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Last Updated: 27th November, 2020

About Christmas

About Christmas

Christmas is finally here and it has brought with it the joys of the holiday season. Christmas, which is one of the most pious days for Christians, is the religious and the cultural celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Every year, it is celebrated on December 25. On this day people gather in large numbers with family and friends to commemorate the birth and also remember the sacrifices of Jesus Christ. Christmas season is the ideal time to spread the words of Jesus and celebrate the occasion with merriment and mirth.

What is Christmas and why is it celebrated?

Christmas is one of the most popular festivals celebrated by Christians across the world. It is the festival which is celebrated worldwide in more than 160 countries of the world. It is basically the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the man who is known as “The Son of God”. The name “Christmas” from the Mass of Christ. A mass service is conducted in which it is believed that Jesus has died for the people and he will come back to life. The service was known as “Christ-Mass” and was allowed to take place only after Sunset. So, people started calling it Christmas and started celebrating it in the evening or at midnight.


Why Christmas is celebrated on the 25th December?

Merry Christmas celebrations - 25th December

Christmas, for the first three centuries of Christianity's existence, was not celebrated on 25th December. In fact, there was no certain day so people celebrated it as per their personal beliefs. It was in 336 AD that the Christmas celebrations were first recorded on December 25 during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine. After a few years, Pope Julius I declared that the birth of Jesus would finally be celebrated on December 25.


What religion doesn't celebrate Christmas?

  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism
  • Judaism
  • Islam

Which countries do not celebrate Christmas?

  • Morocco
  • Thailand
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • The Maldives

Other countries that don’t celebrate Christmas: Vietnam, Somalia, Laos, Cambodia, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, Iraq, China, Congo, Algeria, Yemen, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Libya, Iran, Azerbaijan, Comoros, Oman, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Bhutan, Nepal, North Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Tajikistan, Bahrain, Tunisia and Afghanistan.


Christmas Symbols

Christmas Symbols
  • Stars
  • Candles
  • Gifts with a Bow
  • The Colors Red and Green
  • Bells
  • Candy Canes
  • Wreaths
  • Mistletoe

What Christmas decoration was originally made from strands of silver?

Tinsel


What traditional Christmas decoration is actually a parasitic plant?

Mistletoe


What Christmas beverage is also known as “milk punch?”

Eggnog


How many reindeer are featured in the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas?”

Eight (no Rudolph!)


“Twas the Night Before Christmas” was originally published under what name?

A Visit from St. Nicholas


Who was the star of the Christmas movie Jingle All the Way?

Arnold Schwarzenegger


What well-known Christmas carol became the first song ever broadcast from space in 1965?

Jingle Bells


Who was the author of A Christmas Carol?

Charles Dickens


Which spirit is traditionally added to butter and served with Christmas pudding?

Brandy


When was the first Christmas card sent? Who designed it?

The first Christmas card was sent in 1843 and was designed by John Horsley.


What are two other names for Santa Claus?

Saint Nick and Kris Kringle


What beverage company has been using Santa Claus in its advertising since 1931?

Coca-Cola


Which Christmas food is it considered good luck to eat one of on each of the 12 days of Christmas?

Mince Pies


Which country was the first to use the tradition of Christmas trees?

Germany


Why do we give gifts at Christmas?

Christmas Gift ideas

The tradition of exchanging gifts basically exists since ancient times. As per popular beliefs, gifts are exchanged to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the wise men – Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. Also, in modern times it is interpreted as a custom of showing gratitude and love to your loved ones. Also, this reminds people of serving humanity from time to time.


How did Santa Claus get started?

Santa Claus

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back to around 280 AD in Turkey. It is associated to a monk named St. Nicholas. The man whom we know as a happy jolly man dressed in red with a long beard was not always this way. There is a legend behind the existence of Santa Claus. There was a Saint named Nicholas who was well-known because of his piety and kind nature. It is said that whatever wealth Nicholas inherited he traveled along the countryside and donated it to the poor and sick. There are several stories depicting his helpful nature. One of them is the story of three sisters whom Nicholas prevented from going into prostitution by helping them arrange the money for the dowry. Even today all his legends are alive in the hearts of people and Saint Nicholas is still the most popular saint in Europe.

After Saint Nicholas served the people of Europe it is said that he made his inroad towards America. At the end of 18th century, Saint Nicholas arrived in America. He was called Sint Nikolas and Sinter Klass by local people because which finally the final name evolved as Santa Claus. Since that time “Santa Claus” started existing.

