History of Christmas
December is the best time of the year to learn about Christmas history, not only because it is "that time of year," but because the most information can be found on this topic in this month of the year. Christmas history is sometimes told differently, depending somewhat on religious viewpoints. Christians see Christmas as the birthday of Jesus, which is why it is given it's particular name, but it is debated as to when the actual birthday of Jesus was, with some saying September. These people believe that Christmas was set in December because of the Pagan rituals that take place in December for Yule.
It is said that Christians incorporated elements of Pagan rituals into the Christmas celebration. If you do not know your Christmas history, this may not make much sense, but, actually, it does. This practice was supposed to help Pagans to transition to Christianity more easily, and to wipe out the Pagan religions. Mistletoe is one of the traditions stemming from Pagan history; the kiss beneath the mistletoe started as a ritual for fertility. The Christmas tree is also an element taken from the Pagan holiday. It was a Druid religious symbol that they worshipped and held ceremonies around.
What would Christmas history be without St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus? Part of this story can be traced to a monk of the same name, from what is now known as Turkey. History says that this man traveled his country, helping the sick and the poor, after giving away of his money. Santa Claus today, however, is a combination of many characters. The name Santa Claus originated from Sinter Klaas, a Dutch legend brought to New York by settlers in the 1600's.
Whatever parts you choose to believe about Christmas history, remember that, today, it is a holiday for spending time with your loved ones, and does not necessarily need to be incorporated with religious beliefs.
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