HOME
The Info List - Christmas


--- Advertisement ---



(i) (i) (i) (i) (i)

CHRISTMAS is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ
Christ
, observed most commonly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian
Christian
liturgical year , it is prepared for by the season of Advent
Advent
or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide
Christmastide
, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night ; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an Octave . The traditional Christmas
Christmas
narrative, the Nativity of Jesus , delineated in the New Testament
New Testament
says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem
Bethlehem
, in accordance with messianic prophecies ; when Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child
Christ Child
was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who then disseminated the message furthermore. Christmas
Christmas
Day is a public holiday in many of the world\'s nations , is celebrated religiously by the vast majority of Christians, as well as culturally by a number of non-Christian people, and is an integral part of the holiday season , while some Christian
Christian
groups reject the celebration. In several countries, celebrating Christmas Eve on December 24 has the main focus rather than December 25, with gift-giving and sharing a traditional meal with the family.

Although the month and date of Jesus' birth are unknown, by the early-to-mid fourth century the Western Christian
Christian
Church had placed Christmas
Christmas
on December 25, a date that was later adopted in the East. Today, most Christians
Christians
celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar , which has been adopted almost universally in the civil calendars used in countries throughout the world. However, some Eastern Christian
Christian
Churches celebrate Christmas
Christmas
on December 25 of the older Julian calendar
Julian calendar
, which currently corresponds to January 7 in the Gregorian calendar, the day after the Western Christian
Christian
Church celebrates the Epiphany . This is not a disagreement over the date of Christmas
Christmas
as such, but rather a preference of which calendar should be used to determine the day that is December 25. In the Council of Tours of 567, the Church, with its desire to be universal, "declared the twelve days between Christmas
Christmas
and Epiphany to be one unified festal cycle ", thus giving significance to both the Western and Eastern dates of Christmas. Moreover, for Christians, the belief that God came into the world in the form of man to atone for the sins of humanity, rather than the exact birth date, is considered to be the primary purpose in celebrating Christmas.

Although it is not known why December 25 became a date of celebration, there are several factors that may have influenced the choice. December 25 was the date the Romans marked as the winter solstice, the shortest, and therefore darkest day of the year. Jesus was identified with the Sun based on an Old Testament verse. The date is exactly nine months following Annunciation
Annunciation
, when the conception of Jesus
Jesus
is celebrated. Finally, the Romans had a series of pagan festivals near the end of the year, so Christmas
Christmas
may have been scheduled at this time to appropriate, or compete with, one or more of these festivals. Other scholars disagree with this claim and state that the Roman Emperor Aurelian placed a pagan celebration on December 25 in order to compete with the growing rate of the Christian
Christian
Church, which had already been celebrating Christmas
Christmas
on that date.

The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas
Christmas
have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving , completing an Advent
Advent
calendar or Advent
Advent
wreath , Christmas music and caroling , lighting a Christingle , viewing a Nativity play , an exchange of Christmas
Christmas
cards , church services , a special meal , and the display of various Christmas
Christmas
decorations , including Christmas trees , Christmas lights , nativity scenes , garlands , wreaths , mistletoe , and holly . In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus
Santa Claus
, Father Christmas , Saint Nicholas , and Christkind , are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas
Christmas
season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas
Christmas
festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas
Christmas
has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 1.1 Other names

* 2 Nativity

* 3 History

* 3.1 Choice of December 25 date

* 3.1.1 Solstice date * 3.1.2 Calculation hypothesis * 3.1.3 History of Religions hypothesis

* 3.2 Introduction of feast * 3.3 Relation to concurrent celebrations * 3.4 Middle Ages
Middle Ages
* 3.5 Reformation to the 18th century * 3.6 19th century * 3.7 20th century

* 4 Customs and traditions

* 4.1 Decorations * 4.2 Music and carols * 4.3 Traditional cuisine * 4.4 Cards * 4.5 Commemorative stamps

* 4.6 Gift giving

* 4.6.1 Gift-bearing figures

* 4.7 Date according to Julian calendar
Julian calendar

* 4.7.1 Listing

* 5 Economy

* 6 Controversies

* 6.1 Secularization controversies

* 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links

ETYMOLOGY

"Christmas" is a shortened form of " Christ
Christ
's mass ". It is derived from the Middle English
Middle English
Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038 followed by the word Cristes-messe in 1131. Crīst (genitive Crīstes) is from Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), a translation of Hebrew Māšîaḥ (מָשִׁיחַ), " Messiah
Messiah
", meaning "anointed"; and mæsse is from Latin missa, the celebration of the Eucharist
Eucharist
. The form Christenmas was also historically used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal; it derives from Middle English
Middle English
Cristenmasse, literally " Christian
Christian
mass". Xmas is an abbreviation of Christmas
Christmas
found particularly in print, based on the initial letter chi (Χ) in Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), "Christ", though numerous style guides discourage its use; it has precedent in Middle English
Middle English
Χρ̄es masse (where "Χρ̄" is an abbreviation for Χριστός).

OTHER NAMES

In addition to "Christmas", the holiday has been known by various other names throughout its history. The Anglo-Saxons referred to the feast as "midwinter", or, more rarely, as Nātiuiteð (from Latin nātīvitās below). "Nativity ", meaning "birth", is from Latin nātīvitās. In Old English, Gēola ( Yule
Yule
) referred to the period corresponding to December and January, which was eventually equated with Christian
Christian
Christmas. "Noel" (or "Nowel") entered English in the late 14th century and is from the Old French noël or naël, itself ultimately from the Latin nātālis (diēs) meaning "birth (day)".

NATIVITY

Main article: Nativity of Jesus Gospel according to Saint Luke Chapter 2, v 1–20 Adoration of the Shepherds
Adoration of the Shepherds
by Gerard van Honthorst depicts the nativity of Jesus
Jesus

The canonical gospels of Luke and Matthew both describe Jesus
Jesus
as being born in Bethlehem
Bethlehem
in Judea, to a virgin mother. In the Gospel of Luke account, Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth
Nazareth
to Bethlehem
Bethlehem
for the census, and Jesus
Jesus
is born there and laid in a manger. It says that angels proclaimed him a savior for all people, and shepherds came to adore him. In the Matthew account, magi follow a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, born the king of the Jews . King Herod orders the massacre of all the boys less than two years old in Bethlehem, but the family flees to Egypt and later settles in Nazareth. Eastern Orthodox icon of the birth of Christ
Christ
by Saint Andrei Rublev , 15th century

HISTORY

Nativity of Christ – medieval illustration from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (12th century)

The Nativity stories of Matthew and Luke are prominent in the gospels and early Christian
Christian
writers suggested various dates for the anniversary. The first recorded Christmas
Christmas
celebration was in Rome
Rome
in 336. Christmas
Christmas
played a role in the Arian controversy of the fourth century. In the early Middle Ages, it was overshadowed by Epiphany. The feast regained prominence after 800, when Charlemagne
Charlemagne
was crowned emperor on Christmas
Christmas
Day. Associating it with drunkenness and other misbehavior, the Puritans banned Christmas
Christmas
in the 17th century. It was restored as a legal holiday in 1660, but remained disreputable. In the early 19th century, Christmas
Christmas
was revived with the start of the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church. Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
and other writers reinvented the holiday by emphasizing Christmas
Christmas
as a time for family, religion, gift-giving, and social reconciliation as opposed to the revelry that had been common historically. Outdoor Christmas decoration

CHOICE OF DECEMBER 25 DATE

In the 3rd century, the date of birth of Jesus
Jesus
was the subject of both great interest and great uncertainly. Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote:

“ There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord's birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of Pachon … Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi . ”

In other writing of this time, May 20, April 18 or 19, March 25, January 2, November 17, and November 20 are all suggested. Various factors contributed to the selection of December 25 as a date of celebration: it was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar; it was about nine months after March 25, the date of the vernal equinox and a date linked to the conception of Jesus; and it was the date of a Roman pagan festival in honor of the Sun god Sol Invictus .

Solstice Date

December 25 was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. Jesus
Jesus
chose to be born on the shortest day of the year for symbolic reasons, according to an early sermon by Augustine
Augustine
: "Hence it is that He was born on the day which is the shortest in our earthly reckoning and from which subsequent days begin to increase in length. He, therefore, who bent low and lifted us up chose the shortest day, yet the one whence light begins to increase."

Linking Jesus
Jesus
to the Sun was supported by various Biblical passages. Jesus
Jesus
was considered to be the "Sun of righteousness" prophesied by Malachi. John describes him as "the light of the world."

Such solar symbolism could support more than one date of birth. An anonymous work known as De Pascha Computus
Computus
(243) linked the idea that creation began at the spring equinox, on March 25, with the conception or birth (the word nascor can mean either) of Jesus
Jesus
on March 28, the day of the creation of the sun in the Genesis account. One translation reads: "O the splendid and divine providence of the Lord, that on that day, the very day, on which the sun was made, the 28 March, a Wednesday, Christ
Christ
should be born. For this reason Malachi the prophet, speaking about him to the people, fittingly said, 'Unto you shall the sun of righteousness arise, and healing is in his wings.'"

In the 17th century, Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
argued that the date of Christmas was selected to correspond with the solstice.

According to Steven Hijmans of the University of Alberta, "It is cosmic symbolism ... which inspired the Church leadership in Rome
Rome
to elect the southern solstice , December 25, as the birthday of Christ, and the northern solstice as that of John the Baptist, supplemented by the equinoxes as their respective dates of conception."

Calculation Hypothesis

The Calculation hypothesis suggests that an earlier holiday held on March 25 became associated with the Incarnation. Modern scholars refer to this feast as the Quartodecimal. Christmas
Christmas
was then calculated as nine months later. The Calculation hypothesis was proposed by French writer Louis Duchesne
Louis Duchesne
in 1889.

In modern times, March 25 is celebrated as Annunciation
Annunciation
. This holiday was created in the seventh century and was assigned to a date that is nine months before Christmas, in addition to being the traditional date of the equinox. It is unrelated to the Quartodecimal, which had been forgotten by this time.

Early Christians
Christians
celebrated the life of Jesus
Jesus
on a date considered equivalent to 14 Nisan (Passover) on the local calendar. Because Passover was held on the 14th of the month, this feast is referred to as the Quartodecimal. All the major events of Christ's life, especially the passion, were celebrated on this date. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul mentions Passover, presumably celebrated according to the local calendar in Corinth. Tertullian (d. 220), who lived in Latin-speaking North Africa, gives the date of passion celebration as March 25. The date of the passion was moved to Good Friday in 165 when Pope Soter created Easter
Easter
by reassigning the Resurrection to a Sunday. According to the Calculation hypothesis, celebration of the quartodecimal continued in some areas and the feast became associated with Incarnation.

The Calculation hypothesis is considered academically to be "a thoroughly viable hypothesis", though not certain. It was a traditional Jewish belief that great men lived a whole number of years, without fractions, so that Jesus
Jesus
was considered to have been conceived on March 25, as he died on March 25, which was calculated to have coincided with 14 Nisan.

A passage in Commentary on the Prophet Daniel (204) by Hippolytus of Rome
Rome
identifies December 25 as the date of the nativity. This passage is generally considered a late interpellation. The manuscript includes another passage, one that is more likely to be authentic, that gives the passion as March 25.

In 221, Sextus Julius Africanus (c. 160 – c. 240) gave March 25 as the day of creation and of the conception of Jesus
Jesus
in his universal history. This conclusion was based on solar symbolism, with March 25 the date of the equinox. As this implies a birth in December, it is sometimes claimed to be the earliest identification of December 25 as the nativity. However, Africanus was not such an influential writer that it is likely he determined the date of Christmas.

The tractate De solstitia et aequinoctia conceptionis et nativitatis Domini nostri Iesu Christi et Iohannis Baptistae, falsely attributed to John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
, also argued that Jesus
Jesus
was conceived and crucified on the same day of the year and calculated this as March 25. This anonymous tract also states: "But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December ... the eight before the calends of January ..., But they call it the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord...? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice."

History Of Religions Hypothesis

The rival "History of Religions" hypothesis suggests that the Church selected December 25 date to appropriate festivities held by the Romans in honor of the Sun god Sol Invictus. This feast was established by Aurelian in 274.

An explicit expression of this theory appears in an annotation of uncertain date added to a manuscript of a work by 12th-century Syrian bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi . The scribe who added it wrote: "It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians
Christians
also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians
Christians
had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day."

In 1743, German Protestant Paul Ernst Jablonski argued Christmas
Christmas
was placed on December 25 to correspond with the Roman solar holiday Dies Natalis Solis Invicti and was therefore a "paganization" that debased the true church. It has been argued that, on the contrary, the Emperor Aurelian , who in 274 instituted the holiday of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, did so partly as an attempt to give a pagan significance to a date already important for Christians
Christians
in Rome.

Hermann Usener and others proposed that the Christians
Christians
chose this day because it was the Roman feast celebrating the birthday of Sol Invictus. Modern scholar S. E. Hijmans, however, states that "While they were aware that pagans called this day the 'birthday' of Sol Invictus, this did not concern them and it did not play any role in their choice of date for Christmas." Moreover, Thomas J. Talley holds that the Roman Emperor Aurelian placed a Sol Invictus on December 25 in order to compete with the growing rate of the Christian
Christian
Church, which had already been celebrating Christmas
Christmas
on that date first.

In the judgement of the Church of England
Church of England
Liturgical Commission, the History of Religions hypothesis has been challenged by a view based on an old tradition, according to which the date of Christmas
Christmas
was fixed at nine months after April 7 , the date of the vernal equinox, on which the Annunciation
Annunciation
was celebrated.

