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December 24, 2017 - December 25, 2017
Christmas Day, on December 25, is one of the most festive Christian holidays in many countries around the world. It celebrates Jesus’ birth.
For some, Christmas is an exclusive family affair, while others invite friends to a Christmas buffet or pot luck meal. Churches have special services and may include a crèche or miniature Nativity scene.
Did you know that:
The word “Christmas” comes from the old English “Cristes maesse”, or the mass of Christ. It is likely that the Christmas date of December 25 was chosen to offset the Pagan celebrations of Saturnalia and Natalis Invicti. It it also possible that the celebration of the birth of the “true light of the world” was set at the time of the December solstice because this is when the days in the northern hemisphere begin to grow longer. Christmas holiday customs derive from various cultures, including Teutonic, Celtic, Roman, West Asian and Christian.
The mistletoe is a commonly used Christmas decoration. By tradition, people who meet under a hanging mistletoe are obliged to kiss. Mistletoe has pagan associations. For example, the druids of Gaul regarded mistletoe growing on oak trees as sent from heaven.
Other common decorations associated with Christmas are holly and ivy – both are associated with Pagan festivals as it was customary to decorate with greenery for these festivals.
Images of Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, snowmen, reindeer, and candy canes are seen in cards, posters, signs and other printed or marketing material associated with the Christmas celebrations. Images of baby Jesus, the Christmas star, and other symbols associated with the religious meaning of Christmas are also seen during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.