CHRISTMAS 2017 - SIGNIFICANCE AND CELEBRATIONS
The festival of Christmas is a joyous celebration that is observed in almost every part of the world. Christmas Celebration commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. This festival is observed on 25th December every year. This day was placed by the Western Christian Church, as the actual month and day of Christ's birth is unknown. It was later adopted by the East and now 25th December marks the universal celebration of Christmas.
Merry Christmas 2017! mPanchang brings you the most beautiful stories from Jesus life. Why not glow in the light that was illuminated thousands of years back?
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ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS AND SIGNIFICANCE
Christmas day is associated with Lord Jesus Christ which renders a great deal of significance to this day. It is often believed that some angels descended to the earth on this day and proclaimed Lord Jesus Christ as the savior of people.
Chirstmas holds utmost importance for the devotees. It is the festival of love, joy and sacrifice. mPanchang brings all the facets of the Christmas in a nutshell. Decorate your Christmas tree in mPanchang style. We wish you a Happy and Merry Christmas 2017 according to Hindu Panchang.
Various Christmas facts and Christmas images can be obtained from Luke and Matthew's canonical gospels which are considered highly prominent and significant among Christians. As per their account, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, to Mary, a virgin mother. Joseph and Mary come to Bethlehem from Nazareth for a census where Jesus is born and laid in a manger.
Christmas history goes back to 336 in the city of Rome. However, Christmas celebrations gained much prominence and significance in the early phases of 19th Century with Oxford Movement which happened in Anglican Church. Following which, various English authors and writers revived and modified Christmas Story as an exuberant festival of religious significance comprising family get-togethers, preparing feasts and exchanging gifts.
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CHRISTMAS 2017 - CELEBRATIONS
Christmas is a religious and secular festival that is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm among Christians as well as Non- Christians. This day is declared as a public holiday in majority of nations across the world, including India.
Christmas is celebrated throughout India and is considered as one of the prominent Indian festival. Christmas in India holds auspicious significance among masses. Festivals like, Makar Sankranti and Lohri remains in line adding to the festivity. Christmas is also considered as the starting day of New Year’s week. It is the last week of the current year and the significance of beginning of New Year. mPanchang is based out of Hindu and Indian Calendar. We wishes you Happy New Year 2018 in advance.
The main customs and traditions associated with this festival is participating in the religious service held at various Churches along with home decorations, Christmas trees, feasts and exchange of gifts. Highest Church Attendance in an year on this day is testimony to the significance of attending the religious service during this time.
Parades and processions are another important part of the celebration of this vibrant festival which start few days prior to the main festival. These processions hold religious as well as spiritual importance.
Splendid hues of red, green and gold is an integral part of Christmas decorations. Red is the color of the blood of Jesus that was shed during crucifixion, green represents an evergreen life while gold epitomizes royalty. People decorate their homes with ivy, holly, bays and everything green. It is believed that heart shaped ivy symbolize the birth or descent of Lord Jesus while holly protects against pagan and witches. People put up a Christmas tree at their home and bedeck it with bells, ornaments, lights and flowers and decorate their homes with candles. wreaths, candy canes, etc. Saint Nicholas, popularly known as Santa Claus among children is believed to be a gift bearer who brings gifts for children on Christmas eve or the night before the festival while they are sleeping.
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Christmas Tree is a significant part of this festival. The fir tree which is essentially used is triangular in shape. It is believed that this cone shaped tree is pointing towards the heaven and this is why it holds this much reverence at the time of Christmas. Some people also believe that this tree symbolizes trinity. Christmas Tree also is evergreen and is a perfect epitome of life and eternity.
People enjoy the Christmas family feast where the entire family comes together to celebrate the holiday. Christmas feast comprises of different types of cuisines as every country has their own Christmas family meal. In countries such as the UK and the USA, the lavish feast includes turkey, goose, potatoes, vegetables and cider along with sumptuous desserts such as pies, pudding and fruit cake among others. In Scandinavian nations and some other European countries such as Poland, fish is the main part of Christmas feasts. In fact, in Sicily, 12 kinds of fishes are prepared and served on this day. Desserts of different kinds are the main attraction on this day. Moreover, beef, ham and chicken are popular Christmas ingredients in the world.
