Christmas is known as the “most wonderful time of the year”. Christmastime is such a wonderful time to spend with family and to reflect on the birth of Jesus and what His birth means to us today. Every year, Christmas is celebrated on December 25 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ. This auspicious occasion is a prime festival of Christian community and hence, is celebrated zestfully around the world. Christmas conveys his message of love, tolerance and brotherhood. Though, it is a religious festival of Christians, it has a special significance in everyone’s life. In India, Christmas is widely celebrated by the people of all religions and communities. December 25 or Christmas Day is a public Holiday in India.
It’s a sacred festival and is celebrated with enthusiasm and jollity. Christmas is a special day, it’s the day that many people remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The celebration is characterized by the exchange of gifts between loved ones and mythical figures such as Santa Claus. On this special day, many people often visit orphans and the homeless as Christ did when he was on earth. Christmas is one of the earliest festivals that have been celebrated for years all over the world. The time of celebration varies in different countries, in the UK, the festive runs for 12 days after the Christmas day. During this period, people feast and make merry and this ends at the ends of the twelfth day.
Origin of Christmas Festival
The word ‘Christmas’ comes from ‘Cristes Maesse’, or “Christ’s Mass.” Historians claim that Christmas Festival was first celebrated in Rome circa 336 AD. In early times, there was a controversy on the date of Christmas celebrations as the exact date of Christ’s birth was not known. But in 336 AD, Christian leaders fixed the Christmas date to December 25. This date was mainly an attempt to eclipse Saturnalia – a popular pagan holiday in Rome that celebrated the winter solstice. Gradually, the 25th December got acceptance from the Western World and later even Eastern Churches started celebrating Christmas Day on December 25th.
interesting facts about Christmas
- The word Christmas originates from the words Christ’s Mass. In old English (first recorded in 1038) it was referred to as Cristesmæsse, which literally means ‘Christian Mass’.
- A common figure known throughout the world and associated with Christmas is Santa Claus. Other popular Christmas figures include Christkind, Saint Nicholas, and Father Christmas.
- Christmas lights were invented in 1882 by Edward Johnson.
- The first evidence of a Christmas tree is from a pamphlet that dates back to 1570.
- In order for Santa to visit all the homes on Christmas Eve he would have to visit 822 homes each second.
- 12th century nuns left socks full of nuts, fruit and tangerines at the doors of the poor. This is where the tradition of putting tangerines in stockings came from.
- The letter X in Xmas is a Greek abbreviation for Christ.
- In 1950 the world’s largest Christmas tree was placed in a Washington Mall. It was 221 feet high.
- The best-selling Christmas song ever is White Christmas by Bing Crosby. It has sold more than 50 million copies around the world.
The festival of Christmas reflects the cultural unity of India as on this auspicious occasion, the whole nation comes together and celebrates the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ. This cultural unity sets an excellent example of brotherhood and humanism. British and European invaders brought Christianity into India and now it has become an integral part of the country. The doctrines and philosophy of Christianity has attracted people of many sections and hence, India has a large population of Christian community at present.
History of Christmas tree
The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Christians use it as a sign of everlasting life with God.
Christmas trees have become a worldwide symbol for peace and good cheer. They are at the center of one of the largest family gatherings of the year. And religions of all shapes and sizes brandish it as something spiritual and meaningful to their beliefs.
Christmas trees haven’t always been associated with Christianity; in fact, Christianity was one of the last religions to jump on this “green religion” bandwagon. Winters were brutal in ancient times, so much so that ancient Egyptians and Romans believed that their gods were struggling just as much as they were. See, winter was seen as a time of death and any plant that remained green during this time, such as firs, evergreens and rushes, were seen as holy and signs that the gods would triumph over this winter and bring new life onto the earth.
Nobody is really sure when Fir trees were first used as Christmas trees. It probably began about 1000 years ago in Northern Europe. Many early Christmas Trees seem to have been hung upside down from the ceiling using chains (hung from chandeliers/lighting hooks).
 “Christmas in India”, available online at: https://festivals.awesomeji.com/christmas/
 “Christmas Essay”, available online at: http://www.indiacelebrating.com/essay/christmas-essay/
 “The History of Christmas Trees”, available online at: https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/trees.shtml