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  • 1. Christmas Festival Christmas Festival falls on 25th day of December every year and commemorate the birth of Lord Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity. Christian communities across the globe celebrate Christmas with faith, joy and enthusiasm. Celebrations for Christmas begin on the eve of Christmas on 24th December and continue till New Year's Day. During this entire period people make merry, party with friends and exchange seasons greetings and gifts with dear ones. High point of Christmas Festival celebrations include decoration of Christmas Tree, Christmas cakes, carols, and the jolly old Santa Claus - the mythical character who brings gifts for children. Origin of Christmas Festival The word 'Christmas' comes from 'Cristes Maesse', or "Christ's Mass." Historians claim that Christmas Festival was first celebrated in Rome circa 336 AD. In early times, there was a controversy on the date of Christmas celebrations as the exact date of Christ's birth was not known. But in 336 AD, Christian leaders fixed the Christmas date to December 25. This date was mainly an attempt to eclipse Saturnalia a popular pagan holiday in Rome that celebrated the winter solstice. Gradually, the 25th December got acceptance from the 1

2. Western World and later even Eastern Churches started celebrating Christmas Day on December 25th. Christmas Festival Traditions Christmas festival centers around various popular traditions. Adding age old traditions in your Christmas traditions helps you enjoy the festival to the fullest. The most popular tradition of decorating Christmas Tree is followed with great excitement by people across the world. In many countries, people decorate artificial spruce trees to keep alive the spirit of the tradition. Houses are decorated with auspicious mistletoe, lights and display of Nativity scenes. Christmas is highly enjoyed by young children as it brings along winter holidays and time to perform some traditional activities. They keenly participate in cleanliness and decoration of their house. Children behave very nicely to make their favorite Santa Claus happy who brings gifts for them. Christians actively participate in midnight Christmas Mass and the joyous Christmas carnival. Christmas evening is the time to relish some traditional Christmas food especially the Christmas Cake. Tradition of singing Christmas carols and songs is also practiced with faith and dedication. Celebrations for Christmas Festival 2 3. Festive air pervade everywhere when Christmas is near. It is celebrated with high spirits and gusto. Though the way of celebrating Christmas differs in various countries but the fervor and enthusiasm remains the same. Caroling, feasting and gift- giving are the main ingredients of a perfect Christmas celebration. Christmas preparations begin many days before the festival. Markets, streets, homes and churches are illuminated with colorful lights and decorated with Nativity scenes, Christmas trees and artificial snow. Pubs, party halls, restaurants, discotheques and even beaches are thronged by people at the time of Christmas. These celebrations are escalated with multiple fireworks and other festivities. It is celebrated with immense joy and mirth all around. Merry-making with family and friends is the significant part of the Christmas fiesta. No celebration is worth unless spent with loved ones. Some people go to their native place, stay at home or indulge in lavish balls and enjoy get-together with their dear ones. These days workplaces also hold special theme parties. It gives people a chance to dress in their best. Now-a-days, many Christian schools perform Nativity plays and hold Christmas parties. Sumptuous meals also form an important part of Christmas celebrations. People spend a lot of time preparing their special Christmas delicacies. People are in the 3 4. fun and frolic mood especially children as they get gifts from their beloved Santa Claus. 1. The Origin of Christmas The origin of Christmas differs as the precise date of the birth and historicity of Jesus are much debated. Christmas, literally meaning the Mass of Christ, is a traditional holiday in the Christian calendar. The festival of Christmas takes place on 25th December, every year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is also celebrated as a secular holiday throughout the world, including countries with small Christian populations like India. Various theories of the origin of Christmas exist that give a clear insight into the celebration of Christmas. Date of Christmas Christmas is celebrated on December 25 in all Christian churches including Eastern Rite, Roman & Protestant. Since most Eastern Orthodox churches have not accepted either the Gregorian calendar or the Revised Julian Calendar reforms, December 25 will fall on the civil date of January 7 for the years from 1900 to 2099. It is believed that the nativity was set on December 25th