America’s favorite holiday is Christmas. It is America’s No. 1 holiday. 85% of Americans celebrate it. This is how Christmas began and why we have the traditions that we do.
Crowds of people dressed up, going door to door asking for treats, and threatening mischief if homeowners don’t pay… Sounds like Halloween. This was actually one way Christmas was celebrated in the Middle Ages. This is right! Our modern Christmas, which is celebrated with Christmas traditions such as presents and trees, and marked by Christmas icons including stars or candy canes, is a far cry from how Christmas started.
What is Christmas, and why is it celebrated in December? Here’s everything you need about America’s most beloved holiday.
What Is Christmas?
Christmas is an annual sacred Christian holiday. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s birth. Although many celebrate Christmas to commemorate Jesus’s birth it is also celebrated around the world as a cultural holiday.
What Time Is Christmas?
The 25th of December is the American Christmas holiday. However, the day of week changes. These are the five days on which Christmas falls over the next five years.
- Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022
- Monday, Dec. 25, 2023
- Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2024
- Thursday, Dec. 25, 2025
- Friday, Dec. 25, 2026
What Is The Significance Of Christmas On December 25th?
Why is Christmas always on December 25th each year? It’s believed that Jesus was born on December 25, but this is false. It doesn’t state when Jesus was born. The few clues that we have, such as shepherds protecting their flocks from the elements outside, suggest it could have been in the Spring.
Three-and-a half centuries after Christ’s death, the date of Dec. 25 was adopted to commemorate his birthday. The date was chosen by Pope Julius I in 350 AD. It was officially established in 529 AD when Roman Emperor Justinian made Christmas a public holiday. This timeline is controversial and ongoing research into early Christian history is underway.
This date was not a random choice. Many historians believe the Emperor and Pope liked this date, as it coincided with pagan festivals that celebrated the winter solstice. These pagan festivals go back hundreds of years. The winter solstice falls on Dec. 21 or 22 depending on the year. The church combined Christmas and these ancient celebrations to preserve the winter holiday tradition, while refocusing the party around the “new” religion Christianity. Many pagan rituals were also dropped.
Another theory suggests that choosing a date close to the shortest day in the year could have been symbolic. The sun would gradually grow brighter each day, just like the Christ child, who went from an infant to becoming immortal.
It Is Called Christmas Because Of Its Origins.
The first step in rebranding an old holiday was to give it another religious name. The Christmas word actually comes from Cristes Maesse, Old English meaning “Christ’s Mass,” and refers to the Catholic tradition of having a special mass to celebrate Jesus.
What Was Christmas Like When It Began?
Christmas today is both a cultural and religious holiday. It centers around Jesus’ birth and is celebrated worldwide. The winter solstice was the center of many cultures’ Midwinter celebrations. Easter became the first big Christian holiday after Jesus’ death.
Three centuries later, however, the Christian church was much more powerful and well-known. Religious and political leaders sought a way to make Christian holidays more popular and still allow for traditional celebrations. The solution was to combine Christmas and the winter solstice, even if it meant that Jesus would have an arbitrary birthday date.
The Christian holidays, which include Christmas, have grown in popularity as Christianity spread around the world. It was celebrated in many different ways over time as different cultures modified it to suit their needs.
How Did Christmas Become The Holiday That We All Know?
Early Christmas celebrations were a mixture of Christian and pagan traditions. This led to Halloween activities, such as bonfires, trick-or-treat trading, and Mardi Gras, which are street bacchanals. It was so well-known for its debauchery, the Pilgrims outlawed it in certain cities when they arrived in America.
Although Christmas was not forgotten, it did not regain its popularity until the mid-1800s. Two Christmas books that were very popular at the time -Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, and Washington Irving’s T The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon Gent – presented Christmas in a warm and family-friendly manner. Although their stories were largely fictional, they sparked the imagination of Victorians. Ulysses S. Grant declared December 26th 1870 a U.S. National Holiday.
Over the past 150 years, Americans have created their unique Christmas celebration by combining elements from different cultures and creating new ones. Many families have their Christmas traditions that add another layer to meaning and joy. While there is still a religious element to Christmas, many people attend a church service the night before or on the day of. However, most American Christmas celebrations today are more secular. According to the Pew Research Centre, while 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, less than half (48%) say they do so for religious reasons.
Let’s begin with the most beloved and most loved Christmas tradition: Santa Claus bringing presents to children every Christmas Eve.
Santa Claus Origin: From Where Did St. Nick Get His Name?
St. Nicholas was a monk who was born in Turkey in 280 AD. He is the inspiration for the jolly old elf with his magical sleigh. After giving up all his wealth, Monk St. Nicholas was made a saint. He was known as the patron saint for children and received his honorary day on December 6.
However, the American Santa Claus is credited to early Dutch immigrants. They brought their culture of celebrating the saint’s passing with them. They called him “Sint Nikolaas”, Dutch for Saint Nicholas, and abbreviated it “Sinter Klaas,” which evolved into Santa Claus.
The 1822 poem by Clement Clarke Moore, Episcopal minister, set the main features of the Santa Story: his jolly personality and gifts. It is known as “An Account from a Visit From St. Nicholas,” but it is most easily recognized by its first line: “‘Twas Christmas …”
Coca-Cola is responsible for the last part, the grandfatherly Santa Claus style. Coke’s early 1900s advertisements featured a happy, warm-eyed elderly man with bright cheeks, a white mustache, and twinkling eyes. It became so popular that Santa’s default image was used in many Christmas books as well as Christmas movies.
Popular Christmas Traditions
Santa Claus isn’t the only Christmas tradition that is popular. You might be asking yourself, “What would Christmas be without these holiday traditions?”