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All About Christmas

It’s christmas.  All around the world people are getting ready to swop gifts and share amazing meals with their loved ones.

Amidst all the excitement and joy, do you know what christmas is all about?  Where does it originate?  Who is Santa Claus based on?

Following is a brief history of christmas.

Christmas is an annual Chirstian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus, although it has never been proven that the 25th of December is Jesus’ actual birthday.

Christmas is also celebrated by non-Christians.  Some of it’s traditions have pre-Christian or secular themes and origins.

Modern customs of Christmas include gift giving, exchanging of cards, church celebrations and a special meal.

Because of the economic activity that surrounds christmas, the holiday has become a significant event for retailers.

Christmas is celebrated in most countries, even where the populations aren’t majority Christian.  In some non-Christian countries the holiday was introduced during periods of colonial rule.

Christmas is not a formal holiday in China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Thailand, Nepal, Iran, Turkey and North Korea.

The practice of putting up decorations has a long history.  From pre-Christian times, people in the Roman Empire brought branches from evergreen plants indoors in the winter.  Christian people incorporated such customs in their developing practices.

Nativity scenes are known form 10th century Rome.

The christmas tree is often explained as a Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship.

The first chistmas hymns appear in 4th century Rome.

Many figures of both Christian and mythical origin have been associated with this holiday.  The most famous is Santa Claus.  The name originated from the Dutch Sinterklaas which means Saint Nicholas.  Nicholas was a Bishop of Myra during the 4th century.  He was noted for the care of children, generosity and the giving of gifts.  He traditionally appeared in bishoply attire accompanied by helpers.

Well, there you have it, a very brief look at the history of christmas.

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