by a Roman bishop around the third century A.D. The Roots Of Christmas Christmas is from Christes Maesse, which means Christ Mass. It is referred that during the 4th century, the celebration of Christ's 4 5. birth on December 25 was gradually adopted by most Eastern churches. In Jerusalem, opposition to Christmas lasted longer as according to them the exact date of birth of Jesus Christ is unknown. It is said that December 17-24th was the period of Saturnalia, a well-known festival in pagan, Rome. December 25th was the birthday of Mithra, the Iranian god of light. This day was adopted by the church as Christmas to counteract the effects of these festivals The Acceptation Though the true origin of Christmas is filled with controversy and compromise, today, Christmas has turned out to be one of the most popular festival that fills joy, happiness and love in people's life. The festival of Christmas has absorbed various customs and traditions of world and 25th December has emerged as the most important day for Christians, irrespective of its roots. It is taken as a day that reflects the power, glory and salvation of Jesus Christ and his message of hope to the world. Various Theories Of The origin of Christmas As the origin of Christmas has been a debatable issue, various theories has been suggested, supporting the date of 25th December as the birth of Jesus. 2. Christmas Tradition 5 6. The Tradition of Christmas festival has gradually evolved from times that long represented the Christian period. All the traditions and customs performed on this day are only the extension of Roman Pagan to Christian ceremonial. The tradition of Christmas include the 12 days of Christmas, the bright fires, the yule log, the giving of gifts, carols, the feasts, and the church processions, can all be traced back to the early times. With the passage of time, the nature of Christmas celebration has undergone tremendous change and every year a new tradition begins. Christmas, celebrated to remember and honor the birth of holy Jesus, has evolved from a staunch religious affair into a merry hearted event that include carnivals, cookies and off course Santa Clause. The Traditional Elements Of Christmas: Yule Log The burning of the Yule Log was taken from ancient sun worship rituals. Yule Logs are supposed to be cut from red oak trees and burned all of Christmas Eve and into Christmas Day. Snow Christmas has been widely associated with snow fun activities such as skiing, snowboarding, sled riding, snow mobile riding, or hiking with snowshoes. Wreath 6 7. To worship evergreen holly is taken as a sign of eternal life because it did not brown or die in the winter. Some religious groups say that the crown of thorns placed on Jesus' head was made of holly. The berries were supposedly white but turned bright red from Jesus' blood. Mistletoe Mistletoe is rarely used in churches because it comes from the ancient Druid ceremony celebrating winter solstice. This once pagan tradition started when a girl would stand beneath the hanging plant and a boy would walk up, pick a berry and then kiss her. Cookies There is no exact date recorded but the idea of leaving cookies for Santa started sometime in the 1930's. Naughty kids use them to bribe Santa at the last minute and nice kids use them as a way of thanking him for all his hard work on Christmas Eve. Santa Claus Santa' has been around since the 4th century. Originally known as Saint Nicholas, the patron of children and sailors, the bishop was immortalized because of his generous and loving nature towards children. Lights The very first person to have Christmas lights on their tree was Edward Johnson who worked for Thomas Edison. The use of 7 8. decorative light has been imperative on the Christmas Day. Christmas Tree The tradition of the Christmas tree comes from Germany. The very first trees were oak, the same tree used for the Yule Log. Trees have been a symbol of good luck since the middle Ages. Caroling The custom of singing Christmas carols is said to have come from 13th century Italy where a man named St. Francis of Assisi led songs of praise. It is very bad luck to send carolers away empty handed. It is customary to offer food, drink or even a little money. Rudolph The invention of Rudolph was an advertising gimmick. The red-nosed reindeer was born in 1939 when a 34-year old writer for Montgomery Ward named Robert L. May was asked to invent a Christmas story. The company gave copies of the story to customers during the holiday season as a promotion for their stores. 3. Christmas Day in the Morning Christmas mornings are the most spirited time of the year after spending a great Christmas Eve. All christians attend Christmas services held on the Christmas day. It is a prayerful service and people pray on Christmas mornings celebrating the birthday of Jesus 8 9. Christ. The prayer is usually followed by carol songs which is the traditional songs sung during the Christmas season. People of all age gr