Origin of Christmas Traditions

Topics: Christmas / Pages: 9 (2030 words) / Published: Dec 5th, 2005
The Origin of Christmas Traditions Christmas is filled with traditions and events, but how did they start and why do we still do them? Traditions are often passed down throughout generations for centuries, but the origins are often unknown or forgotten. Christmas Christmas was originally called "The Feast of the Nativity of Jesus". The word "nativity" comes from the Latin word Natalis, meaning birthday. The observance probably does not date earlier than 200 AD and did not become widespread until the 4th century. The actual date of Jesus birth is unknown but what is known is that Christian leaders in 336 A.D. set the date to December 25 in an attempt to eclipse a popular pagan holiday in Rome. The date of Christmas coincides closely with the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, a time of rejoicing among many ancient cultures. Christmas, as the great popular festival of Western Europe, dates from the Middle Ages.

Santa Claus Santa Claus was really known as St. Nicholas; he did not smoke a pipe, fly around in a sleigh with any reindeer, go down chimneys, work with elves, or live at the North Pole. He did however bring presents to children every year. According to tradition, he was born in the city of Patara, where he became bishop of Myra. He was imprisoned during the Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians but was released under the rule of Emperor Constantine the Great. After his death he was buried in his church at Myra. In 1087, Italian sailors stole his alleged remains from Myra and took them to Bari, Italy. Nicholas' relics remain enshrined in the 11th-century basilica of San Nicola, Bari. Nicholas' had a reputation for generosity and kindness for the poor and unhappy. He was said to have given marriage dowries of gold to three girls whom poverty would otherwise have forced into lives of prostitution. The money was left in their stockings, which hung over the fireplace to dry. He became the patron saint of Russia and Greece.

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