  1. The character of Santa Claus is based on Saint Nicholas, the early Church Bishop. He was born in the Patara village of Turkey in 270 A.D.
  2. Saint Nicholas was known to be generous toward the poor whom he used to offer gifts of money.
  3. The modern image of the Santa Claus as a jolly good person dressed in red has its origin in the 1823 poem titled "A visit from St. Nicholas" which is also known as "The Night before Christmas".
  4. It is believed that Santa Claus would bring exciting gifts for children during this festival.

Who was the author of A Christmas Carol?

Charles Dickens


Why Wreaths and Trees for Christmas?

Wreaths and Trees for Christmas

It is said that ancient people celebrated winter festivals such as Saturnalia, by decorating their homes with evergreen fir trees or branches to commemorate the arrival of spring, a time when winter would come to an end and the Sun God would finally appear. The tradition of the Christmas tree as we know today, probably has its origins in 16th century Germany, when Martin Luther, awed by the beauty of stars shining among evergreen trees at night, brought a tree in his home and lighted it with candles. Another German legend goes that Saint Boniface cut an oak tree to stop a group of pagans from sacrificing a young boy. To his surprise, a fir tree sprang from the oak tree which was a sign of Christianity for the saint.

His followers then lighted it with candles so that he could preach to the pagans at night. There is yet another German legend about the Christmas tree according to which a poor boy turned into Jesus, the Christ Child on Christmas morning after being given shelter by a family. The boy gave a fir tree branch to the family as a way of saying thanks. With the publication of a sketch of Queen Victoria and her family standing around a Christmas tree in 1846, this tradition became more popular in UK and USA.

Ancient Romans hung wreaths on their doors as signs of victory. The origins of the Advent wreath seems to be during the 16th century when pre-Christian Germans made wreaths out of evergreens which was a sign of eternal life, to commemorate the coming of spring. The circular shape of the wreath symbolizes God who has no beginning or end.


The History of Christmas Carols

Christmas Carols

Christmas carols were originally pagan songs sung by the Early Europeans during their winter solstice celebrations. Early Christians replaced pagan songs with Christmas hymns (religious songs), written and sung in Latin. In 1223 in Italy, Christmas carols became popular through the Nativity plays of St. Francis of Assisi. As opposed to Latin, they were in a language that was understood by most people, which is the reason why carols spread to other European countries. Although their popularity declined during the Puritan movement in the 16th century, they became famous again in the mid-18th century.

10 Famous Christmas Carols

  1. O Holy Night
  2. Silent Night
  3. Let it Snow
  4. Three Kings of Orient
  5. Away In A Manger
  6. Christmas In Killarney
  7. Ding Dong Merrily on High
  8. The Coventry Carol
  9. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  10. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Christmas Gift Ideas

Exchanging Presents And Gifts

The idea of gift giving during Christmas originated as a result of The Three Wise Men/Magi presenting gifts to baby Jesus upon his birth. Presents are sometimes kept in Christmas stockings that are hung by a fireplace or in boots, and under the Christmas tree, to be opened on Christmas morning. Moreover, the gift bringer (mostly known as Santa Claus) has different names/characters in different countries. For instance, ‘Christkind’ in Austria, ‘Kerstman’ in Netherlands, ‘Papa Noel’ in Argentina and Bolivia, etc.


Attending Mass on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

It is a Christian tradition to attend a ‘Midnight Mass’ on Christmas Eve as Jesus Christ is believed to be born at night. Today, we even see non-Christians attending this Mass, to be a part and get a glimpse of traditional Christmas celebrations. Besides these common Christmas beliefs and customs, there are also traditions specific to countries. For instance, in Greece, gifts are exchanged on St. Basil’s Day on January 1 and at Christmas, gifts are mainly given to the needy. The Spanish have a special Christmas dance called ‘Jota’, the Irish believe in keeping mince pies and Guinness (a kind of Irish beer) out for Santa – to refresh him on his journey, and in Japan, traditional Christmas cuisine includes Kentucky Fried Chicken! There are unusual and bizarre customary beliefs about Christmas as different people have their own ways of celebrating Christmas but everywhere, the feeling of spreading joy and warmth remains the same. Wish you a very heartwarming Christmas!


