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The Origin of Christmas - A Brief History of the Holiday

Christmas Image

What do you think of when you hear the word "Christmas"?

Some people spend Christmas with their families, while others spend a sweet night alone with their loved ones.

Or maybe you work regardless of the Christmas season.

No matter who you are, when you hear the word "Christmas," you must have an image that it is a special day.

When you are casually celebrating Christmas like that,

Anonymous image

What is Christmas celebrating in the first place?

Have you ever wondered what Christmas is all about?

I wrote this article to get you thinking even deeper about Christmas!

What is the origin of the name Christmas?

Christmas means "Christ's Mass".

Although it is a festival to celebrate the birth of Christ,

it is not the birthday of Jesus Christ.

It is important to note that.

Incidentally, the most important Christian festival is not Christmas but Easter.

If you would like to know more about this important Christian festival,

What is Easter?

Please read this article.

Some Orthodox churches use the Julian calendar, in which case Christmas is celebrated on January 7 in the Gregorian calendar used by most countries.

In addition, with respect to the following pre-Christian churches,

  • Jewish calendar
  • Roman calendar
  • Church calendar

Unlike modern times, sunset is the boundary of the day, so Christmas begins at sunset on Christmas Eve, December 24.

The end of the day is either the morning of December 25th or until sunset, depending on the calendar.

When was Jesus Christ born?

The New Testament says nothing specific about the date of the birth of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the reign of King Herod, behold, the doctors from the east came to Jerusalem and said, "Where is He who is born King of the Jews? We have seen the star in the east, and have come to worship Him.

Matthew 2:1-2 (Oral Bible)

Do not be afraid. Behold, I tell you a great joy that will be given to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior. This is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 2:10-11 (Oral Bible)

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When was Jesus born?

That question has been around in Christianity since ancient times.

But the date of his birth is still shrouded in mystery.

When was Christmas born?

In Mithraism, which was one of the religions of ancient Rome,

The day on which the immortal sun was born.

December 25 was regarded as such the day.

And there was a winter festival to celebrate the sun god Mithra.

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This may have been the origin of Christmas?

It is said so.

A festival of Christ's birth also began in 354 A.D. at the latest.

Apart from this, the Western Church celebrated the Feast of the Public Appearance of Christ's birth on January 6.

By the way, Santa Claus is said to have originated from the legend of Saint Nikolai (Nicolaus), a Christian saint.

If you want to know more about Santa Claus,

Please also read this article.

The custom of Christmas trees is said to have originated from a tree used in a medieval German religious drama in which the story of Adam and Eve was performed.

To learn more about the story of Adam and Eve,

Read the article here.

The decorations and illumination of that Christmas tree began in the United States after the 19th century.

How Christmas is celebrated around the world

Christmas is enjoyed as an annual event by many people, not only Christians.

In countries with a strong Catholic influence,

  • Christmas: December 25
  • Feast of the Epiphany: January 6

This is the beginning to the end.

Around the 23rd: Christmas decorations

24th: Christmas Eve night is celebrated

After January 6: Decorations are taken down

This is how it all ends.

This kind of Christmas is mainly celebrated in

  • Italy
  • Poland
  • France
  • Spain

and other countries.

Let's take a look at how Christmas is celebrated in some of the most popular countries!

Christmas in France

Many churches in France display a "nativity scene," a model of the birth of Christ.

From early December through Christmas, adults in France send each other Christmas cards filled with love.

Children, on the other hand, receive their presents a little later on January 6.

Christmas in Italy

In most parts of Italy, it is not Santa Claus who brings gifts, but the witch Befana.

Christmas in Germany

In the Netherlands and some parts of Germany, for example, December 6 is "Nikolaus Day," the origin of Santa Claus.

Children then receive presents on that day.

In Germany, gifts are brought by

  • North: Santa Claus
  • South: Christkind, the Christmas Angel

If a child has been good for a year, he or she will receive a present.

On the other hand, if the child is a bad child, he or she is given coal or beaten with a tree branch in some areas.

Christmas in Northern Europe

Christmas in Scandinavia is unique.

Winter festivals have been combined with Christianity, and Christmas is now called "Yule".

And Christmas in Scandinavia began with the festival of St. Lucia.

In addition, the influence of the ancient Germanic winter festival is still strong,

  • Decorate a goat made of straw
  • Fairies bring gifts

You can see such unique customs.

Christmas in England

As in the U.S., Christmas Day in the U.K. is generally spent with family.

They prepare for the day long before Christmas.

By preparing for the day with family members, such as decorations, they are able to enjoy the festivities.

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I am happy to be able to spend time with my family again this year...

They think so.

On Christmas Day, people usually have a home-cooked meal, and the only time they go out is when they go to church to attend Christmas Mass.

In England, Santa Claus brings presents on December 25.

On Christmas Day, mistletoe is decorated around the kitchen.

And if a woman happened to stand under the mistletoe, it was customary, mainly in the 19th century, to be allowed to kiss her.

Christmas in America

America and Japan have inherited the British style of Christmas.

In the U.S., it is customary to send postcards and cards as greetings the day before Christmas, and to exchange gifts with all family members.

Since the 1990s, "Happy Holidays" has been used instead of "Merry Christmas" for those who do not celebrate Christmas in order to maintain religious neutrality.

Since the late 1990s, Christmas trees displayed in public places have sometimes been referred to as "holiday trees" under the principle of separation of church and state.

However, some Christians have criticized this.

In addition, since the 1960s, African Americans have increasingly been celebrating "Kwanzaa," a celebration of African ethnic traditions, in their homes on the day after Christmas.

Christmas in Japan

Some stores start preparing for Christmas as early as early November, and some events are held on Christmas Eve, December 24.

After December 26th, Christmas is transformed into New Year's decorations!

Some people point out that the scale of Christmas in Japan is small compared to that of Christmas in the Christian world.

In fact, in a 2014 list of the top 10 countries to go to avoid the Christmas hoopla published by the travel website Skyscanner, Japan came in at an impressive No. 1, beating out the Middle East, Buddhist countries, socialist countries, and others.

This is because Christmas in Japan is not a national holiday and Japanese people work as usual on December 25.

Meanwhile, at home, many Japanese spend the day relaxing with their families.

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I really want to spend Christmas with my sweetheart...

There are many people who wish to spend Christmas with their loved ones.

Christmas in Russia

In Russian Orthodox Church,

  • Christmas: Winter Festival
  • Santa Claus: Ded Moroz

These are called so.

Ded Moroz is said to have a snow girl, Snegurachka.

Christmas in the Russian Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, and other Orthodox Churches is January 7.

This date would be December 25 according to the Julian calendar.

In the Soviet Union, where religious repression took place, Christmas was never ostensibly celebrated.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Christmas was finally celebrated on a large scale in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Since Christmas has its origins in Christianity, it is a very religious event.

The Pope has been against that Christmas.

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In today's consumer society, Christmas has become tainted. When we look at the poor stable where Christ was born, what can we learn from it?

He laments the commercialized Christmas of today.