raucous—a lot like today’s Mardi Gras parties.
· When Christmas was cancelled: From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in Boston, and law-breakers were fined five shillings.
· Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.
· The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.
· Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.
· Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.
· You can thank Prince Albert for your Christmas tree.
· Celebrating Christmas used to be illegal.
· Santa has his own zip code in Canada.
· We ship a crazy amount of packages around the holidays.
· The term "Xmas" dates back to the 1500s.
· Ham, not turkey, is the festive favorite.
· Candy canes got their start in Germany.
· By tradition, people who meet under a hanging mistletoe are obliged to kiss.