I love the smell of Christmas,
along with all the lights.
Long fires in the fireplace,
on those cold winter nights.
By BERNARD HOWE
Christmas is a religious and cultural festival that’s celebrated by the people around the world. It is the most important holiday for the people of christens religion. It is also known as Xmas or as the feast of the nativity of Jesus. The feast is observed to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the son of God. Although the birth date of Jesus has many debates, there isn’t any proper theory for this exists. But the most accepted date of Jesus Christ’s birth is considered being 25th of December. Some scholars believe that Mary had Jesus on her womb nine months before 25th December. The reason of celebrating his birth is, Jesus is thought to be the son of God who has come to established peace and to remove the sins of mankind and bring them closer to god. The Christmas day celebrates the bond between mankind and God. It symbolizes a new beginning of life. The Christmas celebration starts from 25th December on the Christmas Eve and ends on 6th January with Ester. The twelve of Christmas is also known as twelvetide.
The main celebration of the Christmas day happens on 25th December on the day that is thought to be the birthday of Jesus. The twelve days have symbolized the birth of Christ and the coming of the magi’s in search of Jesus. Magi’s are the three wise men who have seen the bright star in the sky. It’s to believe that, with the birth of Christ a bright star suddenly appears on the sky as a sign of the birth of a saviour of mankind. Those three wise men were able to find out the meaning of the star with divine help and after that, they went out on a journey in search for the saviour. They were following the star as angles had said to them. And the star took them to the village where Jesus was born.
The day they reached to the village was the twelve-day after Jesus was born. After they see him they give him the gifts that they have brought along with them for the miracle child. It is known as an ester. It is also a holiday.
HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS
Christmas is the celebration of love and joy. We celebrate Christmas to share the love with our families and friends. As we all know today Christmas is celebrated as a religious day. But centuries ago Christmas day was not celebrated. Earlier ester was the only main holiday for Christians. When the three wise men found Jesus in Bethlehem. In the 4th century, the Christian church officially decided to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Winter was also been the time for celebration around world centuries before the arrival of Jesus. In old days people use to work on summers and springs. As their only livelihood were uses to be harvesting. And on winters they were not able to harvest anything due to the cold. So they used to stay at homes and spend their time with their families. It was the time for celebration to them.
Early Europeans used to celebrate the winter solstice. The Norse in Scandinavia celebrated Yule as the return of sun, from 21st December through January. They used to collect logs and set fire on them. They enjoy the feast with their family and friends by sitting beside the logs.
Pagan god Oden was worshiped by the people of Germany during the mid winters. Saturnalia was celebrated in the beginning week of winter in Rome. To honor Saturn the god of agriculture. In the time there were plenty of food and drink for everyone to enjoy.
The birth of Jesus was not celebrated until 4th century. In 4th century the church officially decided to observe the birth of Jesus. But no date related to Jesus was mention in the Bible. The pope Julius 1 chose 25th December to be celebrated as Christmas. The church intention behind this was, they wanted the day is to be accepted by as many people as possible.
At first the feast was called the nativity of Jesus. By 432 this custom spread to Egypt and by 6th century to England. By the end of 8th century Christmas had wildly spread all the way to Scandinavia. Holding Christmas at same time as traditional winter festivals increase the chances for Christmas to be wildly accepted.
A wave of religion reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe in early 17th century. Oliver Cromwell and the puritan forces took over England in 1645 and they cancelled Christmas day as a part of their decadence. But when Charles II regains the throne with him the popular holiday Christmas also returns. In 1620 the pilgrims came to America were more orthodox in their beliefs. As a result Christmas was band from 1659 to 1681. And if anyone found celebrating Christmas, they had to find five shillings.
After the American Revaluation, the rules impose by the pilgrims orthodox was out of commended. Following the revaluation, Americans began to embrace Christmas as a family holiday. They bring changes in traditional Christmas celebration. They started to celebrate Christmas with their families and friends.
Christmas has gone through various changes time to time. We can’t say this is the traditional way of celebrating Christmas. The most well known way we celebrate Christmas today is also a recent thing. They are;
Church Attendance: Christmas day is a festival, a holy day, a principle holiday of Christian religion people. As a religious holy place a lots of people visits church on the Christmas Eve. The church plays an important role in christen religion. As a religious place church has become the center of Christmas celebration. A survey by Lifeway Christian resources in 2010 found that six in ten Americans attend church at Christmas day.
Decoration: Decoration also plays an important role in Christmas. Decoration always goes with celebration. On this day many different kind of decorative stuff is used for this. Home and Christmas tree decoration has become a ritual of Christmas decoration. And the essential colors used for the decoration are red, white, green, golden. Lights, candles, banners, color papers, Christmas bells, religious Christmas motifs are used in wrapping gifts. The Christmas decoration is usually taken down on the twelfth night.
Nativity play is a play where the birth of Jesus is presented by a play. This play was first reacted in 1223 A.D. On Christmas day church’s are comes with this play. The play is enacted by the children’s. Every year this play is enacted in churches and lots of people who visited the church enjoy this play. This play is played to teach the virtues of Jesus Christ.
Music and carols:
Christmas music’s are called carols. Carols are traditional folk songs. Most of the carols are composed on 19th century and even older than that. Those carols evoke our belief in god. Those carols bring us back to the middle-eastern. Music is wonder. We feel happy after listening to music. Christmas carols are usually the praising songs of god. That makes our bond with god stronger.
Christmas Cuisine: There are various Christmas cuisines prepared on Christmas in different countries. Christmas cuisine has its own significations. Some cuisines are so rare that they are only made especially for Christmas day. In United Kingdom the traditional Christmas cuisine includes turkey, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, bread and cider. Special desserts are also there such as, Christmas pudding, mince pies, fruits cake, Yule log cake. In Poland, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia fish and rich meat such as lamb are use as traditional food for Christmas. In Sweden smorgasbord, in Germany, France, and Australia, goose and pork, chicken, ham and beef are used in various recipes. The Maltase serves imbuljta tal-qastan, chocolate and chestnut beverage. Slovaks prepare potica, buche de noel in France, panettone in Italy. German prepared stolen, marzipan cake, Jamaican prepared rum fruit cake.
Cards and Gifts:
There are also tradition of sending cards and gifts to the loved once. The Christmas cards has different Christmas images and massages on them with the stamps that is especially made for the Christmas. People also send gifts to others wrapped in religious Christmas motifs. This is also a way of celebrating their joy, by sharing love and care for each other.
Storytelling and Movie screening: storytelling was the old way of entertaining kids. On Christmas Eve older members of the house tells stories to the kids. The stories are mostly from Bible. Movie screening has become a recent tradition of Christmas. Christmas, comedy and horror movies are screened on Christmas Eve.
Those are the common tradition that has been followed by the people of different countries. But countries all over the world has some region base traditions as ringing the church bell, sharing cookies, counting the paper roll chain etc. are followed along with traditions that has been discussed here.
The Christmas tree symbolizes evergreen and fertility. Trees have been use in worship of god and to prevent any kind of evil away from the ancient time.
In Greeks the pine tree’s think to be sacred and dear to the flora and plant god Attis, they used to decorate the trees and placed sacrifices under them. In Romans evergreen trees think to have the testimony of everlasting light and power. Roman people also decorate the evergreen trees in the festival of saturnalia. Teutonic worships the fir and pine tree. They offer gold’s to pay tribute to the deities of life.
And in Christianity the symbol of tree is also related with the evergreen and eternity that is related with Christ’s birth. It’s also symbol of peace and rebirth. As like the birth of Christ, that happens to brings hope into the life of helpless people. The Christmas tree was not originally associated with Christmas. Decorating Christmas tree started with the pagans. And this tradition started in America followed by queen victories Christmas tree decoration on 19th century. When the portrait of Queen Victoria celebrating Christmas with her family beside a large decorated Christmas tree get circulated. The people of America were quick to adopt the tradition.
Fir is popularly use as Christmas tree. People decorate it with light, Christmas bells, paper chain, colorful balls and many more decorative items. And people keep gifts for their families under the tree. Lately this tradition has become an important part of Christmas.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CHRISTMAS:
Every religious festival has its own significations, and for every believer it’s a day of celebration of their joy. Christmas is a religious holiday that is celebrated all over the world. Not only Christian religion people but also people of different belief celebrate this feast with their family and friends. If we think its importance in the contest with religion, Christmas is celebrated because Jesus Christ was thought to be born that day. Jesus is the son of god who has established the foundation of Christian religion. He was the savior and healer of the people. He had come to wash all the sins of the people. He was the symbol of purity, a teacher, a savior, a messenger, a guardian. He had sacrificed his life for the people.
