Christmas or Christmas Day is a holyday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. The actual date of Christ�s birth is not known and even the New Testament does not give a specific date. Back in 350 A.D., Pope Julius I declared December 25 as the official date for celebrating Christmas. This might have something to do with the pagan celebrations in the winter solstice, wherein December 25 was celebrated as the date of the birth of the �Unconquerable Sun�.
The name �Christmas� derives from the Old English word �Cristes M�sse� � meaning the �mass of Christ�.
Christians all over the world celebrate Christmas for the length of the Christmas season �which starts on the Christmas Eve when Jesus was born and ends on January 6 - the day the Three Wise Men visited him with gifts.
Initially, however, the declaration of the birth-date of Jesus Christ did not call for feasting or celebration. The early converts wanted it to be a solemn religious occasion in opposition to the pagan concept of merry-making and revelry. The earliest reference of Christmas traditions occurs in the Calendar of Filocalus - a manuscript compiled in Rome in 354.
Present day Christmas traditions involve family get-togethers, exchange of gifts and cards, good food and a lot of hilarity. Christmas carols, Christmas tree and Santa Claus are central to Christmas celebrations.
Ceremony, so to say, is rather simple on the Christmas Day. Religious services are held in Churches until late in the midnight with followers of the faith singing carols. Re-enactment of the Nativity scenes may sometimes be a part of the ceremony.
Being a colorful festivity, it also includes tasteful decorations with bright hues like red, blue, green, white, silver and gold playing prominent part in it. Lights, both electric lights and candles, have always been a part of Christmas traditions.
Christmas trees are decorated with candies and cookies, lights and small trinkets; gift-boxes are tied to the Christmas tree. Other decorations include on this holyday display of Nativity scenes following tradition. Houses are also decorated with floral wreaths.
Interesting Christmas Traditions Anecdotes
In the year 1841, Prince Albert, the German husband of the British Monarch Victoria, brought the first Christmas tree in England.
America had its first Christmas tree a year later in 1842, with the professor of Greek at the College of William and Mary, Dr. Charles Frederick Minnegerode, introducing the Christmas tree in Williamsburg, Virginia, America.
The invention of electricity and the use of electrical lights to decorate Christmas trees popularized the Christmas tree.