Jesus Christ, the son of God was born in Bethlehem (a city located to the south-east of Jerusalem). The three wise men or ‘magi’ who were believed to have come from Persia worshipped Jesus.
The celebration of this event began when people started exchanging gifts with each other during feasts. This tradition has carried on till today and Santa Claus became popularly associated with it.
There are many legends surrounding Christmas; in fact one can find many books written on that topic alone. People in different countries celebrate the holiday in their own ways, some by going to church while others enjoy themselves at parties and become a part of traditions unique only to them.
In addition to Santa Claus who is said to be the one who fulfills people’s wishes, there are also other ways in which people keep the traditions alive. For instance, they hang up stockings by their fireplace and put out cookies and milk for Santa Claus or take part in decorating Christmas trees, etc.
Whatever your feelings towards this holiday might be, it is still celebrated all around the world. Many children even go overboard with excitement regarding this holiday so much so that they write letters to Santa Claus asking him for gifts! This article will provide you with interesting facts about Christmas that you might not be aware of.
1) The history of Christmas
The commercialization of Christmas started during the 16 th century when an Englishman named John Stacey wrote a pamphlet that encouraged people to buy Christmas gifts.
2) Santa Claus
There are many theories about who the real Santa Claus was. One of them suggests that he was actually Saint Nicholas, a bishop from Turkey who died in 343 AD.
3) Decorating trees
The first recorded instance of someone decorating a tree with Christmas lights was in 1882 when Thomas Edison invented them.
4) The Christmas feast
The traditional Christmas feast includes foods like ham, roast beef, potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc. However, there are some countries that have their own unique dishes that they include in their festive celebrations.
5) The origin of Christmas carols
The first recorded instance of a Christmas carol being sung was in 1521 when the residents of Riga, Latvia put up a Christmas tree in their cathedral. When they went to sing carols near it, the organist was absent so one of them started playing his instrument.
6) The practice of kissing under the mistletoe during Christmas
This tradition has its origins in Scandinavia where people believed that mistletoe would give protection against witches and ghosts. They also believed that if anyone stood beneath it, they would have good luck for the next year!
7) The first card sent by telegraph
The first card ever sent via telegraph happened on 23 rd December 1844 between Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland.
8) Putting up stockings on Christmas Eve
This tradition is said to have originated from Germany where St. Nicholas would leave treats like candy and coins in people’s stockings that were hung up to dry.
9) Christmas trees
The first recorded instance of someone using a tree as part of their Christmas decorations was in 1605 when Prince Friedrich von Anhalt-Zerbst put up a fir tree in his palace.
10) The largest Christmas tree in the world
The largest Christmas tree ever built was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was 365 feet tall and required 45 tons of lights!
Below are some interesting Facts about Christmas
FACT 1 – It was illegal to celebrate Christmas in the United States for about 20 years.
Until 1816, Protestants in the U.S. considered it sinful to celebrate religious holidays, so they would go out of their way to mock or discourage people from celebrating Christmas, which they felt was too closely tied to the Catholic Church. The Continental Congress used its power over colonies to criminalize celebrations on days including Christmas between 1774 and 1788. When New York City finally lifted the ban in 1836, a newspaper story optimistically reported that “the day will be generally observed throughout the city as a holiday.” New Yorkers responded by throwing a raucous Christmas party at City Hall with dancing and drinking all night long. An onlooker said it “was a very merry affair.”
FACT 2 – Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday in the United States until 1870.
Despite being celebrated by millions of people in America, Christmas wasn’t declared a national holiday until President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill recognizing it as such in 1870. Some states had been observing Christmas as a holiday since the 18th century, but there was no uniform recognition across the country. It would take several more decades for all government offices and businesses to close on Christmas Day.
FACT 3 – Santa wasn’t always white.
Santa has long been depicted as a white man, but that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, early illustrations of Santa varied widely in their description of his appearance. Some portrayed Santa as black, others pictured him with religious robes, and others dressed him in furs. The modern portrayal of Santa Claus can be traced back to an early Coca-Cola ad, which created the image of the jolly “red-suited” Santa that kids today would recognize immediately.
FACT 4 – Rudolph was almost never given a glowing red nose.
In 1939, a copywriter invented Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for a Montgomery Ward department store campaign that encouraged customers to purchase from its catalogs instead of going outside to shop. In his original artwork, Rudolph’s glowing red nose wasn’t part of his anatomy – it was added later by the illustrator. The story of Rudolph was so popular that it was eventually published as a book and then made into a television special.
