The History of Christmas

The History of Christmas

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Christmas is the time many people around the world who believe in Christ set aside time to honor His birth and also believe in the fact that He is the Son of God. Understanding The History of Christmas gives you an inside view of the holiday. The term Christmas came from the “Mass of Christ”, which is a sacred Christian celebration in remembrance that Christ died for their sins and came back to life. However, the “Christ-Mass” service was only allowed during the night (after sunset and before sunrise). Thus, the name shortening to Christmas.

To date, many people around the world celebrate Christmas, whether Christians or not. Also, it is a time that family and friends join together in a bid to express their love and happiness and share in the good things they have. Especially for children, the gift-giving and receiving make them super excited.

The History of Christmas

Behind the 25th Date

History has it that no one truly knows when Christ was born, as no specific date is in the Bible. However, some believe this is the time He was born. Christmas first celebration came on December 25th, 336,  under the rule of Roman Emperor, Constantine. However, it was not an “official” Roman state festival at the time. But traditions and theories had it stuck on this date. With more history in the making from research, it led back to the 25th of March when it records have it that Mary got the news she would conceive and have a son. Well, nine months later would naturally be on the 25th of December!

In addition to Jewish history, the Christmas celebrations being around this time was a means of overshadowing the pagan holidays, which also happened at that time.  The Winter Solstice festivals of the pagan Roman culture, “Saturnalia” and “Dies Natalis Solis Invictus,” basically took place around the same time. So, Christians wanted to incorporate their celebrations as a way of converting the non-believers. The Winter Solstice happens to be the shortest sun-shining period, and as the times were changing, the pagans would worship the sun for winning over the darkness that winter brought.

The incorporation of the Christian celebration was to blindside the Saturnalia festival (which is where they celebrate and bring cheer to their pagan god Saturn). Then on the 25th of December, the birthday of the unconquered sun (dies Natalis Invictus) would be celebrated. Christmas being around that time and be an ideal time to try and change the culture. Though these pagan celebrations started at about 274, Christian festivals had an estimated earlier date to 200.

Jewish Origin of The History of Christmas

Records have it that Jesus was a Jew, and their festival of light happens around the same time (December 25th). This festival they use as a time to worship in their temple and dedicate their lives to their Maker. This tradition was one of the main reasons for the early Christian Church to use the same time for their celebrations and to this day, remains the same. Along with the 25th of December, some early Church also extended their holidays to the 6th of January, when people celebrate Epiphany. This celebration was commemorated as the time the revelation was made that Jesus was the Son of God. Though many celebrate both on the same day, a celebrated day for His birth was needed.

The Gregorian Calendar is what many persons now use, which has Christmas on the 25th, while others use the Julian Calendar that celebrates the 7th of January. Whichever calendar, the celebration of Christmas still takes place and is honored by millions of persons around the world. The early Church also took over some of the customs from the Winter Solstice and gave them different meanings like the Mistletoe, Christmas Carols, and Holly. The spread of the Christmas celebration, especially in England, was started by St. Augustine of Canterbury.

This reach came via the introduction of Christianity in the areas controlled by the Anglo-Saxons in the 6th century. Sent by Pope Gregory the Great of Rome, the use of the Roman Calendar had them celebrating the festival on December 25th, like many others. From here came the further spreading of the Christmas celebration over the world.

Christmas – Not all Peace and Safety

To think such a grand celebration would be welcomed with opened arms by everyone…then you may have another guess coming! As Christmas and all its celebrations were on in England and everyone was getting adopted to the lifestyle, the change in ruler-ship changed everything. Oliver Cromwell, during the 17th century, along with his Puritan forces, sought the need to cease everything that spelled Christmas. However, this was short-lived as after the return of Charles II, Christmas also returned. But still, not many adopted and some regions would even fine persons caught celebrating in any form of festivities during that period…even in America!

However, as the 19th century approached, Washington Irving reinvented Christmas, and the Americas were once again on with the celebrations. Since then, the incorporation of Christmas carols, modern festivities, decorations, and even Santa Claus are just some of the associations of the season. The idea of giving and receiving, meeting and spending time with friends and family and the likes are even what makes Christmas today more “look forward to” than ever before.

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