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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

History, traditions sorrounding Christmas


The Origin
The idea to celebrate Christmas on December 25 was first began by the catholic church in the 4th century because it wanted to overshadow the festivities of a rival pagan religion that threatened Christianity’s existence.

Accordingly, the Romans celebrated the birthday of their sun god, Mithras, during this time of the year. Then, it was not popular to celebrate people's birthdays but church leaders decided that in order to outcompete the pagan celebration, they had to begin a festival that celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ.

The funny bit is that there is no evidence to suggest that Jesus was actually born on December 25. However, this date was chosen as the official birthday celebration as Christ's Mass so that it would compete head-on with the rival pagan celebration. Though it was slow to catch on, the celebration has since hooked the Christian world.

The Christmas tree
In the 16th century, the Germans had developed this funny habit of decorating trees with roses, apples and coloured 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 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.

Well, the tradition of a starry-lit Christmas tree then stuck!

--Daily Monitor, Friday, December 1, 2006