Should I presume that you mean a modern day Christmas in America, as opposed to other places in the world where some of the traditions are different? For example in France, nativity scenes have the traditional figures plus often a baker and a butcher and a priest. In Greece, Christmas trees are not traditional since World War II because the Nazis destroyed almost all of the trees. Also be aware that Christmas in Australia occurs in summer, as their seasons are reversed from ours since it is in the Southern Hemisphere.
We are a melting pot. As a result we have a blend of many different traditions that have become popular.
As for December 25th, the first record of Christmas being celebrated on that date was in AD 336. Pope Julius I declared Christmas should be celebrated on that date. Earlier Pagan rituals were celebrated on the Winter Solstice, December 21-22.
Santa Claus originates in Saint Nicolas, who was born in the third century in Patara, now in Turkey, formerly Greece.
Santa Claus was a real person who gifted to the poor. Saint Nicolas used all that he had to help and aid the needy. Saint Nicolas became the Bishop of Myra (now in Turkey) and under Roman Emperor Diocletian (Emperor from year 284AD to 305), he was imprisoned. He died December 6th , 343 in Myra. December 6th is celebrated in some countries as St. Nicolas Day.
The Christmas Tree originates in 16th century Germany, where since that time, people placed decorated trees in their homes.
Christmas gifts have their origins in giving, not receiving. Christians believe the biggest gift to the world was their Lord Jesus Christ, and gifting originates with the Wisemen story of gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh, being brought to the Christ child.
The tradition is varied around the world as to who children believe brings the gifts and where the gifts are placed and when they are given, for example, in Spain they believe gifts are delivered by the Wisemen, in Italy by an old woman named Befana, and in Britain and here by Santa.
Presents in Holland are opened on December 5th the eve of St. Nicolas Day, and in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Belgium, children open gifts on December 6th, St Nicolas day.
Stockings come from the stories of Saint Nicolas, who left gifts in socks.
In conclusion, for many, it is their favorite time of year, and a time for family gatherings, seeing friends, and celebration. I would be among them.
What seasonal traditions do you have? Please tell us about them.
Originally posted 2015-12-15 09:30:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter