is an annual Christian holiday which celebrates the birth of
Jesus Christ. Some people celebrate Christmas on December 25,
but many celebrate on the evening of December 24 as well. The
official Christmas season, known as either Christmastide or the
Twelve Days of Christmas, extends from December 25 to the feast
of Epiphany on January 6.
traditionally commemorates the arrival of the Three Wise Men
of the East in Bethlehem, who presented Jesus with gifts of gold,
frankincense, and myrrh.
is based on the story of Jesus' birth as described in the Gospel
according to Matthew (1:18-2:12) and the Gospel according to
Luke (Luke 1:26-56). Roman Catholics first celebrated Christmas,
then known as the Feast of the Nativity, as early as 336 AD.
The word Christmas appeared only around 1050 as the Old English
phrase Christes maesse, meaning festival of Christ.
are unsure exactly when Christians first began celebrating the
Nativity of Christ. However, most scholars believe that Christmas
originated in the 4th century as a Christian substitute for pagan
celebrations of the winter solstice.
Santa Claus became increasingly familiar to Americans, the German
Christmas tree also acquired popularity in North America. As
early as the 17th century, Germans had transformed this pagan
symbol of fertility into a Christian symbol of rebirth.
practice of exchanging Christmas cards also became a widespread
custom in the 19th century. In 1843 English illustrator John
Callcott Horsley created the first modern Christmas card, which
depicted a family celebration and its caption read: A Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.
people who celebrate Christmas often decorate evergreen trees
and place presents beneath them. Children often hang stockings
on the fireplaces for Santa Claus to fill them with gifts. Each
year as Christmas approaches, many families attend church pageants
that recount the story of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. On Christmas
Eve, they attend church, read passages from the Bible and gather
the family together at home. Some open their gifts that evening
while others wait until the next morning to exchange gifts.
Brazil, most families have the tradition of gathering together
on Christmas Eve, December, 24. There is usually a special family
dinner prepared with dishes made with turkey, ham, codfish, vegetables
and fruits, and also a supper. We usually decorate our Christmas
trees in late November or early December and we have it in our
homes until Epiphany, January, 6. Papai Noel, the Brazilian name
of Santa Claus, is the gift-bringer in Brazil who brings gifts
to those children who behaved well along the year.
Santa Claus -
as a fat, jolly man with red cheecks and white beard, dressed
in a red suit trimmed with white and driving a sleigh pulled
by eight reindeer that rides in the sky, Santa Claus is said
to travel around the globe on Christmas Eve delivering presents
to all good children. He enters houses through the chimney and
leave presents under the Christmas tree or in the stockings.
As in Brazil most houses don't have chimneys, because it's a
tropical country and it's Summer during the Christmas season,
Santa is said to enter the houses and apartments using a magical
key that opens all doors.
The Reindeer -
is not a Christmas symbol, but they are very much associated
with the figure of Santa Claus. Reindeer is a common name for
a deer native to the subarctic and arctic regions of Europe and
Asia. They are sturdy, short-legged animals with a brownish coat
that is dark in the summer and light in winter. For many centuries reindeer have been domesticated
in their original habitat, which ranges from Norway into northern
Asia, and trained to draw sleds for their strength, speed and
endurance in pulling sleds over snow.
The Christmas Tree -
tree has its origins in Germany, around the 17th century. According
to legend, the Christmas tree tradition began with Martin Luther,
founder of German Protestantism. While walking through the forest
on Christmas Eve, Luther was so moved by the beauty of the starlit
fir trees that he brought one indoors and decorated it with candles
to remind his children of God's creation. In 1841 Prince Albert
of Germany gave his wife, Queen Victoria of England, a gift of
a Christmas tree. German immigrants took the Christmas tree to
other parts of Europe and to the United States and Canada, where
it soon became a popular tradition. A large varity of Christmas
decorations such as blown-glass ornaments, tin angels, paper
chains, candles, cornucopias filled with sugarplums were later
The Candy Cane,
a hard candy with a sweet peppermint taste, is a popular Christmas
has it that during the 17th century, craftsmen created the white
sticks of candy in the shape of shephreds' crooks at the suggestion
of the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The candy
treats were given to children to keep them quiet during ceremonies
at the living creche, or Nativity scene, and the custom of passing
out the candy crooks at such ceremonies soon spread throughout
recent explanations of the candy cane's symbolism hold that the candy is
hard because the church is built on solid rock and God's promises
are a firm foundation (Matt 16:18) (1Thess 5:24).
The color white represents Christ's innocence and purity ( Heb 4:15).
The large red stripes are believed to stand for Jesus's sacrifice,
the blood He shed for our sins on the cross (John 19:34-35).
The smaller ones are for the stripes upon his back when he was
beaten by the Roman soldiers (Isaiah 53:5). When turned around,
it looks like the letter "J", the first letter of the
name of Jesus.
factual evidence for these notions does not exist, they have
become increasingly common and at times are even represented
as fact. Regardless, the candy cane remains a favorite holiday
treat and decoration.
by Lalla andIrene. Candy cane
by Irma and candle by Kat.
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