Christmas is a religious practice as well as a worldwide cultural phenomenon. For a very long period of time, people all over the world have been observing Christmas with traditions and practices that are both religious and worldly. Christians celebrate Christmas as a day that their Lord Jesus was born-December 25th. They set it aside to celebrate His unique birth and entrance into the world and it is followed by various practices that have been in the system for decades. They include exchanging gifts, setting up the Christmas tree, attending church, helping the needs, spending time with family and friends and waiting for SANTA CLAUS.
The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of Jesus (before Christ), 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.
In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, 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 and feast till the log burned out.
The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of the year, most cattle were slaughtered. For many, it was the only time of the year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.
In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus Christ was not celebrated in the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the bible does not mention the exact date. Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring (why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?). Pope Julius 1 chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. It was first called the feast of Nativity. By the end of the 8th century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. Today, in the orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day.
- Christmas Tree
Just as early as Christians recruited Roman pagans by associating Christmas with the Saturnalia, so worshippers of the Asheira cult and its offshoots were recruited by the church sanctioning ‘Christmas trees’. Pagans had long worshipped trees in the forest, or brought them into their homes and decorated them, and this observance was adopted and painted with a Christian veneer by the church.
Norse mythology recounts how the god Balder was killed using a mistletoe arrow by his rival god Hoder while fighting for the female Nanna. Druid rituals use mistletoe to poison their human sacrificial victim. The Christian custom of ‘kissing under the mistletoe’ is a later synthesis of the sexual license of Saturnalia with the Druidic sacrificial cult.
- Christmas presents
In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia and Kalends. Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace.
This is just a view to what people see as the origin of Christmas. Comment and share your own view. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AFOMA and ODDIE.