Christmas – Origins, meanings and symbols you need to know

Christmas, also known as Noel, Christmas or Xmas, is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated primarily on December 25 as a day of religious and cultural celebration. of billions of people around the world.

Some countries celebrate this day on December 25, some countries again on the evening of December 24. According to Roman Catholics, the official feast day is December 25, also known as “the main feast of the day”, and the night of the 24th of the month. 12 is called the “vigil”. However, the December 24 night ceremony usually attracts more news to attend. The Eastern Orthodox still use the Julian calendar to determine this date, so they celebrate Christmas on January 7 according to the Gregorian calendar.

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The origin and meaning of the Christmas holiday (Noel)

Christmas is a Christian festival that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. The English term Christmas (“Mass on Christ’s day”) is of fairly recent origin. The term Yule may earlier derive from the German jōl or Anglo-Saxon geōl, which refers to the winter solstice. Corresponding terms in other languages ​​— Navidad in Spanish, Natale in Italian, Noël in French — can all denote nativity. The German word Weihnachten means “sacred night.”

In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; The birth of Jesus was not celebrated. In the fourth century, church officials decided to treat Jesus’ birthday as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible makes no mention of his date of birth (a fact that the Puritans later pointed out to deny the legitimacy of the celebration).

Although some evidence suggests that his date of birth may have occurred in the spring (why do shepherds herd cattle in the middle of winter?), Pope Julius I chose December 25. It is generally believed that the church chose this date in an attempt to accept and assimilate the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt in 432 and to England in the late sixth century.

For centuries, Christian scribes accepted Christmas as the day Jesus was born. However, by the early 18th century, scholars began to propose a different explanation. Isaac Newton suggested that Christmas day was chosen to correspond to the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, which was once marked as December 25. In 1743, German Paul Ernst Jablonski argued that Christmas was fixed on the 25th. December to match the date of Sol Invictus in the ancient Roman religion. Before Christians, many other cultures and religions also celebrated the holiday of the end of December.

The origin and meaning of the word Merry Christmas

The word “Merry” itself has planted in our hearts a joy, a warm feeling of happiness because it is associated with Christmas. Although Christmas celebrations began in the 4th century AD, it was not until 1699 that the expression “Merry Christmas” was used.

The person most credited with the origin of the phrase was a naval officer who first used the word in a cordial letter in 1699. The phrase appeared a second time in 1843 in a work of Charles Dickens “Christmas carols”.

During Christmas, not only Christians, but almost everyone from all walks of life or religions send each other the greetings of “Merry Christmas”. In the phrase Merry Christmas, “Merry” means joy and “Christmas” means the lambs of God (Old English usage). Many people use the word “Happy” instead of “Merry” to wish each other on Christmas. The phrase “Happy Christmas” became popular around the world in the 19th century, when it was used by Queen Elizabeth II herself.

In the original 1823 work of American poet Clement Moore, “A Visit to Saint Nicholas”, the conclusion that had been “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night” was changed to “Merry Christmas” to all” in many subsequent editions.

Today, the expression “Happy Christmas” is mainly used by residents of Ireland and England only. Sometimes to shorten, many people also use the word Xmas instead of Christmas. However, it must be affirmed that, no phrase or expression can be more popular than the phrase “Merry Christmas”. Wishing you a merry and happy Christmas season!

The Origin and Meaning of the Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a circle made of green branches and leaves that is often placed on a table or hung high for all to see. Trees are often decorated at parties during the winter solstice – a sign of the coming end of winter. On leaves placed within 4 candles. This custom was started by the Lutherans in Germany in the 16th century to represent the struggle between light and darkness.

The round leaf wreath represents the eternal character and endless love of God. Green represents the hope that the Savior will come to save people. 4 candles include three purple ones – the color of Advent, the 4th is pink, the color of the third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday.

The origin and meaning of Christmas cards

Originated in 1843 when Mr. Henry Cole, a wealthy English merchant, asked Horsley, a painter in London, to design a beautiful card to give to friends. At Christmas that year, Horsley released the world’s first card and it has since printed 1,000 copies. Christmas cards quickly exploded and became fashionable in the UK during the 10 years since the British Government passed a law in 1846 allowing anyone to send letters to anywhere at a cheap price. Not long after, this trend was introduced to Germany, and it was not until 30 years later that Americans accepted it.

The Origin and Meaning of Christmas Gifts

Gifts express people’s love for family and friends. For some people, Christmas gifts have a deep religious meaning. It is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, a gift that God has given to man.

When Jesus was born crying in Bethlehem in a manger, three Eastern kings came to pay their respects. They brought three precious gifts, namely gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold represents Jesus as King (ie, Son of the Father – King of the Kingdom of Heaven), frankincense represents Jesus as God, and myrrh represents the image of Jesus crucified on the cross or more specifically, Jesus’ death for the redemption of mankind.

The three kings were very rich, but the poor people with almost no possessions brought whatever they could to pay their respects to the Child Jesus. The shepherds gave Jesus fruit and small toys of their own making.

Santa Claus used to ride his reindeer in the sky, go to the house with the Christmas tree and climb through the chimney to bring presents to the sleeping children and often put the presents in socks.

The origin of the use of cribs and mangers at Christmas is due to the legend that Jesus was born in a small cave, in the manger of the shepherds in Bethlehem.

The origin and meaning of the Grotto and the manger

Today, on the night of December 24, there are caves with mangers in the synagogues, inside there is a statue of the Child Jesus, a statue of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by donkeys, a statue of the Three Kings, some angels, and a saint. Joseph on the roof has a light, shining from a star to guide the three kings to God. Everyone turned to the benevolent God, praying to God to save humanity from war, poverty and misfortune.

The Origin and Meaning of the Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree originated in Germany from the 16th century. This is a tree that lives in harsh climates but still retains its strong, solid and eternal green color. Gradually the image of this tree appeared more and more often and it was considered the center of the festival, where people held hands and danced around the ornate pine tree both inside and outside with flowers. roses, apples and colored paper. In the 19th century, the Christmas tree began to be widely used in England.

In the 1820s, the Christmas tree was brought to the United States by the Germans in Pennsylvania. Nowadays, near Christmas, people often buy a pine tree and decorate it with stars, pearls, glittering tinsel. , flowers… The pine tree is considered a symbol of hope and new vitality in the festival to welcome the new year.

The origin and meaning of socks

Legend has it that there were 3 girls of marriageable age in the other family, but no boys looked at them because their family was too poor. Bishop Myra was so merciful that he threw the gold coins down the chimney of the three girls’ house. Gold coins fell from the roof onto the same pairs of stockings that the girls hung by the fireplace. Needless to say, the girls were overjoyed. They had the opportunity to fulfill their wish.

That miracle story was spread everywhere, everyone wanted to be lucky, so they all imitated the 3 girls hanging stockings by the fireplace in the hope of receiving gifts. Children hope to receive the most gifts. Everyone in the family also took this opportunity to give gifts to the children with the hope that they would be obedient and study well. Since then, it is customary for children to hang stockings next to the fireplace to receive a dream gift from Santa.

The origin and meaning of the Christmas Star

The 5-pointed star often appears colorfully during the Christmas season. A huge star hangs at the top of the church bell tower. From there stretch the paper on all four sides, there are many small stars, hanging lanterns and beautiful flowers.

The star in Christmas has a special meaning, according to legend, when Jesus was born, a bright star appeared. The light spread for hundreds of miles to see. From the far eastern regions of what is now Iran and Syria, three kings were revealed to believe that by following the light of the star, they would surely encounter a miracle called the feast of the three kings.

From there, the three followed the light’s guidance to reach the city of Bethlehem where Jesus was born. These three people knelt before the Lord, offering the Lord gifts of incense and gold and silver treasures.

The star becomes a meaningful symbol during the Christmas season and is hung in the most luxurious places in synagogues and religious establishments during Christmas to remember the above legend. Due to the meaning of the star, it also symbolizes the miracles of God.

The Origin and Meaning of Santa Claus

The origin of the word “Santa Claus” or Saint Nicholas dates back to the 4th century in Turkey. From an early age he was a very pious person and devoted his life to Christianity.

Saint Nicholas is especially celebrated for his love of children and for his generosity. Saint Nicholas is the patroness of sailors, the island of Sicily, Greece and Russia and of course saints as well. In the 16th century, in the Netherlands children used to place their wooden shoes by the fireplace in the hope that they would be well fed by St. Nicholas.

The Dutch pronounce the word St. Nicholas as Sint Nicholaas, later falsified as Sinterklaas and eventually read by Anglicans as Santa Claus.

In 1882, Clemon C. Mor wrote his famous song “A visit from St. Nick” (visit of Saint Nick) and later published as “The night before Christmas”. Mor is considered to have modernized the image of Santa Claus with the image of a fat, funny old man in a red suit.

The Origin and Meaning of Santa’s Red Suit

Santa Claus has not yet become Santa Claus, because he still wears his old woodcutter clothes and rides a horse when he comes to give presents to the children. One day, the village landlord Nicholas passed by his house, and immediately Nicholas was mesmerized by the rickshaw with two beautiful reindeer, which had cute ringing bells. The landlord wore a scarlet suit, with a fur hat of the same color on his head. “I deserve it too, my horse is too old and lamenting, and these clothes can’t stand the cold of winter anymore.”

