Q:

Why is there Christmas?

A:

Quick Answer

Christmas began as a celebration of the nativity story of Jesus in Rome in 354. It had been celebrated even earlier by Christians in the East, but they incorporated it into their Epiphany celebration on Jan. 6, which focused more on Jesus' baptism. The celebration of Christmas in Rome replaced the pagan solar festivals that occurred on Dec. 25.

Know More
Why is there Christmas?
Credit: Purestock Purestock Getty Images

Full Answer

The name "Christmas" comes from the Old English contraction for "Christ's Mass," which was first used in 1038. As a religious celebration, Christmas was fully embraced in the Middle Ages by the Catholic Church. Eventually, Christmas came to include many traditions, some unrelated to the birth of Christ. One of the most common characteristics of Christmas is the gift giving. Many believe the exchange of gifts was inspired by Father Christmas, later Santa Claus. This mythological figure's origin is rooted in both religion and pagan folklore. He is believed to be based after St. Nicholas of Myra as well as popular pagan Nodic beliefs. When Reformation occurred in the 19th century, there was a temporary shift away from celebrating Christmas. It was seen by many Protestants as a Catholic holiday and by others as having inaccurate pagan roots. In early America, there was little celebration of Christmas. The Puritans that settled New England did not approve and even banned it in Boston. Despite all this, Christmas was revived and revamped by writers such as Charles Dickens and Washington Irving. These writers emphasized elements of Christmas such as warm traditions, family, compassion and generosity.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Why do Christians celebrate Christmas?

    A:

    Christians celebrate Christmas following a declaration by Emperor Justinian of Rome in 324 A.D., which recognized Dec. 25 as a state holiday. This declaration came after Christianity had taken over as the state religion of Rome.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do Roman Catholics celebrate Christmas?

    A:

    According to AmericanCatholic.org, Roman Catholics celebrate Christmas as part of the liturgical calendar under the Advent and Christmas seasons. A midnight mass beginning on Christmas Eve, continuing on Christmas Day marks the beginning of the celebration that leads up to the Epiphany. Roman Catholics traditionally do not put out decorations in celebration of Christmas until this time; however, gifts and a feast day on Christmas are customary.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Do Seventh-day Adventists celebrate Christmas?

    A:

    Seventh-day Adventists do not celebrate Christmas. They do not celebrate any religious holidays or festivals. The only time that Seventh-day Adventists set apart as holy is the weekly Sabbath, which occurs from Friday at sunset to Saturday at sunset.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are Christmas traditions in Indonesia?

    A:

    Some Indonesian Christmas traditions include nativity dramas, feather trees, musical concerts, Santa Claus and traditional food. For instance, Indonesians celebrate by going to church services on Christmas Eve. They bring nativity scenes and act out the nativity story.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore