Get into the season with these top 6 must-know facts about Christmas
The season is well and truly upon us! With less than 25 days until the big man in red makes an appearance, it's time to get into the Christmas season.
With so much to know about Christmas, it can be hard to track down where this annual celebration originated from and what it means for many people today.
From its very religious background to the mass-marketed bonanza of today, and even the simple happy holidays celebrated by many.
Here's the top 6 must-know Christmas facts of 2021.
How many do you know?
1. Christmas on the 25th is a myth
Christmas wasn't always celebrated on the 25th of December.
Whilst many believe this to be the date that Jesus Christ was born, there's actually no mention of this in the Christian bible.
Many historians even believe he was born in the spring!
However, the 25th of December does coincide with another cultural holiday… that of the Romans.
Known as the festival of saturnalia, this celebration honours the god of Saturn through gift-giving and was held between December 17th to the 23rd.
During this time, many Romans would indulge in sweet treats such as candied fruits, jams, sweetened nuts, cookies, and cakes. So you can thank them for your favourite Christmas nibbles!
2. The origins of Santa Claus
Now we all love the man in red. However, Santa Claus wasn’t always the big bearded man we know today.
His origins, as well as his kindness, can be traced back to the Christan Bishop St Nicholas.
Between the years 301-400 AD, St Nicholas was known for his immense generosity as he donated his large inheritance to the poor and even rescued women from servitude.
The early bishop hailed from the maritime town called Myra in Greece and was also known for other miracles and was therefore given the folk title of “Wonderworker.”
His name in Dutch translated to Sinter Klaas which then descended to Santa Claus in English.
3. The real meaning of Mistletoe
We all know the cute white berry plant to be a sign of love. We even have a tradition of kissing underneath it.
But the holiday decoration went much further than that in its origins.
The Druids, high-ranking members of the Celtic culture, believed it was a sign of fertility and used the plant as an aphrodisiac… or in other words, to arouse sexual instinct.
However, the first recorded use of Mistletoe for kissing is recorded in a song from 1784, in which the verse reads:
“What all the men, Jem, John, and Joe, Cry, ‘What good-luck has sent ye?’ And kiss beneath the mistletoe, The girl not turn’d of twenty.”
4. Christmas is cancelled
Believe it or not, there was a period of time in which Christmas was cancelled for many.
During a time of religious reform, which happened in the 17th Century when Oliver Cromwell and his Christmas-hating forces took over England.
They believed that Christmas was an overzealous celebration that had to be banned in order to become a more pure religious follower of theirs.
Eventually, Charles II took to the throne and restored this beloved holiday.
As well as this, these views were brought over to America in the 1600s and as a result, they also didn't celebrate Christmas.
That was until the year 1870 when it was declared a federal holiday after the American revolution saw many British ideologies fall away.
5. Bridging a class gap
Did you know that the culture of Christmas helped to bridge a class gap between the poor and the rich?
During the 1800s in both America and Britain, Christmas underwent a cultural reform that saw the image of Christmas change dramatically.
Instead of it being about a rambunctious feast and drinking, it became a much more family-orientated celebration that we know today.
This was due to the efforts of two writers, Washington Irving and Charlies Dickens.
Irving wrote a book called “The Sketchbook Of Geoffrey Crayon” which told the story of Christmas in an English manor house.
As part of this story, the squire of the house allowed the peasants to seek refuge in the manor house for the holiday which blurred the lines between wealth and social class.
In Britain, Dickens wrote the classic Christmas tale of A Christmas Carol.
This famous tale delivers a powerful message about the importance of charity and kindness and features the character Scrooge becoming more sensitive to the poorer families in the Victorian era, especially Tiny Tim.
6. A worldwide celebration
Christmas is celebrated around the world, apart from a select few eastern and Arab countries.
In each of the countries that do celebrate Christmas, they all have a unique way of naming the holiday.
You may have heard about Nöel which is the French word for Christmas. But, have you heard of Navidad in Spanish and Natale in Italian? Which all originate from the word nativity.
As well as this, there is an earlier term called “Yule” which derived from the Germanic word jol and the Anglo-Saxon word geōl.
However, Germany today also calls Christmas “Weihnachten” (pronounced vai-nacht-en) which means hallowed night.
What did you think of these Christmas facts? And did you already know any? Let us know in the comments below!