Christmas is a holiday that's almost always associated with joy and happiness, but what most people don't know is that it actually has some pretty dark origins. In fact, the word "Christmas" itself comes from the Old English word "Cristes Maesse", which means "Christ's Mass". Even though Christmas is celebrated all over the world, it has a different meaning to each country and culture. If you've ever wondered what Christmas is all about, here are some interesting Christmas traditions from around the world.
What Is The Origin Of Christmas?
The oldest Christmas tradition is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is believed that the festival of Saturnalia, which was a pagan celebration dating back to ancient times, was held between December 17 and December 23. This festival was likely the first major celebration of the winter solstice and was influenced by Roman customs surrounding Saturnus, a god associated with agriculture and harvest.
The festival occurred during this time because it was believed that during this period of time nature would be asleep. The shortest day of the year occurs around December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere. After that it's a time when the days start to get longer again, which is why it's also called "the return of light." The Romans celebrated this event and the festivities involved feasting, drinking, gift-giving, singing, and other forms of merrymaking.
The Christian Church eventually came to adopt these traditions and used them as an opportunity to evangelize others. The celebration of Christmas as we know it today began in the fourth century when Pope Julius I declared December 25th to be Jesus' birthday. The date was chosen because it was already a pagan holiday that celebrated the rebirth of nature, which fit well with Christianity's message of new life.
What Are The Oldest Christmas Traditions?
The Christmas holiday celebrations are a result of combining existing Roman traditions with Christian beliefs about Jesus' birth date.
The Romans celebrated the winter solstice by feasting and cooking with fat-rich foods such as goose, pork, and sausages. They believed that because the days were shorter in December, they needed to eat more food to keep them warm. Till to date we still celebrate Christmas with these traditional foods. Can you spot yours?
The Christmas Wreath
The Christmas wreath is also an ancient symbol that has been around for centuries. The Romans decorated their homes with evergreen plants like pine or fir branches during winter solstice to honor mother nature and to symbolize nature's rebirth. They later became popular among Christians because they were associated with Jesus' birth.
The Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree is a pretty recent addition to the holiday season, but it's still one that many people enjoy. The first recorded use of a Christmas tree as we know it was in 16th century Germany, where it was used to celebrate the end of the harvest season. The trees were decorated with apples, nuts, and candles to represent the coming winter—a much different meaning than what most people associate with the holidays today!
The origin of Santa Claus is a subject that has been debated for many years. Many believe that Santa Claus began as St. Nicholas in the 4th century AD—a Greek Bishop who was known for his generosity towards the poor and his love of children. He was known to use his money to help families who were suffering financially and for giving gifts to children, like apples or coins (he even threw coins down chimneys!).
No one knows for sure if the story is true, but we do know that Santa's name comes from the Dutch word "Sinterklaas", which means "Saint Nicholas". St. Nicholas is still celebrated today on December 6th with a feast day called "Saint Nicholas Day."
Above traditions are still very much alive today and are practiced by millions of people all over the world!
How Christmas Is Celebrated Around The World?
Christmas is on everyone's mind during this festive time of year. To know how people celebrate Christmas in the different parts of the world, we dug deep around the internet and here are few things that we have found about Christmas celebrations. It can be a real treat to learn about how others celebrate this time of the year.
Christmas is a very important holiday in Germany. It is celebrated for a whole month, starting with Advent on December 1 and ending after New Year's Day. The Christmas countdown starts with the Advent calendar and the festivities include Christmas trees, plenty of Christmas lights and decoration, parades and concerts. The Christmas markets like our Dresdner Striezelmarkt, are well-known worldwide and very popular in Germany every year. These markets sell delicious food and drink as well as handmade gifts from local artisans.
The big day is December 24th! It's not on December 25th like in most countries, so don't forget to put your presents under the tree on December 24th, if you celebrate the holidays in our country!
