Christmas History Essay, Research Paper
The word Christmas comes from the old English & # 8220 ; Cristes maesse & # 8221 ; intending Christ & # 8217 ; s
Mass. The Holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. The existent birthday of
Jesus is non known ; hence, the early Church Fathers in the fourth century fixed
the twenty-four hours around the old Roman Saturnalia festival ( 17 & # 8211 ; 21 December ) , a
traditional heathen celebration. The first reference of the birthday of Jesus is from
the twelvemonth 354 AD. Gradually all Christian churches, except Armenians who
celebrate Christmas on January 6 ( the day of the month of the baptism of Jesus every bit good as
the twenty-four hours of the three Magi ) , accepted the day of the month of December 25th.
In American/English tradition, Christmas Day itself is the twenty-four hours for opening gifts
brought by reasonably old St. Nick. Many of our current American ideals about the
manner Christmas ought to be, derive from the English Victorian Christmas, such as
that described in Charles Dickens & # 8217 ; & # 8220 ; A Christmas Carol. & # 8221 ;
The caroling, the gifts, the banquet, and the want of good cheer to all & # 8211 ; these
ingredients came together to make that particular Christmas ambiance.
The usage of gift-giving on Christmas goes back to Roman festivals of
Saturnalia and Kalends. The really first gifts were simple points such as branchlets
from a sacred grove as good fortune emblems. Soon that escalated to nutrient, little
points of jewellery, tapers, and statues of Gods. To the early Church, gift-
giving at this clip was a heathen hangover and hence badly frowned upon.
However, people would non portion with it, and some justification was found in the
original gift giving of the Magi, and from figures such as St. Nicholas. By the
in-between ages gift giving was accepted. Before so it was more common to
exchange gifts on New Year & # 8217 ; s Day or Twelfth Night.
Santa Claus is known by British kids as Father Christmas. Father Christmas,
these yearss, is rather similar to the American Santa, but his direct ascendant is a
certain heathen spirit who on a regular basis appeared in mediaeval mime & # 8217 ; s dramas. The
antique Father Christmas was depicted have oning long robes with branchlets of
holly in his long white hair. Children write letters to Father Christmas
detailing their petitions, but alternatively of dropping them in the letter box, the
letters are tossed into the hearth. The bill of exchange carries the letters up the
chimney, and theoretically, Father Christmas reads the fume. Gifts are opened
From the English we get a narrative to explicate the usage of hanging stockings from
the mantle. Father Christmas one time dropped some gilded coins while coming
down the chimney. The coins would hold fallen through the ash grating and been
lost if they hadn & # 8217 ; T landed in a stocking that had been hung out to dry. Since
that clip kids have continued to hang out stockings in hopes of happening them
filled with gifts.
The usage of singing carols at Christmas is besides of English beginning. During the
in-between ages, groups of serenaders called delaies would go around from house to
house singing ancient carols and distributing the vacation spirit. The word carol
agencies & # 8220 ; vocal of you. & # 8221 ; Most of the popular old carols we sing today were written
in the 19th century.
The hanging of leafy vegetables, such as holly and ivy, is a British winter tradition with
beginnings far before the Christian epoch. Greenery was likely used to raise
drooping winter liquors and remind the people that spring was non far off. The
usage of snoging under the mistletoe is descended from ancient Druid rites.
The decorating of Christmas trees, though chiefly a German usage, has been
widely popular in England since 1841 when Prince Albert had a
Christmas tree set
up in Windsor Castle for his married woman Queen Victoria, and their kids.
The word wassail is derived from the Anglo-Saxon phrase & # 8220 ; waes hael, & # 8221 ; which means
& # 8220 ; good health. & # 8221 ; Originally, wassail was a drink made of mulled ale, curdled
pick, roasted apples, nuts, eggs, and spices. It was served for the intent of
heightening the general gaiety of the season. Like many of the antediluvian imposts,
wassailing has a fable to explicate its beginning. It seems that a beautiful Saxon
maiden named Rowena presented Prince Vortigen with a bowl of vino while crispening
him with the words Waes hael. Over the centuries a great trade of ceremonial had
developed around the usage of imbibing wassail. The bowl is carried into a
room with great ostentation, a traditional carol about the drink is sung, and
eventually, the steaming hot drink is served.
For many old ages in England, a roasted Sus scrofa & # 8217 ; s caput has been associated with
Vacation banqueting. The usage likely goes back to the Norse pattern of
giving a Sus scrofa at Yuletide in award of the God Freyr. One narrative Tells of a
pupil at Oxford & # 8217 ; s Queen College who was attacked on Christmas Day by a wild
Sus scrofa. All he had in his manus to utilize as a arm was his transcript of Aristotle, so
he shoved the book down the Sus scrofa & # 8217 ; s pharynx. Desiring to recover his book, the
pupil cut off the animate being & # 8217 ; s caput and brought it back to the college where it
was served for Christmas dinner with much gaudery and ceremonial.
It is from Scandinavia that most of our Yule log traditions derive. The dark
cold winters inspired the development of traditions concerned with heat and
visible radiation. Yuletide, intending the turning of the Sun or the winter solstice, has
traditionally been a clip of utmost importance in Scandinavia & # 8211 ; a clip when
lucks for the coming twelvemonth were determined and when the dead were thought to
walk the Earth. For a long clip, it was considered unsafe to kip entirely on
Christmas Eve. The drawn-out household, maestro and retainer, likewise would kip
together on a freshly spread bed of straw.
The Yule log was originally an full tree, carefully chosen, and brought into
the house with great ceremonial. The butt terminal would be placed into the fireplace
while the remainder of the tree stuck out into the room. The tree would be easy
fed into the fire and the full procedure was carefully timed to last the full
The Christmas tree has ne’er been peculiarly popular in France, and though the
usage of the Yule log has faded, the Gallic make a traditional Christmas log-shaped
bar called the & # 8220 ; buche de Noel, & # 8221 ; which means & # 8220 ; Christmas Log. & # 8221 ; The bar, among
other nutrient in great copiousness, is served at the expansive banquet of the season, which
is called Le reveillon. Le reveillon is a really late supper held after midnight
mass on Christmas Eve. The bill of fare for the repast varies harmonizing to regional
culinary tradition. The traditional Christmas dinner is made of Meleagris gallopavo with
chestnuts puree, and the buche de Noel as desert. Oysters are eaten on New
Year & # 8217 ; s Eve merely because New Year & # 8217 ; s is more an grownup jubilation and normally
kids are non really fond of oysters. The tradition in Paris is to eat broiled
chestnuts in the streets during the month of December and portion of January.
The popularity of the Nativity scene, one of the most darling and digesting
symbols of the vacation season, originated in Italy. St. Francis of Assisi asked
a adult male named Giovanni Vellita of the small town of Greccio to make a manger scene.
St. Francis performed mass in forepart of this early Nativity scene, which inspired
awe and devotedness in all who saw it. The creative activity of the figures or pastori
became an full genre of folk art.