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Exchange of gifts and Christmas cards containing messages wishing Merry and Happy Christmas is another significant tradition of this festival. Family and friends come together to celebrate this joyous fiesta and exchange gifts and treats as a symbol of love and togetherness among them. Gift-giving is a tradition that is associated with Saint Nicholas who is fondly known as Santa Claus. Christmas cards are beautifully decorated cards with Christmas and New Year message. People exchange these cards from a week prior to Christmas festival. It is a souvenir of a kind that is exchanged among friends and family.
Music and singing Christmas songs or Christmas carols is another beautiful part of this jovial festival. Christmas songs are popularly known as carols and find their origin from the community folk songs. ‘Jingle Bells’ is a popular Christmas Carol that is sung by one and all during this time.
Schools also celebrate Christmas with great enthusiasm. Teachers dress up as Santa Claus and treat the kids with candies. Also, kids are made to watch Christmas movies so that they gain more knowledge about the festivity and origin of Christmas.
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UNIQUE CHRI STMAS TRADITIONS
Every country in the world has its own way of observing the Christmas celebrations and some of them are quite unique and interesting.
- In Scandinavian nations of Norway, Finland and Sweden, 'Yule Log' holds much significance. Norway is apparently the birthplace of the Yule log. As a popular tradition, this log is a Christmas block and is burnt in the hearth on this day. Log shaped cakes and other dishes is also an interesting aspect of the celebration here.
- In Mexico, a red and green plant termed as Poinsettia is the universal symbol of Christmas here given its unique colors. These colors perfectly portray the spirit of this holiday. Piñatas is another attraction of Mexican Christmas Decorations. These are scriptures made from Paper-Mache which are filled with candies and hung from ceiling. Children take their turns to break the Piñatas to enjoy their candy treats.
- French call their Christmas Celebrations as Noel. There is a tradition in certain homes in France to burn a log from Christmas till New year. A part of this log is then used by farmers as it is believed that it will bring good harvest.
- The most unique thing about Christmas in Ukraine is the traditional 12-course meal. The youngest kid of the family informs the family as soon as the evening star appears which is a signal for the sumptuous feast to begin.
- Christmas celebrations in Philippines are like no other. This country has perhaps the largest celebration in the entire world as the Christmas decorations and festivity begin from Sept-October and end in January. It has the largest population of Catholics so the celebrations are bound to be grand. They host a Giant Lantern Festival before Christmas eve, majorly on Saturday before Christmas, which attracts visitors from across the world. Different villages participate in this contest to create an extraordinary lantern. The night of Christmas is also known as ‘Noche Buena’
- In Brazil, ‘amigo secreto’ is quite an interesting tradition. It is a Brazilian form of Secret Santa. People swap gifts without anyone telling which gift is brought by whom.
- In Russia, Christmas is celebrated on two days, i.e. 25th December and 7th January. Russians prepare 12 different feasts representing the twelve apostles.
- A quite unorthodox and unique tradition is observed in Norway. No cleaning is done on the day of Christmas as people hide their brooms as it is believed that witches and evil spirits come out on this day and look for brooms to ride on. It is an old tradition which is still followed by several households.
- In Colombia, the onset of the festive season of Christmas is marked by lighting little candles. It is known as ‘Little Candles’ Day’. People decorate the windows and balconies of their homes with little candles and paper lanterns in honour of Virgin Mary.
- Caracas, a city in Venezuela has come up with an out-of the-box tradition. People visit the Church to attend the morning prayers on roller skates. It is an interesting sight, indeed. No cars are allowed on this day as people skate their way to the Church.
- In Austria, Krampus, the evil partner of Saint Nicholas is an interesting part of Christmas celebrations. It is believed that Santa Claus treats nice kids with goodies and candies while the naughtiest children are punished by Krampus. Adults get dressed up as Krampus and roam the streets scaring the kids.
Irrespective of the various traditions observed across the globe, the festival of Christmas brings the entire world together and celebrations, joy and happiness can be witnessed in every corner. Wishing you and the world a Merry Christmas!