Christmas Day is a significant annual event for Catholics and Christians, marking a festive celebration. Beyond being just a holiday, what does Christmas really signify? Is there a deeper history and meaning to the Christmas celebration? Let's delve into it.
Definition of Christmas Day
What does Christmas or Natal mean? To begin, it's essential to recognize that Christmas is a Christian holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. 'Natal' is the translated term in Indonesian, while in English, it's Christmas. This celebration consistently takes place on December 25 each year.
When delving into the linguistic roots, Natal, originating from Latin, signifies birth. In terms of definition, this day is specifically regarded as the anniversary of the birth of Isa al-Masih, known as Lord Jesus in Christianity. Now, what about Christmas? In English, the term is derived from the phrase "Mass of Christ."
Interestingly, behind the festive celebration of Christmas, there's a lack of clarity regarding the actual birthdate of Jesus, as the Bible doesn't provide an explicit explanation on this matter. As a result, December 25, 336, was established as the first globally celebrated Christmas day.
Out of the birthday celebration came important annual moments. These include special events for family gatherings, prayers, adorning the Christmas tree, attending church mass, and eagerly anticipating Santa Claus. For Christians, this celebration holds a sacred significance, especially to pray to God.
The History Behind Christmas Day
An example of celebrating Christmas Day with family. Gathering together while enjoying Christmas food with Christmas decorations adorning the house. | Credit: Shutterstock
Surprisingly, the tradition of celebrating Christmas existed long before the birth of Jesus Christ, despite our commonly held belief in his birthdate. According to Binus University's website, similar festive celebrations in December have a rich history, with the Norse Tribe in Scandinavia observing Christmas (Yule) from December 21 to January.
Christmas, or similar festivities, also took place in Rome, where people observed saturnalia to pay tribute to the god Saturn or the god of agriculture. Simultaneously, the upper class marked the birth of the Sun god, Mithra, on December 25. Broadly speaking, these celebrations were closely tied to the changing seasons.
Particularly the European winter or snow season. During this time, citizens prayed and hoped for the arrival of spring in January. As a result, people celebrated the end of winter and the welcoming of spring at the end of December.
As for the birth of Jesus, Christmas celebrations dedicated to His birthday only appeared in the fourth century of Christianity. It is said that, during that time, Pope Julius I selected the date because it aligned with the winter solstice festival. Since then, Christmas has been an annual event celebrated on December 25th.
The Meaning of Christmas
What does Christmas mean to you? Typically, Christians celebrate this day with family gatherings. Some participate in communal cooking, host festive events, exchange gifts, sing songs, contribute to charitable causes, and decorate their homes. But what's the essence and significance of it all? How does it relate to the birth of Jesus Christ?
The festive activities surrounding Christmas are connected to the concept of a day filled with joy and the sharing of happiness. Similar to how people in history celebrated the arrival of spring, Christmas serves as a moment for individuals to express gratitude and find joy in their lives. As a result, many people come together to share moments of prayer and thanksgiving with their families.
Moreover, the most significant aspect is the moment of gratitude. Christians get to experience Christmas with family, where they express thankfulness for sustenance, appreciate good health, and revel in happiness. It's no wonder Christmas becomes a joyful and peaceful occasion for its followers.
Also Read: Christmas Gift Ideas for Family
Additionally, there's a distinctive celebration involving Christmas songs, church decorations, Christmas trees, and Santa Claus. Who exactly is Santa Claus? The character of Santa Claus is inseparable from Christmas, portrayed as a jolly man with a plump physique, white beard, and friendly demeanor. This individual is recognized for his fuzzy red attire and a sizable sack filled with gifts for children.
Surprisingly, Santa Claus embodies the likeness of St. Nicholas, a monk born in 280 AD. St. Nicholas devoted himself to aiding the poor and sick through sharing presents and protection for children. Even though Santa Claus isn't a real figure, he has evolved into an icon of Christmas, representing generosity and positive virtues on this holy day.
Exchanging Gifts is A Hallmark of Christmas Celebrations
Christmas hampers serve as a gesture of affection toward family, friends, and even coworkers in the office. | Credit: Studiokado
Do you also observe the Christmas holiday? It's become an annual tradition, like how other religious communities have their own traditions. So, it's a special time for gathering and sharing with loved ones. So, what's on your sharing agenda? Take a look at Studiokado's collection of cool and trendy Christmas hampers! There's a variety that can add an extra touch of magic to your Christmas celebrations. You'll find numerous choices of Christmas hampers suitable for gifting to family, relatives, friends, or even use as corporate Christmas goodies.
Have a look at the full Christmas gift lineup from Studiokado right here!
Don't miss: Tips for Decorating Your House for Christmas