When was the first Christmas greeting send out? Why do people kiss under the mistletoe? These are some questions that hover in our mind, as we enjoy the Christmas festivities. Let us have a look at the Christmas traditions that have been passed down the ages.
Popular Christmas traditions
Christmas tradition in Africa:
Christmas day in Africa starts with groups of carolers walking through the village. By singing the lovely carols they celebrate their Christmas. Such carols are very much popular around the world. They come back home for getting the final preparation. Everybody gets ready with attractive dresses, fashionable shoes and with many more exciting items. One of the important parts of Christmas celebration in Africa is that everybody shares love with each other. The occasion is an opportunity to come close to each other. Exchanging gifts they add flavor to the occasion.
Christmas tradition in United States of America:
In US, Christmas is a famous festival. Large numbers of people celebrate the occasion sharing their love and affection. One of the main symbols of Christmas is Santa Clause. This was introduced in US in the 1980’s. With his white beard and red dress, Santa Clause looks fabulous. Various nationalities have been settled in the US. Their mixed culture has made the tradition so valuable. In Washington D.C. a big tree is lit with perfect decoration. Such ceremony can be noticed in Boston where carol singing festivities are popular. In Hawaii, Christmas begins with the arrival of the Christmas Tree Ship. This ship brings a huge load Christmas fare.
Christmas tradition in India:
In India, Christmas is celebrated with wonderful rituals. Banana or mango trees are the ideal places for performing all spiritual tasks. Indian Christmas tradition also involves oil-burning lamps, red flowers, Christmas trees as the main items for the occasion. Gifts are offered to family members and friends. Like Diwali, Christmas is also an equally important event in India.
The Story of Christmas
According to the old Christmas traditions, “mass of Christ” means the story of Christmas with its roots in Bethlehem. It was said that Jesus Christ was born on 25th of a particular month. In the beginning the month was not certain. The Catholic Church chose the date as 25th December, owing its close connection to the winter solstice. This was considered to be a time for celebrations in several cultures.
The story of Santa Claus
The story of Santa Claus is associated with Saint Nicholas who existed in 4th Century as a Bishop of Myra, presently known as Turkey. Saint Nicholas was an honest man and used to love children. It was his simple and benevolent nature that made others believes he could do miracles and hence the devotion towards him increased all the more.
Therefore, it was from Saint Nicholas that the tradition of Santa Claus came in to existence. This is what is mostly believed. The association with children and kids remains till date.
Tradition of Christmas Trees
The Christmas trees that we decorate today also have its roots in the past. According to the early Christmas traditions, the Germans in the 16th century use to decorate the fir trees. This was done both indoor and outdoor with roses, apples, colored papers, wreathes of ribbons, and candies and so on. This fir tree in biblical connotations often referred to as the Garden of Eden.
Going back to history, it was Martin Luther who first started the tradition of decorating tress with light in the month of December. All these analogies, lead to the modern concept of Christmas Trees.
Tradition of the Mistletoes
The Christmas tradition of the Mistletoes has an ancient past. It was previously looked upon as a pious plant during the winter months. The ancient Celtics believed that the mistletoe had some magical healing powers. This was a reason why it was used as a remedy against any ailment, poison and sometimes to ward of evil spirits. The Roman enemies who use to encounter each other under the mistletoe use to embrace each other.
Amongst the Scandinavians, it was believed those who kissed under mistletoe they were blesses with good fortune and happiness for the forthcoming year.
Christmas Tradition of the Holly, Ivy and Greenery
The usage and the presence of the holly, ivy and greenery also have its lineage in old Christmas customs. It was believed that in North Europe, Christmas was observed during mid-winter. According to some lore, demons and ghosts were heard howling through the gusts of wind. People use to collect boughs of holly had the powers to ward off such evil and negativity.
Ivy and Greenery was kept order to freshen the atmosphere.
These would be some ancient Christmas traditions that still hold a lot of significance.
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