Christmas is observed widely on December Governments recognizing the holiday include those of: the United States, where it is a federal holiday for federal employees and a legal holiday in the respective States; Canada, where it is a nationwide statutory holiday ; Mexico, where it is also a nationwide statutory holiday ; and several others.
In the Canadian provinces where English is the predominant language, Christmas traditions are largely similar to those of the United States, with some lingering influences from the United Kingdom and newer traditions brought by immigrants from other European countries. Mince pies , plum pudding , and Christmas cake are traditionally served as Christmas dinner desserts, following the traditional meal of roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and winter vegetables.
Christmas table crackers are not uncommon and, in some parts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia , Christmas traditions include mummers. North American influences on Christmas are evident in the hanging of stockings on Christmas Eve, to be filled by Santa Claus. As Canada is a cold, dark country in winter, lights are often put up in public places and on commercial and residential buildings in November and December.
The Royal Christmas Message from the Canadian monarch is televised nationwide in Canada, the occasion being an observance which unites Canadians with citizens of the other Commonwealth countries worldwide. The observation of Boxing Day on the day following Christmas Day is a tradition practiced in Canada, as it is in many other Anglophone countries, although not in the United States. In Canada, Boxing Day is a day or the beginning of a few days of deeply discounted sale prices at retail stores which attract large numbers of shoppers in search of bargains.
Christmas is a statutory holiday in Mexico and workers can have the day off with pay. Mexico's Christmas is filled with over 30 traditions found only within Mexican Christmas. Since the s, Mexican society has embraced a new concept linking several celebrations around Christmas season into what is known as the Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon. At midnight on Christmas, many families place the figure of baby Jesus in their nacimientos Nativity scenes , as the symbolic representation of Christmas as a whole.
Santa Claus or Santa Clos, as he's known in Mexico  is who brings the children their gifts, but traditionally the Three Wise Men will fill the children's shoes with candies, oranges, tangerines, nuts, and sugar cane, and sometimes money or gold. Christmas is a widely celebrated festive holiday in the United States,  and Christmas Day is officially recognized as a federal holiday by the US Government.
The Christmas and holiday season begins around the end of November with a major shopping kickoff on Black Friday , the day after the U. Many schools and businesses are closed during the period between Christmas and the New Year's Day holiday, which is a time commonly used to spend time with family and close friends, return unwanted gifts at stores, and shop after-Christmas sales.
Most decorations are taken down by New Years or Epiphany. Other observances considered part of the season and potentially included in non-denominational holiday greetings like "Happy Holidays" include Hanukkah , Yule , Epiphany, Kwanzaa , and winter solstice celebrations.
A Polish Christmas Story with a Magical Christmas Tree
The interior and exterior of houses are decorated during the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve. Christmas tree farms in the United States and Canada provide families with trees for their homes, many opting for artificial ones , but some for real ones. The Christmas tree usually stands centrally in the home, decorated with ornaments, tinsel, and lights, with an angel or a star symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem at the top.
Christmas Eve is popularly described as " the night before Christmas " in the poem actually titled " A Visit from St. Nicholas ". Better known as Santa Claus , he is said to visit homes while children are sleeping during the night before Christmas morning. The fireplaces in many homes have been replaced by electric fireplaces , but the yule log has remained a tradition. Christmas stockings are hung on the mantelpiece for Santa Claus to fill with little gifts "stocking stuffers". It is tradition throughout the United States for children to leave a glass of milk and plate of Christmas cookies for Santa Claus nearby.
Presents the family will exchange are wrapped and placed near the tree, including presents to be given to pets. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings and occasionally guests from out of town are entertained in the home or else visited. Wrapped presents are most commonly opened on the morning of Christmas Day; however, some families choose to open all or some of their presents on Christmas Eve, depending on evolving family traditions, logistics, and the age of the children involved; for example, adults might open their presents on Christmas Eve and minor children on Christmas morning, or everyone might open their gifts on Christmas morning.
Others follow the tradition of opening family-exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve night, followed by opening of the presents Santa brought on Christmas morning. Children are normally allowed to play with their new toys and games afterwards. The traditional Christmas dinner usually features either roasted turkey with stuffing sometimes called dressing , ham , or roast beef. Potatoes, squash, roasted vegetables and cranberry sauce are served along with tonics and sherries. A variety of sweet pastry and egg nog sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg are served in the United States.
Certain dishes such as casseroles and desserts are prepared with a family recipe usually kept a secret [ citation needed ]. Sometimes, families also partake in a religious tradition, such as the consumption of a Christmas wafer in Christian families of European ancestry. Fruits, nuts, cheeses and chocolates are enjoyed as snacks. Candlelight services are held earlier in the evening for families with children. A re-enactment of the Nativity of Jesus called a Nativity play is another tradition.
Christmas-related tourist attractions, such as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and elaborate animated department store Christmas windows in New York City are heavily visited by tourists from all over the world. Christmas music can be heard in the background. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is one whose annual carol singing is well-recognized.
Christmas symphony orchestra and choral presentation such as Handel's Messiah and performances of The Nutcracker ballet are attended. Local radio stations may temporarily switch format to play exclusively Christmas music, some going to an all-Christmas format as early as mid-October. News broadcasts and talk shows feature Christmas-themed segments, emphasizing fellowship and goodwill among neighbors. Of particular note is the observance of Christmas for military families of soldiers and sailors serving abroad, on both sides of the Canada—U.
The Los Angeles Lakers have made it a tradition, since they relocated from Minneapolis prior to the NBA season , to have a home game on Christmas. As of , the NBA now schedules five games on Christmas, usually including classic rivalry games as well as a rematch of the previous season's NBA Finals. Christmas for El Salvador still carries a strong meaning that brings families together. Despite the business on the streets and the red, green and white colors flooding the environment, Salvadoran people try to honor what they consider to be the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus.
In El Salvador children celebrate Christmas by playing with firecrackers , fountains, such as the small volcancitos "little volcanos" and sparklers, estrellitas "little stars". Teenagers and young adults display bigger fireworks or Roman Candles. Families also have parties in which they dance and eat. Santa Claus is known for appearing in TV and print ads, but people ask children if they already wrote a letter to little baby Jesus. Traditional Salvadoran Christmas dishes are sauteed turkey sandwiches in a baguette with lettuce and radishes, Salvadoran Tamales , and sweet bread for dessert.
Drinks include hot chocolate , pineapple juice, Salvadoran horchata , Cherry Salvadoran horchata, and coffee. On Christmas in Guatemala, people dress up in an ornamental hat, called a Puritina , and dance in a line. As with much of the country's culture, the celebration includes Spanish and Mayan elements.
Christmas Day on December 25 is a national holiday in Brazil.
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Despite the warm tropical summer weather, some incongruences such as decorations with themes of winter and snow are not uncommon. In some cities like Guarapuava , there are decoration contests, when judges go to houses to look at the decorations, inside or outside of the house, and decide the most beautiful house. Christmas Eve is the most important day.
Unlike in the North American and Anglo-Saxon tradition, Christmas takes action mainly near midnight, usually with big family dinners, opening of gifts and the celebration of the "Missa do Galo" the rooster's mass in churches throughout the nation. Many Brazilians decorate their homes with a Christmas Tree, there is no rule, the parents can decorate it by themselves as a surprise to the kids, or they can do it together.
In addition to the Christmas tree, many families set up a Nativity scene as the main decoration. Nativity scenes are very popular in Brazil, and can be seen everywhere including churches and popular places around the town. Like many other countries, Christmas dinner in Brazil is normally served late in the evening on Christmas Eve around 10 or 11 p.
The meal often includes farofa stuffing, assortments of fruit, fried cod, and roast turkey with a dessert called " rabanada ". Along with their meals, Brazilians typically drink champagne, wine, and fruit punch. Typically after they eat, many Brazilians attend a Midnight Mass service or watch the Pope's television broadcast celebration of "Midnight Mass in Rome" with family and friends.
Christmas is a public holiday in Colombia and is primarily a religious celebration. In many cities, and even in small rural towns, neighborhoods get together and decorate their whole neighborhood or street, turning streets into virtual "tunnels of light. Activities such as musical events and firework displays are planned by cities and held during this time. Individually launched fireworks were a common item during the Christmas season in Colombia, often going on at any time of the day in many cities. However, a recent ban has decreased the individual use of fireworks, and now only cities or towns are able to hold firework displays.
December 16 is the first day of the Christmas Novena , a devotion consisting of prayer said on nine successive days, the last one held on Christmas Eve. The Novena is promoted by the Catholic Church as a staple of Christmas, and is very similar to the posadas celebrated in Mexico.
It is a call for an understanding of the religious meaning of Christmas, and a way to counter the commercialism of the Christmas season. Individual traditions concerning the Novena may vary, but most families set up a "pesebre" manger scene , sing religious Christmas carols called villancicos accompanied by tambourines, bells, and other simple percussion instruments, and read verses from the Bible as well as an interpretation which may change from year to year. Novenas serve as beautiful religious gatherings as well as learning environments for young children since kids have a central and active role in the celebration of the Novenas they read prayers, sing, and play instruments guided by their family.
From December 16 to 24, games called "aguinaldos"  are played after having made a "pinky promise" deciding the prize for the winner and the punishment for the loser. Churches offer dawn and nightly masses during the nine days of the novena, culminating with the Misa de Gallo Rooster's Mass on Christmas Eve at midnight. Christmas Eve is the most important day of Christmas in Colombia.
Families and friends get together to pray the last Novena and wait until midnight to open the presents, parties are held until sunrise on Christmas Day , kids stay up late playing with their new presents, and fireworks fill the skies. Families gather around meals, music, and singing. Because Christmas Eve is the most important day, little occurs on December Families join Christmas Day mass although it is not nearly as festive as Christmas Eve.
The day commemorates the innocent infants called the innocent ones who were said to have been killed by King Herod in fear of the power of the newborn baby, Jesus. January 6, the day of the Revelation of the Magi Epiphany , is called "Reyes Magos" from The Three Magi , used to be a day of gift giving, but is celebrated less now since gifts are given mostly around Christmas Eve today.
Some families still give presents, and it is also the day when godparents give Christmas presents. In Venezuela, Christmas is celebrated as a religious occasion. The unofficial start of the Christmas festivities is after the celebrations of " Feria de la Chinita ", the second half of November. This event takes place in the Zulia Region, specifically in Maracaibo the regional capital. After this, other cities join in the festivities and many activities take place including musical events and firework displays. In many cities, small rural towns and neighborhoods get together for the "patinatas" night festivals where children go and play with skateboards, roller blades and bicycles.
These events are usually sponsored by the local church, where neighbors organize themselves and sell typical Christmas food, hot chocolate, hallaca , cookies, etc. Also still in some neighborhoods there is the " Parranda " where people go from one house to house with music and Christmas songs.
The singers stops at neighbors' houses to get some food and drinks. The presents are sent by Baby Jesus at midnight, and most people have a party, which goes on until sunrise. It is a carnival featuring parading bands in colorful costumes, singing, dancing, and decorations. Bahamian Christmas foods include black cake, imported apples, pepper pot, pickled onions and ham. Drinks like ginger-beer, sorrel, mauby, and sweet potato fly are served on Christmas. Cuba had a long tradition of celebrating Christmas.
Families used to gather at the dining table, and used to go to mass after dinner. The Communist Regime led by Fidel Castro abolished the paid Christmas holiday in , citing that workers were needed to continue the sugar harvest. Radio stations play Christmas carols as early as October, reggae style and some international. Jamaicans paint their houses and hang new curtains for Christmas. Pepper lights, the local name for Christmas lights, go up even on trees.
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Junkanoo or John Canoe is a traditional Christmas celebration in Jamaica, influenced by African ancestors. This includes street dancing and a great parade through the streets with Jamaicans dressed in colorful masquerade costumes in which masks are worn. The traditional Jamaican Christmas meal includes ackee , saltfish, breadfruit, fried plantains, boiled bananas, freshly squeezed fruit juice and tea for breakfast; chicken, curried goat , stewed oxtail, rice and gungo peas for dinner.
For dessert, sorrel drink and a Jamaican rum fruitcake along with red wine are served in many homes. In countries of Central Europe for this purpose, roughly defined as the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and possibly other places the main celebration date for the general public is Christmas Eve December The day is usually a fasting day; in some places children are told they'll see a golden pig if they hold fast until after dinner.
When the evening comes preparation of Christmas Dinner starts. Traditions concerning dinner vary from region to region, for example, in Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, the prevailing meal is fried carp with potato salad and fish or cabbage soup. However, in some places the tradition is porridge with mushrooms a modest dish , and elsewhere the dinner is exceptionally rich, with up to 12 dishes. This in fact reveals that when Christmas comes around all the kids get presents from neighbours and house guest. Even the house pet got a little something to gnaw on.
After the dinner comes the time for gifts. Children usually find their gifts under the Christmas Tree, with name stickers. An interesting example of complicated history of the region is the "fight" between Christmas beings. During communism, when countries of Central Europe were under Soviet influence, communist authorities strongly pushed Russian traditional Ded Moroz "Grandfather Frost" in the place of Little Jesus won. Now Santa Claus is attacking, by means of advertising and Hollywood film production.
Many people, Christians as well as people with just a Christian background, go to Roman Catholic midnight mass celebration. Other common attributes of Christmas in Central Europe include Christmas trees, mistletoe, Christmas garlands, and Bethlehem cribs. In many areas of Central Europe, St.
He visits families earlier, on the dawn of St. Nicholas Day on December 6, and for the well-behaved children he has presents and candy-bags to put into their well polished shoes that were set in the windows the previous evening. In some German-speaking communities, in the German-speaking Europe; particularly in Catholic regions of western and southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria, South Tyrol and Liechtenstein, as well as in other Catholic regions of Central Europe, the Christkind literally "Christ child" brings the presents on the evening of December 24 Holy Evening or Heiliger Abend.
However, he rings a bell just before he leaves in order to let children know that the Christmas tree and the presents are ready. It is a tradition to lavishly decorate a Christmas tree in the days directly before Christmas or on the morning of Christmas Eve. On late Christmas Eve, after the bell rings, the tree is shown to the children and presents are exchanged. In Protestant churches , there is a service in the late afternoon intended to immediately precede the Christmas Eve meal and the exchanging of gifts.
This service, called Christvesper , consists most often of scriptural readings, the Christmas Gospel from Luke 2, a Krippenspiel nativity play , favourite Christmas carols and festive music for organ and choirs. In some regions the tradition of Quempas singing is still popular. Some Lutheran churches also celebrate a candlelight service at midnight besides the Christmas Vespers in the afternoon or early evening. The crib is a very important part of the celebrations in Catholic areas especially Bavaria. In the largely Catholic Austria, Christmas markets are a long-standing tradition.
In Vienna , for instance, the market is held in the large square in front of City Hall. Innsbruck opens its romantic Christmas market in the narrow medieval square at the foot of the Golden Roof. In Salzburg , the Christmas market takes over the square in front of the Cathedral with its picturesque stalls, while the tree vendors occupy Residenzplatz on the side of the huge Cathedral.
However almost every small town has its own Christmas market. In Austria, Christmas trees play a very important part of Christmas celebrations. Every town sets up its own huge tree on the main square all decorated with candles, ornaments and candies and frequently there will be an extra one, adorned with bread crumbs, for the birds. In families the tree is decorated with gold and silver ornaments or stars made out of straw, sweets and candy wrapped in tinfoil, gilded nuts, etc.
The feast of St Nicholas marks the beginning of Christmas in Austria. Austrian Christmas tradition has it that it is the Christ Child himself who decorates the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and brings the children their Christmas presents, and it is to him that their letters and wish lists are addressed in the weeks before Christmas. The Christmas Eve dinner is the main event of the night often served with fried carp. The famous sachertorte and different kinds of chocolates are served as dessert. The Austrians also have special crescent shaped cookies served during Christmas time.
In Germany Christmas traditions vary by region. Nikolaus still puts goodies in children's shoes on that day. Sometimes St. Nicholas visits children in kindergarten, schools or at public events. They have to recite a short poem or sing a song in order to get sweets or a small gift. His duty is to punish those children who haven't behaved during the year.
Christmas Around the World
Usually he doesn't have much to do. He merely stands near St. Nicholas as a warning to be good and polite. The Sorbs , a minority in Saxony and parts of Brandenbuerg with a language similar to Polish, have some specific traditions. It provides smaller presents like sweets, similar to the Nikolaus and provides blessings, stays however silent.
Christmas letters may be addressed e. After privatization, Deutsche Post kept the tradition of dedicated Christmas offices, one in each state, answering letters and requests from children. Currently the actual Christmas gift-giving German: "Bescherung" usually takes place on Christmas Eve. This tradition was introduced by Reformator , Martin Luther , as he was of the opinion that one should put the emphasis on Christ's birth and not on a saint's day and do away with the connotation that gifts have to be earned by good behavior.
The gifts should be seen as a symbol for the gift of God's grace in Christ. Gifts may be brought by the Weihnachtsmann translation, "Christmas man" , who resembles either St. Nicholas or the American Santa Claus , or by Christkindl , a sprite-like child who may or may not represent the baby Jesus. After the gifts are opened the children often stay up as late as they like, often till the early hours of the morning.
The Christmas Tree is first put up and decorated on the morning of the 24th. The gifts are then placed under the tree. Christmas services in the church serve as well to exchange greetings with neighbors and friends. After an evening meal one of the parents usually goes into the room where the tree is standing, lights the candles and rings a little bell.
Then the children are allowed to go into the candlelit room. In many families it is still a custom to sing Christmas songs around the tree before opening up the presents. Some families attend a midnight church service "Christmette" after the evening meal and gift-giving. The culinary feast either takes place at supper on Christmas Eve or on the first day of Christmas. Traditions vary from region to region; carp is eaten in many parts of the country. Another simple meal which some families favor, especially in regions where Christmas Eve still has the character of a fast day , is vegetable or pea soup.
In some regions, especially in Schleswig-Holstein where Danish influence is noticeable, a roasted duck or goose filled with plums, apples and raisins is family tradition. In other regions, especially in Mecklenburg and Pomerania , many families prefer kale with boiled potatoes, special sausages and ham. Many families have developed new traditions for themselves and eat such meals as meat fondue or raclette.
In almost all families in all parts of Germany you find a wide variety of Christmas cookies baked according to recipes typical for the family and the region. Fish soup and breaded roasted carp with special homemade potato salad are a traditional dish for the dinner. The gifts are surreptitiously placed under the Christmas tree usually a spruce or pine and lately fir , usually just before or during dinner.
That happens at the end of their Christmas dinner. Other Czech and Slovak Christmas traditions involve predictions for the future. Apples are always cut crosswise: if a perfect star appears in the core, the next year will be successful, distorted star means a bad year or illness, while a cross may suggest death. Girls throw shoes over their shoulders — if the toe points to the door, the girl will get married soon. Another tradition requires pouring some molten lead into water and guessing a message from its shapes.
Although the role of gift-giver on Christmas Day itself is assigned to the Christ Child, on the night before St. The day is otherwise a fast-day. This is the most intimate moment of Christmas, featuring warmly lit Christmas tree and candles, soft Christmas music, family singing of Christmas or religious songs and gift pack openings.
There is also a popular folk custom during December and especially on Christmas Eve, in which children or adults present the birth of Jesus. A Christmas crib and a church are used as the scene. The actors go from house to house, and they receive gifts for their performance. In the largely Roman Catholic Poland, Christmas Eve begins with a day of fasting and then a night of feasting.
The traditional Christmas meal is known as Wigilia "The Vigil " , and being invited to attend a Wigilia dinner with a family is considered a high honour. On that evening, children watch the sky anxiously hoping to be the first to cry out, "The star has come! According to tradition, bits of hay are spread beneath the tablecloth as a reminder that Christ was born in a manger.
Others partake in the practice of placing money under the table cloth for each guest, in order to wish for prosperity in the coming year. The dinner contains twelve dishes, one for each Apostle. In many homes, an extra place setting is set. The empty setting is symbolically left at the table for a lonely wanderer who may be in need of food, an angel, the Baby Jesus or the Holy Spirit should appear to share the feast. Before eating, everyone exchanges Christmas greetings with each other. A tradition exists among some families to serve twelve different dishes at Wigilia symbolizing the Twelve Apostles , or perhaps, an odd number of dishes for good luck usually five, seven, or nine.
Some practice the superstition that an even number of people must be seated around the table. A traditional Wigilia supper in Poland includes fried carp and barszcz beetroot soup with uszka translated as "little ears", also known as meatless ravioli. Universal Polish Christmas foods are pierogi as well as some herring dishes, herring fillets, herring in aspic and for dessert, makowiec or noodles with poppy seed.
Often, there is a compote of dry fruits for a drink. Dishes beside fish are usually cabbage -, forest mushroom- like boletus and poppyseed -based, with herring being very important. After supper the Star Man arrives attended by the Star Boys. They are dressed as Wise Men or animals or other figures. The Star Man examines the children in their catechism and rewards them with small presents if they do well, even if they need a bit of coaching. The Star Boys sing carols and are given a treat for their help.