We like to eat a lot during this time of the year. Specialities that have become popular around the world are "Lebkuchen", which are gingerbread cookies made with honey or molasses. Another popular food during this time is Stollen cake, which consists of dried fruit wrapped in bread dough and baked until golden brown on top. The most popular one is our Dresdner Stollen. And of course, there is the German chocolate. An endless array of chocolate candies awaits the holiday shoppers.
The traditional Norwegian Christmas traditions are very similar to those practiced in other parts of Northern Europe and the United States.
Christmas in Norway is a time for celebration and family, but it's also one of the most religious holidays in the country. The country's official religion is Lutheranism, and Christmas is a major holiday.
Norwegian families gather on December 24th to celebrate Christmas Eve, which is known as Juledag or juleavslutningen. The main dinner starts around 4 p.m., when everyone gathers together to eat traditional dishes like lutefisk and pork ribs with mustard sauce. This dinner is followed by a visit from Santa Claus (known as Julemannen), who brings gifts for the children.
After spending the day with their family members, they then go to midnight mass together on December 24th. On Christmas Day itself there will be more feasting and traditional foods like lutefisk or baked ham are served.
Christmas is a big deal in Italy. It's not just a religious holiday, it's also a state holiday and a national holiday. Christmas is typically celebrated by Italians with a full family meal, which includes the traditional Italian dishes of fish and seafood.
The Christmas feast is also accompanied by a variety of desserts, such as panettone (a sweet bread) and pandoro (another type of sweet bread).
Christmas Eve is celebrated by attending midnight mass or going to midnight mass together as a family. Afterward, it's common for people to go out and have some food and drinks together at a restaurant or bar.
Christmas in Japan is celebrated in much the same way that it is celebrated elsewhere. The holiday is simply about spending time with family and friends, enjoying good food and presents!
In addition to decorating the house with lights and trees, Japanese people often visit temples or shrines on Christmas Eve to pray for health and happiness. They also buy presents for their friends and relatives.
Instead of Santa Claus delivering presents to children on Christmas Eve, Sanki-tōri delivers presents. Sanki-tōri is an angel who lives in the sky and comes down only at Christmastime to deliver presents to good children.
In Australia, Christmas is celebrated with family and friends, especially at Christmas Day lunch, which usually takes place on December 25th. Other common Christmas traditions include decorating the house with lights and decorations, sending Christmas cards, and giving gifts. The Christmas traditions are similar to other Christian countries around the world.
South Africa is a country that has a diverse history and culture, so it's no surprise that Christmas is celebrated in various ways throughout the country.
The first thing that people do is decorate the Christmas tree. They put all sorts of decorations on it, such as lights, tinsel, and candy canes. The tree is usually put up in early December.
People also make gingerbread cookies and other types of treats for their friends and family members to enjoy during this time of year. People who celebrate Christmas often go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning to worship God and ask him for blessings throughout the year.
Some popular traditional foods eaten during this time include roasted turkey with gravy or stuffing served alongside mashed potatoes and veggies like carrots or corn on the cob—all washed down with plenty of wine!
Christmas celebrations in the Polynesian Island of Samoa are full of traditional food and dance, including the infamous Samoan fire dance. The people of Samoa gather on Christmas Eve to listen to stories about Jesus' birth and sing carols. They also light candles and give gifts to one another.
The most important part of Christmas is the food. Samoan families prepare and serve large meals with traditional dishes such as coconut bread, chicken fale and fish fale (fried chicken or fish) and saimai (coconut milk pudding). Traditional desserts include coconut macaroon cookies, banana cake with custard filling or coconut syrup topping, mango cake with custard filling or coconut syrup topping. The desserts sound delicious, so here is a recipe link to more delicious treats.
In conclusion, Christmas is a special time for almost everyone around the world. There truly is something magical about the holiday season and we can all appreciate the traditions that have withstood the test of time. There are so many beautiful, festive ways to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps you celebrate the Christmas season with people from around the world by adopting one of their incredible traditions! After all, we've all heard that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.
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