Merry Christmas

Are you aware people celebrate Christmas at different days around the world? Was Jesus actually born on 25 December? Do you know who Santa Claus is?


The season is here again!

Are you aware people celebrate Christmas at different days around the world? Was Jesus actually born on 25 December? Do you know who Santa Claus is? How about Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and the other Santa reindeers?
You are about to find out all these and more…read on…

Christmas is observed in many parts of the world as a secular family holiday with giving and receiving of gifts that has no connection to the Christian faith. However, for the Christian, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, believed by adherents of the Christian faith to be the Promised Messiah and Saviour. In the Christian scripture, the bible, Jesus’ birth and life, including the manner of his virgin birth, his adult life, death and resurrection were foretold centuries before he was born and were all recorded in the bible.

Photo by Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

Though 25 December on the Gregorian calendar is the most popular Christmas day for over 2 billion people around the world, Christmas is also celebrated on other days in other places. Some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25 of the Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to a date in January in the Gregorian calendar. Armenian Christmas day for example, is observed in Armenia and Lebanon on 6 January, while 7 January is Orthodox Christmas day, celebrated in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. 7 January is also Coptic Christmas which is observed in Ethiopia, Egypt and Eritrea.

Christmas day is not a holiday in many nations including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen, Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Oman, Somalia, and Libya. Christmas is not observed also in Laos, Vietnam, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan Bhutan, and Cambodia. The situation is the same in China, Comoros, Djibouti, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Mongolia, North Korea, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Christmas is a season of glows and warmth, of colours and lights and a time of elaborate exchange of gifts. It is a season when families and friends come together to celebrate happy moments. Christmas day is exactly a week away from 1 January, the first day of a new year on the Gregorian Calendar; this is an important time of the year with multiple end-of-the-year activities being the last week of a year coming to an end. Christmas celebration thus heralds both a closing and a new beginning.

Photo by Kira auf der Heide / Unsplash

The most important Christmas tradition is the exchange of gifts and the doing of deeds of charity. Andy William captures many of the modern and western Christmas traditions in his song titled ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’. He talked about the ‘kids jingle-belling and everyone telling you ‘be of good cheer’…holiday greetings…gay happy meetings when friends come to call…parties…toasted marshmallows and caroling…mistletoeing and hearts glowing when loved ones near’ all gives a picture of Christmas. In current times, other things that surround Christmas include the multiple discount sales and the awesome decorations of various sizes in red, white, green and gold that turns whole cities into glowing villages.

Santa Claus, Santa, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, all refer to the same personality who is a mythical figure associated with secular Christmas celebration rather than the Christian celebration. Santa Claus originated in Western Christian culture and he is believed to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children on the night of Christmas Eve or early morning hours of Christmas Day. The legend has it that Santa rides in a sleigh pulled through the night sky by his reindeers to deliver gifts to children on Christmas Eve. Rudolph appears to be the most popular of Santa’s reindeers because of the popular song about his red nose. However, there are others like Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen who are less well-known.

Although no one knows the exact date of the birth of Christ, Christmas was celebrated for the first time on 25 December in 336 A.D. when Constantine was the first Christian Roman Emperor. In the early days of the Christian church, the day of death, rather than of birth were emphasized, following the fact that deaths were believed to usher in a saint into God’s kingdom. As such, for the first three hundred years of the church's existence, no mention of Christmas was made. Various theories and traditions exist regarding why Christmas is celebrated on 25 December.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev / Unsplash

One of such theories surround The Annunciation Feast, celebrated in commemoration of when the Angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she will conceive and give birth to a very special child, Jesus. It is celebrated annually on 25 March by the Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Believed to be the date of Mary’s conception, nine months later – the duration a normal human birth – is 25 December.

Other theories surround the possibility that in ancient Roman culture, this period was a time when people celebrated things and 25 December might have also been chosen because the Winter Solstice and other midwinter festivals took place in December around this date. Whatever the case is, Christmas brings joy to many hearts, it is a season of love and warmth, of giving and receiving, of charity and sharing of love. This is more important in a world filled with hatred and destruction.

Unboxing of Christmas gifts is done on the day after Christmas, 26 December, it celebrated in many parts of the world as the boxing day. So, whether you celebrated the secular Christmas or the Christian Christmas, or whether you believe in Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas or not, rejoice and be of good cheer!

Merry Christmas! and Happy 2020 in advance!!!

Written by: Bosede


Read more about countries that don’t celebrate Christmas day here:
More about Santa’s reindeers:
How Christmas started:
Is Christmas day really 25 December?: