Christmas is the time for celebrations and merriment. But what makes this festival special are the small customs associated with Christmas. Every festival has its own set of legends and traditions. Even in case of Christmas, it is myths and legends that makes it unique. Christmas is one of the main Christian festivals. It is celebrated across the globe by billions of people. Thus the customs associated with Christmas are also plentiful.
The best thing about Christmas is that most of the rituals associated with it are not strictly religious. For example, it is a myth that Santa Claus is a biblical character. There is a saint mentioned in the Holy Bible who loved children but the myth of fat Santa Claus with streaming white beard and red clothes has been created by us.
One of the main customs of this festival is the is Christmas Tree. This too does have a very clear religious significance. Then there is the mistletoe under which lovers are supposed to kiss. These rituals are supposed to bring people together. Most of the myths about Christmas are more about fun and frolic than solemness. That is why we get to have so much fun in our Christmas break.
Usually each country or community has their own unique customs for Christmas. But the customs mentioned here are standard and followed by a majority of people.
Christmas usually begins with the midnight mass. We all know the story of how Jesus Christ was born at the stroke of midnight. So, there is a mid-night mass in every church on Christmas eve.
Ever wondered why we give presents on Christmas? This tradition comes from the Magi or the Three Wise Men who gave gifts to baby Jesus.
The purpose of the Christmas tree is not purely decorative. A green tree in the peak of winter symbolises hope for new life.
Santa's Real Name
Santa Claus is probably the biggest myth associated with Christmas. The cute and cuddly old man in red is actually a manifestation of the Saint Nicholas who loves children.
It is believed that Santa Claus will come through the chimney and that is why stocking are always hung near the chimney to collect Santa's gifts.
The Mistletoe Kiss
A mistletoe is a special plant that is cut from oak trees and put up on doors or arches. If a boy and a girl come under the mistletoe at once, they are supposed to kiss. This custom is borrowed from ancient Greek marriage rituals.
Christingale symbolises the light of Jesus. It is an orange coloured ball (Mother Earth) with a red ribbon (symbolising blood of Jesus) around it. It has a candle burning on the top and four sticks (representing four directions) stuck into it.
Holly is a sacred plant to Christians because Jesus Christ was made to wear a thorny wreath of holly on his head.
Most of the peppy Christmas songs you sing these days are not actually Christmas carols. Original Christmas carols are solemn hymns like 'Silent night'.
All Christians must drink wine on Christmas because wine symbolises the blood of Jesus; the holy blood that was shed for our sake.