Thus people of christen religion celebrate this day, the day of Jesus Christ’s birthday as the day was the beginning of their good fortune. Because from this day they were aware that someone has born who will ensure their freedom and will establish peace. The messiah of the people has been born. And it’s very important to aware of the new generation about the deeds of Jesus and his significance, this day especially celebrate that value. This value helps to create a good bond with god. This day helps to spreads the love of God among the people around the world. And with every passing generation, this day will remain as the new birth of mankind with the birth of Jesus. “He who loves Jesus, he is the one who believes in God.”
People of different beliefs are also celebrating this day to spread love and joy. This day not only has religious value, but also social value. Christmas connect people of different beliefs, different countries, different languages, and different race in one celebration. It spreads the value of sharing love and joy with others. We should all celebrate Christmas all together to fulfill its true motive.
The birth of Jesus
Long long ago, there was a young woman who lived in the town of Nazareth called Mary. Mary was promised to marry Joseph. One day an angel named Gabriel came to Mary and said, ‘peace be! With you, God has bless you and is please with you.’ Mary was surprised to see the angel and wondered what the angel meant. The angel again said doesn’t be afraid god has been very kind to you. God has blessed you. You will become pregnant with a holy boy and he will be called by the name Jesus. He will be gods own son and his messenger who will convey the message of God to the people of the world. Mary was very afraid to here that but she had faith in god. She said, “Let it happened as god want”. Gabriel also said to Mary, your cousin Elizabeth is also going to have a baby boy whom God has chosen to prepare the way for Jesus after then Gabriel was gone.
Few days later Mary went to visit Elizabeth. Elizabeth has also met with Gabriel. He has visited Elizabeth and her husband. They knew about the will of god. Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three month then she return to her home. Mary explained everything to Joseph. He was worried when he knew that Mary was expecting a baby before their marriage. He thought of put off the marriage all together. At night when Joseph was sleeping an angle appeared in his dream and said “don’t be afraid to have Mary as your wife, god was chosen her to be the mother of his son and the baby would be called Jesus which mean savior .when Joseph workup in the morning he got married with Mary.
At the time roman emperor Augustus wanted to make a list of all the people in the empire to make sure they are paying their taxes. He issued an order, in which he had said to the people, to go back to their home town where they originally came from. Their name will be enter in a register Mary and Joseph had to travel a long way to Bethlehem. Where Josephs family came from. Joseph and Mary reached Bethlehem. So many people had come to register their name so that every house was full and every bed was taken. Joseph and Mary was having trouble in finding to stay after searching a lot they find a place to stay with the animals and there Mary gave birth to Jesus. The manger where animals ate there hay from; Jesus got it as his first bed after his birth. As the new day began an angel suddenly appeared before the shepherds of the village. The villager was very afraid to see the angel. Don’t be afraid I have good news for you to day in Bethlehem a savior born and you will find him lying in a manger. Then many more angel appeared lighting up the sky and they where praising god by singing ‘Glory to God in highest and peace to everyone on earth.’ When the angels had gone the shepherds went to Bethlehem in search of the savior they found Mary, Joseph and the baby lying in the manger.
A bright star appeared in sky when Jesus was born. Three wise man faraway in a country saw the star they were very clever enough to guess the mining of the star. They had read in old writing that a new star will appear when a great king will born then men follow the star and set out to the new king, they also takes gifts for the king with them . They reached to the capital of Judea, Jerusalem. There they began to ask to the people of Judea where the new king was. The king of Judea heard it and it made him angry he thinks that someone might be take his place. Herod sends invitation to the three wise men. They accepted the invitation of Herod. And they came to visit him. He told them to go on following the star until they have found the baby boy. He said when you find him let me know but his real intention to kill him.
The three wise men followed the star towards Bethlehem. The star stops shining down the place where Jesus born. When the three wise men entered the house they found Jesus with Mary. They worshipped him and gave him the gift that they had brought for him. The wise man where warned in a dream by god not to go back to Herod. so they return home by another way an angel appeared in a dream of Joseph the angel said to his escape to Egypt with Jesus and Mary this place is not safe for Jesus because in searching for Jesus to kill him so they got up took Jesus and left Bethlehem for they stay until the Herod died.