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Delve into the origins of Christmas Day

santa visit's kids centre at the haverhill leisure centre
santa with jade(11) and matt linge(8)

santa visit's kids centre at the haverhill leisure centre santa with jade(11) and matt linge(8)

Why do billions across the world celebrate Christmas Day on December 25?

Why do billions across the world celebrate Christmas Day on December 25?

Why do they observe customs such as the use of mistletoe, holly and ivy and why do they believe in the iconic figure of Father Christmas?

Delve into the origins of many of rituals and customs of Christmas and you will find connections with pagans and druids, but many people are unaware of these things.

The word Christmas derives from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Christes mæsse, and was a phrase not even recorded until 1038.

Although Christmas Day is held to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, there has never been any definitive proof he was born on that particular date.

Different theories are offered up for the choice of December 25 as Christmas Day.

Some believe it links to the pagan winter solstice while others that it stems from the violent, sexually promiscuous and hedonistic week-long pagan festival Saturnalia that began in Roman times and culminated on December 25.

Whatever the reasons for choosing December 25 as Christmas Day, it appeared on the western Christian Church calendar in the fourth century – a date also adopted later in the east – and has been with us ever since. The original date of the celebration in eastern Christianity was January 6, and this is the day on which Armenia still celebrates Christmas Day.

There are various theories and connections to many of our Christmas customs with pagan practices, these include the use of mistletoe, which is linked to a sacrificial ceremony of the Druids.

Fears that some elements of Christmas were too pagan or unbiblical have in fact led to the celebration being banned on more than one occasion within Protestant Christiandom, most notably perhaps under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, succeeded King Charles I until death nine years later.

Maybe darker thoughts such as these are best left alone for us to just enjoy the occasion – it is after the all described as the season to be jolly.

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (December 13) Echo.

 

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