Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas- Introduction and Date of celebration

Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated Christian festivals all around the world. It is annual holiday celebrated on the 25th of December to honor the birth of Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ as he is more popularly known. It marks the beginning of the Christmas Season, also known as Christmastide which lasts till 12 days from the day of Christmas, i.e. from 25th of December till 5th of January. Christmas Day also corresponds to the onset of winter , the seasonal significance of which is that of lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population as well as among a wide population of Non-Christians as a cultural festival. Christmas season is a season of love for everyone, generosity, kindness, happiness and laughter. It is a season when everyone comes together in celebration for the almighty.
When is Christmas:

Christmas, Xmas or Christmas Day is celebrated every year on 25th December and the festivities last for ten day upto the 1st January which is the New Year Day.
Meaning of Christmas The English word Christmas has been derived from the words Cristes maesse (from Middle English), or Christ`s Mass (from old English) meaning Mass on Chirst's Day. The term Christmas is also abbreviated as Xmas, in which 'X' has been used for Christ in Roman. Christmas festival is known by different names like: Nativity, Incarnation, Yule Tide, Noel and Winter Pascha.
History of Christmas :
Historians claim that the first celebration of Christmas happened in Rome in 336 A.D. Early Romans, however, could not profess their religion openly as Christianity had grown up in blood and tears in Rome. It was only after the conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity in 4th century A.D that the religion came to be followed by vast masses of humanity. This community then felt the need to celebrate the birth of Christ as a festival. But different groups had been celebrating Jesus's birth on different dates like 6th January, 19th April, 20th May, 17th November, 25th December. By the 5th century A.D. 25th December got accepted as the most suitable date in the Western World and gradually the Eastern Churches fell in line with the west.
Besides, traditionally the middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Even before the arrival of Jesus, many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.
Christmas Food And Recipies: It is a great time for food lovers during Christmas on account of the great variety of food prepared for the same. Christmas food traditionally includes apple cider, turkey, custard, candy, champagne, christmas cookies, fruitcake, gingerbread, ham, hot chocolate, all sorts of pies like apple, pineapple, pumpkin etc.
Christmas Celebrations:
Today, Christmas is celebrated on a grand-scale all over the world. Christians and even the non-Christian community participate with great enthusiasm in the various festivities associated with it. Markets, homes and churches take on a festive air. There is lot of activity all around. So much enthusiasm is witnessed everywhere that people get high on the spirit of the festival. Balls, elaborately decorated Christmas trees, delicious cakes and Santa Claus moving in the streets distributing goodies to the children are the main attractions of the festival.
People visit friends and relatives on the day and participate in the masses held in churches. Children particularly enjoy the festival as they receive gifts from their favourite Santa and elders. They also love decorating scenes of Nativity in their houses. Exchanging cards has also become a very important part of the festivities. Besides markets are flooded with a lot of decorative items on the day. People of all ages look forward to Christmas holidays with lot of zeal.
Christmas Tree and Christmas Decorations :

During the ten days long celebrations of Christmas or Xmas one thing among the others plays a pivot role that is called a Christmas Tree. As an integral part of the traditions associated with this festival, a Christmas Tree is bought and placed inside or outside the house and decorated with lots of colorful goodies like stars, balloons, candies, light-bulbs, teddies with an angle placed at the top as the host of the angles. To place the Christmas Tree both natural and artificial trees are in which the artificial ones are sold in different shapes and sizes, right from the desk-top size to the larger ones. There are several other options of Christmas Tree made of plastic and metals like aluminum. For decoration of a Christmas Tree, generally the family traditions and individuals' likings prevail but most commonly the tree is adorned by colors, lights and shimmering ornaments.
Santa Claus The Father of Christmas :
Santa Claus is also known popularly as Saint Nicholas, Father of Christmas and represents the spirit of merriment and the joy of giving gifts to good children across the world. This legend is believed by some to have originated from Saint Nicholas who is considered to be a historical figure of giving gifts.