With regard to a December religious feast of the sun as a god (Sol), as distinct from a solstice feast of the (re)birth of the astronomical sun, one scholar has commented that, "while the winter solstice on or around December 25 was well established in the Roman imperial calendar, there is no evidence that a religious celebration of Sol on that day antedated the celebration of Christmas". "Thomas Talley has shown that, although the Emperor Aurelian's dedication of a temple to the sun god in the Campus Martius (C.E. 274) probably took place on the 'Birthday of the Invincible Sun' on December 25, the cult of the sun in pagan Rome
Rome
ironically did not celebrate the winter solstice nor any of the other quarter-tense days, as one might expect." The Oxford Companion to Christian
Christian
Thought remarks on the uncertainty about the order of precedence between the religious celebrations of the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun and of the birthday of Jesus, stating that the hypothesis that December 25 was chosen for celebrating the birth of Jesus
Jesus
on the basis of the belief that his conception occurred on March 25 "potentially establishes 25 December as a Christian
Christian
festival before Aurelian's decree, which, when promulgated, might have provided for the Christian
Christian
feast both opportunity and challenge".

INTRODUCTION OF FEAST

As Christmas
Christmas
was unknown to the early Christian
Christian
writers, it must have been introduced sometime after 300. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts, and Origen writes that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday. Arnobius can still ridicule the "birthdays" of the gods. The first recorded Christmas
Christmas
celebration was in Rome
Rome
in 336. The feast was introduced to the Eastern Roman Empire after the death of Emperor Valens , who favored the Arian heresy, in 378.

In 245, Origen of Alexandria , writing about Leviticus 12:1–8, commented that Scripture mentions only sinners as celebrating their birthdays, namely Pharaoh, who then had his chief baker hanged (Genesis 40:20–22), and Herod, who then had John the Baptist beheaded (Mark 6:21–27), and mentions saints as cursing the day of their birth, namely Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:14–15) and Job (Job 3:1–16). In 303, Arnobius ridiculed the idea of celebrating the birthdays of gods, a passage cited as evidence that Arnobius was unaware of any nativity celebration. Since Christmas
Christmas
does not celebrate Christ's birth "as God" but "as man", this does not necessarily show that Christmas
Christmas
was not a feast at this time.

The fact the Donatists of North Africa celebrated Christmas
Christmas
suggests that the feast was established by the time that church was created in 311. The earliest known Christmas
Christmas
celebration is recorded in a fourth-century manuscript compiled in Rome
Rome
. This manuscript is thought to record a celebration that occurred in 336. It was prepared privately for Filocalus, a Roman aristocrat, in 354. The reference in question states, "VIII kal. ian. natus Christus in Betleem Iudeæ". This reference is in a section of the manuscript that was copied from earlier source material. The document also contains the earliest known reference to the feast of Sol Invictus.

In Eastern Christianity
Christianity
the birth of Jesus
Jesus
was already celebrated in connection with the Epiphany on January 6. Epiphany emphasized celebration of the baptism of Jesus
Jesus
. December 25 celebration was imported into the East later: in Antioch
Antioch
by John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
towards the end of the fourth century, probably in 388, and in Alexandria only in the following century. Even in the West, January 6 celebration of the nativity of Jesus
Jesus
seems to have continued until after 380.

In the East, early Christians
Christians
celebrated the birth of Christ
Christ
as part of Epiphany (January 6), although Christmas
Christmas
was promoted in the Christian
Christian
East as part of the revival of Nicene Christianity
Christianity
following the death of the pro- Arian Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. The feast was introduced at Constantinople
Constantinople
in 379, and at Antioch
Antioch
in about 380. The feast disappeared after Gregory of Nazianzus resigned as bishop in 381, although it was reintroduced by John Chrysostom in about 400.

RELATION TO CONCURRENT CELEBRATIONS

Many popular customs associated with Christmas
Christmas
developed independently of the commemoration of Jesus' birth, with certain elements having origins in pre- Christian
Christian
festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice by pagan populations who were later converted to Christianity
Christianity
. These elements, including the Yule log from Yule
Yule
and gift giving from Saturnalia , became syncretized into Christmas
Christmas
over the centuries. The prevailing atmosphere of Christmas
Christmas
has also continually evolved since the holiday's inception, ranging from a sometimes raucous, drunken, carnival -like state in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
, to a tamer family-oriented and children-centered theme introduced in a 19th-century transformation. Additionally, the celebration of Christmas
Christmas
was banned on more than one occasion within certain Protestant groups, such as the Puritans , due to concerns that it was too pagan or unbiblical. Jehovah\'s Witnesses also reject the celebration of Christmas. Mosaic of Jesus
Jesus
as Christus Sol (Christ the Sun) in Mausoleum M in the pre-fourth-century necropolis under St Peter\'s Basilica in Rome.

Prior to and through the early Christian
Christian
centuries, winter festivals —especially those centered on the winter solstice —were the most popular of the year in many European pagan cultures. Reasons included the fact that less agricultural work needed to be done during the winter, as well as an expectation of better weather as spring approached. Many modern Christmas
Christmas
customs have been directly influenced by such festivals, including gift-giving and merrymaking from the Roman Saturnalia , greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year, and Yule
Yule
logs and various foods from Germanic feasts. The Egyptian deity Horus
Horus
, son to goddess Isis
Isis
, was celebrated at the winter solstice. Horus
Horus
was often depicted being fed by his mother, which also influenced the symbolism of the Virgin Mary with baby Christ
Christ
.

The pre- Christian
Christian
Germanic peoples —including the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse—celebrated a winter festival called Yule
Yule
, held in the late December to early January period, yielding modern English yule, today used as a synonym for Christmas. In Germanic language-speaking areas, numerous elements of modern Christmas
Christmas
folk custom and iconography stem from Yule, including the Yule
Yule
log , Yule
Yule
boar , and the Yule
Yule
goat . Often leading a ghostly procession through the sky (the Wild Hunt ), the long-bearded god Odin
Odin
is referred to as "the Yule
Yule
one" and " Yule
Yule
father" in Old Norse texts, whereas the rest of the gods are referred to as " Yule
Yule
beings".

In eastern Europe also, old pagan traditions were incorporated into Christmas
Christmas
celebrations, an example being the Koleda , which was incorporated into the Christmas carol .

MIDDLE AGES

The Nativity, from a 14th-century Missal ; a liturgical book containing texts and music necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year

In the Early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
, Christmas
Christmas
Day was overshadowed by Epiphany, which in western Christianity
Christianity
focused on the visit of the magi . But the medieval calendar was dominated by Christmas-related holidays. The forty days before Christmas
Christmas
became the "forty days of St. Martin" (which began on November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours ), now known as Advent. In Italy, former Saturnalian traditions were attached to Advent. Around the 12th century, these traditions transferred again to the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25 – January 5); a time that appears in the liturgical calendars as Christmastide
Christmastide
or Twelve Holy Days.

The prominence of Christmas
Christmas
Day increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Emperor on Christmas
Christmas
Day in 800. King Edmund the Martyr was anointed on Christmas
Christmas
in 855 and King William I of England was crowned on Christmas
Christmas
Day 1066. The coronation of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
on Christmas
Christmas
of 800 helped promote the popularity of the holiday

By the High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
, the holiday had become so prominent that chroniclers routinely noted where various magnates celebrated Christmas. King Richard II of England hosted a Christmas
Christmas
feast in 1377 at which twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep were eaten. The Yule
Yule
boar was a common feature of medieval Christmas
Christmas
feasts. Caroling also became popular, and was originally a group of dancers who sang. The group was composed of a lead singer and a ring of dancers that provided the chorus. Various writers of the time condemned caroling as lewd, indicating that the unruly traditions of Saturnalia and Yule
Yule
may have continued in this form. "Misrule "—drunkenness, promiscuity, gambling—was also an important aspect of the festival. In England, gifts were exchanged on New Year\'s Day , and there was special Christmas
Christmas
ale.

Christmas
Christmas
during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
was a public festival that incorporated ivy , holly , and other evergreens. Christmas gift-giving during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
was usually between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord. The annual indulgence in eating, dancing, singing, sporting, and card playing escalated in England, and by the 17th century the Christmas
Christmas
season featured lavish dinners, elaborate masques, and pageants. In 1607, King James I insisted that a play be acted on Christmas
Christmas
night and that the court indulge in games. It was during the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe that many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child
Christ Child
or Christkindl , and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas
Christmas
Eve.

REFORMATION TO THE 18TH CENTURY

Public notice in Boston
Boston
deeming Christmas
Christmas
illegal and sacrilegious

Following the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
, many of the new denominations, including the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church , continued to celebrate Christmas. In 1629, the Anglican poet John Milton
John Milton
penned On the Morning of Christ\'s Nativity , a poem that has since been read by many during Christmastide. Donald Heinz, a professor at California State University , states that Martin Luther "inaugurated a period in which Germany would produce a unique culture of Christmas, much copied in North America." Among the congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church , Christmas
Christmas
was celebrated as one of the principal evangelical feasts .

However, in 17th century England, some groups such as the Puritans , strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas, considering it a Catholic invention and the "trappings of popery " or the "rags of the Beast ". In contrast, the established Anglican Church "pressed for a more elaborate observance of feasts, penitential seasons, and saints' days. The calendar reform became a major point of tension between the Anglican party and the Puritan
Puritan
party." The Catholic Church
Catholic Church
also responded, promoting the festival in a more religiously oriented form. King Charles I of England
Charles I of England
directed his noblemen and gentry to return to their landed estates in midwinter to keep up their old-style Christmas
Christmas
generosity. Following the Parliamentarian victory over Charles I during the English Civil War
English Civil War
, England's Puritan
Puritan
rulers banned Christmas
Christmas
in 1647.

Protests followed as pro- Christmas
Christmas
rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury
Canterbury
was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans. The book, The Vindication of Christmas
Christmas
(London, 1652), argued against the Puritans, and makes note of Old English Christmas
Christmas
traditions, dinner, roast apples on the fire, card playing, dances with "plow-boys" and "maidservants", old Father Christmas and carol singing. The Examination and Trial of Father Christmas , (1686), published after Christmas
Christmas
was reinstated as a holy day in England.

The Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 ended the ban, but many Calvinist clergymen still disapproved of Christmas
Christmas
celebration. As such, in Scotland, the Presbyterian
Presbyterian
Church of Scotland discouraged the observance of Christmas, and though James VI commanded its celebration in 1618, attendance at church was scant. The Parliament of Scotland officially abolished the observance of Christmas
Christmas
in 1640, claiming that the church had been "purged of all superstitious observation of days". It was not until 1958 that Christmas
Christmas
again became a Scottish public holiday.

Following the Restoration of Charles II, Poor Robin's Almanack contained the lines: "Now thanks to God for Charles return, / Whose absence made old Christmas
Christmas
mourn. / For then we scarcely did it know, / Whether it Christmas
Christmas
were or no." The diary of James Woodforde, from the latter half of the 18th century, details the observance of Christmas
Christmas
and celebrations associated with the season over a number of years.

In Colonial America , the Pilgrims of New England
New England
shared radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas. The Plymouth Pilgrims put their loathing for the day into practice in 1620 when they spent their first Christmas
Christmas
Day in the New World working – thus demonstrating their complete contempt for the day. Non- Puritans in New England
New England
deplored the loss of the holidays enjoyed by the laboring classes in England. Christmas
Christmas
observance was outlawed in Boston
Boston
in 1659. The ban by the Puritans was revoked in 1681 by English governor Edmund Andros , however it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas
Christmas
became fashionable in the Boston
Boston
region.

At the same time, Christian
Christian
residents of Virginia
Virginia
and New York observed the holiday freely. Pennsylvania German Settlers, pre-eminently the Moravian settlers of Bethlehem
Bethlehem
, Nazareth
Nazareth
and Lititz in Pennsylvania and the Wachovia Settlements in North Carolina, were enthusiastic celebrators of Christmas. The Moravians in Bethlehem
Bethlehem
had the first Christmas
Christmas
trees in America as well as the first Nativity Scenes. Christmas
Christmas
fell out of favor in the United States
United States
after the American Revolution
American Revolution
, when it was considered an English custom. George Washington
George Washington
attacked Hessian (German) mercenaries on the day after Christmas
Christmas
during the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, Christmas
Christmas
being much more popular in Germany than in America at this time.

With the atheistic Cult of Reason in power during the era of Revolutionary France , Christian
Christian
Christmas
Christmas
religious services were banned and the three kings cake was renamed the "equality cake" under anticlerical government policies .

19TH CENTURY

Ebenezer Scrooge
Ebenezer Scrooge
and the Ghost of Christmas Present . From Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
' A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
, 1843.

In the UK, Christmas
Christmas
Day became a bank holiday in 1834, Boxing Day was added in 1871.

In the early-19th century, writers imagined Tudor Christmas
Christmas
as a time of heartfelt celebration. In 1843, Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
wrote the novel A Christmas Carol that helped revive the "spirit" of Christmas
Christmas
and seasonal merriment. Its instant popularity played a major role in portraying Christmas
Christmas
as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion.

Dickens sought to construct Christmas
Christmas
as a family-centered festival of generosity, linking "worship and feasting, within a context of social reconciliation." Superimposing his humanitarian vision of the holiday, in what has been termed "Carol Philosophy", Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas
Christmas
that are celebrated today in Western culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit. A prominent phrase from the tale, "Merry Christmas" , was popularized following the appearance of the story. This coincided with the appearance of the Oxford Movement and the growth of Anglo-Catholicism , which led a revival in traditional rituals and religious observances. The Queen's Christmas tree
Christmas tree
at Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
, published in the Illustrated London News, 1848, and republished in Godey\'s Lady\'s Book , Philadelphia, December 1850

The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser , with "Bah! Humbug!" dismissive of the festive spirit. In 1843, the first commercial Christmas card
Christmas card
was produced by Sir Henry Cole . The revival of the Christmas Carol began with William Sandys 's " Christmas
Christmas
Carols Ancient and Modern" (1833), with the first appearance in print of "The First Noel ", " I Saw Three Ships ", "Hark the Herald Angels
Angels
Sing " and "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen ", popularized in Dickens' A Christmas
Christmas
Carol.

