DAA Daily

What is Christmas?

Aline Tarasconi Pawsfeed / Pawscast Editor, The Pawprint

Christmas is a time when family and friends come together to celebrate and be grateful for the good things in their lives. People, especially kids, like Christmas, because it’s time to give and receive presents! 

However, it is primarily a religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, and Christians claim to be the Son of God. The name comes from Christ’s Mass. The Mass involves celebrating his birth and tells the story of the nativity, where wise men came to honor the newborn Savior.

No one knows Jesus ‘ real birthday, and the Bible offers no date, however, there are some guesses. 

During the time of the first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine, the first recorded date of Christmas being observed on December 25th was in 336AD. But at this time it was not an official celebration in the Roman empire. 

There are many different traditions and theories as to why on December 25th was chosen to celebrate Christmas. A very early Christian tradition said that the day on March 25th when Mary was told she would have Jesus was called the Annunciation, and it is still being celebrated today around March or April.

Nine months after March 25th is December 25th! March 25th was also the day that some early Christians believed the world was made, as well as the day that Jesus died when he was an adult then later resurrected

The date of March 25th was chosen because people had determined that this was the day Jesus died as an adult (Nisan’s 14th in the Jewish calendar), and they believed Jesus was born and died on the same day of the year.

Some people also think that December 25th might have been decided because around this date the Winter Solstice as well as the old roman pagan midwinter celebrations called ‘ Saturnalia ‘ and ‘ Dies Natalis Solis Invicti ‘ took place in December, so it was a time when people were celebrating things already.

Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular. 

Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a leader whose teachings form the basis of their religion. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. 

Santa Claus is the jolly old man associated with bringing presents to everyone on Christmas day on December 25th. He is described as a cheerful man that lives in the North Pole and makes presents with the help of elves, on Christmas day he flies on a magic sleigh pulled by reindeer and delivers presents to everyone by dropping down their chimneys and putting the presents under the Christmas tree. 

December 25th, Christmas Day has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870. The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many people rejoiced during the winter solstice when the worst of the winter was behind them, and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.

Christmas in different parts of the world! 

In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21st, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the wood burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.

The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. Also, most wine and beer made during the year finally fermented and was ready for drinking.

In Germany, people honored the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of Oden, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.

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