December 14, 2017
In December, all over the world you can see Christmas carolers, decorated Christmas trees, streets lights and house lights shining with bright red and green, and children waiting for Santa to come and deliver all the good boys and girls their presents. But what does this all mean? First of all, the word Christmas stems from exactly what you may think, the Mass of Christ. Green has been used for thousands of years during the holidays as a way to brighten homes during a dark winter. The green represents Holly, ivy, and mistletoe which were exchanged by the Romans as a virtue of good luck. Even the ancient Egyptian would bring palm branches into their homes during the winter months. Red comes from apples, Holly berries, and more recently is a representation of the blood of Jesus Christ. Red can also represent bishops robes.
Why the Christmas Tree? The “Paradise Tree” in the garden of Eden was introduced during plays on Christmas eve in Europe where bible stories were told to people who couldn’t read. Normally, this was a pine tree that had red apples tied to it.
Why the lights? In Germany during the 17th century candles were attached to the tree with pins or melted wax to illuminate it. This tradition spread through eastern Europe where candles were also placed in windows to symbolize that it was a christian home and that other worshipers were welcomed. This evolved into the spectacular light shows we see today.
Where did Saint Nicholas come from? The idea of Santa Claus came from what is now known as the southern coast of Turkey. Born to wealthy christian parents, Nicholas obeyed the words of Jesus who told him to “sell what you own and give your money to the poor.” Nicholas used his entire inheritance and gave back to the needy. Nicholas served god and his fellow man until he was exiled and imprisoned by Roman emperor Diocletian who persecuted christians. Saint Nicholas died December 6, 343 A.D.
Why presents? The main reason we celebrate Christmas with the giving of presents is to represent the presents given to Jesus by the three wise men. It is also a representation of the gift god gave the world, Jesus. What about stockings? When saint Nicholas discovered the horrible predicament that three girls were in, he began to leave them socks with gold in them. He put these socks near the mantel so they looked like socks hanging to dry. The legends ends with all three sisters finding love and living happily ever after.
What’s up with mistletoe? The majority of people think mistletoe is a plant to celebrate holiday romance. Dating back to the 18th century, the ancient Druids in what is now known as London, England started the tradition of hanging it in the house. They believed that it held magical powers that would bless the household and fight off evil spirits. Kissing underneath the mistletoe stems from Norse mythology where the plant stood as a symbol of love and friendship.
Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25? All though no one knows the real birthday of Jesus, the first record of Christmas being celebrated on December 25 was in 336 A.D. in Rome under the rule of Constantine. Constantine was the first christian Roman emperor. Shortly after, Pope Julius officially declared that the birth of Jesus Christ would be celebrated on December 25. So this Christmas think about traditions and spend it with family instead of on electronics.