In Britain, the Christmas tree
Christmas tree
was introduced in the early 19th century following the personal union with the Kingdom of Hanover by Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz , wife of King George III . In 1832, the future Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
wrote about her delight at having a Christmas
Christmas
tree, hung with lights , ornaments , and presents placed round it. After her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert , by 1841 the custom became more widespread throughout Britain.

An image of the British royal family with their Christmas tree
Christmas tree
at Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
created a sensation when it was published in the Illustrated London News
Illustrated London News
in 1848. A modified version of this image was published in the United States
United States
in 1850. By the 1870s, putting up a Christmas tree
Christmas tree
had become common in America.

In America, interest in Christmas
Christmas
had been revived in the 1820s by several short stories by Washington Irving which appear in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. and "Old Christmas". Irving's stories depicted harmonious warm-hearted English Christmas
Christmas
festivities he experienced while staying in Aston Hall
Aston Hall
, Birmingham, England, that had largely been abandoned, and he used the tract Vindication of Christmas
Christmas
(1652) of Old English Christmas
Christmas
traditions, that he had transcribed into his journal as a format for his stories. A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph Tidemand
Adolph Tidemand
The Christmas
Christmas
Visit. Postcard, c.1910

In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas (popularly known by its first line: Twas the Night Before Christmas). The poem helped popularize the tradition of exchanging gifts, and seasonal Christmas
Christmas
shopping began to assume economic importance. This also started the cultural conflict between the holiday's spiritual significance and its associated commercialism that some see as corrupting the holiday. In her 1850 book The First Christmas
Christmas
in New England, Harriet Beecher Stowe includes a character who complains that the true meaning of Christmas
Christmas
was lost in a shopping spree.

While the celebration of Christmas
Christmas
was not yet customary in some regions in the U.S., Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
detected "a transition state about Christmas
Christmas
here in New England" in 1856. "The old puritan feeling prevents it from being a cheerful, hearty holiday; though every year makes it more so." In Reading, Pennsylvania , a newspaper remarked in 1861, "Even our presbyterian friends who have hitherto steadfastly ignored Christmas—threw open their church doors and assembled in force to celebrate the anniversary of the Savior's birth."

The First Congregational Church of Rockford, Illinois
Illinois
, "although of genuine Puritan
Puritan
stock", was 'preparing for a grand Christmas
Christmas
jubilee', a news correspondent reported in 1864. By 1860, fourteen states including several from New England
New England
had adopted Christmas
Christmas
as a legal holiday. In 1875, Louis Prang introduced the Christmas card
Christmas card
to Americans. He has been called the "father of the American Christmas card". On June 28, 1870, Christmas
Christmas
was formally declared a United States federal holiday .

20TH CENTURY

Up to the 1950s, in the UK, many Christmas
Christmas
customs were restricted to the upper classes and better-off families. The mass of the population had not adopted many of the Christmas
Christmas
rituals that later became general. The Christmas tree
Christmas tree
was rare. Christmas dinner might be beef—certainly not turkey. In their stockings children might get an apple, orange and sweets. Full celebration of a family Christmas
Christmas
with all the trimmings only became widespread with increased prosperity from the 1950s. National papers were published on Christmas
Christmas
Day until 1912. Post was still delivered on Christmas
Christmas
Day until 1961. League football matches continued in Scotland
Scotland
until the 1970s while in England
England
they ceased at the end of the 1950s.

Under the state atheism of the Soviet Union, after its foundation in 1917, Christmas
Christmas
celebrations—along with other Christian holidays—were prohibited in public. During the 1920s, 30s and 40s, the League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas
Christmas
traditions, such as the Christmas
Christmas
tree, as well as other Christian
Christian
holidays, including Easter; the League established an antireligious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement. At the height of this persecution, in 1929, on Christmas
Christmas
Day, children in Moscow were encouraged to spit on crucifixes as a protest against the holiday. It was not until the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 1991 that the persecution ended and Orthodox Christmas
Christmas
became a state holiday again for the first time in Russia after seven decades.

European History Professor Joseph Perry wrote that likewise, in Nazi Germany , "because Nazi ideologues saw organized religion as an enemy of the totalitarian state, propagandists sought to deemphasize—or eliminate altogether—the Christian
Christian
aspects of the holiday" and that "Propagandists tirelessly promoted numerous Nazified Christmas
Christmas
songs, which replaced Christian
Christian
themes with the regime's racial ideologies."

As Christmas
Christmas
celebrations began to be held around the world even outside traditional Christian
Christian
cultures in the 20th century, some Muslim-majority countries have banned the practice of Christmas, claiming it undermines Islam
Islam
.

CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS

Main article: Christmas traditions Map of countries where Christmas
Christmas
is not a formal public holiday either on December 24/25 or January 6/7.

Christmas
Christmas
Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non-Christian. In some non- Christian
Christian
areas, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration (e.g. Hong Kong
Hong Kong
); in others, Christian
Christian
minorities or foreign cultural influences have led populations to observe the holiday. Countries such as Japan, where Christmas
Christmas
is popular despite there being only a small number of Christians, have adopted many of the secular aspects of Christmas, such as gift-giving, decorations, and Christmas
Christmas
trees.

Countries in which Christmas
Christmas
is not a formal public holiday include Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Cambodia, China (excepting Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macao ), Comoros, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen. Christmas celebrations around the world can vary markedly in form, reflecting differing cultural and national traditions.

Among countries with a strong Christian
Christian
tradition, a variety of Christmas
Christmas
celebrations have developed that incorporate regional and local cultures. For Christians, participating in a religious service plays an important part in the recognition of the season. Christmas, along with Easter, is the period of highest annual church attendance. In Catholic countries, people hold religious processions or parades in the days preceding Christmas. In other countries, secular processions or parades featuring Santa Claus
Santa Claus
and other seasonal figures are often held. Family reunions and the exchange of gifts are a widespread feature of the season. Gift giving takes place on Christmas
Christmas
Day in most countries. Others practice gift giving on December 6, Saint Nicholas Day, and January 6, Epiphany .

DECORATIONS

Main article: Christmas decoration
Christmas decoration
A typical Neapolitan presepe/presepio, or Nativity scene. Local crèches are renowned for their ornate decorations and symbolic figurines, often mirroring daily life.

The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas
Christmas
has a long history. In the 15th century, it was recorded that in London it was the custom at Christmas
Christmas
for every house and all the parish churches to be "decked with holm , ivy, bays , and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green". The heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns
Crown of Thorns
worn by Jesus
Jesus
at the crucifixion and the blood he shed. Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio is the site of this Christmas
Christmas
display with over 3.5 million lights.

Nativity scenes are known from 10th-century Rome. They were popularised by Saint Francis of Asissi
Francis of Asissi
from 1223, quickly spreading across Europe. Different types of decorations developed across the Christian
Christian
world, dependent on local tradition and available resources, and can vary from simple representations of the crib to far more elaborate sets – renowned manger scene traditions include the colourful Kraków szopka in Poland, which imitate Kraków
Kraków
's historical buildings as settings, the elaborate Italian presepi (Neapolitan, Genoese and Bolognese), or the Provençal crèches in southern France, using hand-painted terracotta figurines called santons . In certain parts of the world, notably Sicily
Sicily
, living nativity scenes following the tradition of Saint Francis are a popular alternative to static crèches. The first commercially produced decorations appeared in Germany in the 1860s, inspired by paper chains made by children. In countries where a representation of the Nativity scene is very popular, people are encouraged to compete and create the most original or realistic ones. Within some families, the pieces used to make the representation are considered a valuable family heirloom .

The traditional colors of Christmas
Christmas
decorations are red , green , and gold . Red
Red
symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion , while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold is the first color associated with Christmas, as one of the three gifts of the Magi
Magi
, symbolizing royalty. On Christmas
Christmas
Day, the Christ
Christ
Candle in the center of the Advent
Advent
wreath is traditionally lit in many church services .

The Christmas tree
Christmas tree
is considered by some as Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice
, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship ; according to eighth-century biographer Æddi Stephanus , Saint Boniface (634–709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Thor
Thor
and pointed out a fir tree , which he stated was a more fitting object of reverence because it pointed to heaven and it had a triangular shape, which he said was symbolic of the Trinity
Trinity
. The English language
English language
phrase " Christmas
Christmas
tree" is first recorded in 1835 and represents an importation from the German language . The modern Christmas tree
Christmas tree
tradition is believed to have begun in Germany in the 18th century though many argue that Martin Luther began the tradition in the 16th century. The Rockefeller Center Christmas
Christmas
Tree in New York

From Germany the custom was introduced to Britain, first via Queen Charlotte , wife of George III , and then more successfully by Prince Albert during the reign of Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
. By 1841 the Christmas
Christmas
tree had become even more widespread throughout Britain. By the 1870s, people in the United States
United States
had adopted the custom of putting up a Christmas
Christmas
tree. Christmas
Christmas
trees may be decorated with lights and ornaments .

Since the 19th century, the poinsettia , a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas. Other popular holiday plants include holly, mistletoe , red amaryllis , and Christmas cactus . Along with a Christmas
Christmas
tree, the interior of a home may be decorated with these plants, along with garlands and evergreen foliage. The display of Christmas
Christmas
villages has also become a tradition in many homes during this season. The outside of houses may be decorated with lights and sometimes with illuminated sleighs , snowmen , and other Christmas
Christmas
figures.

Other traditional decorations include bells , candles , candy canes , stockings , wreaths , and angels . Both the displaying of wreaths and candles in each window are a more traditional Christmas
Christmas
display. The concentric assortment of leaves, usually from an evergreen , make up Christmas
Christmas
wreaths and are designed to prepare Christians
Christians
for the Advent
Advent
season. Candles
Candles
in each window are meant to demonstrate the fact that Christians
Christians
believe that Jesus
Jesus
Christ
Christ
is the ultimate light of the world.

Christmas lights and banners may be hung along streets, music played from speakers, and Christmas
Christmas
trees placed in prominent places. It is common in many parts of the world for town squares and consumer shopping areas to sponsor and display decorations. Rolls of brightly colored paper with secular or religious Christmas
Christmas
motifs are manufactured for the purpose of wrapping gifts. In some countries, Christmas
Christmas
decorations are traditionally taken down on Twelfth Night , the evening of January 5.

MUSIC AND CAROLS

Main article: Christmas music Christmas
Christmas
carolers in Jersey
Jersey

The earliest extant specifically Christmas
Christmas
hymns appear in fourth-century Rome
Rome
. Latin hymns such as " Veni redemptor gentium ", written by Ambrose
Ambrose
, Archbishop of Milan, were austere statements of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation in opposition to Arianism . "Corde natus ex Parentis" ("Of the Father's love begotten") by the Spanish poet Prudentius (d. 413) is still sung in some churches today.

In the 9th and 10th centuries, the Christmas
Christmas
"Sequence" or "Prose" was introduced in North European monasteries, developing under Bernard of Clairvaux into a sequence of rhymed stanzas . In the 12th century the Parisian monk Adam of St. Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol .

By the 13th century, in France, Germany, and particularly, Italy, under the influence of Francis of Asissi
Francis of Asissi
, a strong tradition of popular Christmas
Christmas
songs in the native language developed. Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay , a Shropshire
Shropshire
chaplain, who lists twenty-five "caroles of Cristemas", probably sung by groups of wassailers , who went from house to house. Child singers in Bucharest
Bucharest
, 1841

The songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal folk songs sung during celebrations such as "harvest tide" as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols began to be sung in church. Traditionally, carols have often been based on medieval chord patterns, and it is this that gives them their uniquely characteristic musical sound. Some carols like " Personent hodie ", "Good King Wenceslas ", and "The Holly
Holly
and the Ivy
Ivy
" can be traced directly back to the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
. They are among the oldest musical compositions still regularly sung. " Adeste Fideles
Adeste Fideles
" (O Come all ye faithful) appears in its current form in the mid-18th century, although the words may have originated in the 13th century.

Singing of carols initially suffered a decline in popularity after the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
in northern Europe, although some Reformers, like Martin Luther , wrote carols and encouraged their use in worship. Carols largely survived in rural communities until the revival of interest in popular songs in the 19th century. The 18th-century English reformer Charles Wesley
Charles Wesley
understood the importance of music to worship. In addition to setting many psalms to melodies, which were influential in the Great Awakening in the United States, he wrote texts for at least three Christmas
Christmas
carols. The best known was originally entitled "Hark! How All the Welkin Rings", later renamed "Hark! the Herald Angels
Angels
Sing ".

Hark! The Herald Angels
Angels
Sing Performed by the U.S. Army Band Chorus -------------------------

Problems playing this file? See media help .

Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
wrote a melody adapted to fit Wesley's words. In Austria in 1818 Mohr and Gruber made a major addition to the genre when they composed " Silent Night " for the St. Nicholas Church, Oberndorf. William Sandys ' Christmas
Christmas
Carols Ancient and Modern (1833) contained the first appearance in print of many now-classic English carols, and contributed to the mid-Victorian revival of the festival.

Completely secular Christmas
Christmas
seasonal songs emerged in the late 18th century. " Deck the Halls " dates from 1784, and the American "Jingle Bells " was copyrighted in 1857. In the 19th and 20th century, African American spirituals and songs about Christmas, based in their tradition of spirituals, became more widely known. An increasing number of seasonal holidays songs were commercially produced in the 20th century, including jazz and blues variations. In addition, there was a revival of interest in early music, from groups singing folk music, such as The Revels, to performers of early medieval and classical music.

TRADITIONAL CUISINE

Christmas pudding
Christmas pudding
cooked on Stir-up Sunday , the Sunday before the beginning of the Advent
Advent
season

A special Christmas
Christmas
family meal is traditionally an important part of the holiday's celebration, and the food that is served varies greatly from country to country. Some regions, such as Sicily
Sicily
, have special meals for Christmas
Christmas
Eve, when 12 kinds of fish are served. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas
Christmas
meal includes turkey, goose or other large bird, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, sometimes bread and cider. Special
Special
desserts are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding
Christmas pudding
, mince pies , fruit cake and Yule
Yule
log cake .

In Poland and other parts of eastern Europe and Scandinavia, fish often is used for the traditional main course, but richer meat such as lamb is increasingly served. In Sweden it is common with a special variety of smörgåsbord , where ham, meatballs and herring play a prominent role. In Germany, France, and Austria, goose and pork are favored. Beef, ham, and chicken in various recipes are popular throughout the world. The Maltese traditionally serve Imbuljuta tal-Qastan , a chocolate and chestnuts beverage, after Midnight Mass and throughout the Christmas
Christmas
season. Slovaks prepare the traditional Christmas
Christmas
bread potica , bûche de Noël in France, panettone in Italy, and elaborate tarts and cakes. The eating of sweets and chocolates has become popular worldwide, and sweeter Christmas delicacies include the German stollen , marzipan cake or candy, and Jamaican rum fruit cake. As one of the few fruits traditionally available to northern countries in winter, oranges have been long associated with special Christmas
Christmas
foods. Eggnog
Eggnog
is a sweetened dairy -based beverage traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.

CARDS

A 1907 Christmas card
Christmas card
with Santa
Santa
and some of his reindeer Main article: Christmas card
Christmas card

Christmas
Christmas
cards are illustrated messages of greeting exchanged between friends and family members during the weeks preceding Christmas
Christmas
Day. The traditional greeting reads "wishing you a Merry Christmas
Christmas
and a Happy New Year", much like that of the first commercial Christmas card
Christmas card
, produced by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843. The custom of sending them has become popular among a wide cross-section of people with the emergence of the modern trend towards exchanging E-cards .

Christmas
Christmas
cards are purchased in considerable quantities, and feature artwork, commercially designed and relevant to the season. The content of the design might relate directly to the Christmas
Christmas
narrative , with depictions of the Nativity of Jesus , or Christian
Christian
symbols such as the Star of Bethlehem
Bethlehem
, or a white dove , which can represent both the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
and Peace
Peace
on Earth. Other Christmas
Christmas
cards are more secular and can depict Christmas traditions , mythical figures such as Santa Claus , objects directly associated with Christmas
Christmas
such as candles, holly and baubles, or a variety of images associated with the season, such as Christmastide
Christmastide
activities, snow scenes and the wildlife of the northern winter. There are even humorous cards and genres depicting nostalgic scenes of the past such as crinolined shoppers in idealized 19th-century streetscapes.

Some prefer cards with a poem, prayer, or Biblical verse ; while others distance themselves from religion with an all-inclusive "Season's greetings".

COMMEMORATIVE STAMPS

Main article: Christmas stamp Christmas stamp released in the United States
United States
in 1982, featuring a painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

A number of nations have issued commemorative stamps at Christmastide. Postal customers will often use these stamps to mail Christmas
Christmas
cards , and they are popular with philatelists . These stamps are regular postage stamps , unlike Christmas
Christmas
seals , and are valid for postage year-round. They usually go on sale some time between early October and early December, and are printed in considerable quantities.

In 1898 a Canadian stamp was issued to mark the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Postage rate. The stamp features a map of the globe and bears an inscription "XMAS 1898" at the bottom. In 1937, Austria issued two " Christmas
Christmas
greeting stamps" featuring a rose and the signs of the zodiac . In 1939, Brazil issued four semi-postal stamps with designs featuring the three kings and a star of Bethlehem
Bethlehem
, an angel and child, the Southern Cross
Southern Cross
and a child, and a mother and child.

Both the US Postal Service and the United Kingdom's Royal Mail regularly issue Christmas-themed stamps each year.

GIFT GIVING

Christmas
Christmas
gifts underneath a Christmas
Christmas
tree.

The exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the modern Christmas
Christmas
celebration, making it the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. On Christmas, people exchange gifts based on the Christian
Christian
tradition associated with Saint Nicholas , and the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh which were given to the baby Jesus
Jesus
by the Magi
Magi
. The practice of gift giving in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia may have influenced Christian Christian
Christian
customs, but on the other hand the Christian
Christian
"core dogma of the Incarnation , however, solidly established the giving and receiving of gifts as the structural principle of that recurrent yet unique event", because it was the Biblical Magi, "together with all their fellow men, who received the gift of God through man's renewed participation in the divine life."

Gift-bearing Figures

Main articles: Santa Claus
Santa Claus
, Father Christmas , and Christkind Christmas
Christmas
gift-bringers in Europe Saint Nicholas , known as Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, is considered by many to be the original Santa Claus
Santa Claus

A number of figures are associated with Christmas
Christmas
and the seasonal giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas , also known as Santa Claus
Santa Claus
(derived from the Dutch for Saint Nicholas), Père Noël, and the Weihnachtsmann ; Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas ; the Christkind ; Kris Kringle; Joulupukki ; tomte ; Babbo Natale; Saint Basil ; and Ded Moroz . The Scandinavian tomte is sometimes depicted as a gnome instead of Santa
Santa
Claus.

The best known of these figures today is red-dressed Santa
Santa
Claus, of diverse origins. The name Santa Claus
Santa Claus
can be traced back to the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means simply Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was a 4th-century Greek bishop of Myra
Myra
, a city in the Roman province
Roman province
of Lycia
Lycia
, whose ruins are 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from modern Demre in southwest Turkey. Among other saintly attributes, he was noted for the care of children, generosity, and the giving of gifts. His feast day, December 6, came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts.

Saint Nicholas traditionally appeared in bishop's attire, accompanied by helpers, inquiring about the behaviour of children during the past year before deciding whether they deserved a gift or not. By the 13th century, Saint Nicholas was well known in the Netherlands, and the practice of gift-giving in his name spread to other parts of central and southern Europe. At the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child
Christ Child
or Christkindl, corrupted in English to Kris Kringle, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas
Christmas
Eve.

The modern popular image of Santa
Santa
Claus, however, was created in the United States, and in particular in New York. The transformation was accomplished with the aid of notable contributors including Washington Irving and the German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast
Thomas Nast
(1840–1902). Following the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
, some of the inhabitants of New York City
New York City
sought out symbols of the city's non-English past. New York had originally been established as the Dutch colonial town of New Amsterdam and the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition was reinvented as Saint Nicholas.

In 1809, the New-York Historical Society
New-York Historical Society
convened and retroactively named Sancte Claus the patron saint of Nieuw Amsterdam , the Dutch name for New York City
New York City
. At his first American appearance in 1810, Santa Claus
Santa Claus
was drawn in bishops' robes. However, as new artists took over, Santa Claus
Santa Claus
developed more secular attire. Nast drew a new image of " Santa
Santa
Claus" annually, beginning in 1863. By the 1880s, Nast's Santa
Santa
had evolved into the modern vision of the figure, perhaps based on the English figure of Father Christmas. The image was standardized by advertisers in the 1920s and continues through the present day.

Father Christmas, a jolly, stout, bearded man who typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, predates the Santa Claus
Santa Claus
character. He is first recorded in early 17th century England, but was associated with holiday merrymaking and drunkenness rather than the bringing of gifts. In Victorian Britain , his image was remade to match that of Santa. The French Père Noël evolved along similar lines, eventually adopting the Santa
Santa
image. In Italy, Babbo Natale acts as Santa
Santa
Claus, while La Befana is the bringer of gifts and arrives on the eve of the Epiphany . It is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. Now, she brings gifts to all children. In some cultures Santa Claus
Santa Claus
is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht , or Black Peter . In other versions, elves make the toys. His wife is referred to as Mrs. Claus . Santa Claus
Santa Claus
reacts to a toy request ( Jonathan Meath as Santa)

There has been some opposition to the narrative of the American evolution of Saint Nicholas into the modern Santa. It has been claimed that the Saint Nicholas Society was not founded until 1835, almost half a century after the end of the American War of Independence. Moreover, a study of the "children's books, periodicals and journals" of New Amsterdam by Charles Jones revealed no references to Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas. However, not all scholars agree with Jones's findings, which he reiterated in a book-length study in 1978; Howard G. Hageman, of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, maintains that the tradition of celebrating Sinterklaas in New York was alive and well from the early settlement of the Hudson Valley
Hudson Valley
on.

Current tradition in several Latin American countries (such as Venezuela and Colombia) holds that while Santa
Santa
makes the toys, he then gives them to the Baby Jesus, who is the one who actually delivers them to the children's homes, a reconciliation between traditional religious beliefs and the iconography of Santa Claus
Santa Claus
imported from the United States.

In South Tyrol
South Tyrol
(Italy), Austria, Czech Republic, Southern Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, and Switzerland, the Christkind ( Ježíšek in Czech, Jézuska in Hungarian and Ježiško in Slovak) brings the presents. Greek children get their presents from Saint Basil on New Year's Eve, the eve of that saint's liturgical feast. The German St. Nikolaus is not identical with the Weihnachtsmann (who is the German version of Santa Claus
Santa Claus
/ Father Christmas). St. Nikolaus wears a bishop 's dress and still brings small gifts (usually candies, nuts, and fruits) on December 6 and is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht . Although many parents around the world routinely teach their children about Santa Claus
Santa Claus
and other gift bringers, some have come to reject this practice, considering it deceptive.

DATE ACCORDING TO JULIAN CALENDAR

Some jurisdictions of the Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Church , including those of Russia , Georgia , Ukraine
Ukraine
, Macedonia , Montenegro , Serbia , and Jerusalem , mark feasts using the older Julian calendar
Julian calendar
. As of 2017, there is a difference of 13 days between the Julian calendar
Julian calendar
and the modern Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
, which is used internationally for most secular purposes. As a result, December 25 on the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 7 on the calendar used by most governments and people in everyday life. Therefore, the aforementioned Orthodox Christians
Christians
mark December 25 (and thus Christmas) on the day that is internationally considered to be January 7.

However, other Orthodox Christians, such as those belonging to the jurisdictions of Bulgaria , Greece , Romania , Constantinople
Constantinople
, Antioch
Antioch
, Alexandria , Albania , Cyprus , Finland , and the Orthodox Church in America , among others, began using the Revised Julian calendar in the early 20th century, which at present corresponds exactly to the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, these Orthodox Christians
Christians
mark December 25 (and thus Christmas) on the same day that is internationally considered to be December 25, and which is also the date of Christmas
Christmas
among Western Christians.

A further complication is added by the fact that the Armenian Apostolic Church continues the original ancient Eastern Christian practice of celebrating the birth of Christ
Christ
not as a separate holiday, but on the same day as the celebration of his baptism (Theophany ), which is on January 6. This is a public holiday in Armenia, and it is held on the same day that is internationally considered to be January 6, because the Armenian Church in Armenia uses the Gregorian calendar.

However, there is also a small Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
, which maintains the traditional Armenian custom of celebrating the birth of Christ
Christ
on the same day as Theophany (January 6), but uses the Julian calendar
Julian calendar
for the determination of that date. As a result, this church celebrates "Christmas" (more properly called Theophany) on the day that is considered January 19 on the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
in use by the majority of the world.

In summary, there are four different dates used by different Christian
Christian
groups to mark the birth of Christ, given in the table below.

Listing

CHURCH OR SECTION DATE CALENDAR GREGORIAN DATE NOTE

Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
January 6 Julian calendar January 19 Correspondence between Julian January 6 and Gregorian January 19 holds until 2100; in the following century the difference will be one day more.

Armenian Apostolic Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
, Armenian Catholic Church
Catholic Church
January 6 Gregorian calendar January 6

Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Church jurisdictions, including those of Bulgaria , Greece , Romania , Constantinople
Constantinople
, Antioch
Antioch
, Alexandria , Albania , Cyprus , and the Orthodox Church in America December 25 Revised Julian calendar
Julian calendar
December 25 Revised Julian calendar
Julian calendar
usage started in the early 20th century

Other Eastern Orthodox: Russia , Georgia , Ukraine
Ukraine
, Macedonia , Belarus, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Jerusalem .

Also, some Byzantine Rite
Byzantine Rite
Catholics. December 25 Julian calendar January 7 Correspondence between Julian December 25 and Gregorian January 7 of the following year holds until 2099; from 2100 to 2199 the difference will be one day more.

Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
Koiak 29 (corresponding to Julian December 25 or 26) Coptic calendar
Coptic calendar
January 7 or 8 Since the Coptic calendar's leap day is inserted in what the Julian calendar considers September, the following Koiak 29 falls one day later than usual in the Julian and Gregorian calendars

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Tahsas 29 or 28 (corresponding to Julian December 25) Ethiopian Calendar January 7 After the Ethiopian insertion of a leap day in what for the Julian calendar is September, Christmas
Christmas
is celebrated on Tahsas 28 in order to maintain the exact interval of 9 30-day months and 5 days of the child's gestation. The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church uses the same calendar but, like the Coptic Church, does not make this adjustment.

Western Christian
Christian
churches , Finnish Orthodox Church , secular world December 25 Gregorian calendar December 25

ECONOMY

Main article: Economics of Christmas Christmas market
Christmas market
in Jena
Jena
, Germany Christmas market
Christmas market
– Great Market Hall, Budapest

Christmas
Christmas
is typically a peak selling season for retailers in many nations around the world. Sales increase dramatically as people purchase gifts, decorations, and supplies to celebrate. In the U.S., the " Christmas
Christmas
shopping season" starts as early as October. In Canada, merchants begin advertising campaigns just before Halloween (October 31), and step up their marketing following Remembrance Day on November 11. In the UK and Ireland, the Christmas
Christmas
shopping season starts from mid-November, around the time when high street Christmas lights are turned on. In the United States, it has been calculated that a quarter of all personal spending takes place during the Christmas/holiday shopping season. Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that expenditure in department stores nationwide rose from $20.8 billion in November 2004 to $31.9 billion in December 2004, an increase of 54 percent. In other sectors, the pre-Christmas increase in spending was even greater, there being a November–December buying surge of 100 percent in bookstores and 170 percent in jewelry stores. In the same year employment in American retail stores rose from 1.6 million to 1.8 million in the two months leading up to Christmas. Industries completely dependent on Christmas include Christmas
Christmas
cards , of which 1.9 billion are sent in the United States each year, and live Christmas
Christmas
Trees, of which 20.8 million were cut in the U.S. in 2002. In the UK in 2010, up to £8 billion was expected to be spent online at Christmas, approximately a quarter of total retail festive sales. Each year (most notably 2000) money supply in US banks is increased for Christmas
Christmas
shopping.