FACT 5 – Christmas wasn’t always celebrated on December 25th.
The date of Christmas is actually a bit of a mystery, since there’s no evidence that Jesus’ birthday was ever officially commemorated by the early church fathers. In fact, the earliest record of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th dates back to 336 AD, when the Roman Emperor Constantine declared the day to be an official holiday. It’s likely that the date was chosen to coincide with pagan winter solstice celebrations.
FACT 6 – Boxing Day isn’t about boxers
Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated in Canada, Great Britain, and Ireland on December 26th. It began as a way for servants to collect their Christmas presents but has since become an important shopping day across all three countries.
FACT 7 – Santa Claus is only one of the names for Father Christmas
In other parts of the world, people celebrate different holiday figures that are similar to Saint Nick. In France it’s Pere Noel, who brings gifts on Christmas Eve; in Spain it’s El Nino Jesus (Baby Jesus) or Papa Noe (Santa Claus); in Poland it’s Swiety Mikolaj (St. Nicholas), or Zwykly Mikolaj (Regular St. Nicholas); and in Austria it’s Christkindl or Kris Kringle. Father Christmas is a similar figure to Santa Claus, but is typically portrayed as a more jolly, overweight man with a white beard.
FACT 8 – Christmas trees come from Germany
The tradition of decorating Christmas trees began in Germany in the 16th century. Christian families would put evergreen branches and small trees inside their homes to celebrate the winter season. The use of Christmas trees spread to other parts of Europe and eventually to America.
FACT 9 – Christmas wasn’t always a commercial holiday
The modern conception of Christmas as a time for exchanging gifts and spending money didn’t emerge until the 20th century. In the early days of Christmas, the focus was on celebrating religious holidays with family and friends. It wasn’t until retailers began marketing Christmas as a time for gift-giving that the holiday became associated with materialism and consumerism.
FACT 10 – The first Christmas card was sent in 1843
The first Christmas card was created by Henry Cole, an English artist and businessman, in 1843. He wanted to find a way to send cards to his friends and family that would save him time and money, so he enlisted the help of an artist named John Callcott Horsley to create a card that was printed on canvas and trimmed with boughs of holly.
FACT 11 – Christmas is banned in some countries
The Christian holiday was banned in England and America for over 30 years during the Puritan era (16th and 17th centuries). During this time, it was considered blasphemy to celebrate Christmas because Satanists used the holiday as an opportunity to engage in rituals. A few countries still outlaw celebrating Christmas today, including North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Although there’s no official ban on the holiday, several states in Malaysia also choose not to acknowledge December 25th as a public holiday.
FACT 12 – Santa Claus is a mailable man
Santa Claus has been immortalized on stamps in more than 100 different countries, including the United States. He became a U.S. stamp subject in 1962, and even though he was originally intended to be featured on just one holiday stamp, his popularity led to him being included on several more stamps throughout the years. In fact, there were so many requests for additional postage from people wanting to write letters to him that the U.S. Postal Service issued a “return address” for him in 1963: North Pole, HOH OHO, 00010 USA!
FACT 13 – Christmas trees are filled with fruitcakes
Fruitcake is a traditional Christmas dessert made with candied and dried fruit, nuts and either rum or brandy. The tradition of hanging candied fruit on evergreen boughs led to the custom of bringing a small tree into homes as a centerpiece for Christmas celebrations. At one time, people believed that the bad luck associated with the holiday would pass over such trees if they were decorated with cakes and other treats.
FACT 14 – Santa Claus has nine reindeer Reindeer are known for their ability to fly
But Santa’s sleigh is powered by eight flying reindeers: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Rudolph was added to the team in 1939 thanks to a song written by an advertising executive
FACT 15 – Christmas is celebrated in more than 180 countries
Christmas is celebrated by Christians in over 180 countries around the world. It’s a public holiday in most of these countries, and it’s usually one of the biggest celebrations of the year. The traditions and customs associated with Christmas vary from country to country, but gift-giving, decorating trees and spending time with family and friends are always popular activities.
It’s clear that Christmas is a beloved holiday enjoyed by people all over the world. Whether you’re celebrating for religious reasons or just because it’s a fun time, there’s no denying that Christmas is definitely special!
There you have it – some interesting facts about Christmas that you may not have known! Whether you’re celebrating the holiday this year or not, it’s always fun to learn a bit more about its history. Merry Christmas!