Interesting facts about Christmas

Interesting facts about Christmas
  • Though Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, there is no mention of December 25 in the Bible.
  • "Jingle Bells" "Jingle Bells" was originally a Thanksgiving song not for Christmas.
  • Santa has his own zip code in Canada. HOH OHO.
  • In Germany, Poland, and Ukraine, finding a spider or a spider's web on a Christmas tree is believed to be a harbinger of good luck.
  • Japanese people traditionally eat at KFC for Christmas dinner.
  • The first artificial Christmas Tree wasn't a tree at all. It was created out of goose feathers that were dyed green.
  • Fewer people think of Christmas as a religious holiday nowadays. Only 51% of those people who celebrate attend church on Christmas.
  • Christmas trees were first used by ancient Egyptians and Romans.
  • Santa Claus was known as Sinterklaas in Dutch.
  • Santa Claus did not always dress up in red clothes, Coca Cola decided to dress him up in colours that match their brand and that stuck. So this is why he is always in red clothes now!
  • The Christmas wreath is a symbol of love and eternal life.
  • Christmas cakes are not really plum cakes, there are, in fact, no plums in the cake! Raisins were known as plums in medieval times and the ingredients were stirred in an East to West direction similar to that of the journey of the three wise men.

Christmas Recipes

Christmas Cake Recipe

Christmas Cake Recipe

The tradition of making Christmas cakes is as old as Christmas itself, and therefore it is very difficult to pin down on any one Christmas cake recipe and declare it most authentic. Christmas cake recipes are a lot like family heirlooms, passed on from one generation to the other with strict adherence to the intricacies involved. In all honesty, it has to be said that there are hundreds of Christmas cake recipes, each more delectable than the other!

However, allow me to be a bit theatrical, the search for a perfect Christmas cake recipe can be rather illuminating. You best bet is to try as many recipes of the old school as you like and then narrow down on the one which you most like. Or, if you like, be original and create an authentic Christmas cake recipe of your own. For those of you’ll who are just itching to try out a good traditional Christmas cake recipe, here’s one. This is an excellent Christmas cake recipe passed down through many generations. Originates from Tring in Hertfordshire, England. It is traditionally served at Christmas teatime.

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups raisins
  • 2 cups currants
  • 1 ½ cups sultanas
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ¾ cup mixed peel
  • ½ cup glace cherries
  • Grated rind of half a lemon and the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ cups moist brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • ¾ lb plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon black treacle
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, rum or sherry.
Directions
  • Grease a 9 inch tin.
  • Cream butter, sugar and grated lemon rind until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  • Mix dry ingredients together well and add to creamed butter etc. Combine thoroughly.
  • Mix in the alcohol and lemon
  • Turn into lined tin, ensure there are no pockets of air and the surface of the mixture is flat.
  • Tie a double band of brown paper around the tin - approximately 3 inches above the rim of the tin.
  • Place in oven one rung below the middle at 160 degrees centigrade (see temperature conversions).
  • Bake for 2 hours and then reduce heat to 150 degrees centigrade for a further 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
  • Remove paper and turn cake upside down and make holes with a steel knitting needle or cocktail stick.
  • Pour in extra spirit and leave cake upside down until the spirit has been absorbed.
  • Wrap the cake in fresh greaseproof paper and leave for at least 48 hours before icing.
  • Before icing, the cake can be stored for up to 2 months wrapped in foil.
  • Keep "feeding" the cake with alcohol until you are ready to put almond icing and then royal icing onto it.

Jamaican Christmas Cake

Jamaican Christmas Cake

This cake is rather simple to prepare and the ingredients can be changed depending on what is more easily available.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 9 eggs
  • ¼ cup white rum
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • 2 pounds chopped dried mixed fruit
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Directions
  • The oven should be preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • 2 - 9 inch round cake pans should be greased and floured
  • Cream together the butter and sugar, in a large bowl until it is light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs, then add rum, limejuice, vanilla, almond extract, and lime zest. The mixed fruit, wine, and molasses should be thoroughly stirred in.
  • The flour, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and salt should be sifted together and folded into a batter, but be careful not to over-mix. Pour into prepared pans.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 80 to 90 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

How To Say Merry Christmas In Different Languages

How To Say Merry Christmas In Different Languages

Here's how to say "Merry Christmas" in different languages:

Merry ChristmasIn Different Languages
CroatianČestit Božić
RomanianCrăciun fericit
GermanFrohe Weihnachten
SwedishGod Jul
Chinese聖誕快樂 (Shèngdàn jié kuàilè)
Japaneseメリークリスマス (Merīkurisumasu)
SpanishFeliz Navidad
ItalianBuon Natale
FrenchJoyeux Noël
DutchVrolijk kerstfeest
VietnameseGiáng Sinh vui vẻ
CzechVeselé Vánoce
PortugueseFeliz Natal
Korean성탄을 축하드려요 (Meli keuliseumaseu)
PolishWesołych Świąt
RussianС рождеством!
FinnishHyvää joulua
SwahiliKrismasi Njema
Arabicعَيد ميلاد مَجيد (ʿīd mīlād majīd)