In most Western nations, Christmas
Christmas
Day is the least active day of the year for business and commerce; almost all retail, commercial and institutional businesses are closed, and almost all industries cease activity (more than any other day of the year), whether laws require such or not. In England and Wales
England and Wales
, the Christmas
Christmas
Day (Trading) Act 2004 prevents all large shops from trading on Christmas
Christmas
Day. Scotland is currently planning similar legislation. Film studios release many high-budget movies during the holiday season, including Christmas films, fantasy movies or high-tone dramas with high production values to hopes of maximizing the chance of nominations for the Academy Awards .

One economist 's analysis calculates that, despite increased overall spending, Christmas
Christmas
is a deadweight loss under orthodox microeconomic theory , because of the effect of gift-giving. This loss is calculated as the difference between what the gift giver spent on the item and what the gift receiver would have paid for the item. It is estimated that in 2001, Christmas
Christmas
resulted in a $4 billion deadweight loss in the U.S. alone. Because of complicating factors, this analysis is sometimes used to discuss possible flaws in current microeconomic theory. Other deadweight losses include the effects of Christmas
Christmas
on the environment and the fact that material gifts are often perceived as white elephants , imposing cost for upkeep and storage and contributing to clutter.

CONTROVERSIES

See also: Christmas controversy and Christmas
Christmas
in Puritan
Puritan
New England
New England
Further information: Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union

Christmas
Christmas
has at times been the subject of controversy and attacks from various sources. Historically it was prohibited by Puritans when they briefly held power in England
England
during the English Interregnum (1649–1660), and in Colonial America where the Puritans outlawed the celebration of Christmas
Christmas
in 1659. The Parliament of Scotland , which was dominated by Presbyterians , passed a series of acts outlawing the observance of Christmas
Christmas
between 1637 and 1690; Christmas
Christmas
Day did not become a public holiday in Scotland
Scotland
until 1958. Christmas celebrations have also been prohibited by atheist states such as the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and more recently majority Muslim states such as Somalia, Tajikistan and Brunei.

Modern scholars such as E. P. Sanders , Geza Vermes and Marcus Borg consider both Gospel narratives of the birth of Jesus
Jesus
to be non-historical, arguing that there are contradictions between them. Many biblical scholars view the discussion of historicity as secondary, given that gospels were primarily written as theological documents rather than historical accounts.

SECULARIZATION CONTROVERSIES

Some Christians
Christians
and organizations such as Pat Robertson 's American Center for Law and Justice cite alleged attacks on Christmas
Christmas
(dubbing them a "war on Christmas"). Such groups claim that any specific mention of the term "Christmas" or its religious aspects is being increasingly censored , avoided, or discouraged by a number of advertisers, retailers, government (prominently schools), and other public and private organizations. One controversy is the occurrence of Christmas
Christmas
trees being renamed Holiday
Holiday
trees. In the U.S. there has been a tendency to replace the greeting Merry Christmas
Christmas
with Happy Holidays, which is considered inclusive at the time of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
. In the U.S. and Canada, where the use of the term "Holidays" is most prevalent, opponents have denounced its usage and avoidance of using the term "Christmas" as being politically correct . Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union
have initiated court cases to bar the display of images and other material referring to Christmas
Christmas
from public property, including schools. Such groups argue that government-funded displays of Christmas
Christmas
imagery and traditions violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution , which prohibits the establishment by Congress of a national religion. In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lynch v. Donnelly that a Christmas
Christmas
display (which included a Nativity scene) owned and displayed by the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island , did not violate the First Amendment. In November 2009, the federal appeals court in Philadelphia upheld a school district's ban on the singing of Christmas
Christmas
carols. The Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
declined to hear an appeal.

American Muslim scholar Abdul Malik Mujahid has said that Muslims must treat Christmas
Christmas
with respect, even if they disagree with it.

SEE ALSO

* Christmas
Christmas
portal * Holidays portal * Christianity
Christianity
portal

* Christmas traditions * Christmas in July * Christmas Sunday * Little Christmas * Nochebuena * Mawlid
Mawlid
* Twin Holy Birthdays * Yaldā winter festival

REFERENCES

* ^ A B Christmas
Christmas
as a Multi-faith Festival—BBC News. Retrieved September 30, 2008. * ^ A B "In the U.S., Christmas
Christmas
Not Just for Christians". Gallup, Inc. December 24, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2012. * ^ Gwynne, Paul (2011). World Religions in Practice. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-44436005-9 . * ^ A B C Ramzy, John. "The Glorious Feast of Nativity: 7 January? 29 Kiahk? 25 December?". Coptic Orthodox Church Network. Retrieved January 17, 2011. * ^ Kelly, Joseph F (2010). The Feast of Christmas. Liturgical Press. ISBN 978-0-8146-3932-0 . * ^ Jansezian, Nicole. "10 things to do over Christmas
Christmas
in the Holy Land". The Jerusalem Post . ...the Armenians in Jerusalem – and only in Jerusalem – celebrate Christmas
Christmas
on January 19...

* ^ Christmas, Merriam-Webster
Merriam-Webster
. Retrieved 2008-10-06. Archived 2009-10-31. * ^ A B C D E F G H Martindale, Cyril Charles."Christmas". The Catholic Encyclopedia . Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. * ^ Several branches of Eastern Christianity
Christianity
that use the Julian calendar also celebrate on December 25 according to that calendar, which is now January 7 on the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
. Armenian Churches observed the nativity on January 6 even before the Gregorian calendar originated. Most Armenian Christians
Christians
use the Gregorian calendar, still celebrating Christmas
Christmas
Day on January 6. Some Armenian churches use the Julian calendar, thus celebrating Christmas
Christmas
Day on January 19 on the Gregorian calendar, with January 18 being Christmas
Christmas
Eve. * ^ A B " Christmas
Christmas
in Bethlehem". * ^ "The Global Religious Landscape Christians". Pew Research Center. December 18, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2014. * ^ " Christmas
Christmas
Strongly Religious For Half in U.S. Who Celebrate It". Gallup, Inc. December 24, 2010. Retrieved December 16, 2012. * ^ Forbes, Bruce David (October 1, 2008). Christmas: A Candid History. University of California Press
University of California Press
. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-520-25802-0 . In 567 the Council of Tours proclaimed that the entire period between Christmas
Christmas
and Epiphany should be considered part of the celebration, creating what became known as the twelve days of Christmas, or what the English called Christmastide. On the last of the twelve days, called Twelfth Night, various cultures developed a wide range of additional special festivities. The variation extends even to the issue of how to count the days. If Christmas
Christmas
Day is the first of the twelve days, then Twelfth Night would be on January 5, the eve of Epiphany. If December 26, the day after Christmas, is the first day, then Twelfth Night falls on January 6, the evening of Epiphany itself. After Christmas
Christmas
and Epiphany were in place, on December 25 and January 6, with the twelve days of Christmas
Christmas
in between, Christians
Christians
gradually added a period called Advent, as a time of spiritual preparation leading up to Christmas. * ^ Senn, Frank C. (2012). Introduction to Christian
Christian
Liturgy. Fortress Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-4514-2433-1 . We noted above that late medieval calendars introduced a reduced three-day octave for Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost
Pentecost
that were retained in Roman Catholic and passed into Lutheran and Anglican calendars. * ^ Crump, William D. (September 15, 2001). The Christmas Encyclopedia (3 ed.). McFarland. p. 39. ISBN 9780786468270 . Christians
Christians
believe that a number of passages in the Bible are prophecies about future events in the life of the promised Messiah
Messiah
or Jesus
Jesus
Christ. Most, but not all, of those prophecies are found in the Old Testament ... Born in Bethlehem
Bethlehem
(Micah 5:2): "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though though be little among the thousands of Juda, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Tucker, Ruth A. (2011). Parade
Parade
of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian
Christian
Church. Zondervan. p. 23. ISBN 9780310206385 . According to gospel accounts, Jesus
Jesus
was born during the reign of Herod the Great, thus sometime before 4 BCE. The birth narrative in Luke's gospel is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. Leaving their hometown of Nazareth, Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem
Bethlehem
to pay taxes. Arriving late, they find no vacancy at the inn. But they are offered a stable, most likely a second room attached to a family dwelling where animals were sheltered—a room that would offer some privacy from the main family room for cooking, eating, and sleeping. ... This "city of David" is the little town of Bethlehem
Bethlehem
of Christmas-carol fame, a starlit silhouette indelibly etched on Christmas
Christmas
cards. No sooner was the baby born than angels announced the news to shepherds who spread the word. access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Canadian Heritage – Public holidays – Government of Canada. Retrieved November 27, 2009. * ^ 2009 Federal Holidays – U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved November 27, 2009. * ^ Bank holidays and British Summer time – HM Government. Retrieved November 27, 2009. * ^ Ehorn, Lee Ellen; Hewlett, Shirely J.; Hewlett, Dale M. (September 1, 1995). December Holiday
Holiday
Customs. Lorenz Educational Press. p. 1. ISBN 9781429108966 . access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Nick Hytrek, "Non- Christians
Christians
focus on secular side of Christmas", Sioux City Journal, November 10, 2009. Retrieved November 18, 2009. * ^ Corinna Laughlin, Michael R. Prendergast, Robert C. Rabe, Corinna Laughlin, Jill Maria Murdy, Therese Brown, Mary Patricia Storms, Ann E. Degenhard, Jill Maria Murdy, Ann E. Degenhard, Therese Brown, Robert C. Rabe, Mary Patricia Storms, Michael R. Prendergast, Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons, and Weekdays 2011: The Almanac for Pastoral Liturgy, LiturgyTrainingPublications, 2010, p. 29. * ^ "The Chronography of 354 AD. Part 12: Commemorations of the Martyrs", The Tertullian Project. 2006. Retrieved November 24, 2011. * ^ Roll, Susan K., Toward the Origins of Christmas, (Peeters Publishers, 1995), p. 133. * ^ Forbes, Bruce David (October 1, 2008). Christmas: A Candid History. University of California Press
University of California Press
. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-520-25802-0 . In 567 the Council of Tours proclaimed that the entire period between Christmas
Christmas
and Epiphany should be considered part of the celebration, creating what became known as the twelve days of Christmas, or what the English called Christmastide. On the last of the twelve days, called Twelfth Night, various cultures developed a wide range of additional special festivities. The variation extends even to the issue of how to count the days. If Christmas
Christmas
Day is the first of the twelve days, then Twelfth Night would be on January 5, the eve of Epiphany. If December 26, the day after Christmas, is the first day, then Twelfth Night falls on January 6, the evening of Epiphany itself. After Christmas
Christmas
and Epiphany were in place, on December 25 and January 6, with the twelve days of Christmas
Christmas
in between, Christians
Christians
gradually added a period called Advent, as a time of spiritual preparation leading up to Christmas. access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Hynes, Mary Ellen (1993). Companion to the Calendar. Liturgy Training Publications. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-56854-011-5 . In the year 567 the church council of Tours called the 13 days between December 25 and January 6 a festival season. Up until that time the only other joyful church season was the 50 days between Easter
Easter
Sunday and Pentecost. access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Knight, Kevin (2012). "Christmas". The Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent. Retrieved December 15, 2014. The Second Council of Tours (can. xi, xvii) proclaims, in 566 or 567, the sanctity of the "twelve days" from Christmas
Christmas
to Epiphany, and the duty of Advent
Advent
fast; that of Agde (506), in canons 63–64, orders a universal communion, and that of Braga (563) forbids fasting on Christmas
Christmas
Day. Popular merry-making, however, so increased that the "Laws of King Cnut", fabricated c. 1110, order a fast from Christmas
Christmas
to Epiphany. * ^ Hill, Christopher (2003). Holidays and Holy Nights: Celebrating Twelve Seasonal Festivals of the Christian
Christian
Year. Quest Books. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-8356-0810-7 . This arrangement became an administrative problem for the Roman Empire as it tried to coordinate the solar Julian calendar
Julian calendar
with the lunar calendars of its provinces in the east. While the Romans could roughly match the months in the two systems, the four cardinal points of the solar year—the two equinoxes and solstices—still fell on different dates. By the time of the first century, the calendar date of the winter solstice in Egypt and Palestine was eleven to twelve days later than the date in Rome. As a result the Incarnation came to be celebrated on different days in different parts of the Empire. The Western Church, in its desire to be universal, eventually took them both—one became Christmas, one Epiphany—with a resulting twelve days in between. Over time this hiatus became invested with specific Christian
Christian
meaning. The Church gradually filled these days with saints, some connected to the birth narratives in Gospels (Holy Innocents' Day, December 28, in honor of the infants slaughtered by Herod; St. John the Evangelist, "the Beloved," December 27; St. Stephen, the first Christian
Christian
martyr, December 26; the Holy Family, December 31; the Virgin Mary, January 1). In 567, the Council of Tours declared the twelve days between Christmas
Christmas
and Epiphany to become one unified festal cycle. access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Bunson, Matthew (October 21, 2007). "Origins of Christmas
Christmas
and Easter
Easter
holidays". Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Retrieved December 17, 2014. The Council of Tours (567) decreed the 12 days from Christmas
Christmas
to Epiphany to be sacred and especially joyous, thus setting the stage for the celebration of the Lord's birth not only in a liturgical setting but in the hearts of all Christians. * ^ The Liturgical Year. Thomas Nelson . November 3, 2009. ISBN 978-1-4185-8073-5 . Retrieved April 2, 2009. Christmas
Christmas
is not really about the celebration of a birth date at all. It is about the celebration of a birth. The fact of the date and the fact of the birth are two different things. The calendrical verification of the feast itself is not really that important ... What is important to the understanding of a life-changing moment is that it happened, not necessarily where or when it happened. The message is clear: Christmas is not about marking the actual birth date of Jesus. It is about the Incarnation of the One who became like us in all things but sin (Heb. 4:15) and who humbled Himself "to the point of death-even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:8). Christmas
Christmas
is a pinnacle feast, yes, but it is not the beginning of the liturgical year. It is a memorial, a remembrance, of the birth of Jesus, not really a celebration of the day itself. We remember that because the Jesus
Jesus
of history was born, the Resurrection of the Christ
Christ
of faith could happen. * ^ "The Christmas
Christmas
Season". CRI / Voice, Institute. Retrieved April 2, 2009. The origins of the celebrations of Christmas
Christmas
and Epiphany, as well as the dates on which they are observed, are rooted deeply in the history of the early church. There has been much scholarly debate concerning the exact time of the year when Jesus
Jesus
was born, and even in what year he was born. Actually, we do not know either. The best estimate is that Jesus
Jesus
was probably born in the springtime, somewhere between the years of 6 and 4 BC, as December is in the middle of the cold rainy season in Bethlehem
Bethlehem
, when the sheep are kept inside and not on pasture as told in the Bible. The lack of a consistent system of timekeeping in the first century, mistakes in later calendars and calculations, and lack of historical details to cross reference events has led to this imprecision in fixing Jesus' birth. This suggests that the Christmas
Christmas
celebration is not an observance of a historical date, but a commemoration of the event in terms of worship. * ^ The School Journal, Volume 49. Harvard University
Harvard University
. 1894. Retrieved April 2, 2009. Throughout the Christian
Christian
world the 25th of December is celebrated as the birthday of Jesus
Jesus
Christ. There was a time when the churches were not united regarding the date of the joyous event. Many Christians
Christians
kept their Christmas
Christmas
in April, others in May, and still others at the close of September, till finally December 25 was agreed upon as the most appropriate date. The choice of that day was, of course, wholly arbitrary, for neither the exact date not the period of the year at which the birth of Christ
Christ
occurred is known. For purposes of commemoration, however, it is unimportant whether the celebration shall fall or not at the precise anniversary of the joyous event. * ^ Alister McGrath
Alister McGrath
(February 13, 2006). Christianity: An Introduction. John Wiley & Sons. p. 15. ISBN 9781405108997 . For Christians, the precise date of the birth of Jesus
Jesus
is actually something of a non-issue. What really matters is that he was born as a human being, and entered into human history. access-date= requires url= (help )

