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Powerd By : NorthPony
Merry Christmas

The history of Christmas dates back to thousand years. In fact many of the Christmas traditions celebrated these days were also in existence centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. In the Western world, the Christmas Day has been celebrated as the birthday of Jesus since AD 354. However, later in the eighteenth century, another alternative explanation came out, according to which, the date of Christmas was chosen to match up with the winter solstice, which was again marked in the ancient times on the same day (December 25).

If we are to find the roots of the Christmas traditions, we may need to go back to the age of Mesopotamian culture which had the tradition of celebrating New Year. The same kind of tradition was also the part of the Persian and Babylonian culture.

They had the festival called the ‘Sacaea’. On the other hand, there was also a festival in Scandinavia known as ‘Yule’, which was celebrated during the winter months. All these festivals have had great impact on the present day Christmas.

The customs of the modern age Christmas started in the Middle Ages. The carol became associated with the birth of Jesus Christ since the 14th century. The Saints Day has also contributed in a great way in Christmas History. With the course of time, a number of other customs also got associated with the occasion.

Christmas has for many centuries been a time for the giving and exchanging of gifts, particularly between friends and family members. A number of figures of both Christian and mythical origin have been associated with Christmas and the seasonal giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus, Père Noël, and the Weihnachtsmann; Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas; the Christkind; Kris Kringle; Joulupukki; Babbo Natale; Saint Basil; and Father Frost.

The most famous and pervasive of these figures in modern celebration worldwide is Santa Claus, a mythical gift bringer, dressed in red, whose origins have diverse sources. The name Santa Claus is a corruption of the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means simply Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, in modern day Turkey, during the 4th century. Among other saintly attributes, he was noted for the care of Children, generosity, and the giving of gifts. His feast on the 6th of December came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts. Saint Nicholas traditionally appeared in bishoply attire, accompanied by helpers, and enquired about the behaviour of children during the past year before deciding whether they deserved a gift or not. By the 13th century Saint Nicholas was well known in the Netherlands, and the practice of gift-giving in his name spread to other parts of central and southern Europe.

Although nominally a Christian holiday, Christmas is also widely celebrated by many non-Christians and many of its popular celebratory customs have pre-Christian or secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, music, an exchange of greeting cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various decorations; including Christmas trees, lights, garlands, mistletoe, nativity scenes, and holly.

Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

 

 

Decoration of celebration

The Christmas tree is a decorated evergreen coniferous tree, real or artificial, and a tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas, or originally Yule. The Christmas tree is often brought into a home, but can also be used in the open, and can be decorated with Christmas lights (originally candles), ornaments, garlands and tinsel during the days around Christmas. Lollipops and Cupcakes are decorations (usually made of glass, metal, wood or ceramics) that are used to festoon a Christmas tree. An angel or star is often placed at the top of the tree, representing the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity. The tradition of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas started in Germany in the 16th century. While the use of celebratory lighting during winter solstice festivals pre-dates Christianity, it is the European (and later North American) partly secularised traditions associated with Christmas which are now commonly recognised and enjoyed as Christmas (or festive, holiday-season) lights.

A Christmas stocking is an empty sock or sock-shaped bag that children hang on Christmas Eve so that Santa Claus (or Father Christmas) can fill it with small toys, candy, fruit, coins or other small gifts when he arrives. These small items are often referred to as stocking stuffers or stocking fillers. In some Christmas stories, the contents of the Christmas stocking are the only toys the child receives at Christmas from Santa Claus. Other presents are wrapped up in wrapping paper and placed under the Christmas tree. Tradition in Western culture dictates that a child who behaves badly during the year will receive only a piece of coal. However, coal is rarely left in a stocking, as it is considered cruel.

 

Music and carols

Christmas music comprises a variety of genres of music normally performed or heard around the Christmas season, which tends to begin in the months leading up the actual holiday and end in the weeks shortly thereafter.

Songs which are traditional, even some without a specific religious context, are often called Christmas carols. A more or less standard set of these traditional carols might include such titles as:
# "Angels We Have Heard on High"
# "Away in a Manger"
# "Coventry Carol"
# "The Holly and the Ivy"
# "Silent Night"
# "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"

According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the following are the Top 25 most-performed "holiday" songs written by ASCAP members for the first five years of the 21st century:

# "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – Mel Tormé, Robert Wells
# "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" – Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
# "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" – Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
# "Winter Wonderland" – Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
# "White Christmas" – Irving Berlin
# "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" – Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
# "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" – Johnny Marks
# "Jingle Bell Rock" – Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe

Cards

 

Christmas cards are illustrated messages of greeting usually exchanged between friends and family members during the weeks preceding Christmas Day. The custom has become popular among a wide cross-section of people, including non-Christians, in Western society and in Asia. The traditional greeting reads "wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year", much like that of the first commercial Christmas card, produced by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843. However there are innumerable variations of this formula, many cards expressing a more religious sentiment, or containing a poem, prayer or Biblical verse; while others distance themselves from religion with an all-inclusive "Season's greetings".


 

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