How Did Christmas Begin?
Have you ever wondered how Christmas began and how it became one the biggest holiday of the year? The origins of Christmas are actually a pretty big mystery and widely debated. Nobody can say with certainty when it exactly began because it is historically impossible to pinpoint the very first Christmas festivities. There are however various popular theories that offer insight into when the first Christmas celebration took place.
Christmas, meaning the Mass of Christ, has long been a holiday in the Christian calendar. The earliest roots are traced back to the 4th century, when the early Christian church began adopting the practice of celebrating Christ’s birth on the 25th of December. This practice of honoring the birth of Jesus was known as “Christes Maesse”, which means Christ Mass. However, in many areas of the Christian world this practice was slowly adopted because the exact date of Christ’s birth was still unknown, according to them. Even today, many orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on other dates, because the December 25th birth date is not accepted by them as the true date of Christ’s birth.
While the early 4th century is accepted by most Christians as the origin of Christmas, some scholars disagree. These scholars point to the winter festivals that various earlier cultures celebrated during this same time of year. For example, according to the ancient Roman calendar, December 17-24th was the period of Saturnalia, a well-known Roman festival. The next day on the Roman calendar, December 25th, was the birthday of one of their chief Gods, Mithra, the God of Light.
Even earlier celebrations by the Babylonians, Persians, and the Mesopotamians have been discovered during this same time of year. Many of these celebrations included gift giving, decorating trees, and large feasts. Because these festivals were so popular during the time of the early Christian church, many scholars believe that December 25th was actually adopted as the date of Christ’s birth as a means to counter these pagan celebrations.
The Meaning of Christmas
Regardless of the origins or why you celebrate, Christmas has some common meaning for everyone. Christmas is a time to share love and cheer with family and friends through giving and fellowship. It is a time to reflect upon the blessings of our lives and share blessings with those in our lives. From the team at HandwrittenSantaLetters.com, we wish you a happy Christmas and hope our efforts bring a little extra joy to you and yours!