* ^ A B "Bruma Archived October 10, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
.", Seasonal Festivals of the Greeks and Romans Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
, Natural History , 18:59 * ^ A B Newton, Isaac, Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733). Ch. XI. A sun connection is possible because Christians considered Jesus
Jesus
to be the "Sun of righteousness" prophesied in Malachi 4:2: "But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall." * ^ A B McGowan, Andrew. "How December 25 Became Christmas". Bible Review & Bible History Daily. Biblical Archaeology Society . Retrieved February 24, 2011. * ^ A B Tighe, William J. (2003). "Calculating Christmas". Touchstone . 16 (10).

* ^ A B "Christmas", Encarta . Archived 2009-10-31. Roll, Susan K. (1995). Toward the Origins of Christmas. Peeters Publishers. p. 130. * ^ Robert Laurence Moore (1994). Selling God: American religion in the marketplace of culture. Oxford University Press . p. 205. When the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
in the fourth century singled out December 25 as the birth date of Christ, it tried to stamp out the Saturnalia common to the solstice season. * ^ Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia. Merriam Webster . 2000. p. 1211. Christian
Christian
missionaries frequently sought to stamp out pagan practices by building churches on the sites of pagan shrines or by associated Christian
Christian
holidays with pagan rituals (e.g. linking Christmas
Christmas
with the celebration of the winter solstice). * ^ A B Talley, Thomas J. (1991). The Origins of the Liturgical Year. Liturgical Press. pp. 88–91. ISBN 9780814660751 . Retrieved December 27, 2016. * ^ West's Federal Supplement. West Publishing Company . 1990. While the Washington and King birthdays are exclusively secular holidays, Christmas
Christmas
has both secular and religious aspects. * ^ "Poll: In a changing nation, Santa
Santa
endures", Associated Press, December 22, 2006. Retrieved November 18, 2009. * ^ A B Cyril Charles Martindale, "Christmas", in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908 (accessed December 21, 2012). * ^ Schoenborn, Christoph (1994). God's human face: the Christ-icon. p. 154. ISBN 0-89870-514-2 . * ^ Galey, John (1986). Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine. p. 92. ISBN 977-424-118-5 . * ^ Christenmas, n., Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
. Retrieved December 12. * ^ A B "Christmas" in the Middle English
Middle English
Dictionary. * ^ Griffiths, Emma, "Why get cross about Xmas?", BBC, December 22, 2004. Retrieved December 12, 2011. * ^ A B Hutton, Ronald , The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year, Oxford University Press, 2001. * ^ "Midwinter" in Bosworth & Toller. * ^ Serjeantson, Mary Sidney, A History of Foreign Words in English * ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". * ^ Yule, Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved December 12. * ^ Noel Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved December 12. * ^ "Biblical literature", Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. January 22, 2011. * ^ A B C " Christmas
Christmas
and its cycle", New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd edition, 2002, Catholic University of America Press. vol. 3, pp. 550–557. * ^ A B C "The Chronography of 354 AD. Part 12: Commemorations of the Martyrs.." MGH Chronica Minora I (1892), pp.71–72. See the first entry. * ^ A B C D E Durston, Chris, "Lords of Misrule: The Puritan
Puritan
War on Christmas
Christmas
1642–60" Archived March 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine ., History Today, December 1985, 35 (12) pp. 7 – 14. * ^ A B Rowell, Geoffrey (December 1993). "Dickens and the Construction of Christmas". History Today . 43 (12). Retrieved December 28, 2016. There is no doubt that A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
is first and foremost a story concerned with the Christian
Christian
gospel of liberation by the grace of God, and with incarnational religion which refuses to drive a wedge between the world of spirit and the world of matter. Both the Christmas
Christmas
dinners and the Christmas
Christmas
dinner-carriers are blessed; the cornucopia of Christmas
Christmas
food and feasting reflects both the goodness of creation and the joy of heaven. It is a significant sign of a shift in theological emphasis in the nineteenth century from a stress on the Atonement to a stress on the Incarnation, a stress which found outward and visible form in the sacramentalism of the Oxford Movement, the development of richer and more symbolic forms of worship, the building of neo-Gothic churches, and the revival and increasing centrality of the keeping of Christmas
Christmas
itself as a Christian
Christian
festival. ... In the course of the century, under the influence of the Oxford Movement’s concern for the better observance of Christian
Christian
festivals, Christmas
Christmas
became more and more prominent. By the later part of the century cathedrals provided special services and musical events, and might have revived ancient special charities for the poor – though we must not forget the problems for large: parish-church cathedrals like Manchester, which on one Christmas
Christmas
Day had no less than eighty couples coming to be married (the signing of the registers lasted until four in the afternoon). The popularity of Dickens' A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
played a significant part in the changing consciousness of Christmas
Christmas
and the way in which it was celebrated. The popularity of his public readings of the story is an indication of how much it resonated with the contemporary mood, and contributed to the increasing place of the Christmas
Christmas
celebration in both secular and religious ways that was firmly established by the end of the nineteenth century. * ^ McGowan, Andrew, How December 25 Became Christmas, Bible History Daily, 12/02/2016. * ^ "Elesha Coffman, "Why December 25?"". Christianitytoday.com. August 8, 2008. Retrieved December 25, 2013.

* ^ Bradt, Hale, Astronomy Methods, (2004), p. 69. Roll, p. 87. * ^ Augustine, Sermon 192. * ^ Malachi 4:2. * ^ John 8:12. * ^ Roll, Susan K. (1995). Towards the Origin of Christmas. Kok Pharos Publishing. p. 82, cf. note 115. ISBN 90-390-0531-1 . Retrieved December 25, 2013. * ^ A B Hijmans, S.E., Sol, the sun in the art and religions of Rome, 2009, p. 595. ISBN 978-90-367-3931-3 Archived May 10, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ A B Bradshaw, Paul F., "Christmas", The New SCM Dictionary of Liturgy of Worship, Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd, 2002.

* ^ Roll, pp. 88–90. Duchesne, Louis, Les Origines du Culte Chrétien, Paris, 1902, 262 ff. * ^ "Annunciation, New Catholic Encyclopedia 2nd edition, 2003, Catholic University of America Press.

* ^ 1 Corinthians 5:7–8: "Our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the festival…" Tally, pp. 2–4. * ^ Roll, p. 87. * ^ Roll (1995), p. 88 * ^ "Historical Dictionary of Catholicism". * ^ Hippolytus and December 25th as the date of Jesus\' birth, Roll (1995), p. 87. * ^ Kelly, Joseph F. (2004). The Origins of Christmas. Liturgical Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-81462984-0 . Online here. * ^ A B Oxford Dictionary of the Christian
Christian
Church (Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3 ), article "Christmas". * ^ "Introduction to Christian
Christian
Liturgy". * ^ (cited in Christianity
Christianity
and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries, Ramsay MacMullen . Yale:1997, p. 155). * ^ Hermann Usener , Das Weihnachtsfest (Part 1 of Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen, Second edition 1911; Verlag von Max Cohen also Sol Invictus (1905).) * ^ "Although this view is still very common, it has been seriously challenged" – Church of England
Church of England
Liturgical Commission, The Promise of His Glory: Services and Prayers for the Season from All Saints to Candlemas (Church House Publishing 1991 ISBN 978-0-71513738-3 ) quoted in "The Date of Christmas
Christmas
and Epiphany" * ^ Hijmans, S.E. The Sun in the Art and Religions of Rome. p. 588. ISBN 978-90-367-3931-3 . Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. * ^ Michael Alan Anderson, Symbols of Saints (ProQuest 2008 ISBN 978-0-54956551-2 ), pp. 42–46. * ^ Adrian Hastings , Alistair Mason, Hugh Pyper (eds), The Oxford Companion to Christian
Christian
Thought ( Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
2000 ISBN 978-0-19860024-4 ), p. 114.

