La la la la ...
I'm wishing on a star
And trying to believe
That even though it's far
He'll find me at Christmas Eve
Christmas, also referred to as Christmas Day, is an annual holiday
celebrated on December 25 or January 7 that commemorates the birth
of Jesus of Nazareth.
The day marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide,
which lasts twelve days.
Santa Claus (also referred to as Father Christmas, although the two
figures have different origins) is a popular mythological figure often
associated with bringing gifts at Christmas for children. Santa is
generally believed to be the result of a syncretization between Saint
Nicholas and elements from pagan Nordic and Christian mythology,
and his modern appearance is believed to have originated in 19th
Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population, but is
also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival.
Mosaic of Jesus as Christo Sole (Christ the Sun) in Mausoleum M in the
pre-fourth-century necropolis under St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Christians consider Jesus to be the “sun of righteousness” prophesied
in Malachi 4:2.
A winter festival was the most popular festival of the year in many
Reasons included the fact that less agricultural work needs to be done
during the winter, as well as an expectation of better weather as spring
Modern Christmas customs include: gift-giving and merrymaking from
Roman Saturnalia; greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New
Year; and Yule logs and various foods from Germanic feasts
Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in
countries around the world, including many whose populations are
mostly non-Christian. In some non-Christian countries, periods of
former colonial rule introduced the celebration.
Countries in which Christmas is not a formal public holiday include
Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Cambodia, China
(excepting Hong Kong and Macao), Comoros, Iran, Israel, Japan,
Kuwait, Laos, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco,
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic,
United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen. Christmas
celebrations around the world can vary markedly in form, reflecting
differing cultural and national traditions.
The word Christmas originated as a compound
meaning “Christ’s Mass
It is derived from the Middle English Christmases
and Old English Cristes m?sse, a phrase first recorded
in 1038. “Cristes” is from Greek Christos and “m?sse”
is from Latin missa. In Greek, the letter Χ (chi), is the
first letter of Christ, and it, or the similar Roman letter
X, has been used as an abbreviation for Christ since
the mid-16th century
Hence, Xmas is often used as an abbreviation for
Music and carols
The earliest extant specifically Christmas hymns appear in 4thcentury Rome. Latin hymns such as "Veni redemptor gentium",
written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were austere statements
of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation in opposition to
Arianism. "Corde natus ex Parentis" ("Of the Father's love
begotten") by the Spanish poet Prudentius (d. 413) is still sung in
some churches today.
A special Christmas family meal is traditionally an important part of
the holiday's celebration, and the food that is served varies greatly
from country to country. Some regions, such as Sicily, have special
meals for Christmas Eve, when 12 kinds of fish are served. In the
United Kingdom and countries influenced by its traditions, a
standard Christmas meal includes turkey or goose, meat, gravy,
potatoes, vegetables, sometimes bread and cider. Special desserts
are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding, mince pies, and
In Poland and other parts of eastern Europe and Scandinavia, fish
often is used for the traditional main course, but richer meat such as
lamb is increasingly served. In Germany, France, and Austria,
goose and pork are favored. Beef, ham, and chicken in various
recipes are popular throughout the world. The Maltese traditionally
serve Imbuljuta tal-Qastan,
considered by many to be the original
The New Testament does not give a date for the birth of Jesus.
Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote that a group in Egypt
celebrated the nativity on Pachon 25. This corresponds to May 20.
Tertullian (d. 220) does not mention Christmas as a major feast day in
the Church of Roman Africa
In Chronographai, a reference work published in 221, Sextons Julius
Africanus suggested that Jesus was conceived on the spring equinox.
The equinox was March 25 on the Roman calendar, so this implied a
birth in December.
Date of celebration
Irenaeus (c. 130–202) viewed Christ's conception as March 25 in
association with the Passion, with the nativity nine months after on
December 25. Hippolytus of Rome (170–235) may also have
identified December 25 for the birth of Jesus and March 25 for the
conception. Sextus Julius Africanus (c. 160–c. 240) identified
December 25, later to become the most widely accepted date of
celebration, as the date Jesus' birth in 221. The precise origin of
assigning December 25 to the birth of Jesus is unclear. Various
dates were speculated: May 20, April 18 or 19, March 25, January 2,
November 17 or 20. When celebration on a particular date began,
January 6 prevailed at least in the East; but, except among
Armenians (the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian
Catholic Church), who continue to celebrate the birth on January 6,
December 25 eventually won acceptance everywhere.