The feast begins with the appearance of the first star. The meal is followed by the exchange of gifts. The remainder of the evening is given to stories and songs around the Christmas tree. In some areas of the country, children are taught that "The Little Star" brings the gifts. As presents are unwrapped, carollers may walk from house to house receiving treats along the way. Christmas Eve ends with Pasterka , the Midnight Mass at the local church. The tradition commemorates the arrival of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem and their paying of respect and bearing witness to the new born Messiah.
The custom of Christmas night liturgy was introduced in the Christian churches after the second half of the 5th century. In Poland that custom arrived together with the coming of Christianity. According to scripture, the Christmas Day masses are interchangeable allowing for greater flexibility in choosing the religious services by individual parishioners. The giftbearer varies. The singing of carols is a very important part of Romanian Christmas festivities. On the first day of Christmas, many carolers walk through the streets of the towns and villages, holding a star made of cardboard and paper on which are depicted various scenes from the Bible.
Romanian tradition has the smallest children going from house to house, singing carols and reciting poems and legends during the whole Christmas season. The leader of the group carries with him a star made of wood, covered with metal foil and decorated with bells and coloured ribbons. An image of the Nativity is painted on the star's centre, and this piece of handiwork is attached to the end of a broom or other long stick. Romanian food served during the holidays is a hearty multi-coursed meal, most of which consists of pork organs, muscle, and fat.
This is mainly a symbolic gesture for St. Ignatius of Antioch. Since the s, the Christmas customs of the Eastern Slavic countries have included a similar character known as Ded Moroz "Grandfather Frost". According to legend, he travels in a magical sanki — a decorated sleigh drawn by reindeer or three white horses. With his young, blond assistant Snegurochka the "Snow Maiden", said to be his granddaughter at his side, he visits homes and gives gifts to good children not true for former Yugoslavian countries.
A Polish Christmas Story with a Magical Christmas Tree By Jean Marie (R)
He only delivers presents to children while they are asleep, and unlike Santa, he does not travel down chimneys, coming instead to the front door of children's homes. It is traditional for children to leave food for Ded Moroz. This Ded Moroz in Russia, Ded Moroz is not identified nor in any way associated with Saint Nicholas of Myra feast day , December 6 , who is very widely revered in Eastern Europe for his clerical and charitable works as a bishop. In all likelihood, Ded Moroz is actually in Slavic tradition like Santa Claus, any connection to the original saint having long since disappeared.
It is traditional in Georgia to go on Alilo a modified pronunciation of Alleluia , a mass walk in the streets, dressed in special clothing to celebrate and congratulate each other. Most members of the Alilo march are children and they are given sweets by the adults. The Alilo carols vary across the provinces of Georgia. A local variant of the Christmas tree, called Chichilaki , is made of soft wooden material with curled branches. Sometimes it is hazelnut branch which is carved into a Tree of Life -like shape and decorated with fruits and sweets. The Western custom of a Christmas tree nadzvis khe is also popular and has been imported through Russia.
The Georgian equivalent of "Santa Claus" is known as tovlis papa or tovlis babua in western Georgian dialects , literally meaning a "Grandfather snow", and is traditionally portrayed with long white beard, dressed in national costume " chokha " and wearing a fur cloak "nabadi". As in some other Eastern Orthodox countries, and due to the day difference between the newer Gregorian, and older Julian Calendars, Christmas is celebrated on January 7. Unlike its Western counterparts, Christmas is mainly a religious event in Russia.
The family will then return home for the traditional Christmas Eve " Holy Supper ", which consists of 12 dishes, one to honor each of the Twelve Apostles. Since Christmas has become a national holiday in Russia , as part of the ten-day holiday at the start of every new year. During the Soviet period, religious celebrations were discouraged by the officially atheist state. Christmas tree and related celebrations were gradually eradicated after the October Revolution.
In , in a surprising turn of state politics, the Christmas tradition was adopted as part of the secular New Year celebration. Many of these were brought to Russia by Peter the Great after his Western travels in the late 17th century. Sviata Vecheria or "Holy Supper" is the central tradition of the Christmas Eve celebrations in Ukrainian homes and takes place in most parts of the country on January 6.
In Western Ukraine, especially in Carpathian Ruthenia , due to historical multi-culturism, Christmas can be observed twice—on December 25 and January 7, often irrespective of whether the family belongs to Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church , the Roman Catholic Church, one of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches , or one of the Protestant denominations. The Western Ukrainian tradition of two Christmas celebrations, since , are also celebrated nationwide as well.
When the children see the first star in the eastern evening sky, which symbolizes the trek of the Three Wise Men, the Sviata Vechera may begin. In farming communities the head of the household now brings in a sheaf of wheat called the didukh which represents the importance of the ancient and rich wheat crops of Ukraine, the staff of life through the centuries.
Didukh means literally "grandfather spirit" so it symbolizes the family's ancestors. In city homes a few stalks of golden wheat in a vase are often used to decorate the table. The dinner table sometimes has a few wisps of hay on the embroidered table cloth as a reminder of the manger in Bethlehem. A prayer is said and the father says the traditional Christmas greeting, "Chrystos rodyvsya! In many communities the old Ukrainian tradition of caroling is carried on by groups of young people and members of organizations and churches calling at homes and collecting donations.
Traditionally, Christmas Day opens for Ukrainian families with attendance in church services Mass, worship service or Divine Liturgy. Ukrainian churches offer services starting before midnight on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning. Christmas supper, without Lenten restrictions, does not have as many traditions connected with it as Sviata Vechera. The old tradition in Ukraine of giving gifts to children on St. Nicholas Day, December 19, has generally been replaced by the Christmas date and it is the Father Frost who visits all the children in a sleigh pulled by only three reindeer.
In Western Ukraine the St. Nicholas Day is marked there on December 6. In much of Northern Europe Christmas is celebrated on December 24 and is referred to as Jul see Yule , while December 25 is a relaxed day for visiting relatives. The Norse believed that the sun was a great wheel of fire that rolled towards and then away from the earth. Danes celebrate on December 24, which is referred to as Juleaften literally "Yule evening". Also caramelized potatoes is an important part of the Dane's Christmas dinner. For dessert rice pudding is traditionally served — composed largely of whipped cream and accompanied by lashings of black cherry sauce.
The rice pudding also contains chopped peeled almonds, and a single whole peeled almond. Whoever finds the whole almond will have good luck for the coming year, and the lucky finder is entitled to a small gift, Mandelgave. After the meal is complete, the family gathers around the Christmas tree and sings Christmas songs and hymns while holding hands and dancing in circles, and may even tour the house, still holding hands and singing.
When the singing is complete, traditions vary. In some traditions, the family will select one child to hand out the presents. All children take turns handing out presents in other traditions. Alternatively "Santa Claus", the Julemanden , will appear at the door in full costume with a large sack of presents over his shoulder. He will then distribute the presents, with the assistance of any children present, to their recipients. He should be offered suitable drink to keep him warm and cheerful on his onward journey, but do not expect loquacity — utterances are normally limited to loud and hearty laughs.
The Danish are somewhat famous for their Julefrokost, literally meaning "Christmas lunch", which includes various traditional Danish dishes, potentially accompanied by beer and Snaps. These Julefrokoster are popular and held within families, as well as by companies and other social groups. They would traditionally have taken place leading up to Christmas, but due to time constraints and stress during the Christmas month they are nowadays commonly held during November and January as well. Several television stations produce their own, most, but not all of which are targeted at child viewers. Some of the television advent calendars become extremely popular and go on to be reprised in subsequent years.
In Denmark, Santa Claus is known as Julemanden literally "the Yule Man" and is said to arrive in a sleigh drawn by reindeer, with presents for the children. He is assisted with his Yuletide chores by elves known as julenisser or simply nisser , who are traditionally believed to live in attics, barns or similar places. In some traditions, to maintain the favour and protection of these nisser, children leave out saucers of milk or rice pudding or other treats for them and are delighted to find the food gone on Christmas morning.
Each year on this day, the President of Estonia declares the Christmas Peace and attends a Christmas service. The tradition was initiated by the order of Queen Christina of Sweden in the 17th century. For dessert, Estonians eat gingerbread piparkoogid and marzipan. Estonians leave the leftover food from Christmas dinner on the table overnight, in hopes that the spirits of family, friends, and loved ones will visit and also have something to eat. It is also customary to visit graveyards and leave candles for the deceased.
Christmas is an extensively prepared celebration centering on the family and home, although it has a religious dimension also. The Christmas season starts from December or even in late November, when shops began advertising potential Christmas gifts. Christmas decorations and songs become more prominent as Christmas nears, and children count days to Christmas with Advent calendars. Schools and some other places have the day before Christmas Eve aatonaatto , December 23 as a holiday, but at the latest on the Christmas Eve jouluaatto , December 24 , shops close early and stay closed until December Stephen's Day" are mandatory public holidays in Finland  Schools continue holidays up to the New Year.
It is a custom in many towns and cities. The most famous one of these declarations is on the Old Great Square of Turku , the former capital of Finland, at noon on Christmas Eve. It is broadcast on Finnish radio since and television, and nowadays also in some foreign countries. The declaration ceremony begins with the hymn Jumala ompi linnamme Martin Luther 's A Mighty Fortress Is Our God by a band of the Finnish Navy and a male choir and continues with the Declaration of Christmas Peace read from a parchment roll, in both Finnish and Swedish, the country's two official languages:. The ceremony ends with trumpets playing the Finnish national anthem Maamme and Porilaisten marssi , with the crowd usually singing when the band plays Maamme.
Recently, there is also a declaration of Christmas peace for forest animals in many cities and municipalities, so there is no hunting during Christmas. Finnish people clean their homes well before Christmas and prepare special treats for the festive season. A sheaf of grain, nuts and seeds are tied on a pole, which is placed in the garden for the birds to feed on. Spruce trees are cut or bought from a market and taken to homes on or a few days before Christmas Eve and are decorated.
Candles are lit on the Christmas tree, which is traditionally decorated using apples and other fruit, candies, paper flags, cotton and tinsel, in addition to Christmas ornaments such as stars or baubles. Actual candles are no longer used, being replaced by incandescent or LED lamps.
A star symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem is placed at the top of the tree. Just before the Christmas festivities begin, people usually take a Christmas sauna. The tradition is very old; unlike on normal days, when one would go to the sauna in the evening, on Christmas Eve it is done before sunset. This tradition is based on a preth century belief that the spirits of the dead return and have a sauna at the usual sauna hours.
The most traditional dish of the Finnish Christmas dinner is probably Christmas Ham , roast suckling pig or a roasted fresh ham, but some may prefer alternatives like turkey. Several sorts of casseroles , like rutabaga, carrot and potato casserole are traditional, and are almost always exclusively served on Christmas. Other traditional Christmas dishes include boiled codfish soaked beforehand in a lye solution for a week to soften it served snowy white and fluffy, pickled herring and vegetables.
Prune jam pastries, plum or mixed fruit soup, rice porridge with cinnamon, sugar and cold milk, and sweets like chocolate are popular desserts. Christmas gifts are usually exchanged after Christmas Eve dinner. Christmas Day services begin early at six in the morning and people visit families and reunions are arranged on this day. Stephen 's Day is traditionally set aside for driving around the village tapaninajot , to counterbalance the solemn and family-oriented part of Christmas.
Traditionally, one candle is lit each Sunday until four candles are lit on the 24th. After the meal is finished, they open gifts and spend the evening together. In Iceland people over the Yule holidays most often eat smoked lamb, ptarmigan and turkey. Pork is also very popular. Thirteen days before December 24 the Yule Lads children will leave their shoes by the window so that the Yule Lads can leave small gifts in their shoes. Each of the Yule Lads is known for a different kind of mischief for example slamming doors, stealing meat, stealing milk or eating the candles.
The Yule Lads traditionally wear early Icelandic wool clothing but are now known for the more recognizable red and white suit. Each home typically sets up a Christmas tree indoors in the living room with most decorating it on December In addition to the decorations, presents are put underneath the tree.
It is also a tradition in many homes to boil skate on the 23rd. During the holiday season, it is traditional for families to work together to bake small cookies to serve or give to guests. Most common are thin gingerbread cookies which are decorated in many different colors of glaze. At the night of the former and morning of the latter Icelanders shoot up fireworks blowing the old year away and welcoming the new one.
Thirteen days after the 24th Icelanders say goodbye to the Yule Lads and other mystical creatures such as elves and trolls. There are bonfires held throughout the country while the elves, Yule Lads, and Icelanders dance together before saying goodbye until the next Christmas. The major day of celebration in Norway, as in most of Northern Europe, is December Although it is legally a regular workday until ,  most stores close early.
Church bells chime in the Christmas holiday between and In some families the Christmas story from Luke 2 will be read from the old family Bible. The main Christmas meal is served in the evening. Many people also eat " lutefisk " or fresh, poached cod. Rice porridge is also popular but most commonly served as an early lunch rather than for the main Christmas dinner , an almond is often hidden in the porridge, and the person who finds it wins a treat or small gift. In some parts of Norway it is common to place porridge outside in a barn, outhouse or even in the forest to please "Nissen".
In many families, where the parents grew up with different traditions, two different main dishes are served to please everyone. If children are present and they have behaved well the last year , "Julenissen" Santa Claus pays a visit, otherwise gifts are stored under the Christmas tree. For a lot of Norwegians, especially families, television is an important part of the earlier hours of Christmas Eve. Attending one of the many stage productions of Putti Plutti Pott and Santa's Beard is also a very popular tradition. December 25 is a very quiet and relaxed day.
Church services are well attended. The old tradition of a very early morning service before breakfast has been replaced in most areas by a service in the later morning. Afterward many families get together for a large festive meal. December 26 is also a day of many festivities. Cinemas, night clubs and bars are full, and there are lots of private gatherings and parties, where all kinds of traditional Christmas cookies and sweets are enjoyed.
Fatty, tasty dinners are also part of it. During this time children in some parts of Norway dress up as "nisser" and go "Julebukk" — "Christmas goat" — in their neighbourhoods and sing Christmas carols to receive treats, much the same way as in the American Halloween. January 6 13th day of Christmas is commonly regarded as the end of Christmas, while some end Christmas on the 20th day, and some even at Candlemas.
The Yule season was a time for feasting, drinking, gift-giving, and gatherings, but also the season of awareness and fear of the forces of the dark. Swedish Christmas celebrations begin with the first of Advent. Saint Lucy's Day locally known as Luciadagen which is the first major Christmas celebration before Christmas itself. The eldest daughter arising early and wearing her Lucy garb of white robe, red sash, and a wire crown covered with whortleberry-twigs with nine lighted candles fastened in it awakens the family, singing "Santa Lucia", serving them coffee and saffron buns St.
Lucia buns , thus ushering in the Christmas season. Schools elect a Lucia and her maids among the students and a national Lucia is elected on national television from regional winners. The regional Lucias will visit shopping malls, old people's homes and churches, singing and handing out pepparkakor gingerbread cookies. Boys take part in the procession as well, playing different roles associated with Christmas. Electric candles and glowing stars are placed in almost every window in the month of December in Sweden.
Although December 25 juldagen is a Swedish public holiday , December 24 is the day when Santa Claus Jultomte or simply Tomte brings the presents. Although not a public holiday, Christmas Eve is a de facto holiday in the sense that most workplaces are closed, and those who work, for instance in shops or care homes, get extra wages as a compensation. See also: Public holidays in Sweden for further explanation of this concept.
The Jultomte was originally a small invisible Christmas house gnome or dwarf from the Nordic mythology, who watched over the house and its inhabitants. An old superstition still calls for feeding the Tomte on Christmas Eve with a small bowl of porridge. If a bowl of porridge is not laid out for him somewhere in or outside the house, he will bring bad luck to everyone in the house the next year. Christmas is, as everywhere else, an occasion celebrated with food. Almost all julbord has Christmas ham, julskinka accompanied by other Christmas dishes, such as small meatballs , pickled herring , spareribs , small hot dogs, lutfisk , pork sausage, salmon, Janssons frestelse potato casserole with anchovy , and rice pudding.
The Christmas julbord is served with julmust and beverage like mulled wine, Christmas beer or snaps. The different dishes of the julbord may vary throughout Sweden, from South to North. Businesses traditionally invite their employees to a julbord dinner or lunch the weeks before Christmas, and people go out privately to restaurants which also customarily offer julbord during December. After the julbord on December 24, the presents are distributed, either by Jultomten or a family member, and usually from a sack or from under the Christmas tree where they have been lying all day or for several days.
Many Swedes still adhere to the tradition that each present should have a rhyme written on the wrapping paper, to hint at the contents without revealing them. If one has two families to celebrate Christmas with, it is common that one of the families move their celebrations to Christmas Day or the day before Christmas Eve commonly referred to as little Christmas Eve. After December 24, the Christmas celebrations have more or less come to an end. Some people attend the julottan , an early morning church service on December This particular service was the main service of Christmas historically—nowadays, the Midnight Mass has become increasingly popular.
Others attend a simpler service called Christmas Prayer in the afternoon of Christmas Eve; however, many Swedes do not attend church at all during Christmas as the country is very secular. Even so, most families do set up a Julkrubba Christmas Crib. Lucy 's on December 13 depending on what region in Croatia. Lucy or St. Nicholas brings children presents, and St.
Nicholas is said to be accompanied by Krampus who steals away the presents of bad children. This "anti-Santa" is said to have one cloven hoof, a handful of heavy chains, and a sack on his back to collect naughty children. Lucy's, families will plant wheat seeds in a bowl of shallow water, which will grow several inches by Christmas and are then tied together with a red, blue and white ribbon called trobojnica'. On this day, the tree is decorated, the home is decked with greenery and the women already beginning to prepare the Christmas meal.
In many villages, straw which symbolizes Christ's birth in the manger is spread around the floors of the home for the Christmas Eve dinner. As is customary with Catholic people, meat is not consumed in Croatia, while in Slovenia it is. Instead of meat in Croatia and with other food in Slovenia, salad and fish is served, many choosing to eat the Dalmatian specialty bakalar , dried cod fish.
The family then sprinkle holy water on their Yule log badnjak which they light and watch. In villages, the badnjak is freshly cut that very morning by the father of the household while reciting traditional prayers. At the end of the meal, a piece of the cesnica is cut and dipped in wine and used to sprinkle on the candles to extinguish them, while reciting the Trinitarian formula "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Many families will go to a midnight mass on Christmas Eve and often another on Christmas Day.
It is common for Christmas presents to be placed under the tree, to suggest that the Angel or the Baby Jesus Mali Isus leaves them there while others are attending midnight mass. Presents are opened after the mass. Christmas is a day of celebrating with family; a large feast is prepared and traditional foods such as stuffed cabbage, turkey, pot roast, pita and smoked meat are served, along with various desserts such as fritule , potica especially in Slovenia , strudel , and cookies.
Families mostly celebrate New Year's Eve at home with extended family members, friends, and sometimes neighbours. Women prepare cabbage sarma , which they will eat on January 1 to symbolize good fortune, and steak tartare , which they eat on New Year's Eve on toast with butter. At midnight, people go outdoors to watch fireworks, while Dedek Mraz leaves presents under the tree.
Epiphany on January 6 marks the end of the Christmas season. Traditionally, Christmas Eve would be the climax of the Nativity Fast , and thus only an odd number of lenten dishes are presented on that evening. On that day, a Bulgarian budnik is set alight. On Christmas, however, meat dishes are already allowed and are typically served. The pita is broken into pieces by the head of the family and a piece is given to each family member, a valuable possession, and a piece for God. A coin is hidden inside the pita and whoever gets the coin, he or she will have luck, health, and prosperity in the coming year.
As in other countries, a Christmas tree is typically set up and the entire house is decorated. However, it has been largely forgotten after , when Dyado Koleda again returned as the more popular figure. The festive period lasts from November 30 to January 6 Epiphany on the Greek calendar. December 25 and 26 is a public holiday in Greece. Most families set up Christmas trees and shops have decorations and lights. In Greek tradition, Basil's of Caesarea name was given to Father Christmas and is supposed to visit children and give presents on January 1 when Basil's memory is celebrated , unlike other European traditions, where this person is Saint Nicholas and comes every Christmas.
Carol singing is another tradition on Christmas and New Year's Eve. Other Christmas and new year foods include 'Baklava' sweet pastry , Kataifi pastry , Theeples a kind of fried pastry. Christmas Eve on December 24 and 23 housewives make the Christmas cake with a cross in the middle and avgokouloures which are subsequently offered to the elderly and children. Children singing carols from house to house either before or on Christmas Day. People go to church early the morning of Christmas on December Christmas morning after church there is the practice to become the "pork batches," served with wine to open the appetite, and "thick," done by Eve, which is boiled pork with plenty of lemon that is left to clot overnight.
The pork-food is in the hallmark of Greek Christmas. And in many central squares of the country a big Christmas tree, where many of the Christmas festivals take place. This ancient habit, whose origin is lost in time. In Mani there are beliefs about demonic and other supernatural beings, who come from the Twelve Days of Christ as the Epiphany. These are the goblins and say that they are the descendants God Pan or Satyrs , who jumped from the mythology in the Christian life.
Christmas decorations, including the presepe nativity scene ,  as well as the Christmas tree, are usually put up on this day. Some modern takes on this holiday involve them hanging vultures to symbolize the cleaning of their spirits. Evening candlelight processions called the parade of light are conducted and are followed by the Feast of St. Sicilians pay tribute to a miracle performed by St Lucy during a famine in At that time, she brought a flotilla of grain-bearing ships to starving Sicily, whose citizens cooked and ate the wheat without taking time to grind it into flour.
Thus, on St. Lucy's Day, Sicilians do not eat anything made with wheat flour. Christmas is celebrated in Italy  in a similar fashion to other Western European countries, with a strong emphasis given to the Christian meaning of the holiday and its celebration by the Catholic Church , also reinforced by the still widespread tradition of setting up the presepe , a tradition initiated by Saint Francis of Assisi. It is quite common to attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve and practice the custom not to eat any meat.
The dinner traditionally consists of seafood, with the Feast of the Seven Fishes , followed by typical Italian Christmas sweets, such as pandoro , panettone , torrone , panforte , struffoli , caggionetti ,  Monte Bianco or others, depending on the regional cuisine. Hemlock species are generally considered unsuitable as Christmas trees due to their poor needle retention and inability to support the weight of lights and ornaments.
Some trees, frequently referred to as "living Christmas trees", are sold live with roots and soil, often from a plant nursery , to be stored at nurseries in planters or planted later outdoors and enjoyed and often decorated for years or decades. Others are produced in a container and sometimes as topiary for a porch or patio. However, when done improperly, the combination of root loss caused by digging, and the indoor environment of high temperature and low humidity is very detrimental to the tree's health; additionally, the warmth of an indoor climate will bring the tree out of its natural winter dormancy , leaving it little protection when put back outside into a cold outdoor climate.
Often Christmas trees are a large attraction for living animals, including mice and spiders. Thus, the survival rate of these trees is low. European tradition prefers the open aspect of naturally grown, unsheared trees, while in North America outside western areas where trees are often wild-harvested on public lands  there is a preference for close-sheared trees with denser foliage, but less space to hang decorations. In the past, Christmas trees were often harvested from wild forests, but now almost all are commercially grown on tree farms.
Almost all Christmas trees in the United States are grown on Christmas tree farms where they are cut after about ten years of growth and new trees planted. According to the United States Department of Agriculture 's agriculture census for , 21, farms were producing conifers for the cut Christmas tree market in America, 5, First, the seed is extracted from cones harvested from older trees. These seeds are then usually grown in nurseries and then sold to Christmas tree farms at an age of 3—4 years.
The remaining development of the tree greatly depends on the climate, soil quality, as well as the cultivation and how the trees are tended by the Christmas tree farmer. The first artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the 19th century,   though earlier examples exist. Over the years, other styles of artificial Christmas trees have evolved and become popular. In , the U. Other trends have developed in the early s as well. Optical fiber Christmas trees come in two major varieties; one resembles a traditional Christmas tree.
Upside-down artificial Christmas trees became popular for a short time and were originally introduced as a marketing gimmick; they allowed consumers to get closer to ornaments for sale in retail stores and opened up floor space for more products. Between and artificial Christmas tree sales in the U. An artificial Aluminum Christmas tree. The debate about the environmental impact of artificial trees is ongoing. Generally, natural tree growers contend that artificial trees are more environmentally harmful than their natural counterparts.
Live trees are typically grown as a crop and replanted in rotation after cutting, often providing suitable habitat for wildlife. Real or cut trees are used only for a short time, but can be recycled and used as mulch , wildlife habitat, or used to prevent erosion. An independent life-cycle assessment study, conducted by a firm of experts in sustainable development, states that a natural tree will generate 3.
Living Christmas trees can be purchased or rented from local market growers. Rentals are picked up after the holidays, while purchased trees can be planted by the owner after use or donated to local tree adoption or urban reforestation services. Most artificial trees are made of recycled PVC rigid sheets using tin stabilizer in the recent years.
In the past, lead was often used as a stabilizer in PVC, but is now banned by Chinese laws. A study found that while in general artificial trees pose little health risk from lead contamination , there do exist "worst-case scenarios" where major health risks to young children exist. The earliest legend of the origin of the Christmas tree dates back to , involving Saint Boniface  as he was evangelizing Germany.
According to a story not mentioned in his biographies vitae , he stumbled upon a pagan gathering where a group of people dancing under a decorated oak tree were about to sacrifice a baby in the name of Thor. Boniface took an axe and called on the name of Jesus. In one swipe, he managed to take down the entire tree, to the crowds astonishment. Behind the fallen tree was a baby fir. Boniface said, "let this tree be the symbol of the true God, its leaves are ever green and will not die.
Tradition holds that trees were used in formerly pagan homes from that moment forth, but decorated in the name of Jesus. The Christmas tree was first recorded to be used by German Lutherans in the 16th century, with records indicating that a Christmas tree was placed in the Cathedral of Strassburg in , under the leadership of the Protestant Reformer , Martin Bucer.
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Under the Marxist-Leninist doctrine of state atheism in the Soviet Union, after its foundation in , Christmas celebrations—along with other religious holidays—were prohibited as a result of the Soviet anti-religious campaign. Although at first disapproved of by some as out of place at the centre of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican Christmas Tree has become an integral part of the Vatican Christmas celebrations,  and in Pope Benedict XVI spoke of it as part of the normal Christmas decorations in Catholic homes.
This very ancient custom, he said, exalts the value of life, as in winter what is evergreen becomes a sign of undying life, and it reminds Christians of the "tree of life" of Genesis , an image of Christ, the supreme gift of God to humanity. The crib and the tree: precious symbols, which hand down in time the true meaning of Christmas. Catherine S. Chrismon trees are a variety developed in by a Lutheran laywoman in Virginia, as a specifically religious version appropriate for a church's Christmas celebrations, although most Christian churches continue to display the traditional Christmas tree in their sanctuaries during Christmastide.
In , the city of Boston renamed the spruce tree used to decorate the Boston Common a "Holiday Tree" rather than a "Christmas Tree". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Christmas tree disambiguation. Christmas Tree in the cozy room at the Wisconsin Governor's mansion. Christmas tea with Christmas Tree at an espresso shop in Eugene, Oregon.
Christmas tree in Milan , Italy, Christmas tree in Vatican City , Christmas tree in Salerno old town, Italy, Boston's Christmas Tree. Christmas tree in Warsaw. Christmas tree in Lugano Main article: Chrismon tree. This section has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages.
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Main article: Christmas ornament. See also: Christmas tree production. See also: Christmas tree cultivation. Main article: Artificial Christmas tree. A chrismon tree St. Alban's Anglican Cathedral, Oviedo, Florida. ABC News. Retrieved 8 December Christmas in Germany: A Cultural History. University of North Carolina Press. A chronicle from Stasbourg, written in and widely seen as the first account of a Christmas tree in German-speaking lands, records that Protestant artisans brought fir trees into their homes in the holiday season and decorated them with "roses made of colored paper, apples, wafers, tinsel, sweetmeats, etc.
The Christmas tree spread out in German society from the top down, so to speak. It moved from elite households to broader social strata, from urban to rural areas, from the Protestant north to the Catholic south, and from Prussia to other German states. Archived from the original PDF on 18 December Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. Having a Christmas tree became so closely identified with following Luther's path that German Catholics initially wanted nothing to do with this symbol of Protestantism.
