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Christmas

Etymology

Christmas is a shortened form of “Christ's mass.” Christ comes from the greek “Khrīstos,” a translation from the Hebrew “Messiah,” meaning “anointed.” Mass comes from the Latin “missa,” the celebration of the Eucharist. 1)

Pagan origins

Many Christmas traditions come from an ancient Roman festival, called Saturnalia. Held in mid-December, it was a festival honoring the agricultural god Saturn. When the Roman Empire conquered most of Europe from the 2nd century B.C. to the 4th century A.D., many traditions, including the date, giving gifts, lighting candles, feasting, and merrymaking were adopted. 2)

Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas (the Dutch version of Santa Claus) comes to the Netherlands from Spain, not the North Pole.3)

Jingle Bells

“Jingle Bells” was written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. The song was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh.” 4)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Montgomery Ward Department Store created Rudolph the Reindeer as a marketing ploy to encourage children to buy their Christmas coloring books. The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In those days, a red nose was seen as a sign of alcoholism, and Montgomery Ward didn't want him to look like a drunk. 5)

Flying Santa Claus

The image of Santa Claus flying a sleigh was created in 1819 and was created by Washington Irving, the same author who invented the Headless Horseman. 6)

Mistletoe

Mistletoe comes from the Anglo-Saxon word misteltan, which means “little twig of dung,” because the plant spreads by bird droppings. 7)

christmas.txt · Last modified: 2021/08/05 03:00 by aga