Christmas is the time for celebration, fun and food. Snow, bright lights, carols and gifts make this a very popular holiday among young and old alike! Yet there are so many things about Christmas that may still be a mystery to you. So today we bring to you such untold facts and interesting tidbits about this wonderful festival!
Christmas day is celebrated everywhere on 25th December to mark the birth of the savior Jesus Christ. However, theologians and other biblical scholars suggest that Jesus was actually born sometime in spring, between March and April. The church officially declared it as December 25 in 440 AD to coincide with the birth of the Roman pagan god of the sun in the Saturnalia tradition, which happens around the time of the winter solstice.
The word “Christmas” is a derived from “Christ’s Mass,” which is taken from the Old English Cristes mæsse (first documented in 1038). The term “XMas” is also used as an abbreviation in place of Christmas since mid 1500s. This is from “X” which is the first letter of Christ in Greek, Χριστός, οῦ, ὁ.
Ever wondered what could be the most extravagant Christmas present ever? It was given in the year 1886; France gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States of America as a Christmas gift. It is considered to be the biggest Christmas present yet!
Real Christmas trees are slowly being replaced by artificial ones. Christmas trees made out of PVC plastic are now common in most households. But the first ever artificial trees for Christmas created by the Germans were actually made from goose feathers dyed green. This was the Germans’ idea to combat deforestation.
Santa Claus, who is every child’s favorite, is actually a lovable saint from the 4th century. Saint Nicholas was a famous bishop of Myra in Turkey, known for his generosity and kindness. He was a Christmas gift-giver and when the Dutch settlers brought him to America, he eventually became known as Santa Claus. The name is adapted from Sankt Niklaus.
The story of Christmas stockings has an interesting back-story too. It came from three sisters, who were too poor to afford a dowry and were hence unmarried. When they did their laundry and hung their stockings out to dry, the wealthy St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, came at night and filled their stockings with gold coins, so that they could get married.
Red and white striped candy cane is a lovable Christmas staple among children. It is seen everywhere this season. But what does it mean and where did it come from? It’s actually shaped after Jesus’ hook shaped staff which he used to shepherd his lambs. The color and stripes stand for purity (white) and Christ’s sacrifice (red).
Lavish feasts and dinner including turkey and pudding is what we have come to enjoy on Christmas day. However, traditionally the Christmas dinner back in England used to be pig’s head with mustard sauce!
Christmas carols were introduced in the church by St. Francis of Assisi. The world “carol” is taken from the Greek word “choros” that means “dancing in a circle” and from the French word “carole” that means a song to accompany dancing. The Christmas carol “Jingle bells” was composed by James Pierpont as “One Horse Open Sleigh” and he wrote it for originally for thanksgiving. It later got associated with Christmas.
You may decorate your tree with baubles and bells, but in Poland, Christmas trees are often decorated with spiders or spider webs. According to a popular legend, a spider wove a blank for the baby Jesus in the manger. In fact Polish people have always considered spiders as a symbol of goodness and prosperity at Christmas time.
How many of these did you know? Do you know of any more such facts? Share them with us in the comments!
Have a great holiday and share the joy of Christmas to everyone. Merry Christmas!