Christmas is a Christian religious celebration that is held every year on the 25th of December to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. The word in itself is a short form of "Christ's mass", which is actually a phrase used in the medieval times. It was originally crafted in Middle English and it meant the Eucharist celebration of Christ.
In early years, especially in the medieval times, the term "Christenmas" was also used for the celebration, but it is now considered to be an archaic form, and is not in use anymore.
The word for Christ in Greek is Χριστός (Khristos), therefore a short form of Xmas has become common in print over the years, although formal and religious use is often discouraged.
The Christian feast that is common today appears to have been initiated after the third century in the Roman Catholic Church. The first recorded date in history when Christmas was formally celebrated is in the December of 336 CE. As the Roman Empire was vast, it took about ten years for the feast to be introduced in the Eastern half of the Empire, with the first celebration in the eastern Empire dating back to around 378 CE. The feasts are central to Christian religious commemorations today. In religious circles, the Nativity fast is held before the feast.
According to religious sources, the birth of Christ was in Bethlehem. The birth is said to have occurred in a manger and a bright star is said to have risen above the place. This bright star led the way for three great magi from the east to arrive and celebrate the arrival of Christ on this earth. According to legend, the magi came bearing various gifts and supplicated before the Christ.
As Christmas is now a global trend, different countries have different styles of celebrating Christmas.
The several rituals that are common to almost all countries are the harvesting of Christmas trees, which is supposed to be of the fir or pine variety. The tree is then brought in the home and decorated.
On the eve of Christmas, or on Christmas morning, various presents are given to the people who are near and dear to one.
Young children often take part in singing Christmas carols at home, or during special services arranged at churches and cathedrals. In some communities, carollers go door to door.
Several countries have a tradition of commemorating the nativity scene with dramatic re-enactments.
Christmas celebration may also include fasting, or a midnight mass at the local church.
Modern Christmas Celebrations
As Christmas is now a thoroughly modernized celebration, there are many rituals that have been included for the sake of the contemporary population.
These include the various funds and charity appeals that are raised to help the poor and the needy during the winter time, especially the ones who are without a roof over their heads.
As many people live away from their families, modern-day Christmas is thought of as a time when the entire family may come together for the Christmas dinner, which is usually held at the parents’ home.