Christmas, celebrated the world over has a long and interesting history. Here are a few more facts about Christmas from wence it began
• The story of Jesus Christ’s birth is told in New Testament’s gospel of Saint Luke and Saint Matthew.
• Some Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s coming on January 6, the Epiphany, when they believe he was baptized.
• Church officials, “impressed with the ritual’s symbolic bringing back of light into the world,” claimed the date of December 25. Roman Emperor Constantine officially recognized it as the celebration of Jesus’ birth in the 4th century A.D.
• The song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” refers to the 12 days between Christmas and the Epiphany.
• The word Christmas comes from the Old English Cristes maesse, which means Christ’s mass.
• The Middle Ages marked the origin of many traditional Christmas symbols such as the Yule log, holly, and caroling. The burning Yule log (Yule comes from the Scandinavian jol or jul which means “jolly”) symbolized the time in which bonfires raged to “beckon the reappearance of winter’s holy light.”
• The word Xmas is sometimes used instead of Christmas. In Greek, X is the first letter of Christ’s name.
• In the early 19th century, German and Dutch Protestant immigrants resurrected the Christmas holiday to its original status. St. Nicholas also gained prominence during the Victorian era.
• In 1969, the Roman Catholic church dropped St. Nicholas’ Feast Day from its calendar because his life is so unreliably documented.
• The German word Christkindl, which means Christ child, eventually turned into Kriss Kringle.
• Santa Claus generally was depicted as an elf until 1931, when Coca-Cola ads portrayed him as human-sized.
• Rudolph didn’t become Santa’s ninth reindeer until 1939 when an advertising writer for the department store Montgomery Ward created him.
Sources: Encarta 96 Encyclopedia, World Book, Encyclopedia Britanica
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