Everything You Need to Know About Christmas | AIB
The Christmas is the most important Christian festival and is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.
There are several theories on the celebration of December 25 that refer to the possible dates of the birth of Jesus. According to some, it has its origin in the ancient anniversary of the annual birth of the Sun God in the winter solstice of the Romans, adopted by the Catholic Church in the third century AD to allow the conversion of pagan peoples.
As time went by, Western civilization adapted Christmas to modern times, taking away the religious connotation and adding a substantial commercial component with the figure of Santa Claus and his gifts for children.
From the Christian point of view, however, it is considered that this is not the authentic meaning of Christmas. The purpose of Christmas, on the contrary, responds to the manifestation of certain human values that during the year are more or less forgotten.
Values such as solidarity, union, love, peace, and hope are more typical of the Christmas season that represent the religious beliefs of Christianity.
Christmas was established on December 25 as a day of solemnity by the Catholic Church in the year 350 thanks to Pope Julius. In the Bible, however, the exact day of Jesus’ birth is not mentioned. Hence, the celebration of Christmas in principle was not part of Christian traditions.
The reason for setting December 25 as the date of celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is there was a need for the Church to replace the Saturnalia, traditional in Ancient Rome, which coincided with the winter solstice and the so-called pagans celebrated that, and thus facilitate the acceptance of Christianity.
The Origin of Santa Claus!
The character of Santa Claus was inspired by the story of a Greek Christian bishop named Nicolás de Bari who lived in Turkey in the fourth century in a wealthy and well-off family but known for his generosity to the poorest.
De Bari was left without his parents at an early age, at 19 he decided to give all his wealth to the needy and go to Mira with his uncle to dedicate himself to the priesthood. He was a person so beloved for his gift of people who were made the patron saint of Greece, Turkey, and Russia.
Many years later, his figure was adopted by modern culture to become the maker of the miracles of Christmas, which runs through all the chimneys of the world distributing gifts for the whole family.
The Christmas tree has a Christian meaning although its use has been generalized in people of different beliefs. The Christmas tree refers to the tree of Paradise, the original sin and the figure of Jesus as the redeemer of sins, but also the evergreen leaf is a symbol of eternal life.
The typical ornaments of the Christmas tree are!
- The star, symbol of the guide, about the star of Bethlehem.
- The balls, initially apples, about the temptations Garlands and tinsel, the symbol of unity and joy.
- Lights, originally candles, symbolizing the light of Jesus that illuminates the world.
The manger, also known as nativity or birth, is an essential symbol of Christmas, as it represents the arrival of Jesus to the world.
Inside the manger, the essential figures are the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and the Child Jesus, next to the mule and the ox. Other characters of the manger are the three wise men (Melchor, Gaspar, Baltazar) and the shepherds.
The Christmas wreath, also called the Advent wreath, is used to represent the four-week advent period that precedes the arrival of Christmas. It is made with pine or spruce branches. In it, four candles are placed, one for each week.
The origin of the Christmas wreath goes back to the pagan cults in the north of Europe, where it was customary to make a circle with branches, leaves and on which several candles were placed. This circle represented the rebirth of nature after winter; it was a symbol of hope for the arrival of spring, as well as the continuous passage of the cycle of the seasons.
The candles, on the other hand, were used to honor the sun god and worship him as a symbol of life, so that it does not stop illuminating the darkest and coldest days of the year, which coincides with winter in the northern hemisphere.