Some interesting Christmas facts:
Some countries celebrate Christmas on January 6, 7, or 19th. They tried to figure Jesus birth by conception date. Any Mom will let you know how well that works! Others will tell you that there would be no shepherds about on late December or early January, and that he was actually born in spring or early fall (September). Dates that are popular with scholars include May 20, April 18, and March 25.
Christmas had/has other names: "midwinter", "Yule", "Jol" and "Noel".
Places that don't celebrate Christmas include: China (except Hong Kong), North Korea, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Iran, Turkey and Japan.
In many officially Catholic countries, parades are held up up to the time of Christmas, all with a religious nature to them, of course.
The term "Christmas tree" was not recorded until 1835.
Christmas trees are German, pagan traditions, not Christian. The first Christmas trees were said to be used in Germany in the 18th century , although they weren't used primarily for Christmas in the beginning, but as a way to celebrate life and the winter solstice. They were ALWAYS green after all!
People began putting up Christmas trees in the US around 1870.
Santa Claus as we know him began as Sinterklaas with the Dutch. There were traditions of gift giving prior to "Santa Claus" in other places, like a witch who tossed gifts down chimneys at Halloween in Eastern Europe.
Other names for Santa include: St. Nick, Kris Kringle, Babbo Natale, Father Christmas, Saint Basil,and Joulupukki.
The modern image of Santa was created in New York thanks to author Washington Irving, who also wrote the Headless Horseman, a Halloween favorite!
Ancient documents on Jesus birth connect him the the sun. Like many powerful entities in many cultures, the sun was a god and was what ruled the earth. Jesus was literally described as the "sun" being born. "...the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our
Lord ...? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the
Sun of Justice." We managed to change that to "son". There are pages and pages of prophecy about the "sun" being born, not the "son".
Christmas during the Middle Ages included gift giving, but only between those with a legal tie, such as landlord and tenant, or master and apprentice.
The English gave us the dancing, parties, and more public celebrations.
The Puritans in the US tried to ban Christmas. They succeeded in Boston from 1659 to 1681.It took many years after the ban for Christmas to become popular.
The German settlers in PA and NC celebrated Christmas on a large scale at the same time and made it very popular.
Christmas celebrations had died down for a while but were revived in the 1820's thanks to stories by Washington Irving in "The Sketch Book".
President U. S. Grant proclaimed Christmas an official Federal holiday in 1870.
There is so much more Christmas Trivia out there....enjoy the Holiday Season , no matter how you choose to celebrate it.
(C)2012 Dr R M Wold, May not be used, copied or reproduced without prior written permission.