* ^ Origen, "Levit., Hom. VIII"; Migne P.G., XII, 495. partially quoted in "Natal Day", The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911. * ^ McCracken, George, Arnobius of Sicca, the Case Against the Pagans, Volume 2, p. 83, . "Therefore if this is a fact, how can Jupiter be god if it is agreed that god is everlasting, while the other is represented by you to have a birthday, and frightened by the new experience, to have squalled like an infant." G. Brunner, " Arnobius eine Zeuge gegen das Weihnachtsfest? " JLW 13 (1936), pp. 178–181. * ^ Comerford Lawler, Thomas, ed. (1952). Sermons for Christmas
Christmas
and Epiphany (of Saint Augustine). Paulist Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-80910137-5 . * ^ Roll, Susan K. (1995). Toward the Origin of Christmas. Peeters Publishers. p. 169. ISBN 978-90-3900531-6 . * ^ "Christmas", New Advent. * ^ "The Chronography of 354 AD. Part 6: the calendar of Philocalus". Inscriptiones Latinae Antiquissimae, Berlin (1893), pp. 256–278. * ^ Wainwright, Geoffrey; Westerfield Tucker, Karen Beth, eds. (2005). The Oxford History of Christian
Christian
Worship. Oxford University Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-19-513886-3 . Retrieved February 3, 2012. * ^ A B Roy, Christian
Christian
(2005). Traditional Festivals: A Multicultural Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 146. ISBN 978-1-57607-089-5 . Retrieved February 3, 2012. * ^ Pokhilko, Hieromonk Nicholas, "History of Epiphany" * ^ Hastings, James; Selbie, John A., eds. (2003). Encyclopedia of Religion
Religion
and Ethics. Kessinger Publishing Company. pp. 603–604, Part 6. ISBN 978-0-7661-3676-2 . Retrieved February 3, 2012. * ^ Hastings and Selbie, p. 605. * ^ "The Origin of the American Christmas
Christmas
Myth and Customs". Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link ) – Ball State University. Swartz Jr., BK. Archived version. Retrieved October 19, 2011. * ^ A B C D E F G Murray, Alexander, " Medieval
Medieval
Christmas", History Today, December 1986, 36 (12), pp. 31 – 39. * ^ A B Standiford, Les (2008). The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday
Holiday
Spirits. Crown. ISBN 978-0-307-40578-4 . * ^ A B Minzesheimer, Bob (December 22, 2008). "Dickens\' classic \' Christmas
Christmas
Carol\' still sings to us". USA Today
USA Today
. Retrieved April 30, 2010. * ^ A B C D Barnett, James Harwood (1984). The American Christmas: A Study in National Culture. Ayer Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 0-405-07671-1 . * ^ Kelly, Joseph F., The Origins of Christmas, Liturgical Press, 2004, pp. 67–69. * ^ " Christmas
Christmas
– An Ancient Holiday", The History Channel , 2007. * ^ Coffman, Elesha. "Why December 25?" Christian
Christian
History & Biography, Christianity
Christianity
Today , 2000. * ^ A B Simek (2007:379). * ^ Simek (2010:180, 379–380). * ^ "Koliada". Encyclopediaofukraine.com. Retrieved November 19, 2012. * ^ A B McGreevy, Patrick. "Place in the American Christmas," (JSTOR), Geographical Review, Vol. 80, No. 1. January 1990, pp. 32–42. Retrieved September 10, 2007. * ^ A B C Restad, Penne L. (1995). Christmas
Christmas
in America: a History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-510980-5 . * ^ A B C Forbes, Bruce David, Christmas: a candid history, University of California Press, 2007, ISBN 0-520-25104-0 , pp. 68–79. * ^ Lowe, Scott C. (January 11, 2011). Christmas. John Wiley & Sons. p. 226. ISBN 978-1-4443-4145-4 . * ^ Shawcross, John T. (January 1, 1993). John Milton. University Press of Kentucky. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-8131-7014-5 . Milton was raised an Anglican, trained to become an Anglican minister, and remained an Anglican through the signing of the subscription books of Cambridge University in both 1629 and 1632, which demanded an allegiance to the state church and its Thirty-nine Articles. * ^ Browne, Sammy R. A Brief Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1. p. 412. ISBN 978-1-105-70569-4 . His father had wanted him to practice law but Milton considered writing poetry his life's work. At 21 years old, he wrote a poem, "On the morning of Christ's Nativity," a work that is still widely read during Christmas. * ^ Heinz, Donald. Christmas: Festival of Incarnation. Fortress Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-4514-0695-5 . * ^ Old, Hughes Oliphant (2002). Worship: Reformed According to Scripture. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-664-22579-7 . Within a few years the Reformed church calendar was fairly well established. The heart of it was the weekly observance of the resurrection on the Lord's Day. Instead of liturgical seasons being observed, "the five evangelical feast days" were observed: Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. They were chosen because they were understood to mark the essential stages in the history of salvation. * ^ Old, Hughes Oliphant (2002). Worship: Reformed According to Scripture. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-664-22579-7 . * ^ Carl Philipp Emanuel Nothaft (October 2011). "From Sukkot to Saturnalia: The Attack on Christmas
Christmas
in Sixteenth-Century Chronological Scholarship". Journal of the History of Ideas. University of Pennsylvania Press. 72 (4): 504–505. JSTOR
JSTOR
41337151 . However, when Thomas Mocket, rector of Gilston in Hertfordshire, decried such vices in a pamphlet to justify the parliamentary 'ban' of Christmas, effective since June 1647... * ^ Sandys, William (1852). Christmastide: its history, festivities and carols. London: John Russell Smith. pp. 119–120. * ^ Chambers, Robert (1885). Domestic Annals of Scotland, p. 211. * ^ "Act dischairging the Yule
Yule
vacance". The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland
Scotland
to 1707 (in Middle Scots). St Andrews: University of St Andrews and National Archives of Scotland. Archived from the original on May 19, 2012. Retrieved February 29, 2012. CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link ) * ^ Houston, Rab; Houston, Robert Allan (2008). Scotland: a very short introduction. Very short introductions. 197. Oxford University Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-19-923079-2 . Retrieved February 29, 2012. * ^ Miall, Anthony & Peter (1978). The Victorian Christmas
Christmas
Book. Dent. p. 7. ISBN 0-460-12039-5 . * ^ Woodforde, James (1978). The Diary of a Country Parson 1758–1802. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-281241-6 . * ^ Innes, Stephen (1995). Creating the Commonwealth: The Economic Culture of Puritan
Puritan
New England. W.W. Norton & Company
W.W. Norton & Company
. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-393-03584-1 . * ^ Marling, Karal Ann (2000). Merry Christmas!: Celebrating America\'s Greatest Holiday. Harvard University
Harvard University
Press. p. 44. ISBN 0-674-00318-7 . * ^ Smith Thomas, Nancy (2007). Moravian Christmas
Christmas
in the South. p. 20. ISBN 0-8078-3181-6 . * ^ Andrews, Peter (1975). Christmas
Christmas
in Colonial and Early America. United States: World Book Encyclopedia, Inc. ISBN 0-7166-2001-4 . * ^ Christmas
Christmas
in France. World Book Encyclopedia . 1996. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7166-0876-9 . Carols were altered by substituting names of prominent political leaders for royal characters in the lyrics, such as the Three Kings. Church bells were melted down for their bronze to increase the national treasury, and religious services were banned on Christmas
Christmas
Day. The cake of kings, too, came under attack as a symbol of the royalty. It survived, however, for a while with a new name—the cake of equality. access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Mason, Julia (December 21, 2015). "Why Was Christmas
Christmas
Renamed \'Dog Day\' During the French Revolution?". HistoryBuff. Retrieved November 18, 2016. How did people celebrate the Christmas
Christmas
during the French Revolution? In white-knuckled terror behind closed doors. Anti-clericalism reached its apex on 10 November 1793, when a Fête de la Raison was held in honor of the Cult of Reason. Churches across France were renamed "Temples of Reason" and the Notre Dame was "de-baptized" for the occasion. The Commune spared no expense: "The first festival of reason, which took place in Notre Dame, featured a fabricated mountain, with a temple of philosophy at its summit and a script borrowed from an opera libretto. At the sound of Marie-Joseph Chénier's Hymne à la Liberté, two rows of young women, dressed in white, descended the mountain, crossing each other before the 'altar of reason' before ascending once more to greet the goddess of Liberty." As you can probably gather from the above description, 1793 was not a great time to celebrate Christmas
Christmas
in the capital. * ^ Anon (May 22, 2007). "Bank Holiday
Holiday
Fact File" (PDF). TUC press release. TUC. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 3, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2010. * ^ Rowell, Geoffrey, "Dickens and the Construction of Christmas", History Today , Volume: 43 Issue: 12, December 1993, pp. 17–24. * ^ Hutton, Ronald (February 15, 2001). The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-157842-7 . access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Forbes, Bruce David (October 1, 2008). Christmas: A Candid History. --University of California Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-520-25802-0 . What Dickens did advocate in his story was "the spirit of Christmas". Sociologist James Barnett has described it as Dickens's "Carol Philosophy", which "combined religious and secular attitudes toward to celebration into a humanitarian pattern. It excoriated individual selfishness and extolled the virtues of brotherhood, kindness, and generosity at Christmas. . . .Dickens preached that at Christmas
Christmas
men should forget self and think of others, especially the poor and the unfortunate." The message was one that both religious and secular people could endorse. * ^ Kelly, Richard Michael, ed. (2003). A Christmas
Christmas
Carol. Broadview Press. pp. 9, 12. ISBN 1-55111-476-3 . * ^ Cochrane, Robertson. Wordplay: origins, meanings, and usage of the English language. University of Toronto Press, 1996, p. 126, ISBN 0-8020-7752-8 . * ^ Hutton, Ronald, The Stations of the Sun: The Ritual Year in England. 1996. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 113. ISBN 0-19-285448-8 . * ^ Joe L. Wheeler. Christmas
Christmas
in My Heart, Volume 10, p. 97. Review and Herald Pub Assoc, 2001. ISBN 0-8280-1622-4 . * ^ Earnshaw, Iris (November 2003). "The History of Christmas Cards". Inverloch Historical Society Inc. Retrieved July 25, 2008. * ^ The Girlhood of Queen Victoria: a selection from Her Majesty's diaries, p. 61. Longmans, Green
Green
& Co., 1912. University of Wisconsin. * ^ A B Lejeune, Marie Claire. Compendium of symbolic and ritual plants in Europe, p.550. University of Michigan ISBN 90-77135-04-9 . * ^ A B C Shoemaker, Alfred Lewis. (1959) Christmas
Christmas
in Pennsylvania: a folk-cultural study. Edition 40. pp. 52, 53. Stackpole Books 1999. ISBN 0-8117-0328-2 . * ^ Godey\'s Lady\'s Book , 1850. Godey's copied it exactly, except he removed the Queen's tiara, and Prince Albert's mustache, to remake the engraving into an American scene. * ^ Kelly, Richard Michael (ed.) (2003), A Christmas
Christmas
Carol, p. 20. Broadview Literary Texts, New York: Broadview Press, ISBN 1-55111-476-3 . * ^ Moore's poem transferred the genuine old Dutch traditions celebrated at New Year in New York, including the exchange of gifts, family feasting, and tales of "sinterklass" (a derivation in Dutch from "Saint Nicholas", from whence comes the modern " Santa
Santa
Claus") to Christmas.The history of Christmas: Christmas
Christmas
history in America, 2006. * ^ "Americans Celebrate Christmas
Christmas
in Diverse Ways" Archived December 10, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
., Usinfo.state.gov, November 26, 2006. * ^ First Presbyterian
Presbyterian
Church of Watertown "Oh ... and one more thing" December 11, 2005 Archived February 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine . * ^ A B C Restad, Penne L. (1995), Christmas
Christmas
in America: a History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 96. ISBN 0-19-510980-5 . * ^ " Christian
Christian
church of God – history of Christmas". Christianchurchofgod.com. Archived from the original on December 19, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2011. * ^ Meggs, Philip B. A History of Graphic Design. 1998 John Wiley ">(PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved January 2, 2014. * ^ Weightman, Gavin; Humphries, Steve (1987). Christmas
Christmas
Past. London: Sidgwick and Jackson. p. 31. * ^ Harding, Patrick (2003). The Xmas Files: Facts Behind the Myths and Magic of Christmas. London: Metro Publishing. * ^ "When was the last time football matches in Britain were played on Christmas
Christmas
Day?". The Guardian. Retrieved October 23, 2014. * ^ Connelly, Mark (2000). Christmas
Christmas
at the Movies: Images of Christmas
Christmas
in American, British and European Cinema. I.B.Tauris. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-86064-397-2 . A chapter on representations of Christmas
Christmas
in Soviet cinema could, in fact be the shortest in this collection: suffice it to say that there were, at least officially, no Christmas
Christmas
celebrations in the atheist socialist state after its foundation in 1917. * ^ Ramet, Sabrina Petra (November 10, 2005). Religious Policy in the Soviet Union. Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press
. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-521-02230-9 . The League sallied forth to save the day from this putative religious revival. Antireligioznik obliged with so many articles that it devoted an entire section of its annual index for 1928 to anti-religious training in the schools. More such material followed in 1929, and a flood of it the next year. It recommended what Lenin and others earlier had explicitly condemned—carnivals, farces, and games to intimidate and purge the youth of religious belief. It suggested that pupils campaign against customs associated with Christmas
Christmas
(including Christmas
Christmas
trees) and Easter. Some schools, the League approvingly reported, staged an anti-religious day on the 31st of each month. Not teachers but the League's local set the programme for this special occasion. * ^ Zugger, Christopher Lawrence (2001). Catholics of the Soviet Empire from Lenin Through Stalin. Syracuse University Press . p. 210. ISBN 978-0-8156-0679-6 . As observed by Nicholas Brianchaninov, writing in 1929–1930, after the NEP and just as the worst of collectivization was beginning, the Soviets deemed it necessary to drive into the heads of the people the axiom that religion was the synthesis of everything most harmful to humanity. It must be presented as the enemy of man and society, of life and learning, of progress. . . . In caricatures, articles, Bezbozhnik, Antireligioznik, League of Militant Atheists propaganda and films. School courses on conducting the struggle against religion (how to profane a church, break windows, objects of piety). The young, always eager to be with the latest trend, often responded to such propaganda. In Moscow in 1929 children were brought to spit on the crucifixes at Christmas. Priests in Tiraspol diocese were sometimes betrayed by their own young parishioners, leading to their imprisonment and even death, and tearing their families apart. * ^ Goldberg, Carey (January 7, 1991). "A Russian Christmas—Better Late Than Never : Soviet Union: Orthodox Church celebration is the first under Communists. But, as with most of Yeltsin\'s pronouncements, the holiday stirs a controversy.". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved November 22, 2014. For the first time in more than seven decades, Christmas—celebrated today by Russian Orthodox Christians—is a full state holiday across Russia's vast and snowy expanse. As part of Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin's ambitious plan to revive the traditions of Old Russia, the republic's legislature declared last month that Christmas, long ignored under atheist Communist ideology, should be written back into the public calendar. "The Bolsheviks replaced crosses with hammers and sickles," said Vyacheslav S. Polosin, head of the Russian legislature's committee on religion. "Now they are being changed back." * ^ Perry, Joseph (December 24, 2015). "How the Nazis co-opted Christmas: A history of propaganda". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 11, 2016. * ^ "Somalia joins Brunei by banning Christmas
Christmas
celebrations \'to protect Islam\'". The Daily Telegraph. December 24, 2015. * ^ Miles, Clement A, Christmas
Christmas
customs and traditions, Courier Dover Publications, 1976, ISBN 0-486-23354-5 , p. 272. * ^ Heller, Ruth, Christmas: Its Carols, Customs & Legends, Alfred Publishing (1985), ISBN 0-7692-4399-1 , p. 12. * ^ A B Collins, Ace (April 1, 2010). Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas. Zondervan . ISBN 978-0-310-87388-4 . Retrieved December 2, 2010. * ^ Collins, Ace, Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, Zondervan, (2003), ISBN 0-310-24880-9 p.47. * ^ Google Books Susan Topp Weber, Nativities of the World, Gibbs Smith, 2013 * ^ "Alla scoperta dei cinque presepi più belli di Bologna Nuok". Nuok.it. January 24, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2013. * ^ "Presepi in Liguria: provincia di Genova, Tigullio -sito di Paolino". Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved December 25, 2013. * ^ "Holidays at the Museums : Carnegie Museum of Natural History". Carnegiemnh.org. November 26, 2013. Archived from the original on December 27, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2013. * ^ Bershad, David; Carolina Mangone, The Christian
Christian
Travelers Guide to Italy, Zondervan, 2001. * ^ "The Provençal Nativity Scene". Simplytreasures.com. Retrieved December 25, 2013. * ^ Seaburg, Carl, Celebrating Christmas: An Anthology, iUniverse, 2003. * ^ Bowler, Gerry, The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, Random House LLC, 2012. * ^ Carol King (December 24, 2012). "A Christmas
Christmas
Living Nativity Scene in Sicily". Italy Magazine. Retrieved December 25, 2013. * ^ Collins p. 83. * ^ A B van Renterghem, Tony. When Santa
Santa
was a shaman. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications , 1995. ISBN 1-56718-765-X . * ^ Fritz Allhoff, Scott C. Lowe (2010). Christmas. John Wiley & Sons . His biographer, Eddius Stephanus, relates that while Boniface was serving as a missionary near Geismar, Germany, he had enough of the locals' reverence for the old gods. Taking an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Norse god Thor, Boniface chopped the tree down and dared Thor
Thor
to zap him for it. When nothing happened, Boniface pointed out a young fir tree amid the roots of the oak and explained how this tree was a more fitting object of reverence as it pointed towards the Christian
Christian
heaven and its triangular shape was reminiscent of the Christian
Christian
trinity. * ^ A B Harper, Douglas, Christ, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001. * ^ "The Chronological History of the Christmas
Christmas
Tree". The Christmas
Christmas
Archives. Archived from the original on December 21, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2007. * ^ " Christmas
Christmas
Tradition – The Christmas
Christmas
Tree Custom". Fashion Era. Retrieved December 18, 2007. * ^ "Liturgical Year : Symbolic Lights and Fires of Christmas (Activity)". Catholic Culture. Retrieved December 10, 2011. * ^ Murray, Brian. " Christmas lights and community building in America," History Matters, Spring 2006. Archived June 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ Miles, Clement, Christmas
Christmas
customs and traditions, Courier Dover Publications, 1976, ISBN 0-486-23354-5 , p. 32. * ^ Miles, pp. 31–37. * ^ Miles, pp. 47–48. * ^ Dudley-Smith, Timothy (1987). A Flame of Love. London: Triangle/SPCK. ISBN 0-281-04300-0 . * ^ Richard Michael Kelly. A Christmas
Christmas
Carol, Broadview Press, 2003, p. 10. ISBN 1-55111-476-3 . * ^ Broomfield, Andrea (2007), Food and Cooking in Victorian England: A History, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, pp. 149–150. * ^ Muir, Frank (1977), Christmas
Christmas
customs & traditions, Taplinger Pub. Co., 1977, p. 58. * ^ "Imbuljuta". Schoolnet.gov.mt. Archived from the original on January 22, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2012. * ^ " Christmas card
Christmas card
sold for record price", BBC News. Retrieved October 28, 2011. * ^ Collins, Ace (April 20, 2010). Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas. Zondervan. p. 17. Retrieved April 10, 2012. The legend of St. Nicholas, who became the bishop of Myra
Myra
in the beginning of the fourth century, is the next link in the Christmas-gift chain. Legend has it that during his life the priest rode across Asia Minor bestowing gifts upon poor children. * ^ Trexler, Richard (May 23, 1997). The Journey of the Magi: Meanings in History of a Christian
Christian
Story. Princeton University Press . p. 17. Retrieved April 10, 2012. This exchange network of ceremonial welcome was mirrored in a second reciprocity allowing early Christians to imagine their own magi: the phenomenon of giving gifts. * ^ Collins, Ace (April 20, 2010). Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas. Zondervan. p. 17. Retrieved April 10, 2012. Most people today trace the practice of giving gifts on Christmas
Christmas
Day to the three gifts that the Magi
Magi
gave to Jesus. * ^ Berking, Helmuth (March 30, 1999). Sociology of Giving. SAGE Publications. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-85702-613-2 . For the Enlightenment educationalist, gift-giving turned out to be a relic of a pagan custom, namely, the Roman Saturnalia. After the introduction of the Julian calendar
Julian calendar
in Rome, the 25th of December became the day of Sol invictus when people greeted the winter solstice. It was the day of the Sun's rebirth, and it was the day of the Christmas
Christmas
festivities – although it was only in the year 336 AD that it appears to have become established as the day of Jesus's birth (see Pannenberg 1989: 57). The Eastern Church adopted this date even later, towards the end of the 4th century, having previously regarded the 6th of January as the day of gift-giving, as it still is in the Italian community of Befana. The winter solstice was a time of festivity in every traditional culture, and the Christian
Christian
Christmas
Christmas
probably took its place within this mythical context of the solar cult. Its core dogma of the Incarnation, however, solidly established the giving and receiving of gifts as the structural principle of that recurrent yet unique event. 'Children were given presents as the Jesus
Jesus
child received gifts from the magi or kings who came from afar to adore him. But in reality it was they, together with all their fellow men, who received the gift of God through man's renewed participation in the divine life' (ibid.: 61). * ^ Seward, Pat; Lal, Sunandini Arora (2006). Netherlands. Marshall Cavendish. p. 116. ISBN 9780761420521 . Until quite recently, the celebrations focused solely on Saint Nicholas, or Sinterklaas (SIN-ter-klahs), as the Dutch call him. ... Interestingly, the American Santa Claus
Santa Claus
was born out of the Dutch Sinterklaas. access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Domenico, Roy Palmer (2002). The regions of Italy: a reference guide to history and culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 21. ISBN 0-313-30733-4 . Saint Nicholas ( Bishop
Bishop
of Myra) replaced Sabino as the patron saint of the city... A Greek from what is now Turkey, he lived in the early fourth century. * ^ Collins, Ace (2009). Stories Behind Men of Faith. Zondervan. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-310-56456-0 . Nicholas was born in the Greek city of Patara around 270 AD. The son of a businessman named Theophanes and his wife, Nonna, the child's earliest years were spent in Myra... As a port on the Mediterranean Sea, in the middle of the sea lanes that linked Egypt, Greece and Rome, Myra
Myra
was a destination for traders, fishermen, and merchant sailors. Spawned by the spirit of both the city's Greek heritage and the ruling Roman government, cultural endeavours such as art, drama, and music were mainstays of everyday life. * ^ Jona Lendering (November 20, 2008). "Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Santa
Santa
Claus". Livius.org. Retrieved February 24, 2011. * ^ John Steele Gordon , The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power: 1653–2000 (Scribner), 1999. * ^ Forbes, Bruce David, Christmas: A Candid History, pp. 80–81. * ^ Mikkelson, Barbara and David P., "The Claus That Refreshes", Snopes.com, 2006. * ^ Win Rosenfeld (December 25, 2007). "America\'s Next Top Santa". NPR. Retrieved November 22, 2012. ... Father Christmas – but this Santa
Santa
also goes by the name Jonathan Meath.... * ^ Mary Ann Georgantopoulos (December 25, 2007). "Miracle on Mass. Ave.: City Santa
Santa
takes suit seriously". Boston
Boston
Globe. Retrieved November 22, 2012. ...Meath, who is in his first year of being a full-time Santa, makes appearances around Massachusetts at places such as Swing City in Newton.... * ^ "History of the Society". The Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York. Retrieved December 5, 2008. * ^ Jones, Charles W. "Knickerbocker Santa
Santa
Claus". The New-York Historical Society Quarterly. XXXVIII (4). * ^ Jones, Charles W., Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bari, and Manhattan: Biography of a Legend (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978). * ^ Hageman, Howard G. (1979). "Review of Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bari, and Manhattan: Biography of a Legend". Theology Today . 36 (3). Princeton: Princeton Theological Seminary. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved December 5, 2008. * ^ "St. Basil (330–379)". Skiathosbooks.com. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2012. * ^ Matera, Mariane. "Santa: The First Great Lie", Citybeat, Issue 304. * ^ "Siegbert Uhlig, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica He-N, p. 538". Google. Retrieved December 25, 2013. * ^ Varga, Melody. "Black Friday, About: Retail Industry. Archived May 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ "Definition Christmas
Christmas
Creep – What is Christmas
Christmas
Creep". Womeninbusiness.about.com. November 2, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2011. * ^ "South Molton and Brook Street Christmas
Christmas
Lights" (November 16, 2010), View London.co.uk. * ^ A B Kollewe, Julia, (November 29, 2010), "West End spree worth £250m marks start of Christmas
Christmas
shopping season", The Guardian
The Guardian
. * ^ Gwen Outen (December 3, 2004). "ECONOMICS REPORT – Holiday Shopping Season in the U.S.". Voice of America. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. * ^ US Census Bureau. "Facts. The Holiday
Holiday
Season" December 19, 2005. (accessed November 30, 2009) Archived copy at the Library of Congress (May 7, 2010). * ^ US Census 2005. * ^ "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas", American Economic Review, December 1993, 83 (5). * ^ "Is Santa
Santa
a deadweight loss?" The Economist
Economist
December 20, 2001. * ^ Reuters. " Christmas
Christmas
is Damaging the Environment, Report Says", December 16, 2005. * ^ "Marta Patiño, The Puritan
Puritan
Ban on Christmas". Timetravel-britain.com. Retrieved February 24, 2011. * ^ Christmas
Christmas
in the Colonies Time. Retrieved December 25, 2011. * ^ Todd, Margo (2002). The Culture of Protestantism
Protestantism
in Early Modern Scotland. Yale University Press. p. 187. ISBN 0-300-09234-2 . * ^ Goldberg, Carey (January 7, 1991). "A Russian Christmas—Better Late Than Never : Soviet Union: Orthodox Church Celebration Is the First Under Communists. But, as with Most of Yeltsin\'s Pronouncements, the Holiday
Holiday
Stirs a Controversy". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved August 11, 2016. * ^ Woolf, Nicky (December 24, 2015). " Christmas
Christmas
celebrations banned in Somalia, Tajikistan and Brunei". The Guardian. Retrieved August 10, 2016. * ^ Vermes, Géza (November 2, 2006). The Nativity: History and Legend. Penguin Books Ltd, p. 64. ISBN 0-14-102446-1 . * ^ Sanders, E. P. The Historical Figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993 (ISBN 978-0140144994 ). Sanders discusses both birth narratives in detail, contrasts them, and judges them not historical on pp. 85–88. * ^ Borg, Marcus , "The Meaning of the Birth Stories" in Marcus Borg, N. T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (Harper One, 1999), p. 179: "I (and most mainline scholars) do not see these stories as historically factual." * ^ Wiarda, Timothy, Interpreting Gospel Narratives: Scenes, People, and Theology, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2010, ISBN 0-8054-4843-8 , pp. 75–78. * ^ Brennan R. Hill, Jesus, the Christ: Contemporary Perspectives, 2004, ISBN 1-58595-303-2 , p. 89. * ^ Johnson, Timothy, The Gospel of Luke, 1992 ISBN 0-8146-5805-9 , p. 72. * ^ Yoder, Thomas R., Recovering Jesus: the Witness of the New Testament, Neufeld, 2007, ISBN 1-58743-202-1 , p. 111. * ^ "ACLJ, Christmas
Christmas
laws". Aclj.org. Archived from the original on December 25, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2013. * ^ A B Christmas controversy article – Muslim Canadian Congress. * ^ "Jews for Christmas"—NewsMax article. * ^ Feder, Don, "In the culture, Christmas
Christmas
morphs into holiday", Jewish World Review, December 13, 2000. * ^ "The Brits Have It Right: Forget Happy Holidays, Just Wish People Merry Christmas". The Guardian
The Guardian
. London. August 11, 2016. * ^ Jankowski, Paul (August 11, 2016). "Is Saying \'Merry Christmas\' Politically Correct? Who Cares?". Forbes
Forbes
. * ^ "If We Can\'t Say \'Merry Christmas\' in Canada, Multiculturalism Failed". The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
. August 11, 2016. * ^ Gibson, John, The War on Christmas, Sentinel Trade, 2006, pp. 1–6. * ^ Ostling, Richard. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Lawsuit This Season." Buffalo Law Journal January 12, 2005, Vol. 77, Issue 96, pp. 1–4. * ^ "Lynch vs. Donnelly". Belcherfoundation.org. 1984. * ^ "Appeals Court: School district can ban Christmas
Christmas
carols". Philadelphia Daily News. Philadelphia Inquirer. November 25, 2009. Archived from the original on November 28, 2009. Retrieved November 28, 2009. * ^ Rundquist, Jeanette (October 6, 2010). "Ban On School Christmas Carols Upheld". The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
. Retrieved September 9, 2012. * ^ Mujahid, Abdul Malik. "Treating Christmas
Christmas
with respect," Sound Vision .

