The Date of Christmas
The idea to celebrate Christmas on December 25 originated in the 4th century. The Catholic Church wanted to eclipse the festivities of a rival pagan religion that threatened Christianity’s existence. The Romans celebrated the birthday of their sun god. Church leaders decided that in order to compete with the pagan celebration they would themselves order a festival in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The date of December 25 was chosen as the official birthday celebration as Christ’s Mass so that it would compete head on with the rival pagan celebration.
Mistletoe and Holly
Two hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Druids used mistletoe to celebrate the coming of winter. They believed the plant had special healing powers for everything from female infertility to poison ingestion. Scandinavians also thought of mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony. They associated mistletoe with their goddess of love, Frigga. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe probably derived from this belief.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico. They were named after America’s first ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett. He brought the plants to America in 1828.
The Christmas Tree
The Christmas Tree originated in Germany in the 16th century. It was common for the Germanic people to decorate fir trees, both inside and out, with roses, apples, and colored paper. It is believed that Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, was the first to light a Christmas tree with candles. While coming home one dark winter’s night near Christmas, he was struck with the beauty of the starlight shining through the branches of a small fir tree outside his home. He duplicated the starlight by using candles attached to the branches of his indoor Christmas tree.
This abbreviation for Christmas is of Greek origin. The word for Christ in Greek is Xristos. During the 16th century, Europeans began using the first initial of Christ’s name, “X” in place of the word Christ in Christmas as a shorthand form of the word. Although the early Christians understood that X stood for Christ’s name, later Christians who did not understand the Greek language mistook “Xmas” as a sign of disrespect.
Vocabulary (click here ChristmasVocabulary and print this document. It contains useful words!)
and now it is music time!!!
Have you ever watched this film?