Their resistance endured until the nineteenth century, when Christmas trees finally began finding their way into Catholic homes. Das Weihnachtsfest. English: One can assume with certainty that traditions of lighting, together with the Christmas tree, crossed from Germany to Sweden in the 19th century via the princely upper classes. Canadian Christmas Traditions. The eight-pointed star became a popular manufactured Christmas ornament around the s and many people place a star on the top of their Christmas tree to represent the Star of Bethlehem.
Oxford University Press. The same ambiguity is seen in that most familiar of angels, the angel on top of the Christmas tree. This decoration, popularized in the nineteenth century, recalls the place of the angels in the Christmas story Luke 2. The Christmas Encyclopedia, 3d ed. Christmas trees in the countryside did not appear until World War I, although Slovenians of German ancestry were decorating trees before then.
Traditionally, the family decorates their Christmas tree on Christmas Eve with electric lights, tinsel, garlands, candy canes, other assorted ornaments, and topped with an angel figure or star. The tree and Nativity scene remain until Candlemas February 2 , when they are removed. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 6 January Retrieved 26 December Any Christmas decorations not taken down by Twelfth Night January 5th should be left up until Candlemas Day and then taken down.
Foley The Christmas Tree. Advent and Christmas. Next to the Nativity scene, the most popular Christmas tradition is to have a Christmas tree in the home. This custom is not the same as bringing a Yule tree or evergreens into the home, originally popular during the month of the winter solstice in Germany. The Solstice Evergreen: history, folklore, and origins of the Christmas tree. Archived from the original on 25 December Retrieved 15 December Christmas Legends to Remember'.
Before and After Christmas. Augsburg Fortress. Le Vieux Turckheim. Retrieved 18 December Understanding Your Neighbor's Faith. Palgrave Macmillan. Catholic Traditions in Crafts. Our Sunday Visitor. The modern Christmas tree The main prop of a popular medieval play about Adam and Eve was a fir tree hung with apples paradise tree representing the Garden of Eden. The Germans set up a paradise tree in their homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. They hung wafers on it symbolizing the host, the Christian sign of redemption ; in a later tradition, the wafers were replaced by cookies of various shapes.
Candles, too, were often added as the symbol of Christ. In the same room, during the Christmas season, was the Christmas pyramid , a triangular construction of wood, with shelves to hold Christmas figurines, decorated with evergreens, candles, and a star. By the 16th century, the Christmas pyramid and paradise tree had merged, becoming the Christmas tree. E em cada hua laranja, poeras hua candea.
The Christmas tree did not spring fully fledged into Archived from the original on 30 October Retrieved 2 November Archived from the original on 7 December Retrieved 14 September Lowe His biographer, Eddius Stephanus, relates that while Boniface was serving as a missionary near Geismar, Germany, he had enough of the locals' reverence for the old gods.
Taking an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Norse god Thor, Boniface chopped the tree down and dared Thor to zap him for it. When nothing happened, Boniface pointed out a young fir tree amid the roots of the oak and explained how this tree was a more fitting object of reverence as it pointed towards the Christian heaven and its triangular shape was reminiscent of the Christian trinity.
Silver, Burdett and Co. Georgian Journal. Retrieved 31 December Reval : Wassermann. Die heilige Weihnachtszeit nach Bedeutung, Geschichte, Sitten und Symbolen [ The holy Christmas season for meaning, history, customs and symbols ] in German. Especially in foreign lands, among cold-hearted Englishmen and frivolous Frenchmen, among the American Indians and the Papua of Australia. Liturgisches Kompendium in German. Kristelig Dagblad. Archived from the original on 13 December Archived from the original on 27 December Retrieved 25 December Survey of London. London: John Windet.
Archived from the original on 16 August Retrieved 3 January Against the feast of Christmas every man's house, as also the parish churches, were decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green. Archived from the original on 24 December Hole, Christine English Custom and Usage. London: B. Batsford Ltd. Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher ed.
The girlhood of Queen Victoria: a selection from Her Majesty's diaries. Compendium of symbolic and ritual plants in Europe. Oresko Books. The Times London, England , 20 December , p. Large stocks of young firs were to be seen at Covent Garden on Christmas Eve, but found few buyers. It was remembered that the 'Christmas tree' has enemy associations. Dunstan's Christmas Fair'. The Times London, England , 11 December , p. BBC News. Archived from the original on 31 July Retrieved 21 June Werner Greenwood Publishing Group. Christmas in Pennsylvania: a folk-cultural study.
Stackpole Books. Merry Christmas! Celebrating America's greatest holiday. Harvard University Press. Archived from the original on 10 December Retrieved 2 December Gareth Marples. Archived from the original on 28 June Harvard University Gazette. Archived from the original on 23 August Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune.
Archived from the original on 19 December Retrieved 16 May Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Archived from the original on 1 August Retrieved 11 December Retrieved 19 December Santa Claus. Archived from the original on 22 December Retrieved 14 December Archived from the original on 1 November Archived from the original on 6 May Retrieved 5 October National Park Service.
Archived from the original on 15 January Retrieved 5 April The Palm Beach Post. Archived from the original on 5 December Retrieved 4 March FROM G. Newcastle City Council. Archived from the original on 25 April Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 9 December Dudley Presbyterian Worship: A Guide for Clergy. Geneva Press. A Chrismon tree is an evergreen tree adorned with symbols of Christ. The symbols are white and gold, and the three has white lights. Dalton; D. In Search of Christmas. CSS Publishing. Chrismons were first used in to decorate a Christmas tree in the Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Danville, Virginia.
Over time, the popularity of the Chrismons tree grew and spread to other denominations around the world, while Chrismons themselves have become meaningful decorations throughout the year. John's Anglican Church. Retrieved 4 December A number of ladies of St. Leading Young Catholics Into Scripture. Twenty-Third Publications. The Chrismon tree bears symbols of Jesus from the New Testament. While the children hang their symbols, related Scripture texts might be read. Possible figures for the Chrismon tree are Mary, Joseph, the star, manger, shepherd, angel, sheep, three kings, gifts, fish, dove, grapes, wheat, vine, crown, rock, alpha and omega symbols, Chi-Rho, anchor, and cross.
The symbols are usually white and gold. Taylor Publishing Company. Brunswick Reformed Church. Archived from the original on 6 December Funk and Wagnalis, Calendar: Christ's Time for the Church. Abingdon Press. Beyond that the term "Chrismon" is used loosely to refer to symbols related to Christ, including the orb, crown, fish, star, anchor, and a wide variety of forms on the cross.
All of these, often made in materials of gold and white, are used on a pine or fir tree in place of the more usual multicolored ornaments used on trees at home. Lights are also usually of clear glass rather than being colored. Liturgy Training Publications. Bell Media. Archived from the original on 30 July December Chastagner and D. Michael Benson Retrieved 24 December Bloomberg News.
Retrieved 14 November Clemson University. Archived from the original on 6 June Retrieved 12 July Department of Forestry, Michigan State University. Archived from the original on 15 March Bureau of Land Management. Archived from the original on 14 January United States Department of Agriculture. November Table 1, page 1.
Archived PDF from the original on 16 February Archived from the original on 25 November