FURTHER READING

* Bowler, Gerry, The World Encyclopedia of Christmas
Christmas
(October 2004: McClelland & Stewart). ISBN 978-0-7710-1535-9 * Bowler, Gerry, Santa
Santa
Claus: A Biography (November 2007: McClelland & Stewart). ISBN 978-0-7710-1668-4 * Comfort, David, Just Say Noel: A History of Christmas
Christmas
from the Nativity to the Nineties (November 1995: Fireside). ISBN 978-0-684-80057-8 * Count, Earl W., 4000 Years of Christmas: A Gift from the Ages (November 1997: Ulysses Press). ISBN 978-1-56975-087-2 * Federer, William J., There Really Is a Santa
Santa
Claus: The History of St. Nicholas New York: Vintage Books, 1997). ISBN 0-679-74038-4 * Restad, Penne L. (1995). Christmas
Christmas
in America: A History. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509300-3 . * Rosenthal, Jim, St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas
Christmas
(July 2006: Nelson Reference). ISBN 1-4185-0407-6 * Sammons, Peter (May 2006). The Birth of Christ. Glory to Glory Publications (UK). ISBN 0-9551790-1-7 . * "Christmas". Encyclopædia Britannica . 6 (11th ed.). 1911. pp. 293–294.

EXTERNAL LINKS

Find more aboutCHRISTMASat's sister projects

* Definitions from Wiktionary * Media from Commons * News from Wikinews * Quotations from Wikiquote * Texts from Wikisource * Textbooks from Wikibooks * Data from Wikidata

* Christmas
Christmas
at DMOZ
DMOZ
*

.