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Main » 2013 » December » 27 » Christmas

One of the most important Christian holiday – Christmas is celebrated by billions of people around the world on one day of December 25th [1], January 6th [2] or January 7th [3] each year.

On this day, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, although there is no mention of the date of Jesus Christ’s birth, even in the Bible is not mentioned. It seems that the one who decided that December 25th to be the day of Jesus’ birth, was Pope Julius I in the fourth century.

In the Romanian language, the name of this holiday (Crăciun) has its origin in the Latin word "creatio” (creation - here as the birth) or it can have a close connection with the celebration of the winter solstice among Slavic peoples: Korochun (in Russian), Kracun (in Czech and in Slovak), Krachun (in Hungarian, and the word Karácsony means Christmas).

In English, the name of this holiday (Christmas), composed of two words: Christ, which comes from the Greek "Khristos” (Χριστός), a translation of the Hebrew "Māšîaḥ” (Messiah), and Mæsse, which comes from Latin "missa”, the celebration of the Eucharist.

At Christmas there is a lot of pre-Christian traditions that are intertwined with the Christian’s ones, the origin of the pre-Christian traditions being forgotten over the years. Thus, habits such as gift-giving and merrymaking have their origin in the Roman feast of Saturnalia, lights and charity in the Roman New Year, and various food in the Germanic peoples holidays.

If the origin of this holiday is the winter solstice of the ancient peoples, nowadays Christmas is considered as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah's arrival on Earth. The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke are the only books of the Bible that describe the Jesus’ birth, by his mother Mary who was assisted by her husband, Joseph, birthday that took place in Bethlehem.

Over time, the celebration of Christmas has become unthinkable in the absence of traditions such as gift giving, carols, exchanging postcards, church services, delicious food, decorations (Christmas tree, Christmas lights, wreaths of fir, etc.) and of course, the omnipresent Santa Claus.

During this period, preparations are more intense with the approaching of this important celebration. Regarding to it, ornaments of all kinds are always present: the Christmas lights which decorate the cities tending to enlighten our path to this celebration and to snatch a child smile on our faces, songs that delight our souls while carols will remember you about the birth of Jesus Christ.

We must not forget about the Christmas tree often decorated by the family members with lights, tinsel and Christmas balls, being ready for such important celebration. All these traditions are older than half a millennium.

More than that, the hand bells ring and purify the atmosphere by their angelic sound, candles that illuminate homes and people’s hearts, fir wreaths which delight our sense of smell by the fresh fragrance of it, sweets so appreciated by children and adults at the same time, and the angels which make you confuse them with the people in the company you spend this period.

But for children, a greater importance is that every year Santa Claus brings gifts to them, the adults enjoying their smiles and enthusiasm with this occasion.

Regarding the gift giving, this custom has its roots in a the Roman feast (Saturnalia) when they offered gifts, even slaves received some gifts from the rich, and the greatest gift was to enjoy the freedom as a free man during of the entire feast.

The Story of Santa Claus is as long as the distance between the U.S.A. and the country where you live, because the story of Santa Claus originated from this country. So Santa Claus is none other than the new version of Saint Nicholas whose story is almost two millennia old. The confusion between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus was created by different names in English (Saint Nicholaus) and Dutch (Sinterklaas). Santa Claus has become known thanks to the American pastor, Clement Clarke Moore, author of a poem that describes St. Nicholas as a nice, chubby and smiling character who travels riding in a sleigh pulled by reindeers and offer gifts to children.

A significant impact had well-known novel "A Christmas Carol" written by Charles Dickens, that influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today in the Western culture, and increasingly more of the eastern culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drinks, dances, games and the spirit of generosity.

Through this novel, Dickens tried to create a Christmas focused on family and generosity, in contrast to the on community-centred and church-centred observations.

Thanks to this story the wish „Merry Christmas” became more popular.

All this creates a warm atmosphere during a cold winter, a dreamlike atmosphere that encourages us to be better to each other, to share love with others and to discover once again that being close to the loved ones is the most precious thing.

Now I want to say some words about Christmas in Poland and in Romania. The way we celebrate it’s very similar to Polish. But there’re some differences. For example we don’t celebrate Christmas Eve (there’s only in the North Romania). I saw that here people don’t eat meat during this day, but they eat fish and they prepare fried dishes. They also have the custom with sharing thin wafer (opłatek) and saying wishes to other people. At midnight they go to the church. About Romania – we also go to the church, but in the evening of Christmas Eve. Very popular is the custom where groups of children go form house to house and sing carols (at night 23-24 December and in the morning of 24 December). In Romania we start celebrations from 25th December and we prepare many dishes but with meat.

On the occasion of Christmas, I wish you happiness, enjoy the moments near the loved ones and share the gift of love with all people during your whole life!

[1] In the countries that comply with the Gregorian calendar

[2] In Armenia

[3] In the countries that comply with the Julian calendar, such as: Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Serbia, Macedonia and Moldova.

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