Nicholas went to the best seamstress in the area to get that dream red dress. But strangely enough, when the suit was finished, it was so big that Nicholas looked like he was inside. “Oh I ruined your suit, how baggy it is!”. “It’s okay, I’ll eat candy to make people grow up like clothes. These pants? I will wear a pair of black boots to reduce the clutter. Don’t worry, I’ll look great in this outfit!”

And so, Santa Claus was born as a legend, but it was not until a few decades later that the red costume associated with that legend appeared.

And now, confidently tell everyone: “Santa Claus on a sleigh with two reindeer is completely real”.

The Origin and Meaning of Mistletoe and Holly

Two hundred years before Jesus was born, pagans used mistletoe to celebrate the arrival of Winter. They often pick this consignment plant and use it to decorate their house. They believe that this plant has a special ability to cure all kinds of ailments from female infertility to food poisoning. People in the Scandinavian peninsula also consider mistletoe as a symbol. of peace and harmony. They also identify the mistletoe with their goddess of love, Frigga.

The custom of kissing under the mistletoe tree must have come from this belief. At first the church banned the use of mistletoe at Christmas because of its pagan origins. Instead of mistletoe, the priests suggested using holly as a Christmas tree.

The Origin and Meaning of Poinsettias

Poinsettias are named after Joel Poinsett, the first American ambassador to Mexico, who brought this plant to the United States in 1882. The homeland of the poinsettias is in Mexico. . In the 18th century, the Mexicans considered the poinsettia the symbol of the star in Bethelem. According to legend, there was a boy who did not have a present to offer to the Child Jesus, so he brought a bunch of leaves to the manger. My friends laughed at me, but when I put the branches at the feet of the Child, the branches turned into beautiful red flowers.

The origin and meaning of the Stick-shaped candy

In the 1800s, a confectioner in India wanted to express the meaning of Christmas through a symbol made of candy. He started working on his idea by bending one of his candy bars into the shape of a candy cane. Through his candy cane, he incorporated symbols representing the love and sacrifice of Jesus. White represents the innocence and innocence of Jesus.

Then, the three small stripes represent the sufferings that the Lord endured before he died on the evil cross. Those three stripes also represent the divine trinity of God (the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). He added a bold stripe to represent the blood that God shed for mankind.

When we look at the hook of the staff, we see that it resembles a shepherd’s staff because Jesus is the shepherd of the people. If you turn the stick upside down, it will become the letter J representing the first letter of the name Jesus (Jesus). Thanks to that candy maker, everyone knows what Christmas is about.

In Alsace, France, this meal must include the three elements of water (carp, oyster), air (turkey or goose) and wood (pork). The custom of eating turkey was introduced by the sailors of the explorer Christophe Colomb from Mexico.

The Origin and Meaning of Christmas Songs

The song “Jingle bell” was composed by musician J.Pierpont, but placed in the list of famous American folk songs called “American song bag” by poet Carl Sandburg. This song is not composed for Christmas Eve as people think.

The lyrics are rustic and rustic, expressing the soul of the American people towards a good snow season. The image of Santa Claus with a toy gift bag, sitting on a reindeer car with jingle bells describes it vividly and seductively, making people like clams, it accidentally becomes a Christmas song. The song Silent Night, holy night originated in Germany with the title “Stille Natch, Heiligo Natch” composed by priest Joseph Mohr when the German – Austria – Prussian war ended. Later, it was popularized to Austria, America… now it has been translated into nearly 100 languages.

The origin and meaning of Buche Noel

The ancestors of Westerners used to gather firewood in the chimney of the house, they believed that the more the fire rattled, the evil spirits would stay away. Today, the custom is gradually disappearing because not many houses still have chimneys. Instead, on the initiative of a baker in France, in 1875, people made a cake shaped like a firewood tree for everyone to enjoy on Christmas Eve and handed down to this day.

The origin and meaning of the Church Bells

In some Asian cultures, bells are used to signal to the public that a joyful event or a sad event has occurred. After the birth of the baby Jesus, this custom was transmitted to Western countries to celebrate the coming of the Savior to earth. In Spain, church bells ring at midnight to signal the birth of Christ.

The Origin and Meaning of the Christmas Candle

There are many legends about Christmas Eve candles. Many people believe that Martin Luther was the first person to have the initiative to light many candles on the branches of the Christmas tree. When he returned home one winter night near Christmas, he was stunned by the beauty of the light from the stars shining on the small pine branch in front of his house. He recreated this scene by attaching candles to the branches of his Christmas tree to represent the Star over Bethlehem.

Another legend tells that a boy who got lost on Christmas Eve, thanks to the candlelight in his mother’s window, found his way home.

Another legend has it that Saints Mary and Joseph found a place to stay on the night of Christmas by following the light coming from the small door of a stable for oxen and donkeys. Check out other cultural traditions!

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