We love seasonal festivities, but some of them have surprising origins, Christmas being among them. Christmas celebrations dating back centuries is heaped with years of tradition. In as much as we love Christmas, considering it as a day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, things are not all as they seem.
For all the love we have for Christmas, how much or what do we know about why Christmas is what it is! Here are several things you probably did not know about Christmas.
•Christmas was not always on the 25th of December. We consider it as the day when Christ was born, but there is no mention of that date in the Bible. In fact, most historians believe that Christ was born during spring. Celebrating Christmas on December 25 only became known and documented from the 3rd century.
•The chosen date of Dec 25th is closely linked to the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which was a party and gifting ceremony in honor of the agricultural God Saturn. Bishop Liberius of Rome was the one who chose the date in 354 CE.
•The Christmas tree is among other Christmas traditions that have roots in the Saturnalia festival. In the festival, the evergreen tree was used as a reminder of the blessings of the sun gods such as the growth of green plants during spring. Germans are believed to be the first to bring the Christmas tree into their homes and they would decorate the tree with different style retro Christmas ornaments, lights and cookies.
•Christmas is a merrymaking season. In Boston, however, but there was a time when merrymaking was illegal, thus making Christmas illegal. The festivity would later on be legalized when it was proclaimed as a federal holiday.
•The origins of Santa Claus is credited to several figures including the Celtic Holly King, St. Nicholas, Woden, the Bishop of Myra (Turkey), and the Norse God; all of whom are associated with Santa’s cloak, beard, and his reindeer among other elements. However, the Santa you know today was created by Thomas Nast in 1860 when he drew a Santa Cartoon for the Harper’s Weekly Magazine.
•Traditionally, Santa wore different cloaks in various colors including green, blue, red, and white. The red cloak that you know of become the official “Santa Suit” in the 1930s after Coca-Cola did ads for Christmas with images of Santa clad in a red coat.
•Jingle Bells is one of the most common Christmas chorals but was originally a Thanksgiving song who origins are credited to James Lord Pierpont. His piece was called, “The One Horse Open Sleigh”. In 1857, it was changed and given is the current title.