Christmas, a Christian holiday commemorating Jesus’ birth, has developed into a worldwide religious and secular celebration, integrating many Christian and pagan traditions.
CHRISTMAS TRADITION AROUND THE WORLD
Christmas traditions vary across countries, but they all start sharing key characteristics, such as themes of light, evergreens, and hope. Our modern Christmas, arguably the most celebrated holiday in the world, is the result of hundreds of years of secular and religious traditions from around the world, many of which are centered on the winter solstice. Learn about the origins of Christmas traditions from around the world, such as the Yule log, caroling, and candy canes, as well as how Christmas is celebrated in Down under.
The History of Christmas
Christmas, which is observed on December 25, is indeed a holy religious holiday and a global commercial and cultural phenomenon. For two millennia, people all over the world have observed it through religious and secular traditions and practices. Christians glorify Christmas Day as the birth anniversary of Jesus of Nazareth, a religious leader whose lessons form the foundation of their faith. Exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends, and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive are all popular traditions.
Angel images can be found on Nativity scenes, Christmas Cards, Chritsmas Trees, and other Christmas decorations. The name Angelos comes from the GreEk-word Angelos, which means “messenger” or “herald.” In Luke’s Gospel account of Jesus’ birth, an angel named Gabriel visits Mary to inform her that she will bear a child.
Bells and Christmas have been associated with since the Middle Ages when Church officials started to just use bells for prayer and celebratory. Large bells were used to summon parishioners to religious services, and they also chimed at various points throughout the service so that those who were not inside the church could participate in the prayers.
The boar’s organization with the Yuletide meal dates back to prehistoric times, perhaps because the ancient Celts supplied the rest of Europe with pork and bacon. Boar was served in Valhalla, the mythical hall where Odin received the souls of heroes who had died in battle, according to Norse folklore. The pork was highly regarded in Ireland and Wales, where it was preferred over beef and mutton.
Perhaps the first Christmas trees were decorated with symbols associated with Jesus’ birth. Candles were being used to represent Christ, the Light of the World and the star positioned on the topmost branch was reminiscent of the Star of Bethlehem, which shone over the general manager. The shepherd’s crook symbolized the shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem, who was the first to learn of the birth of a Savior.
On January 1st, it was customary in ancient Rome to exchange greetings and gifts. With the advent of Christianity, such tokens continued to be given and received in some European countries, often in the form of New Year cards. These had no Christmas references and were mailed after December 25 to arrive on New Year’s Day.