Feature Writer John Christie – The History of Christmas

Christmas is both a religious and secular holiday and has been celebrated throughout the world for 2,000 years. People around the world celebrate it by going to church, giving and receiving gifts and being with family and friends. People also celebrate Christmas by decorating Christmas Trees and waiting for Santa Claus. The holiday also celebrates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

Christmas has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870.

Christmas has a variety of traditions worldwide. For instance, in the Scandinavian countries, St. Lucia, also known as St. Lucy, is honored on December 13 of each year. The celebration of St. Lucia Day first began in Sweden, but spread to Denmark and Finland by the mid 19th century. This is begun in the beginning of the holiday season and is known as Little Yule. In Little Yule, the oldest daughter wakes every member of the family. She is dressed in a long white gown. She is also wearing a red sash and wearing a crown made of twigs. In addition, she is carrying nine lighted candles. For the day, she is called Lussi or Lussibruden. The family then eats breakfast in a room lighted with candles. At night, men, women, and children would carry torches in a parade. The night would end when the torches would be placed on a large pile of straw creating a large bonfire.

In Italy, people call Christmas “Il Natale” which means the birthday. In America, on Christmas Eve, Italians have various fishes along with a main Italian meal such as stuffed shells.

In Australia, during their summer, it’s not unusual for the temperatures to be around 100 degrees. This is why people go to the beach and barbecues. During Christmas, people have family gatherings and exchange gifts. People have ham, turkey, pork or seafood barbeques.

The one man we can’t forget about is Santa Claus. His history goes back to the third century, when he was known St. Nicholas. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth. However, our image that we have of Santa today comes from the poem “The Night Before Christmas.” Whatever your image of the Jolly Old Fellow or the traditions you celebrate, have a happy holiday season.

To read more about the history of Christmas follow this link: http://www.history.com/topics/christmas


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