Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in the world, celebrated every 25th of December. It is a Christian holiday that marks the birth of Jesus Christ; the son of God. The date goes back as far as A.D. 273. Although the real month and date of Jesus’ birth are unknown, the Western Christian Church in the early-to-mid fourth century fixed December 25 as the date for Christmas. Christmas is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in many countries around the world. Various people all over the world celebrate Christmas day in various ways. 5 major traditions are explained below;
1. Travelling: Christmas day often jokingly called ‘the national day of Jewish travel’ many people spend huge amount of money to travel and spend time with their loved ones. It has even been said that flights are cheaper on Christmas day, but most of the airport facilities will be out of service due to the reduction in staff. This does not even stop people from travelling to spend time with family.
Apart from travelling to see families and loved ones, many travel to places of interest for sight-seeing; places like Disneyland, Jerusalem etc. are always packed with lots of people that have come from various places to celebrate the birth of Christ.
2. Decorations: decorating at Christmas is not a new tradition. Decoration of churches and houses is customary in London, and they are done with holms, ivy, holly and any other green plant. Holly is tree is viewed as defense against heathen and bad spirits; its spiky thorns and red fruit berries symbolize the crown worn by Jesus which is made of thorns and his shedding of blood. The heart-shaped leaves of ivy symbolize the coming of Jesus to earth.
Different styles of decorations are used around the world depending on resident traditions and accessible resources. From the little setting up of Christmas tree and lights to the setting up of crib for a manger scene. The colors of Christmas include green, red and gold. Red stands for the blood of Christ which he shed at his crucifixion. Green means eternal life, while gold which is associated with one of the gifts that were given to Jesus at the manger symbolizes royalty.
3. Family meal: gathering with family to enjoy a meal is one of the favorite Christmas traditions. The special family meal is a very important part of the holiday celebration. The food served varies from countries to countries. In the western world, a Christmas meal comprises of turkey or any other large bird, potatoes, vegetables, and sometimes bread.
4. Christmas carols/Hymns: the singing of hymns and carols has been an old tradition and it is still being done today. Carols are rendered in churches, and some organize door-to-door carols where kids move from houses –to-houses to sing Christmas hymns to people. Of the various hymns that we have, some of the popular ones are; O come all Ye faithful, Silent Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
5. Gift giving: the exchange of gifts is another aspect of the modern Christmas celebration. Making it a profitable season of the year for many businesses around the world. Sharing a gift was a tradition that symbolizes the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh which were given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men. We also have gift bearing figures; the likes of Father Christmas also known as Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Ded Moroz etc. the best known of them all is the red-dressed Santa Claus.
The way in which Christmas is celebrated varies all around the world, and it depends on the local tradition practiced by the people over there. This variation in the Christmas tradition are being practiced and adopted by many who fancy it so much. These traditions are the basis for the celebration of Christmas all over the world.